The best place for a cat litter box is a location that meets several requirements. Cat owners often understand their expectations about where to keep the box. Yet they sometimes forget to think of what the cat wants.
Unfortunately, quite often, these interests collide. For example, people love to have small boxes that are out of sight, whereas cats, instinctively, prefer large boxes that are in plain view.
In this article, you will learn what is the best place to put a cat litter box and how can you meet those requirements, without sacrificing your own preferences.
Better litter box placement not only solves house-soiling
Below tips will be of good use regardless if you want to know the best location to keep the litter box because a new kitten is arriving at your home soon, or if your older cat is soiling in the house. Even more, if your cat has no visible litter box problems, he may still benefit from you reconsidering the location. Better litter box location equals lower stress, more convenience and improved wellbeing of a cat.
Below are things to keep in mind, when choosing the best place for the cat litter box:
- Close to activity spots of your cat. If your cat needs to go to the toilet, then he needs it now. Forcing your cat to walk through several rooms to get to the litter box, may make him find another location, that is more convenient. For example, a carpet or a plant pot. The litter box should be easily reachable from all the rooms your cat spends most of the time. If your cat loves sleeping in your bedroom and playing in the living room, then you might consider placing a box in a room, that is between them. In most cases, you should allow the cat’s longest journey to the litter box, no longer than through two or three other rooms. Not a problem for small houses, but if you have a large one, you definitely need several boxes.
- Put the box in an open location. Let us explain what we mean. During an elimination, a cat has to maintain a vulnerable posture, in which he is not able to fight back. This means that cats naturally seek locations that provide an escape path available. Around the corner in a tight niche won’t do it. A cat must have a view over the immediate surroundings and also several paths to dart away. This is why cats appreciate litter-boxes in hallways or rooms with several entrances. Of course, a cat may use a litter box in a corner room, no problem, but, if you have more than one cat, or if you have a dog or other pets, this point becomes even more critical. For example, if the room has two entrances, the cat will feel more secure; if a dog comes in through a door and wants to lick the cat’s face (they often do), the cat has the other door to escape.
- Not too close to food and water. One of the conveniences for us, pet owners, is to create a “cat dedicated corner” in the house. Why scatter everything around, if you can place everything neatly in a corner, or at least a few corners. Cats, however, have different things in their minds. In nature, places where the cat sleeps, eats (hunts), drinks water and eliminates are all in different areas. Take food, for example. For one thing, eating near the toilet is something none of us want. Also, going to the toilet near the food source seem counterintuitive for cats. A cat who eliminates near his hunting grounds will not have much success in the hunt. His scent will warn the prey, and they will move someplace else. Ideally, if you can place a litter box, food and water in separate locations. Not necessarily in different rooms, but still a few steps away at a minimum.
- The privacy of the cat litter box should not be overlooked. You do not need to place a litter box behind the curtain, of course. See the point above. Cats require to see what’s around while doing their business. However, if you place the box in a crowded location, where there are lots of people walking around or other pets crowding, or even noisy washing machines nearby. It all differs from a cat to a cat, from a household to a household. However, the privacy part becomes ever so important if you have more than one cat. In such a case, you likely know how your cats have divided up the house. Look in which rooms each cat spends most of their time. Each cat has to have a box in a part of the house which he is comfortable to use. If one has to cross the “territory” of another cat, you have a problem brewing.
Sometimes, if you look through your house, you might find that not a single spot meets all of the above criteria for the best litter box placement. Do not panic. While, it is, of course, the best to meet all of the recommendations, sometimes, it may still work by skipping one or two. Just check how it works for your cats.
If your cat is not using a litter box, do not always rush to the conclusion that the box has an incorrect location. Check for other reasons why cats do not use their boxes here. However, even if there are other underlying problems, finding a better place for your cat’s box, may go a long way.
This article is a part of a series about cat litter box issues.