New Use for Puppy Pads

As you may recall, my cat Romeo (the inspiration for this site) seems to prefer to pee on soft items. When given a choice, he’ll opt for anything soft on the floor rather than hop into the litter box. So, I removed litter from one of the boxes and put a towel inside, which worked great. Except I was constantly washing the stinky towels.

So then I tried paper towels. He didn’t mind that either. But the drawback there was I had to use quite a few and I felt very wasteful.

Then, recently I got the idea to use puppy training pads, thinking they’d be much more absorbent and easier to change out.

So, at my request, Hartz sent me some of their Hartz Puppy Pads to sample.

I’ve been using them for about a month now and it seems to be a solid solution. I change the pad once or twice a day. I’ve noticed Romeo will pee on one side and then pee on the other until it’s soaked. But it’s easy to just pull it out of the box and replace with a new one.

One drawback is that sometimes, if the absorbent pad part is askew, urine collects underneath the pad. I solved this by putting a small amount of litter under the pad to soak up any puddles. Of course, that requires scooping. But hey, I’m already devoting an entire blog to litter box issues, what’s an extra box scoop or two a day?

The other downside is I’ve noticed a couple of oopsies right outside the box but I think it’s because a part of the pad was hanging over the edge. So, I don’t consider this a Romeo error, but rather a staff (that’s me) error. He’s thinking “pad = pee” so if the pad’s hanging over the edge and he pees on it, so be it.

I am going to try another brand of puppy pads for comparison purposes. There are quite a few of them on the market. Has anyone had experience using puppy pads for this purpose? Any recommended products?


  1. To whoever wrote this post, I just wanted to let you know that you really saved my bacon a few years ago. My cat had been getting progressively worse about using the litter box, and in spite of not having any kind of detectable infection, began peeing exclusively outside the box. I had tried every kind of litter on the market, every kind of litterbox, any and every location, constant scooping, and was completely at my wit’s end. This post gave me the idea in 2012 to try something other than litter. I put some newspaper in the bottom of her litterbox and she went right to it and kept using it, whether I used cloth towels, paper towels, newspapers, or puppy pads. It turns out that she had grown increasingly averse to litter for reasons that I will probably never understand. There were a few times when she stopped using these litter-less boxes, and that’s when I knew there was an actual health issue rather than a behavioral one. My vet diagnosed her with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), which tends to flare up when she’s stressed. This can be very painful when active even if there’s no bacterial infection present, and a lot of veterinarians aren’t familiar with this disease, so they often overlook it. When she has a flare up, we give her medicine to manage her pain and stress for a few days to a week, at which point she always resumes using the litter box. So, basically, I have a two-pronged system. The no-litter system works on the behavioral end, and temporary pain and stress management works on the medical end. Anyway, thank you for getting this no-litter strategy out to the public. So many cats are needlessly sent to shelters over something that is entirely manageable with a little observation, time, and effort.

  2. Sorry this is so late for you. Why don’t you try Breeze litter system? I have 3 cats, and it’s great. Only time there is any odor is when they poo. It’s quite expensive for refills. so I use Feline Pine pellets instead of the Breeze pellets. MUCH cheaper. They melt into sawdust and fall through the slots when the urine hits them, so it’s always clean! AND no clay tracking or dust all over the house. The pads are pricy, but they last, and can be purchased in bulk at Amazon or other places. I sprinkle a little baking soda on top of the pads when I change them – makes them last a bit longer.

  3. Hi,

    My sister just bought an awesome cat box that has a pee pad drawer. You put alfalfa on the top and a pad in the drawer. When the kitty pees the pee falls on the pad (which is located right beneath the alfalfa) while little poopies stay on the alfalfa. The best thing about the alfalfa is poop doesn’t stick so it’s an easy clean up and the pads are so quick and easy to pull out and toss. I loved it so much i got my own. My only concern at this point is whether or not it’s actually cost effective. (Because me and my husband are penny-pinchers)

  4. We have 3 cats. Two sister kitties and a male who was Farrel and is about 3 years younger. The sisters are 12 (Curious and Mischievous) so that makes Spookie about 9. Curious was found to have a brain tumor 3+ years ago and was given 3 months to live. But with tons of love and attention she is still with us and has a good life and a thrives most every day. She has issues regarding the box and therefore we have a designated box for her with puppy pads surrounding it for those times when she gets there, she just forgets to get in! Our other 2 cats were using her box mostly because it was closer to where everyone in our household hangs out then they got back to using the boxes that we have always kept in the laundry room. Lately for whatever reason Spookie wont pee in either of the 3 very large boxes we have in our home. We have the puppy pads on the floor of the laundry room starting from the time when Curi began to have problems getting to and then into the box. My question is are cats attracted to the attractant which all puppy pad manufactures put into there pads. I really don’t want to just pick them up off the floor assuming that Spookie will stop peeing on the pads and jump into the box like he should. The difference in the amount of time spent servicing those boxes should he mess the floor starts at an hour and goes up from there depending on if and how far under the machines his pee may go. He is a very large cat with a very large flow. My real answer may be what I have gained by reading this blog, that being the use of people pads until I find out how Spookie will react to pads with no attractant…..but I still want my question answered. Thanks

    • First time to this blog! I recently started placing a puppy pad next to the litter box for one of my cats.

