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How Many Litter Boxes per Cat Should I Have In My Home? Tips & FAQ

As a cat owner, you know that your feline friend needs a litter box. But did you know that there’s a right and wrong number of litter boxes to have in your home? Too few and your cat may start spraying; too many and you might find it hard to keep them clean. Here’s what you need to know about how many litter boxes per cat you should have in your home.

Some factors you may want to consider are the number of cats you have, the size of your home, and the type of litter you use. Many experts recommend having one litter box per cat, plus one. So if you have two cats, you would have three litter boxes.

Read on to find out the factors that influence the best choice for you and your sweet feline.

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Why Won’t My Cats Share a Litter Box?

There can be a variety of reasons why cats will not share a litter box. One reason may be that the cats have different preferences for litter type, box shape, or location. Another theory is that cats are territorial and view the litter box as their domain. As a result, they do not want other cats to use the litter box. It is also believed that as cats are clean animals, they do not want to use a litter box that another cat has fouled.

cat on disposable litter box
Image Credit: Chewy

Why Do Cats Need Space & Privacy When Using Their Litter Boxes?

There are several reasons why cats need space and privacy when using their litter boxes. The use of a litter box can be a messy experience for cats. They may feel vulnerable and exposed while using the litter box, which is why they often need space. Cats are naturally shy animals and they feel more comfortable when they have some privacy. Another reason is that cats like to have a designated area for their bathroom activities and they don’t like to share that space with other animals or people. Additionally, cats often feel more secure when they can hide their litter box in a secluded spot.

Is Sharing a Litter Box Stressful For Cats?

Individual cats can differ in their reactions to sharing a litter box. Some cats may find it stressful to share a litter box with another cat, while others may not be bothered at all. Factors that could contribute to a cat feeling stressed about sharing a litter box include competition for the box, fear of being ambushed by the other cat while using the box, and anxiety caused by the presence of another cat in the home. In general, most cats, even cats that are related, will not tolerate sharing the same litter box.

two cats looking at the litter box
Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock

What Can Happen When Cats Are Forced to Share a Litter Box?

When cats are forced to share a litter box, their territorial instincts can kick in and lead to fighting. Cats may also become stressed out from the proximity of other cats and may stop using the litter box. Territorial cats tend to mark out their areas around the house. Alpha cats can block the entrance to the litter box if they’re aggressive toward beta cats. Having no access to the litter box can lead beta cats to do their business elsewhere, like your shoes or bed. This can lead to problems with urinary tract health and other behavioral issues.

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How Does Having Multiple Litter Boxes Help Address the Problem?

Intimidation can’t occur if two litter boxes are at opposite ends of the house, because the alpha cat can’t guard both boxes at once. You can make things even calmer by placing a third box somewhere between the two, or on another floor. There are many reasons why having multiple litter boxes can help calm cats. One reason is that it gives them more choices and allows them to avoid competition for resources. Another reason is that it provides them with a sense of security, knowing that they have a safe place to go if needed. Multiple boxes also allow cats to establish separate territories, which can help reduce stress, avoid fights, and prevent soiling around the house.

maine coon cat standing on top of litter box
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

How Many Litter Boxes Do You Need Per Cat?

Most experts recommend one litter box per cat plus one extra. The reason why experts recommend this is because cats are territorial and like their own space. If there are not enough litter boxes, the cats may start to urinate and defecate outside of the boxes, which can lead to soiling for you and health problems for them. Having an extra litter box also allows your cat to have somewhere to do their business if one of the boxes needs to be cleaned.

Are Two Litter Boxes Enough For Four Cats?

Generally speaking, two litter boxes are not sufficient for four cats. If you have this setup, you can expect to run into trouble. Most cats do not enjoy sharing toilet facilities and will act out with bullying and urinating and defecating in other areas of your home. The safest formula is to stick to the recommended “one litter box per cat, plus one”. This ensures that each cat has access to a litter box at all times and reduces the chances of conflict over access to the litter box.

clean cat litter box
Credit: Guajillo studio, Shutterstock,

Do I Need a Litter Box On Every Floor?

Some pet owners find that having a litter box on every floor is necessary, while others find that one litter box per floor is sufficient. Ultimately, it is up to the pet owner to experiment and see what works best for their individual cats. Some cats may be perfectly content using a litter box on one floor of the home, while others may demand litter boxes on every floor. The bottom line is that if your cat is not using the litter box, you need to investigate the reason why (for example, is the box clean enough? Is the location appropriate?).

How Do You Manage Multiple Litter Boxes?

One way to manage multiple litter boxes is to place them in different areas of the house. This will allow each cat to have their own box, plus the extra box will also make it easier to clean them. Even if you are cleaning one litter box, your cats will always have other options. You can also use a litter box liner, which will make it easier to remove the waste. Yet another option is to use a self-cleaning litter box, which will automatically clean itself after each use.

Ginger cat in a litter box
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

How Will I Know If My Cat Does Not Like Their Litter Box?

If your cat is not using their litter box as often as they usually do, if they are going outside of the litter box, or if they are eliminating in places other than their litter box, then your cat may not be happy with their current litter box set-up.

Why Is It Vital To Keep Your Litter Boxes Clean?

The litter box is an important part of your cat’s environment and it is vital to keep them clean in order to avoid health problems for your cat. Dirty litter boxes can cause your cat to develop urinary tract infections, which can be serious and even fatal. It is also important to keep the litter box clean so that your cat will feel comfortable using it and will not be tempted to go elsewhere in the house. Dirty litter boxes also smell terrible and will cause your home to stink.

Even the best cat litter can quickly start smelling bad. To avoid the expense and inconvenience of constantly replacing your litter, you can try a great litter additive like Hepper's Advanced Bio-Enzyme Cat Litter Deodorizer, a natural product that uses bio-enzymes to neutralize odors.

hepper bio-enzymatic cat litter deodorizer

This deodorizer works on all types of litter and won't disrupt your cat's litter box habits.

At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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In conclusion, while the number of litter boxes per cat may vary depending on the individual feline’s preferences, it is best to have one litter box per cat, plus one. This will help keep your home clean and your cats happy. If you have more than one cat, be sure to provide enough boxes for them to use. By following these guidelines, you can help keep your home clean and your cats happy and healthy!

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Featured Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock