Having enough litter boxes for your two cats is as essential as feeding them. But how many litter boxes for 2 cats does it take? We have an easy formula to help you!

Read on to find out how to calculate how many litter boxes you need for two cats, plus some handy tips on different types of litter boxes, how to litter box train a cat and how to place your litter boxes around the house.

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How Many Litter Boxes For 2 Cats?

The Golden Rule

The golden rule of litter boxes is to have one for each of your cats, and one extra as a communal option. So if you have 2 cats, you need 3 litter boxes.

With One Exception

If your cats occupy more than two floors of your house, you might have to up the number of litter boxes. Put at least one on each floor. More if the space is really big or difficult to navigate for your cats.

You want to make sure they always have a litter box within reach to prevent any accidents from happening. Older cats are prone to developing digestive issues or mobility problems that can inhibit their success on the litter box. Either they can’t get in, or they just don’t make it in time.

Another reason to get more litter boxes is if your cats are very territorial and don’t get along that well, since they likely won’t want to share. However, it depends on your cats’ exact habits whether they need one or two litter boxes each.

How To Litter Box Train A Cat

Training kittens to use the litter box can be a precarious undertaking. If you have another cat that is older, perhaps even your kitten’s mother, they will likely teach your youngling the ins and outs of the litter box just by showing them. Kitty see, kitty do.

A red adult cat and its kitten

Be Patient

However, if there is no mommy or feline surrogate in sight and your kitten isn’t litter trained yet, you are going to have to teach her. As with all things dealing with your cat, the key is to be patient. She’s not going to get it right away. Getting upset or raising your voice is only going to scare her, so don’t do that.

Dealing With Accidents

If she does end up peeing on something else, like a cushion, a newspaper, or a piece of clothing, you can actually use this in your favor by placing it in the litter box. Let’s face it, you were probably going to throw it out anyway. Might as well use it to teach your cat an actual lesson.

Transfer Scent

The scent, or smell rather, that she left on the item will transfer to the litter and the litter box. This will help her build the association of the litter box with doing her business. You can remove the item after a day or two, or sooner if it starts getting too gross.

The same goes for any poops you find around the house. Don’t discard them immediately. Place them in the litter box for your cat to discover.

Don’t worry too much about her finding it. Cats have a sense of smell 14 times stronger than ours, so she will know that it’s there. You hovering over her too much may actually cause her to distrust the situation and avoid the litter box. At most, you might try setting her down next to the litter box once or twice for encouragement, but I wouldn’t go beyond that.

A Bit Of Encouragement

If you do happen to catch her in the act, and not on the box, pick her up gently, but quickly, and try to get her to the litter box before she finishes. Yes, you might end up with a stain or two, but this is as clear as you’re gonna make it to her.

If she goes in the same spot again and again, the solution is even simpler. Just put a box down in that spot. As soon as she is used to it, you can start to move it to a more suitable place a few feet at a time.

What Type Of Litter Box Should I Get?

Now that you have your cats litter trained, it is time to figure out their exact litter box setup. Different cats have different needs, also in this area. And there are many different litter box types to choose from. Make sure to adjust your selection of litter boxes to your specific cats.

Young vs Old Cats

Young cats are more active than seniors. They have more energy and are more mobile. This can translate into some extra digging action in the litter box. The litter spills over the sides and onto the floor. A litter box with a high rime can help in keeping the litter where it needs to be.

At the same time, your older cats likely won’t appreciate having to step over a high edge. Especially if they have arthritis or perhaps are declawed, the added pressure of entering the litter box from the top can be too painful on their paws. That’s if they can even lift their legs to get up there.

That’s why it is important to adjust your litter box types as your cat ages. Low entry litter boxes are specifically designed for cats with mobility problems. The only catch is that you can’t fill it up with as much litter as you’re used to. A thin layer of litter will do. Just make sure to clean it a bit more often.

Female vs Male Cats

OK, I don’t want to make this about gender entirely, because the fact is that all cats spray. But, male cats do appear to have a stronger tendency to mark their territory with this nasty habit. There are litter box types especially designed to deal with this problem.

A spraying cat can be a lot to deal with, mostly in terms of cleaning. A high edge litter box may not be enough in this case. Instead, use a covered litter box, specifically a top-entry litter box, to contain all the spray inside the litter box. This saves you the trouble of having to clean your floors and walls every time it happens.

Big vs Small Cats

Your litter boxes should also be big enough for your cats to fit into. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many cat owners get the sizing wrong.

As a rule, your litter box should be about 1.5 times bigger than your cat. At this size, she can fit her whole body into it, which ensures she won’t poop over the edge. It gives her some room to turn around, so she can dig around and bury her feces. It is also not big enough to make her feel like a predator could get in and trap her.

Manual vs Automatic Litter Boxes

Two cats usually aren’t too much of a hassle to take care of. But as you start expanding your cat family further, scooping up their excrement can start to feel like a day job.

Luckily, we live in modern times when robots can do our bidding. Really! Self-cleaning litter boxes automatically remove any feces and soiled litter from the pan without you touching it. Just empty out the compartment every few days and you’re good to go.

A happy medium for those who don’t like to scoop, but aren’t ready for robots to take over, are sifting litter boxes. These have holes in the bottom and a closed compartment underneath. The dirty bits fall through and get hidden away from your sight and smell. All that’s left for you to do is remove the poops. And empty the compartment, of course.

Where Do I Put My Litter Boxes?

Try to space your litter boxes evenly around your residence. If you live in a multi-level house, be sure to put at least one litter box on each floor that your cats have access to. You want your cats to have somewhere to go, wherever they decide to rest their bones that day.

If your cats have distinct, separate territories, give them each their own litter box. Or two even, if they really never cross paths. You don’t want to force either one to enter the other one’s territory if they don’t have to.

More Litter Box Tips For Cat Owners

Clumping Or Non-Clumping Cat Litter?

When it comes to choosing a litter to put in your litter boxes, the main choice you have to make is whether to go for a clumping or a non-clumping litter. Clumping litters start to stick together when your cats pee on them. Non-clumping litters instead tend to break apart into a dust-like texture when they get soiled.

Your choice of litter affects your choice of litter box. And vice versa. Non-clumping litters work best with sifting litter boxes. Clumping litters work with most other types, except some self-cleaning ones that use crystals or proprietary materials.

Disposable Liners

One often overlooked, but super handy item available to make a cat owner’s life easier are disposable liners. These are essentially bin liners for your litter box.

Just put the liner in the litter pan. Add a thin layer of litter on top and let your cats get about their business. After a day or two, fold the bag shut and toss it in the garbage. No scooping required!

Cat Litter Tracking

Something that is rarely overlooked by cat owners is how much their cat litter tracks. How can you? It gets everywhere. Between your sofa cushions, on your carpet, in your bed…

Tracking prevention can become a lifetime obsession for some of us. That’s probably because there is no real solution to the problem. All cat litter tracks at least a little. That said, clumping litters tend to do it a lot less, in my experience.

In addition to that, cat litter mats are a great help in keeping the litter contained in the litter box area. They catch the litter from your cat’s digging actions and clean her paws as she walks away. It then gets trapped, either in a pouch, or inside the texture of the mat, which saves you a lot of time cleaning.

Final Thoughts

How many litter boxes for 2 cats? In most cases: 3.

A bigger cat family also means a bigger litter box area. With two cats you only need 3 litter boxes, so it’s still a manageable situation. And you can help yourself make the cleaning easier with self-cleaning litter boxes or simple disposable bin liners. Whatever route you choose to take, make sure their litter box accommodates your cats’ specific needs.