Ah, the age-old question – “Where to put a cat litter box?” It’s one that every cat owner wonders and asks at some point. You might not have realized it before, but the placement of your cat’s litter box matters a great deal. Location, location, location, as they say!
Whether you’re a first-time cat parent wondering where to put your cat’s litter box, a long-time cat parent looking to fix some undesirable litter box habits, you live in an apartment, or you live in a house… read on so you can learn how to formulate a litter box plan that will set your cat up for happiness and success!
Thinking About Your Cat’s Litter Box Location
When thinking about your cat litter box location, there are several things to consider:
- What areas of the house does your cat spend the most time in?
- What areas of your home offer some privacy while also not being completely secluded and out of the way?
- What areas of your home are quiet?
- What areas of your home will your cat have 24/7 access to?
- How many cats do you have?
People tend to view a cat’s litter box as some disgusting thing that should be hidden away. They put them in areas of the house that no one goes – like the basement, a closet, or a dedicated “cat room” along with the cat’s food and water. Then when the cat doesn’t use them, they wonder why and blame the cat.
When deciding where to put a cat litter box, think about where YOU would want YOUR bathroom to be. You wouldn’t want your bathroom to be in a dark and out-of-the-way place. You’d want it to be well-lit and conveniently located while also remaining private. That’s what your cat wants too.
Your cat shouldn’t have to travel far to get to the litter box from their favorite hangout spot or from the areas of the house where they frequent most. That means you should have a litter box on each floor if you live in a multi-level home, and maybe even a litter box on each end of your house if you live in a larger one-story home.
Placing litter boxes in room corners and around the perimeter is best as well, as those areas tend to be a bit more private than out in the middle of a room.
And just as you wouldn’t want to eat where you poop and pee, neither does your cat. Litter boxes should not be in the same area of your home as your cat’s food and water dishes.
One final thing to consider when thinking about your cat’s litter box location is how many litter boxes you will need. The general rule of thumb is to have a litter box for every cat, plus 1. So if you have 3 cats, you should have 4 litter boxes. Even if you only have 1 cat, you should have 2 litter boxes, as many cats prefer to poop and pee in separate locations.
In a multi-cat household, you will also want to make sure your cat’s litter boxes are in locations where they won’t feel trapped. They are at their most vulnerable when going to the bathroom, so they like to be able to have a good view of who might be coming in their direction as they use the litter box. They should also be placed in areas of your home your cat always has access to as well as areas that provide a clear escape route to ease any anxiety.
Where to Put a Cat Litter Box In a House
As you can probably tell by now, some rooms of your home are better suited than others for litter box placement. Maybe you’re reconsidering your first ideas for where to put a cat litter box in your house but still aren’t quite sure of the best spot. Don’t worry, we’re here to help!
The Master Bedroom
While you might first balk at the idea of having your cat’s litter box in your bedroom, this is actually one of the best places for it. Chances are your cat hangs out in there with you on a regular basis, and it’s a quiet, low-traffic area of your home. If you’re worried about litter tracking or smells, you can place a litter mat in front of the box to catch any stray litter, and be sure to scoop the box at least once a day (twice is better!).
Seems like a logical place, right? A room for everyone to go to the bathroom! Just like your bedroom, a bathroom is generally quiet and private while also in a central area of your home. If there’s enough room, squeezing a box in beside your toilet is an ideal spot. Perfectly out of the way! Just be sure you remember to leave the bathroom door open when you aren’t using it.
The Living Room
Living rooms tend to be spacious and open, which is ideal for allowing your cat a good view of their surroundings. Living rooms can be a bit more high-traffic than other areas of the home though. If you opt for a living room litter box, be sure you put it in a quiet corner and avoid the entryway or areas beside the couch or coffee table.
The Laundry Room
While this may seem like an ideal spot because it’s out of the way, the laundry room can be noisy. The sounds of the washer and dryer might scare your cat off from using the litter box. If you decide to put a litter box in the laundry room, you should have a second one in another quieter location so your cat has somewhere else to go on laundry days.
Unless your basement is a well-lit and common hang-out spot for everyone, resist the temptation to put your cat’s litter box down there. A dark, dingy, secluded basement is not an inviting environment for anyone to go to the bathroom in. While it may seem ideal because it’s out of the way, you and your cat both will be more likely to forget it exists.
Where to Put a Cat Litter Box In a Small Apartment
Okay, so maybe you live in a smaller apartment and are racking your brain for a solution to the litter box conundrum. Space is limited, after all. If you don’t have space in any of the rooms mentioned above, here are some creative ways to help you figure out where to put a cat litter box in a small apartment:
- Use a litter box with a lid and have it double as vertical space for your cat by placing a cat bed on top. Cats love to be on top of things and enjoy that vertical space! We’d recommend using a clear litter box with a clear lid so your cat is able to have a full view of its surroundings while going to the bathroom. They feel vulnerable when using the litter box and don’t like to feel like they’re being snuck up on.
- Place a litter box under your desk. If you have an office area with a desk, that can be a great place for a litter box. It’s out of the way, but also open enough that your cat won’t feel too trapped.
- Take a door off an under-the-sink cabinet in your bathroom and put your cat’s litter box in there. While cats don’t generally prefer enclosed spaces like that, sometimes there isn’t a way around it.
- Invest in a litter box disguised as a piece of furniture. There are many litter boxes designed to look like end tables or chests that you can put in your living room or bedroom. These give you the functionality of a tabletop while also giving your cat a place to go to the bathroom. As with the under-the-sink suggestion, these furniture litter boxes are enclosed and may cause your cat to feel trapped and uncomfortable, so if you have to go this route, you should also provide your cat with an uncovered litter box if possible.
Besides lack of space, stray/scattered litter and unpleasant smells may be of concern. A litter mat placed in front of your cat’s litter box will help catch any stray litter, and regular box scooping will keep the smells at bay. You should scoop your cat’s litter boxes at least once a day. A full litter box refresh (changing out the litter completely) should be done every couple of weeks.
How Do I Know If My Cat’s Litter Box Location Works?
The clearest and most obvious sign that your cat doesn’t like their litter box is if they go to the bathroom outside of it. This behavior is known as inappropriate elimination.
If you are changing up your cat’s litter box locations or putting out new litter boxes in new places, be aware that it might take your cat some time to adjust to these changes. However, if after a few days of adjustment your cat is still eliminating inappropriately, you may need to reconsider the litter box placement.
Finding those ideal places for litter boxes can be a process of trial and error. It’s well worth the effort though because once you find the perfect setup, you and your cat will be able to live harmoniously without any added litter box-related stress!
Have you had to get creative with your cat’s litter box placement? We’d love to hear where you keep your cat’s litter box(es)!
About the Author: Emily is “mom” to seven cats, one dog, and two sugar gliders. She has been writing in the pet industry for over 8 years, with a focus on cats, rescue, and adventuring. When she isn’t writing, playing music, crocheting, or working on her own entrepreneurial pursuits, Emily and her husband enjoy hiking, road-tripping, camping, and canoeing with their three cat adventurers. Follow her on her blog, KittyCatGo.