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Welcome, Crazy Cat People!
One question a lot of people ask is if multiple cats can share the same litterbox? It’s a common question with differing opinions in the cat world.
I used my knowledge of cat behaviour combined with some independent research to answer your questions.
As a general rule, experts recommend one litter tray per cat plus an extra tray for households with multiple cats. Some cats will not want to share a litter tray with others due to their territorial nature and may end up dedicating another spot in the home outside the tray to use the toilet.
So that’s what the experts recommend when it comes to cats and their litter trays but later in this post, we look at what the general public say in a poll that I did on a popular Facebook group. I also answer some related questions for you on litterbox preferences when it comes to your cat.
So keep reading to learn more.
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Is it okay for cats to share a litter box?
Cats can be very territorial, some breeds more than others and their personalities vary so much from cat to cat. So if you are getting two cats it is recommended to follow the guidance set out by experts such as the RSPCA and the Humane Society of the united states which states that you should have one litterbox per cat plus one extra.
Now, this is the general advice and I would say if you are getting two new cats from a young age or if you are adopting two adults then yes, by all means, follow this rule. Why is this post controversial as stated in the post title?
My cats differ from the ”rule” regarding litter trays.
A long time ago before I knew anything about cat behaviour, I adopted my two little bundles of joy from a home where they had been neglected and I didn’t know the ”rule” regarding litter boxes so I bought them one litter tray to share.
SHOCK, HORROR! – Yes I’ve been persecuted by others as a ”Bad cat daddy” for only using one box but do you know what?
My cats like to share, there have never been any territorial issues surrounding the one litter tray and it has never caused any issues such as going to the toilet outside of the tray. In fact, I did try introducing another tray and it barely got used by either cat.
So that is the controversial truth! Some cats are okay to share, so if you have two cats and they are fine with sharing a large tray then why change what is not already broken?
Where I would have an issue is if too many cats were to share one small tray? Then things could get a little messy! Literally.
I just make sure that the tray is cleaned regularly sometimes three times in one day to make sure my cats have a clean toilet to use. If my cats were to ever start going to the toilet in different places then I would probably introduce another tray and I would recommend you do the same.
When the day arrives that all cat lovers dread and my two little bundles of joy cross over the rainbow bridge and I adopt more cats, would I buy multiple litter trays? Yes, I more than likely would because all cats are different and I would most probably buy multiple trays to stop any future problems that may be associated with sharing.
Facebook poll results – Do your cats share a litterbox?
I am always interested in what the public has to say and if you have read any more of my blog posts you will know that I like to ask the public their opinion and find out what they do with their cats to help you make an informed decision about what’s right for you.
*In no way am I trying to encourage anyone to not follow what the experts agree. This post and the below results are for informational purposes only.
So I asked the public, do their cats share a litter tray (Fewer litter trays than cats), Do they have one each or do they follow the recommended one tray per cat plus one more.
A massive 341 people responded to this poll and the results are in the table below!
*If you are viewing the table on a mobile device and cannot see the full results just scroll across or turn your phone on its side.
|My Cats share (More cats than trays)||My Cats have one tray per cat||Recommended one tray each plus one more|
Surprised at the results? To be honest so was I.
A whopping 46% of peoples cats share a litter tray and live quite happily without any associated issues.
I was quite shocked that only 24% of people follow the ”rule” and that in second place we have one litter tray per cat.
So this goes to show that under the right circumstances and based on your cat’s personality and preferences if they need to share a cat litter tray they will. It’s about knowing your cats and what works for them.
Of course, it’s cruel to make your cat share a tray if they do not want to but at the same time if they are happy then why should following guidelines be necessary?
What I was surprised at and something I never knew is that cats that have multiple litter trays tend to use separate trays for their urine and their poo. (You learn something new every day)
Below are some of the quotes from people during this poll, I have kept these anonymous to protect the identity of these people.
Our two cats share by their own choice. I offered them two boxes and one stayed empty until I gave up.Anoymous
The next quote shows how some cats will need two litter boxes! 🙂
I have two cats and I thought they would share one box but after trying for a month I finally broke down and got a second one because one of my boys wont wee/poop where his brother does. So in the end I would say get two just in case, its not worth the hassle!Anonymous
Do cats like sharing a litterbox?
In general, they say that cats do not like to share a litterbox unless your cats are super happy with each other, have always shared the one box and are a less territorial breed of cat. Some cats will be happy to share and some won’t.
Reasons, why two cats may not like sharing the one litterbox, are.
- The litterbox may get dirty a lot quicker and nobody likes to use a dirty toilet.
- Cats like to claim an area as their own personal space and may get stressed out if other cats invade this space.
- Behavioural issues and conforontation with other cats in the home.
