How Deep Should Cat Litter Be (Secret Recipe For You)

One of the most frequently asked questions I often get from people is, how deep should a cat litter be? We are going to look at this question and come out with the best depth for a cat litter.

We will also outline some tips and tricks that will help you maintain your cat litter to get the most out of it.

How deep should cat litter be?

Back to our question:

The depth of your cat litter will depend on three things:

  1. The kind of litter you’re using.
  2. How often you plan on cleaning it,
  3. And the numbers of cats you have.

We are going to look at these three points to give us an idea of how deep cat litter should be. 

1. Using a Non-Clumping Cat Litter

Secret Recipe:

Regarding the kind of Cat litter, if you decide to use a non-clumping litter (like non-clumping crystal litter or natural non-clumping litter), then you will need a litter depth of about 2-3 inches for a single cat. This is the perfect depth size for non-clumping cat litter, especially if you have a kitten.

While it is true that some long-haired cats actually prefer less litter and a smooth, slick surface, such as the bottom of the box, we do recommend you start with 2 inches depth.


However, this still depends on how much your cat loves to dig around and play in the box before they leave. But our experience with Cat litter has proved that no matter the behavior your cat exhibits, a 2-3-inch litter depth will still work fine for any cat.

Advice for older cats:

What you really need to be careful about is never to go overboard with this. Do not make the litter too deep because having a deep litter for your cat is like having a human walking through soft sand at the beach.

This will cause some difficulty in their joints, especially in older cats.

How often should you change out all of the Non-Clumping Litter?

Looking at this theoretically, a box that contains a clumping litter would need less frequent cleaning as opposed to the one with non-clumping clay. A general rule of thumb is to scoop the box daily, and do not forget to use a mask or gloves to prevent infection.

You can fill the litter every 2-3 days, but do not fill it too high. Then, make sure you add litter to maintain a relatively constant depth as you scooped it daily.

That is, add an inch of litter daily if you aren’t cleaning it but with the aim of changing it every 4 days.

How long should Non-Clumping Litter last?

If you carefully follow our guides, with non-clumping litter and two cats each using their own box with 2-3 inches of litter that is cleaned on a regular basis and changed every 4 days, then a 20-pound bag of litter should last you between 6 - 8 weeks.

2. Using a Clumping Cat Litter

Okay, we have been discussing non-clumping litter. Now, let us focus on Clumping Litter. So the question is, how deep should a clumping litter be?

Secret Recipe:

To make it simply simple, the depth of a clumping litter should start with at least 3-4 inches ( or ¼ box) / one cat. The reason we recommend this depth is because clumping litter tends to diminish every time you scoop it.


The best move is to ensure you replace as much as you removed. By doing this, you won't even think of changing out the litter completely.

Another reason why your clumping litter should be at least 4 inches deep for a start is that this depth prevents the litter from sticking to the bottom of the box. With this depth, your cat will find the perfect balance and be attracted to use the cat litter box without any issue.

How often should you change out all of the Clumping Litter?

Twice a week is a general guideline for replacing clay litter. But this still depends on the circumstances as you may need to replace it every other day or only once a week.

If you clean the litter box daily, you might only need to change the clumping litter every 2 - 3 weeks.

How long should Clumping Litter last?

If you follow our guides, with a clumping litter and two cats each using their own box, with 4 - 5 inches of litter that is cleaned regularly and changed every 2 - 3 weeks, a 20-pound bag of litter should last you between 8 - 9 weeks.

How to tell if you’re using too much cat litter?


Here a few ways to know if the litter you're using is too much:

  • Your cat slips and slides in the litter box
  • Your cat only goes halfway in
  • Your cat flings litter outside in the box

If you notice your cats exhibiting this behavior, then know for sure that you're using too much cat litter.

How to tell if you're using not enough cat litter?

Here a few behaviors you'll notice from your cat if you use less cat litter:

  • Your cats scratch at the sides constantly. This may be because the litter is not deep enough, and the litter box is on a smaller size compared to your cat's size.
  • You also notice that your cats don’t bury their waste as they do
  • Smelling odor due to an inadequate level of litter
  • Litter sits on the bottom of the litter box
  • Less inviting for your cat to go in and take care of personal business

​If you notice this, then ensure you follow our specified 2-3 inch litter depth, and see how your cat relates to it.

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