Cats are very territorial and have a difficult time sharing anything it seems, even a long couch. When you have two cats, it seems like everything is double, including how much litter you need to use in the box. Should you have more than one litter box to prevent issues?
Two cats should not share one litter box because they are territorial and may fight over the box’s use. One litter box for two or more cats can also make your cats sick because the box’s bacteria is doubled. You will need 1.5 litter boxes for each cat you have.
But are multiple litter boxes practical for your home? Keep reading to find out what you can do if you don’t have space for more than one litter box.
Cats Are Private and Need Their Own Box
While cats can be social creatures, they still are very private creatures with an independent need to keep their litter box use private. They also use their litter box as a way to get some space and quiet from the chaos of your home, especially if you have more than one cat. They need their own territory to “do their business.”
Additionally, if you have one litter box for two or more cats, your cats might be stressed out from each others’ scent. Cats can detect even the smallest change in another cat’s health, and if one cat is sick, they don’t want to use the litter box due to the smell.
One box per cat is an ideal scenario for your cat.
Cats Are Territorial and May Fight Over the Litter Box
It is a fact that cats of any breed are territorial and are not pack animals. They need their own space to go in without the scent of another cat, making it difficult for your cats to use. But lining them up in a row might not be such a good idea either, as your cats will see it as one big litter box and will still fight for the territory.
Your cats need several different spaces that they can call their own and will most likely have territorial disputes over the only litter box. If they have their own box, they are happier and willing to get along in other areas.
One Litter Box Per Cat Might Keep Illness Away
If one of your cats becomes ill, and the illness is contagious to your other cats, having a separate litter box can keep the illness from other cats. Also, if the litter box is not cleaned out frequently, your cats could get a urinary tract infection from the dirty litter, which could then transfer to each cat in your home.
Cats are messy creatures and will either spray the side of the box or leave their poop uncovered. All of this can leave bacteria that other cats can pick up, which might create an illness of some sort. So it is best to create more “facilities” where your cats can go and not risk getting each other sick.
Are Multiple Litter Boxes Practical For Your Home?
What if you have a studio apartment with two cats, and you have no other space for more than one litter box? Cats can share a litter box, and there is litter on the market made for multiple cats. Experts warn you against having only one litter box for more than one cat, but if you have a very small home, there isn’t anything you can do about that.
Cats that have grown up together, or are a couple of years apart, have an easier time using the same litter box, especially if you get the litter made for more than one cat. Litter that clumps is also an effective way to keep the scent down to a minimum and make it tolerable for each cat to use it without any territorial disputes.
But while more than one litter box may not be practical for your home or the space you have, you might try to get creative with your space. For example, if you clear out a spot under the kitchen sink and put a curtain over the area, that would make a practical space for one litter box. And it would give your cat the privacy it needs.
The other litter box can go in the bathroom if you have enough space for it. Or, get a free-standing closet that you can put a second litter box in, with a cat door for your cat to get through.
If You Have Only One Box For Two Cats, Clean It Frequently
If you don’t have the space for multiple litter boxes and have two or more cats, you need to clean it frequently to keep your cats healthy and keep them from eliminating on the floor or your possessions. To avoid a territorial dispute or any health issues that might arise, clean it out at least once per day, if not two to three times per day, as you are able.
Clumping litter with baking soda helps you clean it easily, as any urine in the litter will create clumps that are simple to get out of the box. Using this type of litter will help you keep the box cleaner, and your cats will have a clean box to use that won’t smell as much as the other cats.
However, the litter can sometimes get stuck in your cat’s paws, and they may not like to use it that often. If that is the case, try to get litter that is more like sand so they can cover their poop more often.
How Many Litter Boxes Do You Need?
The conventional advice about how many litter boxes you need is about 1.5 boxes per cat. How can you have half of a litter box? Well, you don’t need half of a litter box, but when you have two cats, you will need to add an extra litter box in addition to one box per cat, for a total of three litter boxes for two cats. If you have four cats, then you will need five litter boxes.
Why would you need an extra litter box past the number of cats you have? In addition to each litter box for each cat, an extra box ensures that they will have a place to go if one box is near something scary like a dryer or fan. Also, if one box didn’t get cleaned out thoroughly, they still have a clean place to go that isn’t scary or dirty.
When you find the spaces to place your litter boxes, your cats will be happier and healthier for it, and you might find that they get along better, without the usual territorial disputes.
Multiple cats in a home can overwhelm the litter box and make it more difficult for your cats to use properly. But having more than one litter box might sometimes overwhelm the space you have. Cats will find a way to eliminate, whether in a litter box or on your floor, regardless of the space you have for multiple boxes.
One added benefit for providing multiple litter boxes for multiple cats is that your cats will stress less and will be less likely to pee on your floor, clothing, or bed. Cats that are stressed because there are not sufficient facilities often go on things or places that you’d rather they not.
- Gallant: The Pros and Cons Of Having Multiple Litter Boxes
- The Happy Cat Site: Can Cats Share a Litter Box?
- Pet MD: Why Multiple Cats Need Multiple Litter Boxes
- Cat Think: Can I Put Two Litter Boxes Next to Each Other?
- Petfinder: How Many Litter Boxes Do I Need?
- Animal Wised: Can Two Cats Share One Litter Box?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.