Best Litter Box Solutions for Multiple Cats

Two tabby and white cats on a ledge

Your cat may not share your opinion on what makes the perfect litter box setup. It’s important to understand how your cat thinks about his box and meet his underlying needs. The litter box you choose, and where you place it, is about your cats, not about you.

You don’t want to be dealing with “inappropriate elimination,” where Kitty’s litter box stresses him enough that he pees or poops somewhere else. The following litter box solutions for multiple cats should help you keep your kitties happy:

Related Post: Why Cats Pee Outside the Litter Box and What to Do About it

The Best Litter Box Set Up for Multiple Cats:

Your cats might have preferences about covered boxes and the litter you use. Multiple boxes allow you to accommodate everyone’s desires.

One Box Per Cat Plus One:

The general rule for litter box solutions for multiple cats is 1 box per cat plus 1. While this is especially important in multiple cat homes, even a single cat likes choices. Some cats like one box to pee in and one to poop in. In nature, cats don’t do their business in the same place.

Litter boxes can also be a source of multiple cat politics. A territorial cat can decide the litter box is his private property and not allow his roommates to share. Getting pounced on in the box might mean his friend will never use it again. The 1 box per cat plus 1 gives everyone options.

Siamese cat sitting in a white litter box. Choose the best litter box solution for multiple cats.

Think Big:

The litter box should be 1 ½  times longer than your biggest cat.  They need to have room to turn about and dig and “assume the position” for eliminating.  Bigger is better.

You need to keep thinking about your cats and their boxes as they age. Consider any special needs your cat might have. Your new kitten will need a smaller box than your adults.  A senior cat or a declawed cat may have a hard time climbing into the box or holding the position on the substrate if it shifts. The same boxes might not be the best solution for your multiple cat family at all ages and stages.

Cover Up?

Most cats dislike covered litter trays, especially in a multiple cat family. You can always put in a covered box and an uncovered box to see what your cats think.

Survival and safety take priority over privacy any day.  Cats that aren’t getting along well can develop stalking routines around the litter box. It is hard for your kitty to do his business if he is afraid his fellow felines will be waiting around the corner or sitting on top of the box waiting to jump on him when he comes out.

A covered box also makes it too easy for the humans in the family to skip the cleaning routine as they can’t see it. Covers trap the odors in. It is like the cat version of a port-a-potty.

Location, Location:

“Putting the litter box in the household equivalent of Siberia will often backfire on you,” says CatWise author Pam Johnson-Bennett.  Especially with kittens or seniors, you do not want Kitty to have to find his way to the basement to go to the bathroom. Ideally, you’ll have a box on every level of your home, in a room you go in daily. Kitty will never have to go far to potty and you won’t neglect cleaning the boxes daily.

Kitty’s box should be away from his food and water in an accessible space. In nature, cats do not potty where they eat.  Would you want to do that?

Put the box against the wall in a large room, not stuffed in a cabinet or closet. Kitty should be able to see the whole room so he knows who is coming around. Don’t place litter boxes together in one location. Two boxes side-by-side count as one box in Kitty’s head. You shouldn’t have a “litter box room.”

Red and white cat sitting in a litter box
A row of litterboxes for multiple cats is not best practice

Consider the litter box location from your cat’s point of view:

  • Is the washer or dryer going to start up and startle him? How about the furnace?
  • Are people running in and out of the mudroom all the time?
  • Is the dog barking outside the door?
  • Are there other animals outside the porch window?
  • Is there a high cat perch or bookshelf that one cat could leap down on another in the litter box?

If you have multiple cats, make sure you have a box in each cat’s favorite areas to hang out so one cat doesn’t have to cross through another cat’s territory to pee.

Keep it Clean:

The most important part of successful multiple cat litter box maintenance is to keep the boxes clean.  Scoop once or twice daily. Change the box out and wash it with detergent once a month.

When you refill the box, use an unscented litter. Cats have a sensitive nose and object to highly scented litter. Skip the air “fresheners” and litter box additives too.

Be a Detective:

Cats are not “being jerks” or acting out of revenge when they pee outside the box. They are trying to tell us something. The message is “I’m not happy.” It is up to us to be a detective to figure out why. Start with a vet visit to make sure Kitty is healthy.  After that work through these tips to see if a litter box upgrade might be in order.  He might need a bigger box, an additional box, or a box in a different location.

Cats are communicating with us when they housesoil. Work through these litter box basics to make sure everyone is getting what they need to be happy and healthy.

Buying Guide: Best Litter Box Solutions for Multiple Cats

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Consider the age, size, and privacy preferences of your cats when choosing a box.  Here are my recommendations for top choices for litter boxes.

