Do Cats Share Litter Boxes? Here’s What I Can Say From My Personal Experience

Litter boxes are lifesavers for every cat owner. This prosaic side of cat ownership not only keeps your house free of defecates and odor but also gives your feline friends a place of their own.

For a cat, a litter box is more than just a bathroom. It’s a place that belongs to them. Cats can be very cordial towards other cats, and that is the reason why cat owners often adopt more than one cat in their households.

The question of how many litter boxes one should keep always arise whenever one introduces another feline friend to your cat family. We are going to answer that very question now.

Do cats share litter boxes?

No, cats do not like to share their litter boxes with other cats. But there are cases where it can be seen that 2 cats are sharing one litter box in harmony.

But, in general, the rule of thumb is a multi-cat household should have the same number of litter boxes as of the number of cats, plus one extra large box for safety. Cats don’t like to find any other cat using their litter box for the following reasons –

  • Invading personal space
  • Behavioral issues
  • Cleaner litter box

Cats are very territorial animals, and they like to mark their space quite clearly. Even if multiple cats stay very peacefully throughout the day, they might get aggressive if one cat finds any other cat using its litter box.

Cats need some privacy when they are doing something like defecation. Sharing the same litter box can be stressful for some cats.

Cats can just choose to ignore the litter box altogether, and it can lead to elimination elsewhere in the house.

In a multi-cat household, one cat always dominates the others. Cats mark their places using scratches and behave like the king of that place.

Let’s assume you have two litter boxes for your two cats. The alpha cat will always use both the litter boxes, leaving the other cat with nothing. The other cat will find some other place in the house to defecate.

This is why experts suggest that one should keep one extra litter box in multi-cat homes. In this case, the alpha cat cannot protect all three litter boxes at the same time. Therefore, the other cat has one litter box for itself.

One of the hardest responsibilities of a cat owner is keeping the litter boxes clean. If one has multiple felines in the household, and all cats use the same litter box, it will be very hard to keep the litter-box spotless.

But it is very crucial to keep the litter box clean, odorless, and suitable for the next cat in need. Otherwise, an unappealing litter-box can make the cat ignore it altogether.

Having an extra litter-box can make your job of cleaning it regularly a lot easier. Even if one forgets to clean it, the cat can relieve itself using the other litter-box.

Is it a good idea to use the same litter box with multiple cats?

The answer is no, you shouldn’t keep just one litter box in a multi-cat household. Here’s why you should keep multiple litter boxes in your home:

  • It makes the litter boxes more sanitary for cats.
  • Reduces behavioral and temperamental issues among cats.
  • This will reduce the chances of any health problems.
  • It will be less stinky.

Cats’ comfort is important to us, and we will always make sure that they feel at home in their surroundings.

If you assign only one cat to a litter box, it will be less utilized, and it will also be easier for you to keep it clean.

A litter box is not only a place for elimination but also a place where they spend their alone time. If you force two or more cats to use the same litter box, soon it will be filled, and the next cat will not find sufficient place to sit.

Cats are moody and territorial animals. Their friendly nature towards other cats doesn’t mean that they will be happy to share their space, which they use as a place to retreat.

If a cat owner forces other cats to use the same litter tray, they might have to confront each other for alone time.

This can result in unpleasant surprises in inappropriate places. You need three litter boxes for two cats so that, one litter box always remains available for the poor, dominated cat.

A spotless litter box will make sure that the cats defecate at regular intervals. This is crucial to keep the dietary tract clean.

Having a separate litter box for each cat also makes it easier to identify the sick cat. Also, if cats use different litter boxes, one cat cannot transfer sickness to others.

This will also ensure that your cat is habituated with its litter box, should you be required to quarantine your sick cat.

The number of excretions increases as more cats use the same litter box. That means cats will leave a larger quantity of waste, which has to be cleaned regularly.

Cats have a stronger sense of smell, and they can detect smells that are not detectable to humans. If they sense any other cat’s scent, they will be repulsed by that and may choose somewhere else to release themselves. So, to avoid such accidents, you should try to train your cats to use their own litter boxes.

Sometimes, you won’t find any problem if two cats use the same litter box because the cats’ behavior can change from one cat to another.

If the cats are sharing a litter box since they were kittens, they shouldn’t have any problem in sharing it. But it will fill up too fast, and you have to clean it very frequently.

So, our advice is that you should not force two cats to use the same litter box and ensure a happy and odorless environment for your cat and you.


Resources & References:

  1. https://www.petmd.com/cat/centers/litter/evr_why_multi_cat_households_need_multiple_litter_boxes
  2. https://www.vettedpetcare.com/vetted-blog/pros-cons-multiple-litter-boxes/
  3. https://www.animalwised.com/can-two-cats-share-one-litter-box-2384.html
  4. https://www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-behavior-and-training/litter-box-101-how-many-litter-boxes/