The litter box is one of the most fussy places in a cat’s life, almost like the food box.
If your cat family is about to increase and you are wondering if two cats can share a litter box you came to the right place as we do have experience with this.
Sharing the same box – how does it work?
The most common way to make two cats use the same litter box is to bring them both as kittens and make only one tray available.
If they get used to it from the beginning they won’t have any problems later when they grow up. The problems seem to appear when one cat is an adult and the other one is a kitten.
The kitten will not have a problem but the adult will usually get fussy about the box.
We did witness two Bengal cats sharing the same homemade cat litter box.
It was an extra large box and they were both using one side of the tray or the other.
They did not go to do business in the box at the same time though as this would lead to privacy issues.
Also you can see it pretty common in kittens.
Kittens don’t mind using the same box probably because of the age and size.
Problems start to appear on adult cats when privacy becomes an issue ( same like with humans ).
Cats are very picky when they become adults and we don’t recommend trying to “train” two cats to use the same litter box as they might get cranky and start peeing in bed,carpets,sofas, etc.
If they want their separate boxes you should make arrangements for that. You can also try to place two litter boxes on one side of the room and another two on the other side if the space starts to become a problem.
Why two cats can’t share the same litter box?
They simply want to have their privacy and their own clean toilet.
If the tray gets dirty it’s dirty with their own scent and not a different one. Scent is a very important communication tool that your cat uses on a daily basis.
It gives your cat lots of information about other cats and vice-versa. If a cat detects a scent in a litter box they might refuse to use it as it’s marked by someone else.
One of the main reasons why cats don’t share the same litter box is because one of them is picky and it has problems with:
- Cleanliness – Is the box to full? She might refuse to use it because of that.
- Shape – Is the box to big, too small,too high,too low? One of the cats might not like it because one of these reasons.
- Location – Is it out in the open? Maybe it’s too hard to get to – this is a known issue with cats, if the litter box is too far away she just simply can’t be asked to go all the way to it.
- Insecurity – Is your cat getting ambushed while on the toilet? They become vulnerable when they are using the box so one of them might refuse to use it out of fear.
How many boxes for 2 or more cats?
The Golden Rule is: “one litter box per cat, plus one”.
This is done to prevent problems such as urine spraying and territorial problems.
Generally speaking, cats are not pack animals – they are solitary predators and do no live in socially structured groups.
Each cat requires a place to mark its territory and that usually happens in the litter box.
If you have litter boxes in most of the rooms, you have a greater chance of removing territorial and behavioural problems.
Can two cats share a self cleaning litter box?
This part gets tricky.
If you couldn’t make them use the same litter box, a self cleaning one might not work as well.
I have never tried this but the reason I have doubts about it is because of the scent.
We can never know if they don’t want to use the traditional one because of the territorial part, scent or cleanliness.
As both of them using the same self cleaning box will still leave a scent in the box, the other one might sense it and refuse to use it.
All the automatic boxes require a transition period as well. You might think they don’t like it but they are actually just getting used to it – side note on the transition period:
If you have kittens you might have to wait before purchasing a self cleaning box as they are only recommended for cats older than 6 months.
When purchasing an automatic litter box and want to “train” your cats to use it instead of the old ones, there are a few steps that you can follow to help with a smooth transition.
First you should place the new box that you want them to share instead of the old ones.
Do not start an automatic cleaning process on the tray until one of the cats has used it and keep the old trays around and do not clean them.
As soon as both of them are used to the new box you can start the automatic cleaning process on the tray and see how it goes.
I would still leave the old trays around for 2-3 more days just in case they are shy of the cleaning process.
Final thoughts: What is our experience with 2 cats sharing the same box?
My cats were sharing the same litter box when they were kittens.
At the moment they are both 1 year old and have different trays and one extra.
We are not following the golden rule, it’s just more convenient for us to have 3 litter boxes.
If we have only 2 it’s more difficult to clean them, and they get filled up quite easily.
The odour in the flat are milder because of that and we don’t see trays full of clumps.
Do they feel ok doing that? Share your thoughts with us below.
How can I make two cats use the same litter box?
The best way to make two cats use the same litter box is to introduce them to a single tray when they are still kittens. If they will start to get used to this from the start they are not going to have any problems as they grow older.
How big should a litter box be for two cats?
The litter box should be at least 1.5 times the length of your largest cat from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail. This will allow them to turn around, dig, and cover their waste without feeling like they are cramped inside.
How often do you change a litter box for two cats?
It’s recommended to change a litter box for two cats every week. You should also scoop the litter at least twice a day to keep the litter box clean and odor-free
Why do I need 2 litter boxes for 1 cat
You need two litter boxes for one cat due to the natural behavior and cleanliness preference of the cat. Having an additional litter box ensure that there’s always a clean option available for her