Plastic film layer repels urine. Puppy pad can be added. Litter falls between large pores, not just fibers.
Dimensions are smaller than expected. Cat pee can permeate plastic layer. Persistent urine odor difficult to eliminate.
Very durable, especially for the price. Rubberized material will not absorb odors. Minimal tracking reported by users.
Very small, only useful for first steps. Litter crystals may remain on paws, not captured by mat. Difficult to clean thoroughly.
Soft texture encourages usage. Does not contain phthalate, a known carcinogen. Waterproof lining protects floors.
Litter stays trapped in fibers, not easy to clean. Needs to be aired out before use. Small dimensions, limited amount of litter captured.
Can be washed/sanitized in washing machine. Comfortable surface does not hurt paws. Large area size and heavy duty construction.
Edges of mat tend to curl up vs. lie flat. Does not capture all litter, some tracking reported. Not designed well for urine/feces mistakes.
Large enough to accommodate two litter boxes. Versatile design, can also be a water mat or bird cage liner. Nice appearance.
Strong chemical smell reported. Litter difficult to extract from fibers. Tighter weave does not capture as much litter as other models.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you’re owned by a cat, you already know that the details surrounding her litter box – the brand of litter, the type of box, the placement of the box – are a big deal. Everything needs to be just right in order to keep your kitty happy and your home clean.
A cat litter mat can do wonders for the cleanliness of your cat’s litter area as well as the rest of your home. Strategically placed to catch flying debris, tracked litter, and other messes, these textured mats are affordable and unobtrusive. However, some cat litter mats get the job done far better than others, and some are easier to clean than others.
Your criteria in selecting a cat litter mat for your home should be twofold: you want a quality mat, and you want one that your cat will accept. After all, if she were to deem the mat against her liking, she could end up avoiding the litter box entirely.
Read on for our guide to cat litter mats. We break down the need-to-know information so you can make the best choice, and we share our top selections for your consideration.
To evaluate the potential success of a cat litter mat, it’s helpful to know the answers to the following questions.
The best cat litter mats have traction on the bottom as well as the top. They can’t easily be kicked out of place by a human, cat, or dog. Mats that don’t stay in place are tripping hazards, and they don’t fulfill their purpose of catching litter and debris as your pet steps out of the litter box.
Your main reason for purchasing a mat may be to minimize your litter-related cleaning tasks. However, you’ll still need to clean the cat litter mat occasionally. There will be litter trapped inside the crevices and perhaps cat excrement, too. While you can vacuum any cat litter mat, some are harder to spot clean than others. If you have a cat that tends to track gunk or leave liquid messes outside of the box, keep this in mind when shopping. The manufacturer will specify the best methods for cleaning any given mat.
You can’t ask what type of mat your kitty prefers, of course, but you can purchase a litter mat with the type of texture you think it would enjoy. Generally speaking, cats like soft textures. However, some cats gravitate toward hard surfaces. If your cat is finicky, it may not like the feel of ribbing or ridges underfoot. Take your feline’s personality and preferences into account as you shop.
The material that makes up a cat litter mat, along with its texture, go a long way toward determining whether your cat will accept it or not. Here’s an in-depth look at both of these important factors.
Cat litter mats can be made of soft plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), silicone, or rubber. Because traction is needed to keep these mats from skidding across the floor, many have a rubberized underside in addition to a textured top. Some manufacturers use recycled materials to improve the sustainability of their products.
A lot of cat litter mats on the market today are made without phthalates, which are substances sometimes added to plastic to make it soft and flexible. In fact, many manufacturers use the absence of phthalates in their products as a selling point. The reason: phthalates may be harmful to humans and pets. They’re currently being studied by several U.S. governmental agencies as a potential carcinogen. If you want to avoid the introduction of new phthalates into your home, check the manufacturer’s literature about the product.
Mesh: A mesh cat litter mat may be coiled or woven to create a breathable surface that traps debris. The mesh is comfortable for cats to walk on, yet it easily releases debris when a vacuum cleaner passes over it. Notably, some mesh mats are coiled or woven more tightly than others. If you choose a mat made of tighter mesh, it’s possible that larger pieces of debris or litter won’t get trapped by it. For example, some types of crystal cat litter are too large to fit in the crevices of a mesh mat.
Honeycomb: Honeycomb mats consist of two layers: a waterproof lower layer and a honeycomb-like upper layer through which debris falls. Cleaning this type of mat is fairly straightforward: you simply separate the two layers and wipe up the mess. However, some dual-layer cat litter mats are easier to separate than others. Before you make a purchase, check to see whether the mat opens like a book or peels apart at one end. The latter may be a bit more awkward.
It’s worth pointing out that though honeycomb openings may be larger and more amenable to trapping large pieces, they can feel somewhat harsh on sensitive paws. If you know your cat is picky about what it walks on, take this into account when entertaining the idea of a honeycomb mat.
Smooth or ridged: Some cat litter mats resemble the mat you see below a dish rack; they are mostly smooth with a few ridges to catch drips or debris. This type of mat is easily cleaned with hot water and soap. You can also tip it to release debris into a trash can. Cleaning up messes that are wet or chunky will require some extra elbow grease, however.
Q. Can I wash my cat litter mat in the washing machine?
A. If you want to clean and sanitize your cat litter mat – and we certainly understand that desire – the washing machine seems like the natural solution. And in fact, there are some cat litter mats on the market that are advertised as machine washable. We do not advise throwing a cat litter mat in the washing machine unless the manufacturer expressly states that it’s safe to do so, however. Certain mat materials could possibly degrade in your washing machine, or worse yet, the mat could do damage to your machine. Better safe than sorry.
Q. Should I place my cat litter mat under the litter box as well as around it? A. For maximum coverage, you should place your cat litter mat at least partially beneath the litter box. Otherwise, there may be gaps in your coverage, and, unfortunately, you might not notice an accident until your flooring has been contaminated or even damaged. Most manufacturers offer a number of mat sizes, so you can choose one large enough to satisfy your needs.