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Can Cats Share a Litter Box? And if They Can, Should They?

by Ben Doyle | Reading Time: 3 minutes

Some cat litter brands make cat litter for multiple cats. Which suggests that cats can share a litter box. And let’s face it, no one really wants a home full of litter boxes. And cleaning one litter box is better than cleaning several, right?

So the question is, can cats share a litter box? And even if they can, should they?

In this article, we’ll cover;

  • Can cats share a litter box?
  • Potential problems with cats sharing a litter box
  • Should you prevent cats from sharing a litter box?
  • How many litterboxes should you have?
  • How to encourage the use of separate litter boxes

Can Cats Share a Litter Box?

Although some cats will share a litter box, it’s not advisable for most. It can lead to aggression and result in one or more of your cats toileting in other areas of the house.

On your favourite rug, for example.

Like us, cats have different personalities, likes, dislikes and quirks. Sharing a litter tray might be acceptable to one cat but offensive to another.

On top of that, cats’ preferences change. What was acceptable when your cat was a kitten might not be now. There’s a chance that, even though your cats have always shared a litter box, they stop tolerating it.

Problems That Come With Cats Sharing a Litter Tray

There are a few problems that can arise when cats share litter trays;

1. Aggression or Fighting

Your cat’s toilet is a resource, which, if in short supply, they have to compete for.

Even with cats that have shared a litter box in the past, it’s common to notice sudden aggression. This might include, growling, hissing, swatting, chasing and in some cases, fighting.

This aggression can often become a problem over other resources. Food, places to sleep and even you as their human are all resources your cats could start fighting over.

2. Litter Box Aversion

Cats don’t always fight if they decide that sharing a litter box is no longer acceptable. In fact, most try to avoid conflict if they can. But this can lead to litter box aversion.

If your cat doesn’t want to share their toilet with another, they might use another part of the house.

This could be on a rug, behind the sofa or on the curtains.

To warn off other cats, some mark their territory around the litter tray. They do this by spraying and defecating around the box instead of in it.

3. Health Issues

A cats poo is often a good indicator of health issues.

If your cats share a litter box and you notice a loose stool, it’s not obvious which cat might be ill.

Not only that, but if one cat is sick, they could pass their illness on to your other cats via their poo.

Should You Prevent Your Cats From Sharing a Litter Tray?

Not at all.

If your cats are happy to share their litter box, let them.

Keep in mind though that this should be a choice that they make. Not something they’re forced to do.

Also, be aware that they can suddenly decide that they’re no longer willing to share. This often happens when kittens grow into young adults and want territories of their own.

Even though your cats might share a litter box now, have a second one in another part of the house. This might prevent any territorial behaviour from starting and becoming a problem.

If Cats Shouldn’t Share a Litter Box, How Many Should You Have?

When it comes to how many litter boxes you have, the general rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat, plus one extra.

So, if you have two cats, you need three litter boxes.

Why the extra box?

Well, some cats don’t like using a single litter tray and prefer to have options. Especially if you work and can’t scoop or clean it as often as they’d like.

How to Encourage the Use of Separate Litter Boxes

Even inside the home, cats often have their own territories (as well as communal areas). If you have several cats, put a litter tray in each of their territories.

For example, if you have two cats and one tends to live upstairs and the other downstairs, put a litter box on each floor. Then, put a third litter box in neutral territory.

Conclusion

Cats can share a litter box but that should be a choice they make. Forcing them to share could result in aggressive behaviour and litter box aversion.

The best thing you can do is to give each cat its own litter tray. If they decide that they want to change where they go to toilet, they have somewhere to go.

ben doyle

Ben Doyle

My name is Ben Doyle and I co-own Pet Checkers. I spend most of my time looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When I’m not taking care of animals, I’m photographing them and writing about them here on our website.

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