Your cat sees her litter box as more than just a bathroom. It’s her sacred spot, her private place, and somewhere (more or less) she can call all her own. There’s a lot of confusion, especially among new cat owners, about what a litter box setup should entail.
One of the most common questions…how many litter boxes do I need?
First, let’s talk about the reasons you might need more than one litter box. The most common reason? Having multiple cats, of course! The general rule of thumb that vets agree on is to aim for one box per cat, plus one extra “household” box.
Why do multiple cats need multiple litter boxes? Humans can all share one bathroom, right? Well, yes…but remember that cats use their boxes for more than just elimination. A litter box is a place your cat might go to get some space. Who doesn’t need some peace and quiet, especially with other cats around? She might also view it territorially; ensuring each cat in a multi-feline household has spots all her own can help keep fights at bay.
The biggest reasons to consider multiple litter boxes for any household, multiple cats or not, though, is cleanliness. Even with the best of intentions, it can sometimes be tough to keep your cat’s litter box spotless. If her box is dirty, smelly, or otherwise unappealing, she’s more likely to find a rug or corner to do her business. You can probably get away with just one litter box per cat, but having at least one extra box in the house ensures when you’ve been too busy to tidy up, your pets have somewhere clean to relieve themselves.
What if you only have one cat? If your home is on the larger side, and especially if you have multiple floors, having an extra litter box is still a smart idea. Just like you wouldn’t want to have to go up several flights of stairs to use the bathroom, neither does your cat!
Where should you put your litter boxes? Take care to separate your litter boxes – lining them all up side-by-side makes them seem like one giant litter box rather than separate entities to your cats. Ideally, you want to locate the boxes where it’s most convenient for your cats. Think about where they spend the most time, then figure out a spot nearby where it makes sense to put a box.
Don’t forget that cats might prefer one litter substrate (i.e. cat litter) over another. Try out different grains, different smells, and different materials to see which your cat(s) prefer, and accept that all your cats don’t necessarily have to like the same litter! The more choice you offer your cats, the less likely they are to have “accidents” or to get into territorial spats.