Perhaps the only drawback to being a cat owner is having to clean up the litter box. I don't think any owner enjoys scooping and washing out a litter box, but it still has to be done. If you have more than one cat, you may be wondering can multiple cats share a litter box?
You may be thinking that having one litter box will be easier than having two (or more). While you'll only have one box to clean, the feces and urine will pile up much faster. And, there are other problems that will arise if you allow multiple cats to share a litter box.
Can it be done, yes. Will it have a harmful effect on your cats? Possibly. This guide will explain the problems that you may run into by having only one litter box for multiple cats. It will also address how to prevent those problems and what you can do to make one litter box work for your pets.
Can Multiple Cats Share A Litter Box?
As you can probably guess from the information in my introduction, the short answer to the question of can two cats share a litter box is no. According to most experts in feline health and behavior, each cat should have their own litter box AND you should have one additional litter box as well. The reason for this is 2-fold – hygiene and behavior.
Cats are quite territorial. Going to the bathroom is one of the most personal things that your cat does. In the wild, cats are vulnerable to predators when using the bathroom. Domesticated cats may still have this instinct. Likewise, domesticated cats prefer having their own litter box with their own smell.
If you have a more dominant cat, he may guard the litter box and try to prevent the other cat from using it. This will not only cause many fights, it could cause the submissive cat to hold his urine for long periods of time leading to urinary tract infections, kidney problems and other serious health issues.
Dominant cats may also begin to spray urine in other parts of your home. If they are no longer willing to use the litter box, this will force them to “go” somewhere else. Likewise, cats spray urine to mark their territory, and your dominant cat may begin spraying to assert his dominance over the other cats in your home.
Having multiple cats use the same litter box will also lead to a quick pileup of urine and feces. This can lead to infection and disease if you are not consistently diligent with cleaning the box.
If you’re unable to clean the litter box every single day, it’s best to provide your cats with 2-3 litter boxes. If you are able to clean the box on a strict daily basis, you can use 1 litter box for both cats.
Cleaning the litter box doesn’t just mean scooping the urine and feces. Each day you will need to scoop the box. However, the box also needs a bi-weekly deep cleaning. This should consist of:
- emptying the litter box entirely
- dispose of the litter and the droppings
- wash the litter box with soap and water
- allow it to dry completely or the new litter will stick
- add new litter
DO NOT use bleach to clean your cat’s litter box. Cats are very sensitive to smells, and the strong odor of harsh chemicals can deter them from using the litter box. Bleach may also combine with the ammonia in cat urine to cause a toxic gas.