Negotiating a truce in litter box wars

When two cats are in the house, owners need at least three litter boxes to keep the peace between pets, writes veterinarian Marty Becker. Boxes should be in locations that offer easy access yet privacy, adds Dr. Becker. Although most cats prefer soft, unscented, clumping litter, preferences may differ, so Dr. Becker recommends trying several types to find the best fit. The Sacramento Bee (Calif.)


Q. We already had an adult cat. We adopted a kitten, and now that she’s half-grown, we have litter box issues, specifically wars over the box. What should we do to make them “share the bathroom”?

A.  One box is not enough. You should have one box for each cat, plus one. If you have one cat, you need two litter boxes. Two cats, three litter boxes. Put them in different locations. For instance, keep one upstairs and one downstairs. That way, one is always convenient. And with more than one cat, it prevents fights over who gets to use which box when it’s needed.

Some cats like to ambush others when they use the litter box, so place litter boxes in locations with easy escape routes. Privacy is important, too.  Another good reason to have multiple litter boxes: Each cat may prefer a different type of litter.

What about what goes inside the box? There are all kinds of different cat litter, and they all have pros and cons. Most cats prefer clumping litter because of its soft, sandy feel. It’s easy on the paws and easy to scoop. Other cats might like a fine-grained clay litter. Look for one that comes in a dust-free formula. Some cat litter is easier on the Earth, made from recycled paper or natural substances like corncobs or wheat. But if your cat doesn’t like it, you’ll be throwing a lot of it out, which is not that environmentally friendly. Let the cats pick their preferences by offering a “litter box buffet.”

Avoid scented litter. It might smell good to you, but that perfumed odor can be sensory overload for a cat.

– Dr. Marty Becker

2 Responses to “Negotiating a truce in litter box wars”

  1. Totally agree. I recommended to use of biodegradable litter, which is good for health and the environment. In Catthink, we often use grass-based litter, pine is also popular.

  2. That’s absolutely correct. Biodegradable litter is the new way to take care of our environment. I would like to recommend to all near and dear pet parents.

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