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How Many Litter Boxes Do You Need Per Cat?

Ashley Bates

The last thing you want is for your multi-cat household to encounter the problem of not having enough litter boxes. It can lead to a whirlwind of issues among the ranks, making cats behave differently and possibly exhibit bad habits, including relieving themselves outside of their designated zones.

So, how many litter boxes do you need per cat anyway? The general answer is pretty straightforward, but there are tons of factors to consider for your situation.divider-cat

3 Types of Litter Boxes for Cats

There are several types of litter boxes that might work for some cats over others. Sometimes, it’s a bit of trial and error to figure it out. Most litter boxes are plastic, though you can find some that are made of other materials, like stainless steel.

Here are the most common types of litter box styles:

1. Standard

kitten inside litter box
Image Credit: Tiplyashina Evgeniya, Shutterstock

Standard litter boxes usually just consist of a single pan without any fancy bells or whistles. Mostly, they are made of plastic or another easily cleanable material. Most are square, though you can find an occasional oval-shaped pan.

2. Hooded

cat inside a hooded litter box
Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock

Hooded litter boxes simply come with an additional attachment that snaps or fits over the standard litter pan. These designs are to trap odors and give your cats privacy. -Hooded litter pans can come with door flaps where cats can come in and out freely. Or, some have top point entries rather than front entries.

3. Self-Cleaning

automatic litter box
Image credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

Self-cleaning litter boxes can come in a variety of designs. But the entire idea is to keep things fresh for your cats, and for your nose. These products automatically sift through the box, scooping waste into a bag or container.

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Indoor/Outdoor Living Situation

feral cats resting outdoor
Image Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay

If your cats go outside often, it doesn’t really change how many litter boxes you need. You will find that sometimes, certain cats don’t mind sharing their bathroom space. But to avoid any territorial issues, your cats should always have their own.

You might find, however, that an indoor/outdoor cat may prefer to go outside to do their business. Some cats love coming in for a belly rub and a good cat nap—but they otherwise like it out in the great unknown. If your guy or gal is more of an outdoorsman or woman, litter changes might be infrequent.

How Many Litter Boxes for Each Cat?

Having enough litter boxes ensures everyone has a place to potty—all the time. This can prevent territorial problems and other issues from arising. Plus, we all know what it’s like to wait on someone else when we really have to go!

A good rule of thumb is to have a single litter box per cat—plus one.
  • How many litter boxes for 2 cats? – For two cats, you should have three litter boxes.
  • How many litter boxes for 3 cats? –For three cats, you should have four litter boxes.
  • How many litter boxes for 4 cats? – For four cats, you should have five litter boxes.

As you can see, the recommended number of litter boxes can really soar when you have multiples. Sometimes, it’s hard enough trying to find the space for a single litter box—let alone five of them.

Then, you have to think about the upkeep. It takes a lot of time and energy to clean half a dozen litter boxes in the home—plus, you have to keep things smelling fresh. If you have multiple boxes, it can really stink things up.

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How to Keep Multiple Litter Boxes

tabby-cat-in-a-litter-box
Image Credit: Davynia, Shutterstock

If you have multiple cats, you need some tips for keeping all these litter boxes clean and user-friendly. After all, this requires a level of creativity. Here are some tips or tricks you can utilize for your home.

  • Use a multipurpose design. There are tons of places you can stick a litter box that you might not have thought of. Perhaps there is space under a TV stand or inside of an armoire. If you take a look around your house, you can surely find a spot that would fit a box out of sight.
  • Repurpose or upcycle furniture. If you’re the kind of person who loves a good challenge, take an old dresser, end table, bench, or another piece of furniture to create a potty haven for cats. There are tons of projects on Pinterest and other social media platforms to draw inspiration from.
  • Put litter boxes inside of a tote or basket. There are a ton of tutorials online if you’re interested in using a basket or tote to hide a litter box. These ideas can eliminate stench and reduce tracking the home—plus, you can use the tops to sit other items on if you need the extra space.
  • Put a litter box under the sink. If you remove a single cabinet door with a curtain, you could always stash a litter box under the sink—permitting you have the room to do so.

It might not always be feasible to have so many litter boxes. But, if you have to get multiple, you can get creative in the process to eliminate some of the headache—and smell.

 

Preventing Cats from Using Each Other’s Litter Boxes

two kittens cats litter box
Image Credit: galsand, Shutterstock

There might be little you can do to dissuade your felines from cross-using each other’s litter boxes. You could redirect their attention, but it might not do much good. We all know that cats have a mind of their own, and most of them do what is convenient at the time.

Luckily, cats naturally gravitate toward ownership of one box. The key here is to offer the recommended amount of litter boxes to prevent any territorial issues or other bathroom problems from arising.

Problems from Having Too Few Litter Boxes

If you don’t have enough litter boxes in your home, some issues could pop up. Some consequences include your cats eliminating outside of the box or fighting over one. Not all cats like to share. If someone is going to the bathroom in their space, it could cause a miniature war.

The last thing you want is for the cats to take their frustrations out on your carpets or furniture. Make sure the amount of litter boxes in your house seems to meet each cat’s needs.

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

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Final Thoughts

So, now you know that the general rule for litter boxes per cat is that there should be one for each feline, plus an extra. If another number works for your cats, each person can organize their home as they see fit. Also, if you have an indoor/outdoor kitty, you might not have much of an issue here.

However, cats can be finicky and territorial about bathroom time. Others might even prefer certain litter to others. No matter the case, it’s always nice for your cat to have their own place to do their business.


Featured Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.