How Many Litterboxes Should You Have?

If our cats can't access a clean litter box whenever they need it, we might end up with some unwanted surprises around the house. Yikes!

That's why it's so important to understand the ins and outs of litter box management. One crucial aspect of that is figuring out how many litter boxes you should have for your fur babies.

Kitten sitting in a blue litter box with overlaying text: How many litterboxes should you have?

But guess what? There's no one-size-fits-all answer.

The number of litter boxes you need depends on various factors specific to your household.

Don't worry, though - we're here to guide you through all those considerations and help you make the best decision for your feline family members.

Let's dive into what you need to know to ensure your cats always have a clean and accessible litter box waiting for them!

Consider The Number of cats

The often-quoted formula tells you it's "the number of cats in your household + one." So, if you have only one cat, you need two boxes. For two cats, you should have three boxes, and so on.

That's a good number to start with.

Size of House

You're aiming at making the boxes accessible at all times. If your cat has to cross seven rooms to get to the box, he or she may not make it in time. This is especially true of kittens and elderly or sick cats. If you live in a large house, you may need three or even four litter boxes, even if you only have one cat.

Floors and Accessibility Issues

Older or sick cats, especially those with arthritis, may have trouble accessing some parts of your home. If they have to climb stairs or jump to a high shelf, they may opt to use another, more accessible spot.

Catering for Variety

Cats can have very distinctive preferences for certain types of litter boxes (open or closed) and different kinds of litter.

Let's say you have five cats, and three of them only go in clumping non-scented litter in an open box. You've placed six litter boxes around your house (five plus one, as per the formula).

But what if four of these boxes are covered boxes with recycled paper pellets that your three cats can't stand?

You're actually leaving three cats with the option to use only two litter boxes. If all three need to go at once, or if one of the boxes isn't cleaned in time, your cats may be left with no option other than the rug.

Cleaning Routine

Many cats will avoid a dirty litterbox. If you don't have the time to clean the litterbox at least on a daily basis, you should add even more boxes, to make sure each cat can find a clean litterbox.

Tabby cat sitting in a large litterbox

Digging Deeper: Insights for Litter Box Success

While the factors discussed above provide a solid foundation for determining the number of litter boxes you should have, there are additional aspects to consider for a comprehensive understanding of this topic.

To help you make well-informed decisions for your cat's well-being, let's delve deeper into some key points that further highlight the importance of having the right number of litter boxes in your household.

Balancing Territory in Multi-Cat Households

Hey, we get it! Having multiple cats can be a blast, but it's essential to keep their litter box needs in mind.

Providing enough litter boxes for each of your furry friends reduces territorial disputes and aggressive behavior.

Remember, cats are territorial creatures, and they don't like sharing their elimination spaces. Give them their own space, and watch the harmony grow in your feline family.

Keep Calm and Provide Litter Boxes

Did you know that stress and anxiety can affect your cat's litter box habits? It's true!

By providing enough litter boxes, you create a more relaxed environment and reduce anxiety-related litterbox issues. Your cats will feel less cornered and threatened when they have multiple options for elimination.


Tracking Your Cat's Health

Having enough litter boxes helps you keep an eye on your cat's health. Changes in elimination habits, like frequency or odor, can signal potential health issues.

By providing enough litter boxes, you can monitor each cat closely and address any concerns before they become serious problems.

Embracing Your Cat's Unique Preferences

Every cat is an individual, with their own likes and dislikes when it comes to litter boxes. By understanding and catering to their preferences, you can ensure consistent litter box use and fewer accidents.

This might mean providing different types of litter boxes or various litter materials. Remember, a happy cat is more likely to use the litter box consistently!

Room-Specific Litter Boxes: Convenience is Key

Want to make life even easier for your cats? Place litter boxes in rooms where they spend most of their time, like the bedroom or living room. This way, your cats won't have to travel far to find a litter box when nature calls.

Covered litter box in corner of a room

It's especially helpful for kittens, elderly cats, or those with mobility issues who might struggle with long distances. Happy cat, clean house!

So, How Many Litter Boxes Should I Have?

As we said, it depends.

At a minimum, the number should be the number of your cats plus one. If you can space them around the house, make sure they're all accessible to all cats, get the right type of box and litter, and make sure they're all kept clean, you should be good to go!

Otherwise, consider adding more boxes, to make sure each and every cat can always find a clean accessible litter box that they can use.


Still need more information? Check out this full guide to all of our articles:
The Litterbox: What Every Cat Owner Needs To Know

Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!

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4 comments on “How Many Litterboxes Should You Have?

ellen kriz April 18, 2016
Hello Paul London, I've found that changing the litter type helps, and/or even changing the type of litterbox. I know it's been a while since you posted, but I hope this cat is ok by now. Good luck for you and your friend in cat rescue! Ellen K.
12345abcde February 16, 2016
Good afternoon all   I hope this quick request for information finds you all well.  I am inquiring for a friend of mine who is a Cats Protection lady and she is also the person I get my rescue cats from. She is having a problem with a young rescue cat who is refusing to use the litter tray and manages to crap and pee on the floor of his pen despite every effort to convince him otherwise. All cats have clean professionally built pens, clean/new bedding each time etc, etc, I know she has consulted vets who just seem to want to fill the poor cat full of tablets (that don't work) and she is trying to get some help from behaviorist so that the issue can get resolved and the little lad can be re homed. Right now no one will have him which is a shame. Has anyone encountered this kind of issue before and if so how did you manage to get around it. The longer any cat spends in care the harder it is for them so just trying to help her resolve this and get him a warm, loving home. thank you everyone Paul London
raysmyheart May 26, 2015
This is something I did not know until awhile ago, when reading on TCS, that is, the number of boxes.  I think the other articles are important too, because they all work together, like location, etc.  Very good info.  Cats should be able to depend on these basics we provide.
joannekitty May 23, 2015
I would say it also depends on the size and frequncy of cleaning? I have 3 cats, but 2 very large litter boxes. One closed one upstairs, and one open one downstairs. I clean mine twice day. Once in the morning and again at night (which involves removing all urine patches). I clean out any faeces as soon as possible, so thier litter is never dirty. 

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