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How Much Cat Litter to Use in Your Your Cat’s Litter Box

by Ben Doyle | Reading Time: 3 minutes

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New cat owners look at the litter tray and wonder how much cat litter to use.

It’s a valid question.

Using too much litter can cause problems. Not using enough can create different problems.

So in this article, we’ll cover:

  • How much litter to put in your cat’s litter tray
  • The problem with using too much litter
  • Problems caused by not using enough litter
  • Maintaining a consistent level of cat litter
  • Why each cat you own needs its own litter tray

How Much Cat Litter to Use

3-4 inches of litter in your cat’s tray is ideal for most cats. This goes for both clumping and non-clumping litter. It’s deep enough for your cat to dig into and cover over after. If you use clumping cat litter, it’ll clump without sticking to the bottom of the tray.

That said, your cat is as individual as you are. Some like their litter a little deeper, some like it shallower. Keep an eye on your cat’s litter box behaviour and if you need to, add more or take some away.

Read More: The Best Cat Litter: Our Top Picks

The Problem With Using Too Much Litter

There are two problems with using too much cat litter;

  1. Your cat will kick it everywhere when they’re digging and covering its elimination. Even if you have a high-sided or covered litter box, if it’s too full, the litter will end up on the floor, all over their litter mat and in your carpet.
  2. Using too much litter is a waste. You still need to empty and clean their litter tray on a regular basis. The more litter you use, the more you’ll end up throwing away.

Problems Caused By Not Using Enough Litter

Not using enough litter can cause litter box aversion.

First, the process of digging, eliminating and covering it up is a survival instinct. If there’s not enough litter in the tray, your cat might not want to use it.

Second, a thin layer of litter isn’t enough to absorb their urine. As a result, it sits on the bottom of their tray, creating an odour problem. Cats are hygienic animals. If your cat litter tray smells of ammonia, they’ll be far less likely to use it.

If your cat goes to the toilet outside of their litter tray, it might be because you’re not using enough litter.

Maintaining a Consistent Level of Cat Litter

Now you’ve got the right amount of litter in your cat’s box, you need to keep it consistent. It’s a good idea to add some each day or two to replace the litter you’ve scooped out.

Each Cat Should Have Its Own Litter Box

Most cats don’t like to share litter boxes.

As such, every cat you own should have its own. So if you have three cats, you should have three litter boxes, plus one extra. This is because some cats refuse to use the same litter box all of the time. Not only that, but the best cat litter box for one cat, might not be the best for another, so get one that right for each individual.

Don’t try to add more litter to a single box and hope that will be enough for all your cats. It’s likely to cause an odour issue which isn’t only a problem for us.

Cats like a clean toilet and will avoid using the litter box if it smells of other cats. You might find one or more of your cats start going to the toilet behind the sofa instead.


There’s nothing difficult about knowing how much cat litter to use.

3-4 inches of litter is perfect for most cats.

That said, if you find your cat kicks it all over the place while they’re covering up their business, use a little less. If the litter box starts to smell or your cat stops using it, add more.

Try to keep your cats litter at a consistent level to avoid any issues.

And finally, make sure each cat you live with has their own litter tray. One litter box shared between several cats will cause issues.

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Ben Doyle

Ben Doyle co-owns Pet Checkers with his wife, Vicki. He spends his days looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When he's not taking care of animals, he's writing about them.

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