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Litterbox Tips for a Multi-Cat Household

shutterstock_222017626Cats can be solitary creatures and function well on their own, but you still may be tempted to get another cat to keep your first cat company. You may do research and take precautions when introducing a new cat to the home, only to find that the cats are not getting along over a fundamental issue—the litterbox. This can lead to annoying problems, such as one or both cats defecating and urinating outside of the litterbox. Such a state of affairs is unacceptable, so it is worthwhile to get to the bottom of the issue and solve multi-cat conflicts over the litterbox.

One important tip that owners of multi-cats in small residences may not want to hear is that every cat needs its own litterbox, and there should even be one to spare. This may seem like an inefficient use of space and resources, but it may be necessary. Cats are territorial creatures and defend their defined areas with significant tenacity. This is true not only for non-neutered males who regularly get into fights over turf out of doors but even indoor female cats or felines who have been spayed or neutered. Even if the reason for the territorial tendencies isn’t present, such as looking for mates or protecting young, the instinct is still persistent. This may lead to a cat refusing to use another cat’s litterbox or acting with hostility to another cat, even one it shares a home with, should approach its sanctuary. Imagine the inconvenience if every human being in a house needed his or her own toilet, but thankfully, litterboxes can be relatively small and inexpensive.

You might prefer to have a litterbox with a lid on it that resembles a tiny house for a cat. This allows you to not have to view the contents of the litterbox on a constant basis, and can be more aesthetically pleasing than having exposed litterboxes spread here and there throughout the home. Your first cat may have been amenable to using a potty with a lid on it when it was solo, but if you adopt another cat, he or she may suddenly be off its covered litterbox. The reason for this is that, since cats are predatory and also potential prey, they are extremely vigilant and guard against being caught in a vulnerable position. This includes a sense of vulnerability when they use the bathroom. If a cat has a potential predator in the home, meaning another cat or a human who makes them feel ill at ease, the cat will need to have a full view in front, to the sides and behind before they will go to the bathroom. This is to guard against potential attack at a moment of weakness.

If you are fortunate to have two cats who do agree to share one litterbox, make sure the litterbox is cleaned on a daily basis. If your cat agrees to share the box, it does so probably without great enthusiasm, and the last thing the cat wants to see is its roommate’s waste. Some cats won’t use a litterbox that has another cat’s feces in it, so make sure your litterbox is neat and tidy at all times.

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