Can Cats Share a Litter Box?
Common wisdom is that if you have one cat, you may as well have two. Two cats will keep each other company, and once you have everything you need to keep one cat, you have almost everything you need to keep a second one. If you have two or more cats, you may have noticed that they share toys, and beds, and scratching posts. But can cats share a litter box?
Can Cats Share a Litter Box?
Experts recommend that you always have one litter box per cat, and that you also have multiple litter boxes if you have a very large home, so that cats don’t have to go a long way to reach a litter box.
However, most of the time, cats will share a litter box. In other words, if you have two cats and two litter boxes, you will notice both cats using both boxes; they won’t divide them, and each cat use one exclusively.
If Cats Will Share a Litter Box, Why Have More Than One?
Even if cats choose to share a litter box, there are still many reasons why you should have one litter box for every cat. Here are the major reasons why:
A single litter box will get dirty faster
If two or more cats are sharing a single litter box, it will get dirty more quickly. This is not only potentially smelly and unpleasant for you, but it’s also unpleasant for your cats.
In fact, some cats won’t use a litter box that is dirty or have very specific preferences about how much they will tolerate. Having multiple litter boxes keeps any one box from getting too dirty and keeps the cats cleaner and happier.
A single litter box may crowd cats
If you have two or more cats and one litter box, it may happen that multiple cats want to use the litter box at the same time. This is even more likely if you feed the cats at the same time, or if the cats sleep or play together, because cats often use the litter box after those activities.
In the same way that it is awkward to have multiple people sharing a single bathroom in a home, it can be uncomfortable for two cats to want or need to use a single litter box at the same time.
Sharing a litter box may cause aggression
In a perfect world, all your cats would get along perfectly all the time. But the truth is that not all cats get along together all the time. If cats aren’t getting along with each other and feel like they need to compete with each other for shared food, shared space in the litter box, and even shared human attention and affection, it can be a cause of tension and stress.
Providing enough litter boxes for every cat to have privacy and comfort can reduce the tension that leads to aggression.
Every cat is different
Keep in mind that every cat is different, and each have their own preferences. You may have one cat that doesn’t mind sharing a litter box, and another that doesn’t want to share at all.
Your cats may have different preferences about the kind of litter they like, or the size of litter box they want. In other words, what one cat likes, another cat may dislike, for no reason at all. You may think it’s reasonable for two cats to share a litter box, and your cats may simply disagree.
If you have multiple litter boxes, chances are very good that all your cats will use all the boxes, choosing the one that suits their preference at the moment.
So, it isn’t a case of designating one litter box for each cat and expecting them to use only their own box. It’s a case of giving them options and letting them find a place to feel comfortable every time.
Using Multiple Litter Boxes
If you have multiple litter boxes, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Have the right size litter box
Cats should use a litter box that is at least one and a half time their body length, so make sure that each litter box is large enough.
Keep the litter boxes clean
Litter boxes should be scooped at least every day and cleaned once a week.
Keep the litter boxes in different places
In other words, don’t line up all your litter boxes right next to each other in the same place. For cats with sensitive noses or a desire for privacy, this can be too much like sharing a single litter box. Instead, place them in different areas in your home.
While cats can share a litter box, and probably will share a litter box, you should always provide one litter box per cat and keep all the litter boxes clean. It helps keeps all your cats healthy and comfortable and reduces stress.