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How Many Litter Boxes Do I Need Per Cat? A Simple Guide

by Ben Doyle | Reading Time: 3 minutes

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A common question new cat owners ask is, ‘How many litter boxes do I need?’

There’s a lot of debate amongst cat owners about how many litter boxes you should have. Some owners say they have several cats who are all happy to share. Others insist on making their cats share and others wouldn’t dream of making their cats share.

So, in this article we’ll cover;

  • How many litter boxes you need per cat
  • Why it’s important that a cat has its own litter box
  • Where to put your cat’s litter boxes

How Many Litter Boxes Do I Need For Each Cat?

You should have one litter box per cat, plus one extra. This means all your cats have their own place to toilet at all times.

So, why the extra one?

Not all cats like to use the same toilet area every time. By adding an extra litter box, you give them the flexibility of being able to choose. Like they would naturally.

How Many Litter Boxes?How Many Cats
How Many Litter Boxes For 1 Cat?For one cat you should have two litter boxes
How Many Litter Boxes For 2 Cats?For two cats, you need three litter boxes
How Many Litter Boxes For 3 Cats?For three cats, you need four litter boxes
How Many Litter Boxes For 4 Cats?For four cats, you need five litter boxes

Why It’s Important That a Cat Has its Own Litter Box?

The thought of scooping and cleaning several litter boxes isn’t a fun one. You might also wonder where the heck you’ll put them all (we’ll get to that in a moment).

But there are two main reasons why your cats should have their own litter tray;

1. Cat Are Hygienic Animals

Imagine going to the toilet and seeing your roommate hasn’t flushed it and has left a smelly mess. You wouldn’t be happy!

It’s the same for cats. They’re hygienic animals and need a clean area to eliminate. They might decide to go somewhere else if they keep going to their litter tray to find it dirty and used like behind the sofa.

2. Cats Are Territorial

They often carve out their own territories in the home. For some cats, going to the toilet in another cat’s territory is stressful, even more so if the other cat is alpha.

Some cats will guard the litter tray and block entry to it. This can result in the other cat eliminating somewhere else, again, behind the sofa, on the rug or in the bedroom.

Even cats that have shared a litter box in the past can instantly decide that they no longer want to.

Giving each cat their own litter box, in their territory will stop these problems from ever starting.

Read More: Best Best Cat Litter Box and Litter Trays

Where Should I Put All These Litter Boxes?

As you can see, the ideal number of litter boxes can add up when you own several cats.

We wrote a guide about where to put each cat’s litter box. Make sure you read it.

For now, make sure you:

Put a Litter Box in Each of Your Cats Territory

Your cats will have communal areas in the home but you should also know where your cats hang out on their in your house. Some will spend their time on one floor, others will confine themselves to a single room.

Find where your cats spend their time and put their litter tray in that area.

Put At Least Once Litter Tray On Each Floor of the House

Quite often you’ll find your cats have carved their territories on different floors.

And even if they don’t, don’t make them scale the stairs to find the toilet. Make it easy for them.

Put The Litter Box Where You Cat Feels Comfortable Toileting

If the landing is part of a cats territory, doesn’t mean you should put their litter box there. The noise of people coming and going up and down stairs might make your cat anxious.

Find a place where they feel comfortable. This might be in a spare room or bathroom, for example.

Don’t Put Litter Boxes Together

If you put litter boxes together, your cats will see them as one area. A dominant cat could end up guarding the whole area and not letting your other cats near them.

Keep Litter Boxes Away From Food and Water

Cats are hygienic animals. They don’t eat where they toilet.

Moving your cat’s litter tray can cause confusion and stress. So make sure you find the perfect spot for your cat’s litter tray right from the start.


The rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat, plus one extra. This can add up if you have a few cats but not having enough litter trays can create territorial problems. Dominant cats could end up bullying others.

So make sure each cat has their own litter tray, in an area of the house where they spend most of their time.

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Ben Doyle

Ben Doyle co-owns Pet Checkers with his wife, Vicki. He spends his days looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When he's not taking care of animals, he's writing about them.

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