Why Is My Cat Scratching the Floor Like Litter?

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Why is my cat scratching the floor like litter?

Your cat may be scratching the floor like litter due to marking behavior. Other reasons include:

  • Using cat litter they don’t like.
  • A cat litter tray that’s not cleaned.
  • A litter box that’s too small.

Marking behavior is a way for cats to communicate with other cats about their presence. A simple fix is to make sure cats get scratching pads to use for this.

Scratching, contrary to popular belief, is a normal behavior in cats. It’s intended to help maintain the claws and mark territory.

Corrugated boards work best for cat scratchers in my experience. These work great because they rip apart and satisfy a cats desire to mark territory.

Our on a corrugated board, which is useful for scratching.
Corrugated boards are great for scratching.

Some cats might find certain litter undesirable. Aromatic and deodorized cat litter might be offensive to some, but the science isn’t clear.

Most cats prefer a fine, sand-like, non-scented, and clumping litter. Make sure to fill the litter tray to around two inches or deeper for best results.

Research finds cats prefer cleaned out litter trays. Any waste makes it harder to cover litter (and they may try scraping the floor instead). Make sure to clean the tray daily to prevent this.

Finally, research also finds cats prefer larger cat litter boxes. A small litter box might not give enough space to dig in and feel like they can cover their waste.

A picture comparing a small and large cat litter tray on elimination.
Use a larger cat litter box to make toileting easier for your cat.

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I'm qualified dietitian that's turned their attention to cat nutrition. My goal is to help tease out the science on how best to feed your cat.

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