      Until now, she would sometimes pee in the litter box, but most often would pee anywhere else — and especially on soft things (i.e. clothes, towels, bags). There’s nothing like grabbing a freshly laundered t-shirt only to find out it was peed on! She is 5 years old and has done this since she was a tiny kitten — when she was tiny she had loads of crystals, but luckily we were able to clear it up. I do think she feels intimidated by our other cat being around the litter boxes. We have tried many different cat litters and put out many boxes at a time with no improved results.

      The turning point for me: After cleaning up her most recent litter box miss, I said out loud to her, very intently, “You go in your litter box,” and I pointed right to the box. She looked at me, walked over to sit right next to the litter box, and peed right there on the floor as I watched. I don’t think she did it to spite me, but rather to show me that she is listening to me and she is indeed trying (even though I didn’t get the result I wanted).

      The next day, I went out and bought puppy pads — Ecocare puppy training pads. I told her firmly out loud, “You can use the litter box, or the pad, but no where else,” and since then she has only peed on the pads. Just like that. I wish I had started them sooner for her.

      I use one pad a day right next to a litter box, and I of course praise her out loud for using the pad, and litter box, and nowhere else. She does paw at the pad when she is finished peeing, but I just straighten it out when I notice the pad getting a little folded or crumpled. I haven’t figured out yet how I will anchor the pad down (or if I will). I haven’t put it in a litter box, and I don’t know if I will try that because she seems intimidated and vulnerable jumping in and out of it. Since this is going so well, I think I just may keep it as is until the need arises to change it up.

      Thank you for this blog; I wish I had found it years ago!

  5. hi…thinking of using puppies pads for my cat…who is pooping on the floor…I hope she is using the box for peeing….what do you think?

    • Cat urine has a very distinct smell that gets stronger over time. If your cat is not peeing in litter box you will smell in the house.

  6. I have been using the pads for at least 5 years when my old kitty quit using the litter box. I thing I use under the pad to help with the stink and wetness that goes over the pad is a power I get from the feed store that is made to adsorb odors and dampness in horse stalls. Work great!

  7. Be careful when you purchase pads. I bought 100 pads for $17.00 at Costco
    Thinking it was such a great bargain but it wasn’t . The puppy pads reeked of
    Puppy attractant to encourage puppies to use them and my kitten hated
    The smell. The kitten kept dragging them out of the kennel where he sleeps
    And could not sleep with them lining the kennel. Cried and cried….
    I had to go to the drugstore for an emergency supply of people pads which
    Were awesome cause they were large and could fold them over to absorb excess
    Moisture at the bottom of the kennel and had no nasty smell.
    Watch out for smelly puppy attractant in puppy training pads. Do they make special training pads for cats? They really should.

  8. Hey all. I have a question. My male cat of 3 years always races out of the litter box as soon as the pee has left his body and never covers it. As he races out he gets litter everywhere. I’ve always found this quite odd. Does he not like the feel of litter on his paws? Also last night for the first time ever he peed on a towel that was folded and laying on my bedroom floor. He’s never ever done this before. He’s drinking just fine and overall seems fine.
    Any ideas or suggestions?

    • Erica,

      My cat–Misha, has the same issue. We figured it’s because of our younger cat–Nola, who likes to intimidate. Have you found any solutions?

  9. I’m using puppy pads for a cat who–despite good health–now refuses to use a litter box for pee or poop. I think he just hates the third cat we brought into the household. He was peeing around the area of his food dish. When I layed a towel down near the food dish, he peed on that. I visited a friend over Christmas who has 3 small dogs that use puppy pads. That gave me the idea to try puppy pads. It seems to be working. And while puppy pads are WAY better than the carpet, I still wish he would use the litter box because it’s going to be hard for me to ask the neighbors to cat sit and change puppy pads and clean litter boxes. It seems too much to expect someone to do as a favor. I don’t know … (BTW–I have 3 cats and 3 litterboxes, so it’s not like I’m trying to get all 3 of them to use 1 box. Oh well …)

    • I didn’t know this was common. I have two cats, they’re sisters and 4 years old. My black cat is the “boss”, and my other cat it more stand off-ish, her name is tan. When she was a baby she went potty all over my old apt. But over the past year I’ve been using pee pads. I set it on the floor slightly under and in front of the litter box. Usually she pee’s on the pad and poo’s in the box. I only have one box….

