Do cats need their own litter box? I would say yes cats do (in general) but I am going to refer to and defer to Jackson Galaxy for his input on this important topic.

Many litter boxes in a multi-cat household. These are neatly organised. Photo: in public domain as published on Pinterest.

In his book Total Cat Mojo he responds to the question in the title in his inimitable way using his version of the English language. It’s nice but it makes it a little more challenging to understand. Here is a short quote:

“Is it a sign of impending territorial strife when one cat is using the other cat’s box to pee or poop? There is no such thing as one cat’s box. You want to have n+1 litter boxes, but each litter box is a communal signpost and should have every cat’s scent in it. In the cat’s social world, there is no sense of the proprietary. One cat does not (or should not) put his name on any object to the the exclusion of any other cat. Every cat is going to use those signposts, as some point, if they so desire….”

Well what do you make of that? I believe that he is saying that the number of litter boxes placed out in a suitable location should be the number of cats in the home + 1. In other words a slight excess of litter boxes to give the cats a choice. The whole array of litter boxes provide a ‘toilet area’ for the cats to share.

And cat owners should not insist that each cat in a multi-cat household uses his or her designated litter box to the exclusion of the other boxes as that’s a recipe for trouble because you’ll be sending out mixed messages leading to a possible rejection of all the boxes i.e. inappropriate elimination to use a well worn phrase.

The answer to the question is (a) place out multiple litter boxes (number of cats + 1) and (b) let the cats choose the one or ones they wish to use. Don’t try and organise the cats. That’s my reading of Jackson’s advice on the question: Do cats need their own litter box?

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I agree with your translation, Michael. Sometimes Jackson's wording needs deciphering...😁 I extract the same meaning from n+1, as indicating one litter box for each cat in residence plus one extra box. This has to be difficult and time consuming for those who care for numerous felines though. 💜💜🐾

  • I agree with your translation, Michael. Sometimes Jackson's wording needs deciphering...😁 But I extract the same meaning, n+1 equals one litter box for each cat in residence plus one extra box. I think this would have to be difficult and time consuming for those who care for large numbers of felines though. 💜💜🐾

    • I am pleased you agree with me and yes it is a demanding standard to set, perhaps impractical. But Jackson's take on this topic is interesting and valuable. I agree with his advice but it's demanding.

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