Can Cats Use the Same Litter Box? (Why It’s a Bad Idea)

Can Cats Use the Same Litter Box

One of the chores of cat ownership I’m sure we could all do without is managing the litter box situation.

But, unfortunately, getting the litter box situation right is one of the most important aspects of keeping cats if you want to avoid messy accidents!

If you have more than one cat in your home, you’re probably wondering what the minimum number of litter boxes you can use is.

So, in this article I’m going to answer, ‘can cats use the same litter box?’ And answer some important kitty litter box questions:

Can Cats Use the Same Litter Box?

As a rule of thumb, cats should not share a litter box.

I do know people who use one litter box for two cats, but it’s certainly not advisable as I will be explaining.

So, if you are so limited on space that you think you absolutely have to try using one box for two cats, you could try it.

But the problems you’re likely to face are:

You’ll Have to Clean Out the Box Several Times a Day

Depending on the age of your cats, they’re likely to poop at least once a day and urinate between 2-4 times.

This means that if you have two indoor cats, they’re going to be visiting their box anywhere between 6 and 12 times a day!

One of the main reasons why cats start to poop and pee outside of their litter box is because it’s not clean enough, so I think you can see what the issue might be here!

Accidents Outside of the Box Are Likely

Even if you are diligent about cleaning the box and keeping it stocked with fresh litter, there’s still a good chance that one or both of your cats will start having accidents outside the box.

This is because cats are territorial animals and often like to pee in the same spot as their litter box.

If your cats are constantly fighting over who gets to use the litter box, it’s likely that they’ll start having accidents outside of it.

I can’t recommend strongly enough that you do everything to avoid this happening.

Not only does cat feces and urine smell very bad, but it’s also hard to clean up. Plus, if your cats get into the habit of fouling outside of their box it can be hard to break.

Related Ideal number of litter boxes for 4 cats explained.

It’s Harder to Keep Litter Box Odors at Bay

No one wants a smelly litter box in their home.

If you’re using one litter box for two cats, the odors are going to be much harder to keep at bay.

This is because the litter box will not be able to ‘air out’ as well as it would if there was only one cat using it.

Not to mention you’re going to be running back and forth cleaning it out all the time.

The bottom line is; you could try going with one litter box, but if your cats are using the same litter box and you’re seeing any of the above issues, you’ll need to provide another.

How Many Litter Boxes per Cat Is Ideal?

How Many Litter Boxes per Cat Is Ideal
Photo by mistermon on Unsplash

Ideally, you should have one litter box per cat in your home plus an extra one for good measure.

This way, each of your cats will always have a place to go when they need to use the bathroom that they can call their own and associate with their own scents.

If you are limited on space, you can get away with one box per cat, but I would recommend that as a minimum.

You should also place your litter boxes in a different room from where your cats eat, and ideally in different rooms around the home.

This isn’t always easy, I know.

No one wants unsightly litter boxes in different rooms, but it’s just a necessary part of cat ownership.

One thing I can tell you; if you try cutting corners and not providing enough boxes the mess cats cause is often a lot worse than having that extra box!

Related Do you need to leave a light on for your cats overnight?

What Type of Litter Box Should You Use?

There are a number of different types of litter boxes on the market, but the most popular type is the box with a hood (this is what I have).

This type of litter box is great because it helps to contain the smells and makes cleaning up easier.

If your cats like to pee standing up (like a lot of male cats do), you will almost certainly need a litter box with high sides to prevent spills.

Make sure to get a litter box that is big enough for your cats, too – some boxes are quite small and won’t be suitable for larger cats.

I always start out with open litter boxes when I have kittens as these are the easiest for kittens to get used to using.

When I upgrade to a covered litter box with a flap, all I do is leave the flap open for a few days at first and that’s always been enough for my cats to understand how to enter the box.

In Summary

Cats can use the same litter box sometimes, but it’s usually a recipe for disaster.

If you have more than one cat, it’s best to provide one litter box per cat, plus an extra one if you can.

Make sure to place your boxes in different rooms around the home and get a box with high sides if your cats like to pee standing up, too.

If you use a litter box that is easy to clean and has a hood to help contain smells, it’s really not that big of a chore having extra boxes around the home.

It’ll help prevent accidents and territorial issues between your cats.


Image credits – Photo by Kelly on Unsplash

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