Standard Litter Boxes:

1. Nature’s Miracle High-Sides Litter Box:

  • High sides prevent Kitty from peeing over the side and helps prevent tracking. If you have a kitty who is a “litter kicker”, a high side box can help.
  • Antimicrobial protection
  • Non-stick for easy clean up
high sides cat litter box from amazon

2. Arm & Hammer Jumbo Litter Box

  • Low front for easy entry
  • Rounded edge for smooth entry on cat’s belly
  • Antimicrobial protection
  • Made with recycled materials
  • Made in the USA
blue cat litter box

3.  Jumbo Clear Hooded Litter Pan

  • Removable & Clear Top Cover. Aside from odor protection, high back and lid reduces spillover.Your cats won’t feel closed in or like they could be blindly ambushed.
  • Big enough to fit even large breed  cats.
  • Easy to Clean.Durable antimicrobial non-stick plastic covered litter box for easy clean-up
teal cat litter box with clear hood

4. Kitty Go Here Low Entry Litter Box

  • Opening is only 3″ from the floor.
  • Senior cats and kittens can enter and exit the pan easily.
  • Very large size gives cats more room to move around
  • Use with small amounts of litter or line with a litter pad
low entry cat litter box for senior cat or kittens

5. Van Ness High Side Litter Box

  • Budget price
  • Ideal for multiple cat households or large cats that like to dig
  • High polished finish that is odor and stain resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Multiple sizes
blue cat litter box

Self-Cleaning, Automatic Litter Boxes for Multiple Cats

I don’t recommend automatic litter boxes. These are really engineered for people not cats. Technology is not always the answer.

Most of them are too small for average to large cats.  The noise and vibrations can scare timid cats.  The rake parts can rust. Soft stool can get stuck and leave you with a bigger mess to clean. An automatic box does not change the one box per cat plus one rule so this could get expensive.

If you really want to use an automatic box, there are only two I would suggest.

1.LitterMaid Automatic Multi-Cat Litter Box

  • Designed to be used with multiple cats over 15 lb.
  • Once the rake removes waste, the waste receptacles with carbon filters keep mess and odor contained
  •  Designed with high walls to prevent litter scatter and a paw cleaning ramp to help prevent tracking around the box

Littermaid automatic litter box
2. Litter-Robot:

  • Frees you from the chore of litter box scooping
  • You can go anywhere from a short business trip to a week-long vacation without worrying about your cat’s litter box
  • Litter-Robot has no rake mechanisms that can get jammed or clogged
  • Doesn’t require special liners, a trash bag will work, but Litter Robot sells a biodegradable option
  • Works with any clumping litter

Best Disposable Litter Boxes for Traveling with Your Cat

1. Cat’s Pride Disposable Litter Pan

  • Disposable litter pans
  • Includes pan & litter all in 1
  • Can be easily disposed of
  • Great for traveling
Disposable cat litter box for traveling

2. Nature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Litter Box

  • Baking soda provides extra protection against odors
  • Will not shred or leak even with serious scratchers
  • Made from recycled paper and land-fill safe
  • Suited for use with all litter types
disposable litter box

3. Pet Safe Disposable Litter Box

  • Compact Design: Convenient collapsible design is perfect for travel with your cat
  • Leak Protection: Special wax coating inside box helps prevent leaking
  • Less Mess: Elevated entrance and privacy hood reduce litter tracking
  • Good for cats that are used to a hooded box at home
hooded disposable cat litter box

4. Collapsible Portable Folding Cat Litter Box

  • Foldable, perfect for air travel, car rides, emergency evacuations or the show hall.
  • Easy to clean, moisture repellent
  • Zips closed to carry with litter
  • Great if you don’t want to use disposable
red persian cat in a foldable travel litter box

Hopefully these litter box tips and suggestions will prevent any housesoiling problems with appropriate litter box solutions for multiple cats.

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14 thoughts on “Best Litter Box Solutions for Multiple Cats”

  1. Although I only had one cat, I didn’t realize that can be so particular about their litter boxes. Luckily, my cat used the litter box I bought for him without any issues. I’m not surprised that cats prefer unscented litter, I can’t stand the smell of the scented ones either.

  2. It’s (p)awesome that there are so many wonderful choices for litterboxes! Interesting that they are communicating when they pee outside the box! I like your suggestion of being a detective. Same holds true for dogs, my Huskies definitely are telling me something when they suddenly decide to christen indoors (which, thankfully, is rare).

  3. What a wonderful collection of liter boxes – my favorite is the Robot one! How absolutely cool is that! Now if it just automatically could dump the clumps, woot!

  4. Wow, the Litter-Robot looks like science fiction thing. And so stylish!

    Yeah, I never thought of what happens with the litter box with multiple cats–it can be a big enough problem with a large family and just one toilet. LOL

  5. We don’t have many litter boxes as the cats go outside. They Do prefer to have the recycled litter though and dislike the pine pellets as these expand and fluff up under their paws (they look on their faces!!)

    I do like the idea of a portable litter tray though, I had not seen them. What an inspired idea.

  6. Wow, so many types of litter boxes! I have never owned a cat so I did not know. My niece owns two and uses a self-cleaning one which supposedly works well for her. But I don’t think she has two. I like the one for each cat plus one idea.

  7. Yep! I’m one small cat with a huge litter box and I smaller one. I prefer the huge one. It has half a cover which I love. The smaller one has a whole cover cos the peeps can’t find one to fit in Pop’s bathroom that has a half cover. We love our Catit box.

  8. Thanks for sharing the wonderful tips. My friend recently just rescued a kitten and they already have an older cat living with them. I know they were having some litter box problems early on but will show them this to see if this can help. Have a great weekend.

  9. There are such amazing litter boxes today compared to when I had three cats and three boxes and my life would have been so much easier LOL.

  10. Great post! I don’t have cats, but feel like I can somewhat relate to picking a litter box as for many years I had litter trained rabbits. Funny that a couple of the boxes you linked too for cats are the same boxes a lot of rabbit owners use as well. Most litter boxes marketed for rabbits are way too small, so most ‘rabbit people’ opt for buying cat boxes instead.

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