As a guardian of multiple cats, you are faced with a difficult choice. You can get multiple litter boxes so all the kitties can have their own toilets and deal with all the extra work. Alternatively, you can get a single, high-quality multi-cat litter box to suit all their needs and invest some effort in teaching your cats how to share. Both options have their advantages and downsides and it is up to you to decide which scenario better suits your preferences.
Before you make your decision, it is important to know exactly what you can expect depending on the option you choose. This time, we are listing all the pros and cons of having multiple litter boxes.
Cats that are extremely territorial or do not get along very well with their roommates normally prefer having personal toilets. If your cats express such preferences, having multiple litter boxes is probably a wise idea. Here are all the reasons why it is good to have more than 1 litter box in a multi-cat household.
No Cat Fights
If you have at least one spare litter box, you are minimizing the likelihood of your cats fighting over the toilet. This is particularly important if your cats are in sync and tend to go at the same time, for example, after a meal or a nap. With just one litter box at their disposal, it is a first come, first served situation – and the toughest cat is likely to get aggressive in order to assert his or her dominance. Thus, with multiple litter boxes, you can preserve peace between the alphas and the omegas.
Lowered Chance Of Improper Elimination
If one of your cats is more dominant than the others and you only have one litter box, the cats that feel inferior may be afraid to use the toilet. Consequently, they may feel forced to do their business elsewhere, like on the carpet, in a corner or anywhere outside the dominant cat’s territory. With an obvious alpha in the house, it is better for both you and the less dominant cats if you invest in additional litter boxes.
Satisfying Everyone’s Needs & Preferences
Not all litter boxes are suitable for all cats. Kittens, elderly cats, and disabled kitties need lower entryways so they can get into the litter box without any troubles. Litter boxes that exclusively use clumping litter are not perfectly suitable for kittens under 6 months of age. Introverted cats prefer covered litter boxes while extroverted cats prefer open-top litter boxes that allow them to observe their surroundings. If your cats greatly differ in age, mobility, and preferences, it may be difficult to find one litter box to fit them all, unless you are willing to invest in more advanced and expensive multi-cat solutions designed to suit virtually all cats, like Litter Robot or the less pricey CatGenie.
Easier Health Monitoring
If all of your cats do their business in the same litter box, it is virtually impossible to know which excrement belongs to which cat. Thus, if one of your cats is having some health problems that result in changes in excrement texture, smell or color, you need to be able to allow your cats to do their business in isolation, i.e. in different litter boxes, in order to determine which one needs to see the vet.
Now that we have mentioned all the upsides of having additional litter boxes in your home, it is time to focus on the cons. Here are the main disadvantages of owning multiple cat toilets.
Litter-Box-Centric Interior Design
Contrary to popular opinion, you cannot place a litter box anywhere it suits you. You have to choose the location based on your cats’ preferences. Namely, the litter box should be easily accessible, near the cat’s favorite spot, and in a place that is not too dark and/or cold. Moreover, it should be away from high-traffic areas, food and water, and another cat’s territory.
In other words, finding the perfect spot for just one litter box is not exactly easy. Now imagine how hard it is to choose optimal locations for multiple litter boxes, especially if you already have a lot of furniture.
Additional litter boxes require extra space and with all the abovementioned requirements, it may be impossible to strategically place each of them without moving furniture around or even removing some pieces of furniture from your home. Plus, if you were to choose the wrong location for only one litter box, you would most probably have to deal with house soiling, which is never pleasant.
With multiple litter boxes, you have to deal with more odors, even though the amount of waste produced is the same. This is probably because the odors are coming from several locations, which allows the unpleasant smells to easily spread all across your home. To solve this issue, you need to scoop regularly, preferably daily. To banish more persistent smells, you may need to use high-efficiency odor eliminators, such as Live Pee Free! or OdorKlenz.
It goes without saying that if you have multiple litter boxes, you need to invest more time and effort into cleaning. If you are on a tight schedule, keeping one litter box clean can be challenging enough. Thus, you should calculate how much time you need to properly clean one litter box and multiply it by the number of litter boxes you want to get and figure out if you can make it work. If it seems like more hassle than you can handle, you should consider getting self-cleaning litter boxes, like Nature’s Miracle or PetSafe Simply Clean. They can help you save time, minimize odors, and keep your kitties satisfied.
To maintain the minimum litter level in multiple litter boxes, you need a whole lot of litter, much more than with one multi-cat litter box. That means that you need to spend more cash on litter and restock your supplies more frequently. Plus, more litter equals more waste, so you also need to come up with a smart and efficient waste disposal system.
Having multiple litter boxes is necessary if your cats do not want to share the toilet. On the plus side, with additional litter boxes, all cats can have toilets that perfectly suit their needs. The less dominant cats can go to the toilet whenever they want and they are less likely to do their business outside the litter box. Finally, additional litter boxes let you easily monitor your cats’ health by inspecting their excrement individually.
However, multiple litter boxes require more space, more litter, and more cleaning and they inevitably result in more odors. Thus, when deciding whether to get multiple litter boxes or just one multi-cat litter box, you need to take into consideration your cats’ personalities and preferences as well as your schedule and budget.