If your cat is the type who will not share a litterbox then don’t be surprised if you find them going to the toilet outside the litterbox elsewhere in the house.
I know that it isn’t nice to clean cat mess up on the floor plus cat urine can cause such a smell in the home and can be difficult to clean at times so always make sure if this is happening that you invest in more litter trays for your cats.
While we’re on the subject of cat smells in the home if this is a problem for you or your just looking to make sure your home doesn’t smell. I made a blog post that contains ”26 practical ways to get rid of that cat smell in the home” – It’s worth a read for anyone who shares their life with felines!
Just remember if you do have two cats sharing one tray to make sure you clean it more frequently, it needs to be super clean, odourless and in good condition for the other cat to use when they so wish.
You have to remember that with two cats sharing a tray it will fill up a lot quicker.
My advice would be to monitor your cat’s behaviour and find out for yourself if they like sharing and if they don’t then provide more trays but if they have shared a box since being kittens then they are probably going to be okay with sharing for the foreseeable.
What type of litter box do cats prefer?
When choosing a litter box it’s important to think about what type of litter box is right for your cats.
There is so much to choose from when it comes to the perfect tray.
One thing that is recommended within a multi-cat household is to have a tray that doesn’t have a hood or cover on it with a single exit point. Personally, I do have one of the hooded cat litter trays and my cats have been fine sharing it has my cats get along like a house on fire (Most of the time)
However, let’s say you have a home that has 3 cats and one dog who don’t always get along with each other and there is regular turmoil and fights for territory then having cat litter boxes with single exit points can be a problem, especially if one cat is using the tray and another cat or dog is waiting at the exit to the tray in a confrontational manner.
Why is this bad for cats?
Cats do not like to be cornered or trapped, not only will this cause negative associations between the cat and the litter tray but the cat may decide to not use the litter tray ever again.
So it is generally recommended in homes with multiple cats to have open litter trays with various escape points and a 360-degree view for the cat so they can survey their environment and feel safe.
If you are looking for a basic open cat litter tray then you want something like this from Amazon, click here or the picture below to see more.
It’s large, has high sides on it to stop litter from being flung all over your carpet and your cat can easily escape from any direction they need to.
If you are worried about how your home may look with plastic litter trays and you want some more upmarket cat furniture including discreet litter trays that will make your home look super stylish then if you haven’t heard of them already you need to check out tuft and paw. They are a great company, check out their selection of quality cat furniture below.
Where should I put my cat litter box?
As a general rule, the cat litter box should be placed in a location that the cat can gain access to easily when needed. Popular areas tend to be bathrooms, living rooms and laundry rooms. Make sure that the cat feels safe and doesn’t feel intimidated by any other animals while using the litter box.
So it is up to you to decide where to place the litter box.
Never place the litter box next to their food and water bowls. I know I wouldn’t want to use the toilet right next to where I eat and chances are your cat won’t want to either.
A lot of people want to hide their litter boxes away from view never to be seen again but you need to get into the mind of your cat and think about where they would be most happy with their tray rather than where you want it to be. If you do notice your cat not using the tray then it’s time to experiment and make sure you use it in another location.
A good tip is to place the tray where the kitty is urinating outside the box as she might be trying to tell you that she prefers that area in particular.
Cats will be cats!
Do cats like a lot of litter?
As a general rule, the amount of litter used should be about 2-3 inches deep. You want to make sure the cat has enough litter to be able to dig and cover their faeces, but not too much litter. If your cat decides to use the toilet elsewhere in the home then they are not happy with their tray.
Again this comes down to the fact that some cats are just really fussy about where they use the toilet, it is best to not have too much litter in the tray.
Just imagine how you would feel walking over mounds of heavy sand, the ground would feel unstable and unsteady and this can be off-putting to some cats.
You may see them digging for too long in the tray or they may only go half inside the tray, dig around for a little and then go to the toilet outside the tray. These are just a few signs to look out for that may indicate you have used too much litter.
In a multi-cat household, this is something you need to address quickly before all the cats start to go to the toilet elsewhere.
Personally, my cats have never had an issue with the litter trays and they will use the box regardless of the type of litter I use and the amount but I do always stick to the ”less is more” guidance.
Key takeaways – Can two cats use the same litterbox?
- Two cats can share a litterbox as long as they are happy with doing so and if they have always shared since being kittens.
- If adopting two new cats who have not been used to sharing a litter box then it is advisable to get a litter tray each plus one extra to avoid any potential issues that may arise.
- If you notice your cats start to use the toilet elsewhere in the home ALWAYS SEE A VET and rule out any health issues.
- If there are no health issues then experiment with more litter boxes, different types of litter trays and also experiment with litter box location.
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies 🙂
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)