Can two cats share a litter box?

The litter box is one of the most fussy places in a cat’s life, almost like the food box.

In some cases two cats can share the same litter box but it all depends on how well they get along and how do they feel about using the same box. Most of them won’t share a litter box, especially in their adult life due to privacy reasons. 

If your cat family is about to increase and you are wondering if two cats can share a litter box you came to the right place as we do have experience with this.

Sharing the same box - how does it work?

The most common way to make two cats use the same litter box is to bring them both as kittens and make only one tray available.

If they get used to it from the beginning they won’t have any problems later when they grow up. The problems seem to appear when one cat is an adult and the other one is a kitten.

The kitten will not have a problem but the adult will usually get fussy about the box.

We did witness two Bengal cats sharing the same box.

It was an extra large box and they were both using one side of the tray or the other.
They did not go to do business in the box at the same time though as this would lead to privacy issues.

Also you can see it pretty common in kittens.

Kittens don’t mind using the same box probably because of the age and size.

Problems start to appear on adult cats when privacy becomes an issue ( same like with humans ).

Cats are very picky when they become adults and we don’t recommend trying to “train” two cats to use the same litter box as they might get cranky and start peeing in bed,carpets,sofas, etc.

If they want their separate boxes you should make arrangements for that.

Why two cats can't share the same litter box?

They simply want to have their privacy and their own clean toilet.

If the tray gets dirty it’s dirty with their own scent and not a different one. Scent is a very important  communication tool that your cat uses on a daily basis.

It gives your cat lots of information about other cats and vice-versa. If a cat detects a scent in a litter box they might refuse to use it as it’s marked by someone else.

One of the main reasons why cats don’t share the same litter box is because one of them is picky and it has problems with:

How many boxes for 2 or more cats?

The Golden Rule is: “one litter box per cat, plus one”.

This is done to prevent problems such as urine spraying and territorial problems.

Generally speaking, cats are not pack animals  – they are solitary predators and do no live in socially structured groups.

Each cat requires a place to mark its territory and that usually happens in the litter box.

If you have litter boxes in most of the rooms, you have a greater chance of removing territorial and behavioural problems.

If you have got all the trays sorted and they are still not using the litter boxes you might have to consult with a medic and do a urine test as there might be some medical problems with your companion.

Can two cats share a self cleaning litter box? 

This part gets tricky.

Why?

If you couldn’t make them use the same litter box, a self cleaning one might not work as well.

I have never tried this but the reason I have doubts about it is because of the scent.

We can never know if they don’t want to use the traditional one because of the territorial part, scent or cleanliness.

As both of them using the same self cleaning box will still leave a scent in the box, the other one might sense it and refuse to use it.

All the automatic boxes require a transition period as well. You might think they don’t like it but they are actually just getting used to it – side note on the transition period:

If you have kittens you might have to wait before purchasing a self cleaning box as they are only recommended for cats older than 6 months.

When purchasing an automatic litter box and want to “train” your cats to use it instead of the old ones, there are a few steps that you can follow to help with a smooth transition.

First you should place the new box that you want them to share instead of the old ones.

Do not start an automatic cleaning process on the tray until one of the cats has used it and keep the old trays around and do not clean them.

Cats usually prefer clean litter boxes so by making available the automatic box as the only clean one in the house, they will tend to use it instead of the old ones.

As soon as both of them are used to the new box you can start the automatic cleaning process on the tray and see how it goes.

I would still leave the old trays around for 2-3 more days just in case they are shy of the cleaning process. 

Final thoughts: What is our experience with 2 cats sharing the same box?

My cats were sharing the same litter box when they were kittens.

At the moment they are both 1 year old and have different trays and one extra.

We are not following the golden rule, it’s just more convenient for us to have 3 litter boxes.

If we have only 2 it’s more difficult to clean them, and they get filled up quite easily.

The odour in the flat are milder because of that and we don’t see trays full of clumps.


Do your cats share the same litter box?

Do they feel ok doing that? Share your thoughts with us below.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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