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How Many Litter Boxes Does A Cat Need?

Author: Dr. Jason Nicholas

Published: September 13, 2016

Updated: August 5, 2021

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how many litter boxes does a cat needDoes your cat have enough litter boxes? Litter boxes are like good friends… you can never have too many of them. Well… maybe you could have too many litter boxes for your taste, but not for your cat's.

There's a litter box rule of thumb: n+1In the veterinary profession we have a litter box "rule of thumb," it’s called the “n+1 rule.” And basically what it means is that you should have one more litter box than the number of cats you have.

# of Cats # of Litter Boxes
1 2
2 3
3 4

Why does your cat want more than one litter box?

The important thing for them is choice and accessibility. What it all boils down to is that you would (I’d imagine) prefer to have your cats peeing and pooping in their litter boxes, rather than on your floor, your laundry, or your bed. Right?

Well, although there are several things that could drive a cat away from its litter box — including arthritis, poor litter box upkeep, undesireable litter, bullying amongst cats, and many others — many of them can be prevented or improved with the presence of an appropriate number of litter boxes for your cats to choose from.

Cute white cats

Help ensure that your cat's litter box is set up the best it can be


Incorporate these steps and you’ll decrease the risks of urinary pain and other problems for your cats, as well as frustration for you. For more information on the importance of litter boxes, please read our Inappropriate Elimination in Cats: Why It Happens And How To Prevent It article. And check out 7 ways to reduce litter box smells (and messes).

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About the author

Profile picture for Dr. Jason Nicholas

Dr. Jason Nicholas

Dr. Nicholas graduated with honors from The Royal Veterinary College in London, England and completed his Internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Nicholas spent many years as an emergency and general practice veterinarian obsessed with keeping pets safe and healthy. He is the author of Preventive Vet’s 101 Essential Tips book series.

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