  10. weird that your cat pees only on soft areas but we all have our weird things… my elderly cat started using one box for bowel movements and one box for urinating… it is very wise of you to have figured out what your cat needed…i think that us cat people love cats because they make us THINK….

  11. Whattttt??? Why are you not using the Breeze litter box system!? It is your answer! Plus, PetSmart has them on sale for $24, you can get a $10. off coupon on the web. So the whole system is $14. (you get the box, litter & pads). If your cat won’t pee on the litter, just use it without litter. The urine will drain to the bottom of the box to the pad, collect the poopy on top. You can thank me when you see how great this system is. And, we’ve used every system known to man (automatics, flush everything). This is the best system so far for cat owners.

    • My 12-year-old kitty recently started peeing just outside the litter box, and I have a question about the puppy training pads.

      They would seem to be the answer to keeping the pee off the floor, but I noticed that all brands contain an “attractant”, that’s meant to attract the puppy to pee on the pad. Does that also work on cats? I’d rather she used the box, I really don’t want to use a product that encourages her to pee on the floor…

    • I got the Breeze system for my cats. I bought 2 of them and will be getting another soon. 2 of my cats are using the Breeze, the 3rd cat is peeing all over my house: the couch, an upholstered chair, the laundry basket, my bed. I am at my wits end. I think I am going to try absorbent pads in a litter box without the litter.

  12. Romeo, I think I’ve found your long, lost twin brother! One of my adopted cats, Moe, got the same issue! Thanks, I shall try this!

  13. My Em stopped using the box to pee, and I used pee pads too. Bought them in bulk when ever I saw a sale. One day I saw human incontinence pads, they put them on the bed under people and are basically the same thing and I could get them much cheaper because it was easier to buy them in bulk.

    Em didn’t want to use a box, so we just put the pads on the floor next to the box, we just needed to make sure no one “covered” them (we have multiple cats) and folded them over.

  14. I used the pads for my senior, Eloise, for the last 2 years of her life. She had arthritis and couldn’t manage the litter box. 1st, I tried the pad frames but some urine always got on the floor so I switched to puppy litter boxes for her, taping the pads inside the boxes with wide masking tape. I purchased the biggest pads I could find. Within a week, I had gotten very fast at this little job and could change 3 boxes within 10 minutes using short strips of tape. This was much faster than having to wash the boxes every day, plus she hated having her paws wet. She was also in kidney failure with the usual cystitis problems so the pads allowed me to see exactly how much output she had and to see any blood.

  15. We use puppy pads under the litter box. It keeps down tracking it out and makes less mess when Savannah misjudges the edges of the box. She also tends to kick lots over the sides when covering up.
    I enjoy reading your emails and have learned much from them. Savannah is our first cat and came to us when she was around 8 years old. She’s been around about 5 years and is constantly bringing joy in our lives.
    Thanks for your ideas and products.

  16. That’s a neat idea.

    I’m using puppy pads for one of my senior cats. She has has litter box issues all of her life, but I think now she CAN’T climb into a box, because she seems to have an arthritic hip. I now put puppy pads on the floor of our downstairs bathroom and let her use them. Eventually, I’ll get around to trying to cut the front out of a box and seeing if she’ll use the box, but this is working for now.

    I am also using them under the cat boxes, absorbent side down, and it works really well to soak up any that “goes over the side.

    I use either the Simple Solution pads or the Eco Care pads (When I can afford them,) which are made from recycled materials. (I think they are also made by Simple Solution.)

    I don’t like the disposable aspect, but in a pinch, I think puppy pads are one of the best things ever!

  17. I was going to suggest the same thing as Heidi did. My mom uses the ‘people pads’ – cut in half – on the floor for my dog when she leaves the house. Larger and cheaper – and if you are changing pads a couple of times a day – that can be a big help.

  18. I have used the puppy pads in the past for a couple of cats who pee’d standing up by taping them to the wall behind the shorter walled litter boxes. Taller litter boxes have since solved this problem. I have also used them in problem spraying or marking areas just to make clean up a little easier until I can get a can of Ssscat to deter the bad cat.

  19. Something else you might want to look into is pads that are used for people (look in the adult incontinence area of the store). They’re larger and cheaper, but pretty much the same thing. When my parents got their puppy (13 years ago) she had some left over from when my grandfather lived with us and used those to house train Zeke.

  20. I have been using these outside the litter box for a while now for my one girl that “thinks outside the box”. First I was using the pads from the Breeze litter box system but then bought the puppy pads after moving to a new state and realizing my local grocery doesn’t carry the Breeze pads like my old store did. I am actually happier with the Hartz puppy pads as they are so much larger.
    My two other kitties use the box religiously so using them inside a box wouldn’t work for my dear princess that can’t stand an even slightly-used box. She doesn’t mind litter, she just hates that other cats dare use it before her, so on the floor goes her pee. These pads have been a great solution to daily clean-ups, plus they double as a litter catch so I sweep/vacuum less as well.

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