How many litter boxes should you have for each cat in your household?

* Adapted from Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion: Canine and Feline Behavior, co-authored by Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. Jacqui Neilson.

Litter Box Tips

One thing that endears cats to their families is their use of an indoor toileting area. With a little help we can provide just what our cats need.


  • Provide one litter box for each cat in the house, plus one additional box.
  • Boxes should be in different locations around the house to allow easy access for all cats in the home. In multi-level houses with multiple cats, litter boxes should be offered on each floor level.
  • Boxes should be easily accessible, especially for young kittens, physically disabled cats and elderly cats and this might include different sizes and heights to accommodate their needs.
  • Avoid placing boxes in high traffic zones or very remote locations.
  • Boxes should be large enough for the cat to comfortably move around in the box. The box should be at least 1.5 times the length of the cat.
  • To always provide a clean surface, boxes should be replaced annually.
  • Do not bother a cat when it is in the litter box as this may create an aversion to the litter box.


  • Most cats prefer unscented, clumping (fine, sand-like clay) litter
  • Offer enough litter so that the cat can dig/cover adequately (at least an inch in depth).
  • Plastic litter liners may be easy for us, but could be aversive to some cats


  • Most cats prefer a very clean litter box
  • Boxes should be scooped clean of waste material at least once daily
  • Boxes should be completely changed and the box washed on a regular basis usually every 7-10 days but will vary with usage and each cat’s personal preferences
  • Old litter should be dumped, the box washed with liquid soap/water, rinsed thoroughly with water and filled with new litter.
  • If after cleaning odor or staining remains behind, it is time for a new box.

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