If you’re about to bring home more than one kitten, or introduce a new cat to your existing feline brood, something you’ve likely asked is “can cats share a litter box?”
If the answer’s “yes”, which is the best litter box for multiple cats?
And if the answer’s “no”, why not?
How many litter boxes do they need?
Let’s find out!
Providing a litter box for two cats
Litter boxes are without a doubt, the unglamorous side of cat ownership.
Whether your cats stay indoors all the time or just overnight, they need a litter box to answer the call of nature when they’re inside the home.
They’re not much to look at, but litter boxes do us a massive favor.
They give our cats a “proper” place to use the toilet, so they don’t soil the rest of our house.
And they’re designed to make our cats comfortable too: outdoors they would dig a hole and bury their urine and feces.
The litter in a litter tray let’s them behave naturally while they use the toilet indoors too.
Can two cats share a litter box?
We know that cats can be picky about where they go to the toilet.
And sadly, going to the toilet in the wrong place is most likely reason for a cat to be left at an animal shelter.
Being forced to share a litter box can be the reason a cat starts to use other places as their bathroom.
We know that cats prefer a clean litter box.
When a litter box is heavily used by more than one cat, it can quickly become too unappealing to bear for some pets.
Let’s take an example…
How many litter boxes for 3 cats?
Three cats should have four litter boxes – one each, and a spare.
Finding space for them all is an important part of preparing for your new kitty arrival!
Litter box ideas for multiple cats
For toilet harmony in your home, remember the following tips when placing multiple litter boxes:
Each litter box needs to be somewhere quiet, away from noisy appliances like washing machines and tumble driers.
But try not to put them in corners – cats like to have several escape routes at all times.
Keep them out of earshot of each other too – no cat likes to think of their fellow felines listening in!
Best litter box for two cats
Let’s say hypothetically that you’ve got one cat, and you’re bringing home another.
You’re suddenly going to jump from needing one litter tray, to three!
I don’t know about you, but find three quiet, uncornered spots for litter trays all out of earshot of each other would not be an easy job in my house.
Luckily, with some creative thinking, we might have just the solution(s) you need!
Afterwards, we’ll look at what whether cats can share a litter box in some special circumstances.
Compact Scatter-Control Litter Box
This compact litter tray comes with a scoop, and a detachable scatter-control top so that shrinking the tray doesn’t just increase the mess hitting the floor instead.
Nature’s Miracle Advanced High Sided Corner Litter Box
Another way to stash cat litter boxes for multiple cats around the house is to try these corner litter boxes.
These can stand in the little odd-shaped recesses of rooms and next to other furniture without tripping you up whenever you walk past.
Remember to consider the location overall though, and make sure you’ve found a corner which doesn’t feel “cornered”.
(I realize this sounds contradictory, but I’ve definitely go spaces next to cupboards which count, and I’m sure you do too!)
Merry Products Nightstand Pet House
Alternatively, you can disguise some of those extra cat litter boxes as furniture instead!
This might sound even crazier than a corner which isn’t a corner, but the 2000+ happy reviews mean this manufacturer is definitely onto something!
These night stand/table/towel rail/litter box hybrids come in multiple colors and finishes to blend in with any home.
Good Pet Stuff Company Hidden Cat Litter Box
If you don’t need another night stand, what about this litter box hidden in a plant pot?
It’s not an inconspicuous solution.
In fact it’s pretty massive.
But with literally thousands of die-hard fans – including apartment dwellers – it’s a great way to conceal an extra litter box for two cats.
Can cats sharing a litter box ever be ok?
A little while ago, I happened to read a thread on an online forum about this very subject.
A poster with one cat already was preparing to bring home a new rescue cat.
Her question for the community was “how many litter boxes for 2 cats”?
Could she get away with one extra large cat litter box for multiple cats?
A lot of posters replied with the same advice we’ve already given here.
But a lot of people also joined the conversation to complain (lightheartedly of course) that they’d set out multiple cat litter boxes for multiple cats, and they all used the same one anyway!
Because cats are sent to delight us and torture us in equal measure…
Two cats one litter box
So what can you do?
Do you really have to keep an extra litter box out in your home if it’s not being used?
If you have two cats sharing a litter happily, then that’s great!
You can even remove the rejected litter box, but don’t chuck it away just yet.
Always keep an eye on the situation, and put it back if sharing a litter box looks like it’s starting to cause stress for one of the cats.
This can happen if one starts to get muscled out, for example because they’re getting older, and a younger cat fancies vying for a piece of their territory.
Your first sign will likely be confrontations at the litter tray, or the suffering cat starting to use the toilet in other places.
Also leave the spare out if you’re going to leave them at home for longer than usual.
One litter box for two cats
If your cats have decided to share a litter box, then to keep things friendly follow these rules:
- Clean it out every day without fail, no excuses. Nothing will put one cat off quicker than a build up of smell, or not being able to find a clean patch of litter.
- Consider a larger litter box, to make finding an unused area of litter easier.
- Make odor your enemy – your your skae and your cats’! The best cat litter for multiple cats is one which really stays on top of bad smells.
How can cats share a litter box happily?
According to a recent 2017 study from researchers in Missouri, one of those rules is more important than the rest.
They found that the problem most likely to put cats off a litter box, was the physical presence of obstructions.
So, a box with odorless spills and “faux-fecal logs” was actually less appealing than a box which had been sprayed with the scent of urine and poo, but didn’t really contain anything.
This suggests that scooping out your cat’s litter box regularly is the most important thing you can do to make it acceptable to them.
Best litter box for multiple cats
So if you cats have decided for you that they only need one litter box, which should you choose?
Here are some of our best litter box suggestions for two cats.
Petmate Open Litter Pan
This extra large litter box for multiple cats is a whopping 26 x 18 inches.
It’s got plenty of space for cats to move around and pick a spot in, and it’s made partly from recycled plastics as well!
Favorite Jumbo Covered Enclosed Cat Litter Box
If your cats prefer to be undercover when they poop, this jumbo choice is one of the biggest enclosed litter boxes available.
PetFusion BetterBox LARGE Cat Litter Box
And finally, most large litter boxes come with high sides as standard, but if that’s getting tricky for one of your cats, this large open litter tray with one dipped side could be just what you need.
Best cat litter for multiple cats
If your cats insist on sharing a litter box, choose a litter which really neutralizes odor, and clean it out frequently so they aren’t put off by the sight of other cats’ business.
Your cats may also be more likely to suddenly refuse to use their tray if the smell of another cat becomes too overwhelming.
Choosing a specialized kitty litter for odor control could help.
Can cats share a litter box?
Just like us, cats like to conduct their bathroom business privately.
Hostilities over sharing a litter box is a common cause of inappropriate toileting in cats.
Whether you’re bringing home two cats at once, or introducing a new cat at home, they’ll need a litter box each, plus one more.
Spread the boxes out around the house, and make sure each one is in a quiet, private spot.
You might find they end up sharing a box anyway, but never let go of that spare, just in case.
How many litter boxes do you have for your cats?
And where do you keep them all??
Help us solve this practical problem by using the comments box below!