How Many Litter Boxes Does a Single Cat Need

How can you know how many litter boxes do you need for a cat? Some say you have to have the same number of litter boxes as cats in your house. In this case, you should have two boxes. Great! Problem solved! End of an article.

Many cat litter boxesTwo boxes in a single cat house actually is the usual and, in most cases, most suitable number. Cats love options.

Oh wait, but there are some that say you need exact same amount of litter boxes as you have cats in your house. That would be one in your case.

Know YOUR cat to determine number of litter boxes

Forget about formulas. Having a litter box is not a math. Every cat is different, every house is different and every owner is different. We can’t find a formula for every situation. Okay, we do know you need at least one. That is how it works. But is it enough?

Well it works very well for me. I have one cat, one small house and one litter box. There is no need for one more boxes, because there is no distant place from it for my cat to hang out. It is always easy accessible. However, my cat often goes outdoors, and we could call it a large additional litter box, couldn’t we? Besides that, what works for me might not work for other.

To really determine how many litter boxes do you need, answer this simple question.

How your cat spends his days?

Does he sleep in a single room for most of the day? Then you’ll probably have to have a litter box in that room. Or in a room next to it as long as it is easy accessible.

Cat sleeping in a litter box.

Is your cat spending other half of the day gazing through a window in a different room on the other side of your house? You’ll probably have to put another litter box there if you can’t make a single box easy accessible from both places.

Isn’t your house too big for small number of litter boxes?

You may have already noticed how your cat’s spots of activity depend on you house’s size, which results in more litter boxes for larger houses. But there is no direct connection between those things, as all you care about is how easy accessible litter boxes are for your cat.

In example, multi level houses usually will have at least one box on every floor. Is it because the house has several levels? No. It is because cat spend his time in all of them and wants an easy accessible litter box. If a second floor is specially dedicated as cat free space in your house (yeah, right, like it would be possible to keep a cat out of somewhere ) then you won’t need a litter box in there, that’s obvious.

One more thing to consider is how your cat loves tidiness. This in most cases would be a problem if you chose to have one litter box. Yes, it’s totally okay to have just one if it’s easy accessible from every location your cat hangs out. But there are cats who would no way use the litter box if it is not freshly cleaned. Then you’ll probably still need another one somewhere else (as easy accessible) in case you can not scoop it frequently enough. You can find more information about litter box scooping frequency in different situations here.

Another thing to notice is that different cats have different opinions on what they call “an easy accessible litter box”. Older cat’s usually think it is only the one that is right here, but not the one round the corner. However, not only age, but temper of the cat may play a role here.

So, know your cat. Notice where he spends (or where would you think he’ll spend if it’s a new cat) most of his days and provide an easy accessible litter boxes for all those spaces. If you think a living room and a kitchen can be covered with one litter box in the corridor, so be it. Try and see.

Your cat will let you know he has too many or too less litter boxes. If one of the boxes is never used, then probably it is not necessary or needs a reposition. If you cat is often leaving surprises outside the litter box (NB! Not always elimination outside the box is related to insufficient number of litter boxes. But it is the next best shot after eliminating medical issues and ensuring litter box is scooped frequently enough.) you probably will need another one somewhere close to it. It doesn’t necessarily mean at the same exact spot, but somewhere close to it as it will not always be possible to locate a litter box behind the couch.

Photos by rikkis_refuge and wallygrom.