How Much Litter Should I Put in the Litter Box?

how much cat litter should i put in litter box

Getting your cat toys and supplies set up for the first time when you’re bringing a cat home can be overwhelming. Even after you have had your cat for a while, you will still be figuring out the best way to do things, so you have to keep learning.

Many cat owners have this question: “How much litter should I put in the litter box?”

There are different opinions on the right amount of litter, and there are different pros and cons to various litter amounts.

Today, we’ll cover what amount of litter people recommend and why those recommendations are given. By the end of this guide, you should feel confident filling your litter box!

Identifying the Right Litter Amount to Use

To answer your question on how much litter you should put in the litter box, here’s what you need to do.

Follow Manufacturer’s Recommendations

The first thing that you can do is follow whatever the cat litter manufacturer’s recommendation says. Most cat litter bags will include a suggested amount of litter to use, and this amount is chosen so that the litter can work properly.

The amount recommended is usually two to three inches of litter for each litter pan. If you know that your cat likes to dig, though, it’s better to use up to four inches.


Like most things, you and your cat are both going to have preferences on how much cat litter should be in the litter box. Your cat won’t be able to tell you directly what their preference is. What you can do is an experiment to figure out just how much litter you want to use.

Start with two inches, as this is the minimum amount recommended by most cat litter manufacturers. Let your cat try this out first, and pay attention to whether or not it seems like they are digging too much in the cat litter.

If they are digging a lot, you will want to add more litter to give them a more solid base, up to around three inches. From there, you can monitor their behavior before increasing to four inches.

Throughout this process, you will get a chance to see how frequently you need to change the litter at each depth. You will also know how difficult it is to do with the various amounts of litter.

After a few weeks of experimentation, you should have a good idea of what amount of litter you are comfortable with and what amount of litter is ideal for your cat.

The Problems of Too Much and Too Little Litter

You might be wondering what will happen if you have too much or too little litter in the box. While neither problem is a life-changing issue, there are some things that you should be aware of.

Too Much Litter

If you put too much litter in the litter box, it will be easily knocked out of the box and onto the surrounding area. Additionally, more litter in the box makes it more likely for the litter to get onto your cat and track into other areas of the house, and that can lead to some very frustrating situations.

You can prevent some spillage with a little pan mat around the box, but this won’t always be enough to deal with a too much litter problem.

Some owners also make the mistake of thinking that filling up the litter box all the way through means that they will not need to scoop or clean the box as frequently, but that’s not completely true.

You may be able to do a complete change less frequently when the box is kept full, but it still needs to be scooped and cleaned with regularity.

Too Little Litter

If there is not enough litter in the box, there are two main problems that will happen.

First, your cat may not feel completely comfortable using the box since they like to be able to dig around a bit.

Second, not having enough litter will lead to more a smellier box because there won’t be as much litter to help absorb and mask the odors.


Ultimately, the answer to that question will depend on what your cats like to do in the litter box and what is most comfortable for you to do. At the very least, cat owners should put between two and three inches of litter in the box to keep things neat, but most will find that putting more litter than this in the box is actually more effective.

If you still aren’t sure, try some different amounts out. It might take a few experiments to get the amount down pat, but you’ll be more aware of what your cats prefer if you take the time to explore each option for yourself.

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