Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Many Litter Boxes Per Cat Should You Have? Facts & FAQ

Lisa Hertz

By Lisa Hertz

blue tabby maine coon sitting in litter box

Litter box issues, like going outside of the box, can be a frustrating problem for cat owners, especially if you have a multi-cat household. Adding extra litter boxes may be a good solution.

What is the ideal number of litter boxes per cat? Veterinarians and cat behavior experts recommend 1 box per cat plus 1 extra. This means that in a single cat household you should provide 2 boxes, and then it goes up from there. 2 cats should have 3 boxes and 3 cats should have 4 boxes.

That’s a lot of litterboxes! It’s common for cat owners not to have that many boxes. The biggest obstacle is a lack of space. If you live in a small apartment with 2 cats, finding the room for 3 litter boxes can be difficult. In homes where space is an issue, 1 box per cat is the next best option.

Litter box problems, especially going outside of the box, can be more prevalent when multiple cats are sharing a single box. Why do too few boxes mean more problems? Let’s find out.

Why Do Cats Go Outside Their Litter Box?

There are several reasons why a cat might go outside the box. It’s important to rule out any health issues first.

If your cat is healthy, here are other reasons why your cat might be avoiding the litter box.
  • Your cat may not like the box style, type of litter, or where you placed the box.
  • The box may be too small for your cat to go comfortably.
  • A timid cat might be getting bullied by a dominant cat in the box area.
  • Your cat dislikes using a box that isn’t clean.

Many of these problems can be remedied by adding extra boxes. Having multiple boxes in different locations can help if your cat doesn’t like where you put the first box. This can also help your shy cat find an alternate place to go if another cat dominates the old box.

Of course, multiple boxes still need to be cleaned regularly, but having extra boxes means that your fastidious cat can find a cleaner place to go if another box is already soiled.

cat lying beside litter box_Shutterstock_Tanya Plotnikova
Image By: Tanya Plotnikova, Shutterstock

Where is the Best Place for a Litter Box?

Once you have extra boxes, where do you put them? To avoid litter box issues, place the boxes in quiet, private areas away from where you feed your cats. Many people choose bathrooms, but other rooms can also work.


If you have the space, you can put boxes throughout the house in bathrooms, spare bedrooms, and the laundry room. If you have a very small space, consider utilizing closets or cabinets if you don’t have multiple rooms—just be sure to leave the door open if you do.

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Lisa Hertz

Authored by

Lisa is a California-based pet writer who has a master’s degrees in English and library science and experience in both academic librarianship and non-profit research, indexing and abstracting, as well as information resource management. In 2014 she changed careers and became a full-time pet writer, where she is able to apply her research skills. Lisa volunteers with a local pet charity, enjoys gardening, and curling up ...Read more

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database