How Many Litter Boxes per Cat You Should Have?

how many litter boxes per cat

Cats can make any home feel alive! Like all pets, our felines need some basic care; that includes a safe place to go and relieve themselves.

Whether you own a single cat or multiple cats, knowing how many litter boxes your cats need is important. Generally, a simple rule that experts follow is to have one litter box per cat, plus one extra. We’ll explain it in detail in this guide!

Having the correct number of litter boxes will ensure that your furniture, floor, and carpets stay safe from any cat-tastrophe!

The Cat-to-litter Box Ratio

can cats share a litter box

Feline health experts and behaviorists recommend one litter box per cat plus one litter box extra. So the general formula is n+1, where n is the number of cats.

If you have two cats, you should have 2+1 = 3 boxes. Similarly, if you have three cats, you need at least four litter boxes in the house. Keep the boxes in different places inside the house.

This formula for the number of litter boxes applies even when your cats go outside the house for their business. There may be times when outdoor access is not possible, or your cat has to go urgently. Hence, litter boxes are a necessity no matter what!

Why Would I Need More than One Litter Box If I Only Have One Cat?

Cats are interesting creatures. They spent some good years being out in the wild before they got domesticated. Naturally, they look for soft and clean spaces to empty their waste. If you do not have enough options, there will likely be accidents.

You need to provide more than one option for your cat to urinate. It helps in imitating the outdoor scenario.

do cats share litter box

Some situations may arise that make your cat nervous. Having guests in the house, unexpected loud noises, blow dryers, or extreme weather conditions are some common factors that make the cat prefer solitude. Having an extra litter box in an area with less traffic will give you a little peace of mind as well.

If you live in a large house, it’s important to distribute litter boxes in areas that are frequently visited by your cat. It ensures that your cat does not have to run through yards and yards to reach its toilet. The same applies to a two-story house. There should be at least one litter box per cat per story.

Preventing Litter Box Problems

Cats are clean by nature. They like to bury their waste once they are done. That’s why they look for soft places to do business so that it is easier to dig and cover.

Sometimes, cats start showing behavioral changes. They may have more accidents than usual and may soil your furniture.

can two cats share one litter box

If your veterinarian rules out health problems, something else is likely going on.

Cats, especially in multi-cat households, may feel threatened in position. They may not like the litter box or the litter.

Here are a few signs that your cat is showing dominating behavior.

  1. Your cat may urinate on the wall or entrance of the box, leaving spots, to mark territory.
  2. They may stop covering their poop to show that the box belongs to them.
  3. They may pee right outside the box, especially with covered litter boxes, as they feel threatened inside.

To prevent these issues, make sure you keep a good distance between cat litter boxes. Have extra litter boxes in easy access. Avoid using closed or covered litter boxes so that your cats feel safe. Clean the litter box frequently to avoid odor.

There may be a possibility that the cat does not like the type of litter being used. Experiment with different types of litter and rearrange the depth to determine preference.

If you notice that your cat is flinging extra litter out or it is going only halfway in, you might need to review how much cat litter to use.

Make sure the box is at least 1.5 times bigger than the cat. It will avoid litter box issues. It should be easy for your cat to turn around, dig and cover inside the litter box.

Can Two Cats Use One Litter Box?

Although it may be possible in rare scenarios, it is highly unlikely that two cats will like using the same litter box. Cats are territorial, they do not like to share litter boxes, and they do not appreciate invasive behavior. If you live in multi-cat households, it is suggested to use n+1 litter boxes per cat.

can two cats share one litter box

Having a different box for each cat makes it easier to clean it. There should be no clashes in poop time. Imagine one cat goes for toileting, and there is already someone else’s poop there. The cat will feel threatened and uncovered poop may be a sign of dominating behavior.

Where to Place Litter Boxes

Cat litter boxes should be placed in the quiet, secluded, and low-foot-traffic location of the house. Place them in areas that are easily accessible with a good view of the surroundings, preferably with only one wall behind the litter boxes.

Good places to keep the litter box are below the stairs or in a bathroom. Do not put the litter boxes close to food stations or near doors and windows. Noisy places are also not a good option!

cats share litter box

Place litter boxes away from each other. If two litter boxes are placed together, they will consider it one box and may refuse both boxes when only one is dirty.

If you live in a two-story house, you must keep litter boxes on both floors. You must also consider factors such as the health and age of the cat. Older cats and cats with joint problems should have more litter boxes with easy access.

As we have already told you how many litter boxes per cat are required, you may tweak the numbers a little. It all depends on how your cats interact with each other.

How Often to Clean the Litter Box

Cleaning the litter box depends on the type of litter, and what cat litter is made of. If you are using non-clumping litter, you may need to clean the box twice per week. If you are using a clumping kind or scoopable litter, you may go up to three weeks before you change all the contents of the litter box.

will cats share a litter box

As a general rule, it is important to scoop out clumps of used litter twice every day; in the morning and evening. If twice is not possible, once a day is necessary to get rid of the litter smell.

Cats do not appreciate nasty places. They will refuse to use a litter box if it is unclean or there is excessive odor. It may result in pooping and peeing on carpets and behind curtains.

Don’t forget to scrub the litter tray each time you empty it. After all, who doesn’t like a clean bathroom?


How many litter boxes your cats need depends on the number of cats you own and the size of your house. You’ll always need at least one litter box more than the number of cats. For example, if you own two cats, you’ll need three litter boxes placed at different places inside the house.

You may have to increase the amount if you own a large house. You can work with fewer boxes if many cats get along well. Just keep the litter boxes in the right places and clean them as frequently as you can. Your furry friends will thank you!

Cody Mitchell
Cody Mitchell is a pet lover and a passionate pet writer. He has worked as a professional writer for over 6 years, with a focus on creating compelling content for pet-related brands. His work has been featured in major publications. When he's not writing, Cody can be found playing with his two dogs (a labradoodle and a cocker spaniel) or cuddling his cat.

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