Dealing with the litter box is probably the only part of having a cat that’s not awesome. Nevertheless, with an open mind, some creative thinking, and attention to your kitty’s needs and preferences, it need not be the worst.
We’ve rounded up some litter box tips that can help cat people–from newbies to been there, tried that’s–navigate around this messy topic.
This is a good place to start because it’s pretty simple. Experts, including the Humane Society of the United States, recommend a minimum of one litter box per cat in your household–plus one.
So, if you have four cats, that means five litter boxes. Some cats are finicky, preferring to pee in one box and poo in another. In that case, you’ll need to double up for your discerning doo-er. They’ll definitely let you know.
“Felines prefer litter boxes that are placed in low-traffic, quiet areas that have expansive views,” certified cat behavior consultant and author Marilyn Krieger told Catster. Cats want to be able to a whole room because it helps them feel secure that they could escape a threat if necessary. That means as few closed doors as possible.
Here are a few big no-nos when it comes to kitty litter spots.
1. Dark Corners or Closets
Cats can see in the dark but really, who wants to go potty in the dark? Even with their superior eyesight, a well-lit space adds to a kitty’s comfort level during a time where they feel vulnerable.
2. High-traffic Areas
If your home is smaller, you may have few choices that provide Feng Shui feelings. Most important is not to place the litter box in a loud or high-traffic area, such as the foyer or kitchen (not to mention all that litter box dust and food—ick).
3. Near Appliances
You may have found an ideal spot for those litter boxes but if they are next to an appliance, such as a washer, dryer or wall heater, the noise of the units may turn kitty off from that spot.
4. Next to Each Other
Unless you’ve chosen enclosed litter boxes, putting two open boxes right next to one another is just like having one box. Kitty sees no difference. If you have more than one cat, there may be some issues over privacy, territory, and even bathroom bullying.
5. Far Away
If you live in a multi-level house, keep litter boxes on each level but mostly on the level where you spend the most time. Kitty is likely going to go where it’s most comfortable for him, not two floors down. In larger homes it may be tempting to put litter boxes in a basement or garage with a door cracked or kitty door installed. For some cats this may work, for other cats it may not. “The garage is probably dark and probably gets cold in the winter time,” points out PetMD. “It’s not convenient to the cat.”
6. Next to Food or Water
Do you like to eat where you potty? ‘Nuf said.
Just like us, most kitties prefer “privacy, please” when going potty. It requires some concentration so therefore can leave cats feeling a bit vulnerable. A safe, quiet, easy-to-reach spot in your home is ideal–particularly one in which you are frequently present. Here are some places that are generally agreeable.
1. The Bathroom
Usually bright, quiet, and warm, these are places where we do our business, so it makes sense cats will too. To cut down on messiness, especially on floors that often get wet, invest in a litter mat and an enclosed, yet roomy, litter box.
2. The Living Room
Often one of the larger rooms in a home, living rooms can be great spots for litter boxes. A bonus here (and in other rooms as well) are the bevy of products out there that disguise litter boxes as furniture or decor, even plants!
3. The Laundry Room
Laundry rooms are great because they are easy to clean and usually not very high traffic. If yours has space and easily accessed by a cat, put a litter box here.
4. The Bedroom
Cats like comfortable spaces, so if you don’t object, a litter box in a bedroom can be useful.
Even better, turn a spare bedroom into a kitty room with multiple litter boxes, kitty trees, and cozy beds. Cats are a constant and guests only come to stay every once in a while–that’s what couches are for!
5. Get Creative
If you have a small space with few options, remember things like night lights can brighten dark spaces, making them more appealing for cats.