HomeCat Behaviorscent markingDoes Your Cat Need Two Litter Boxes?


Does Your Cat Need Two Litter Boxes? — 11 Comments

  1. Michael,
    Thanks for sharing about Monty’s bathroom habits, lol. I found his behavior interesting and I hoped others would as well. I like all your theories. I do think he is spreading his scent as far as possible back there. I also noticed, now that you mention it, a different consistency and depth to the leaves/soil in his two toilet areas. He seemed to dig deeper for the poo, into more dead leaves and even into the dirt beneath. He covered it more carefully. It seemed like he did not dig around as much or as deeply prior to urinating and he spent a little less time covering it up. It all could have to do with scent marking.

    He will use his litter box, hop out, watch me scoop it and hop back in and use it again. So there is no physical separation and it is into the same litter, but he definitely likes to separate poop and pee. I scoop his box a lot so that works out.

    My sister’s cat Kobe (who passed away recently) liked to pee in the living room. This started way before he became feeble from old age. I always told her he wanted a separate litter box in there. She said she did not want a litter box in her living room. So she kept cleaning cat pee off that rug because whether she wanted it or not the cat wanted it. Even the best cleaning products did not deter him from returning to that spot.

    I think sometimes you just can’t fight nature and if there is some instinct driving your animal companion to behave a certain way you may as well just give in and find a way to accommodate him.

  2. Meanwhile, at my own home, both cats use the same extra-large litter box (in the bathroom). The litter box is on a boot tray, so when they step out, litter is caught on the ridges of the tray to lessen litter tracked on the floors. The litter itself is a very fine cedar chips. Both seem to like it. I scoop whenever I’m in the bathroom. Sometimes they even watch, especially when I’m cleaning it out. Once the fresh litter hits the box, they each take turns using it. Like Dee, good thing they share the box; otherwise, I’d be out of my mind with multiple boxes.

    • I think the number of cats needing 2 litter trays are few! You are well organised. I think an extra large litter is a neat idea. As they share they must be close.

      • One would think they were best buds and mostly they are. Every now and then they behave like any sibling and “pick on” each other…you know, the random paw swipe, then innocently looking away type of deal. Shadow will sniff Abby’s tail or neck rough and she hisses and smacks him. Then she does the same thing – sniffs his tail and back, only Shadow likes it, LOL!

        When the litter box is dirty; however, both take turns doing the staring bit until I get up and they lead me to the box like a dog would lead its master. I swear, I’ve been thoroughly trained by these two.

  3. Funny this article was published, since I just had this same exact scenario with a volunteer at our shelter. She’s got an indoor only cat, healthy, no issues of any kind including an absence of stress. For some unknown reason, apparently, he pees in one box and poops in another. The box he poops in has “Yesterday’s News” litter, which is recycled newspaper processed into small cylindrical pellets. When he pees, that box is filled with a crystal-type litter. Go figure. No one can figure out why, but he does his business in a litter box, so the volunteer says it’s OK with her. The cat also got a clean bill of health from the vet.

    • It occurred to me that some cats might like a substrate (I think that is the term for the type of litter material) for pee and another for poop. It is hard to figure out why. The reason might be the opposite of scent marking – scent masking (I like that!). Burying poop masks the odor. Perhaps the newspaper litter masks the smell better or at least he thinks it does although I’d have thought it was less good than silica.

      I am just thinking aloud.

      • Monty definitely buried his poop under a lot more leaves and dirt than his pee. He spends a lot of time searching for just the right spot to do his business back there. It could be about just the right amount of scent marking vs masking. Very interesting.

  4. I think that this is spot on (Oh my. I’m sounding more English by the day – as well as getting more senile).

    In any case, I have several cats and several boxes.

    It’s common for most to pee in one and, then, move to another to poo. It doesn’t seem to matter if another has peed or pood before in each box. I’m glad about that, because there’s no way I could double the number of my boxes here unless one became my bed.

    • So it isn’t just Monty! I had a feeling he was not all that unique in this respect and that others would have observed similar behavior from their cats.

  5. I think one other factor is how often you clean. I have one box for two cats – I know that it’s not recommended, but it works for me so far, but I clean it multiple times a day. On weekends, whenever I see a cat use it or maybe went to a room and see that there is something there, I scoop. On weekdays, I usually scoop as soon as I wake up, then one more time before I leave for work. In the evening, I scoop as soon as I get home and then one more time before going to sleep. When I am on vacation, my 85-year old father scoops less often – usually 2-3 times a day, but it still seems to be enough.
    A neighbor has only one cat and one litter box, and the cat occasionally goes next to it. When I asked her how often she scoops, she said only her husband does it and he does it every 3 days. I suggested to do it at least every day.

    • Yes, keeping the box clean is definitely important. Monty’s get scooped frequently. I work close to home so I pop in on my lunch breaks and check in on him, feed him a lunch he does not need (but thinks he does) and scoop his box if needed.

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