If you have multiple cats, then you know that cats are surprisingly adept at figuring out how to share resources, even if they don’t particularly want to. While some cats in the same household become close friends and spend their days playing and cuddling together, other cats simply tolerate each other. But one area in which even the closest cat friends don’t want to compromise is the litter box. Ask your vet for recommendations, and he or she will almost invariably recommend that you give every cat in your household his or her own litter box. Why is sharing a litter box so difficult for cats? Here is what you need to know.
Cats need their own space.
Cats value space and privacy. Within the context of day-to-day activities within a household, they can get used to sharing things with other cats but using the litter box is different. Cats prefer space and privacy when they are in the vulnerable position of using the litter box. Sharing a litter box will increase stress and make cats feel vulnerable, which in turn can cause them to seek out other places to go to the bathroom.
Dominant cats can keep other cats out of the litter box.
Because of the desire for privacy in a litter box, the alpha cat in your household may prevent the other cats from entering the litter box. These encounters can be aggressive and lead to serious fighting, but they will also cause your non-alpha cats to look for other places to relieve themselves.
You need a litter box for each cat, plus a spare.
Ideally, you need one litter box for each cat, plus at least one spare. For instance, if you have two cats, you should have three litter boxes, spread out throughout the house. You’ll find that the cats naturally gravitate towards one and will seldom use the other. The spare provides more of an emergency outlet.
If you need help managing your cats’ behavior, call Horizon Animal Hospital. Our vets can provide behavioral advice as well as preventive care for all of your pets. To contact our vet clinic in Scottsdale, dial (480) 614-9500.