Litter Boxes for Multi-Cat Households

In my profession, I have seen a lot of litter boxes!  There are some creative ideas out there for how to handle our kitties preferences and problem areas.  Out of necessity, creativity is born!!

Let’s assume for this discussion that you are using some type of scooping litter.  Types of litter will be discussed at a later date.

There are few cats I have seen that use the older typical box – a rectangle measuring a few inches high.  That may have worked somewhat before scooping litter, however, it doesn’t allow the depth of litter you need for good scooping.  In addition, many cats end up going over the edge of the box, which is not a pleasant thing for the person assigned to scooping the box!


Customized litter box and great placement in the bathroom

There are many taller boxes on the market now, usually with a lid.  In my opinion, most do not accommodate multi-cat households.  Unless you are there to immediately scoop the box after each use, there needs to be enough room for the next cat to maneuver their way into the box without stepping in or on another cat’s waste.  The best boxes I have seen in multi-cat households have been created by the pet guardians themselves!  A good sized storage container box with a smooth surface and the least amount of indentions in the bottom will make the best multi-cat box.  A simple cut out in the front will allow your cats access to a good sized box without breaking the bank.  You can keep the lid on or not, depending on your cats tolerance of lids.  Many cats like the ability to escape from several directions so a lid may not work for every household.  Watch for litter box bullying, it’s a common reason for litter box problems.  Fill the box with enough scooping litter so the urine will form a clumping ball before it reaches the bottom.  This will depend on the type of litter you use.  If you are having to scrape the bottom of the box, you are either not using enough litter or perhaps you need to try a different type.  Target marketed a similar litter box, but, for some reason they disappeared off the shelves.  They were pricey, but, worth it in my eyes.  I have three in my house and would have bought backups if I would have known they were going to stop carrying them.

The other common problem the storage box turned litter box helps with is the “elevator butt” cat.  This cat (like my own Suzette) starts to urinate in the usual position but then she raises up her butt resulting in overshooting the box.  What a mess!  When I tried the taller covered boxes, I found that the urine still collected in the seam where the top met the bottom box and the odor would linger.  With the taller box, I use a wet wipe to wipe down the inside when I scoop the box.  Suzette also likes to walk into a box and turn around before she goes (lucky for me or she might still be urinating out of the front entrance) and this box has the space to allow for that.  Other creative ideas I have seen include placing paper towel rolls around the box to collect and/or absorb the overshoot, plastic table mats placed upright inside the edge of the box, the litter box placed inside a larger box – these ideas are creative but didn’t work as well as the larger, taller box.

Finding a place for the larger box can be an issue.  The litter box rule of at least one box per cat still holds true, even with a larger box.  The laundry room is a common area, as long as your kitties are not easily startled by the noise of the washer or dryer, it can work.  The basement is a good place as long as your cats are not getting older and having a problem with stairs.  If there is any bullying going on, a cat might not feel safe going to the basement to use a litter box.  I have seen a few clients place the litter box in the cutout “vanity” area of a double sink bathroom as seen above.  A good use of wasted space!

Boxes from Target that they stopped making.

Boxes from Target that they stopped making.

If you’ve found a great litter box for multiple cats, I’d love to hear about it – please include a picture to share with other fur friend guardians.


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