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January 15, 2022 |0 min read

Can Cats Share A Litter Box?

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Wondering if your two or more feline friends can share a litter box? It’s a good question to ask but as a general rule, individual litter boxes are most likely the best option especially in a multi cat household.

Since you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you have more than one cat in your household or are thinking about adding another to your happy family. How lovely! As an expecting multiple cat parent, your mind is most likely swarming with thoughts like, “Will my cats get along?” and “Can they share the same litter box?” Whether or not they’ll get along can only be answered by introducing them to one another. Making sure they have the correct amount of litter boxes available to them is something we at PrettyLitter can help you with! Additionally, we can help if you want tips on choosing cat litter.

So, can cats share a litter box? If you have multiple cats, they may be comfortable enough with each other to share the same litter box. However, there are several reasons, including territorial behavior, why some experts would advise at least one extra litter box in your home. Each of your furry friends should have their own litter box as well as an extra! It may seem like the litter boxes are stacking up in your home if you have a big furry family, but it can be good for feline behavior.

Let’s get into the specific reasons why cats should not share a litter box. 

Reason 1: Cats are Territorial 

Yes, your cats may love playing with each other and they’ve probably learned to share and do things together; such as drinking from opposite sides of the same water bowl, receiving simultaneous head rubs and pets from their favorite person (you), and playing “keep away” from each other when playing with their toys. After all, sharing is caring...well, most of the time. 

However, when it’s time to go to the bathroom, claws will eventually come out if they feel threatened by another cat. Whenever there is more than one cat, one alpha cat leads the pack.

Your cat may not show direct signs of stress, but if you only have one litter box for multiple cats, they can become anxious. Cats love to mark their territory by scratching and rubbing themselves on different things around your home.

Cat behavior can become an issue if you don't have multiple litter boxes. Picture this: you live in a two-cat household and you buy both of your cats a litter box each. You’d think that would be enough options for each, right? Wrong...the alpha cat will show their dominance with territorial behavior by always using both of the litter boxes you’ve provided for them, and making the beta cat feel stressed and displaced. In these situations, the stressed-out beta cat will most likely choose to not use the litter boxes altogether and decide to do their business somewhere completely different... somewhere not suited for your cat’s (not-so-buried) treasure. Yuck! 

Providing a third litter box for your two-cat household will allow your beta cat to have another place to bury their treasure since the alpha won’t be able to use, claim, and guard all boxes at once. That being said, it would make sense to increase the number of litter boxes by one each time you want to add another cat to your family.

The more litter boxes in your household, the easier it’ll be to keep them clean. Understanding when to change cat litter definitely plays a role in cleanliness for your litter boxes which brings us to the other main reason why you should have more litter boxes than cats in your household.

Reason 2: Good Hygiene and Cleanliness

One downside of using just one litter box, especially if you have a few furry friends, is that the litter box can become very dirty and fill up quickly. When it comes to litter boxes, keeping them clean is a cardinal rule, but can be nearly impossible if you’re not always near your cat when nature calls. Dirty litter is even more important to avoid if you have a covered litter box.

In the event of litter box overcrowding, your cats will start to feel displaced if they have to tiptoe around another’s waste. This can mean danger for your furniture and carpet. The displaced cat, no longer wishing to use the litter box provided in your home, will try to find another place to do their business...like underneath your couch or in your closet. 

Cat health issues can also pop up in your cats over time if you consistently have a full or dirty litter box. If your litter boxes are filling up quickly, you may consider learning more about how much cat litter to use. If you have the ability to put extra litter boxes throughout your house, it will prevent these health issues but also prevent accidents in places of your home where you don’t want your cat to go. If multiple cats are using the same litter box, chances are one of them could get sick from the excess waste in the box if it isn’t cleaned and managed well. 

So while having multiple litter boxes lying around your home may seem like more of a hassle to clean, it’s the more sanitary option. You don't want puddles of cat pee all over your home. Cleaning out their designated litter boxes is easier than cleaning and scrubbing the carpet under your bed! Or, you could invest in a self cleaning litter box or automatic litter box to save yourself the headache. It’s also important to know the different types of cat litter so that you can select the best option for your cats.

Next time nature calls, we hope this litter box guide will help you help your cats bury their treasure in the sandy shores of the many litter boxes around your home rather than the sea of soft, shaggy fibers of carpet under your bed. And, if you’ve ever wanted to get rid of that litter box smell, Pretty Litter makes it easy for you to keep your litter boxes smell free and fresh!

Sources:

https://www.animalwised.com/can-two-cats-share-one-litter-box-2384.html

http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/how-do-we-get-our-cats-to-share-a-litterbox

https://www.petmd.com/cat/centers/litter/evr_why_multi_cat_households_need_multiple_litter_boxes

https://epicpetclub.com/do-cats-share-litter-boxes/

https://www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-behavior-and-training/litter-box-101-how-many-litter-boxes/

https://litter-boxes.com/cats-share-litter-box/

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Sharilyn is a proud cat owner, long time storyteller and researcher. Her work spans beloved podcasts, television shows, media outlets, and independent documentaries. She likes to strike a balance between education and comedy, which you can hopefully tell when you read her articles!

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