Pets may seem similar, but there are significant differences between different animals. While you may think that litter-training a cat is identical to litter-training a dog, this isn’t the case. The main difference in cat households is that cats are naturally predisposed towards eliminating their waste by pawing through sand-like substances in private, and often hidden, locations.
Most problems you’ll face when training your cats won’t be from the cats – they’ll be entirely man-made. Your cat may refuse to use its litter box for several reasons: the wrong type of litter, a dirty litter box, and poor litter box placement.
Today we’ll be covering the best places to keep a litter box to ensure your cat uses it faithfully. However, we’d like to point out that many cats will still use badly-placed litter box – but why make your cat’s life harder?
Litter Box Location Mistakes
1. Too much privacy
Most cat owners care a lot about their cats. They frequently place litter boxes in extremely private areas. Although it may sound counterintuitive, this isn’t always the best thing to do.
You need to realize that your cat views things differently than you do. Safety comes foremost for a cat, even before privacy. While litter boxes placed in closets, in small rooms, and in cabinets are incredibly private, it’s also more difficult for a cat to escape from such areas vs. high traffic areas.
2. Not considering odor
Litter boxes don’t always smell pleasant, and it’s only natural that we want to stuff them into out-of-the-way places where the smell won’t bother us. However, do we even consider that the odor may be bothering our cat?
Enclosed spaces often retain smell for a long time, and it’s easy for a cat’s well-developed sense of smell to notice this and avoid the area.
3. Putting aesthetics first
We often hide our cat’s litter boxes, so we don’t have to look at them every time we enter a room. However, we often also end up keeping the boxes in places that are hard to reach for our cats. A cat will try to make it to a litter box, but if it’s tucked far out of the way, it isn’t always going to make it to the box in time. This is especially true if you have a kitten, senior cat, or one that’s otherwise disabled or impaired.
4. Considering human convenience first
As we’ve established before, we often assume that what’s convenient for us is convenient for our cats too. Let’s talk about several things we do that make life more convenient for us but harder for our feline friends. If you’ve got multiple litter boxes and place them right next to each other, a cat will view them as a single box.
Never place litter boxes close to food bowls. Cats don’t like going to the bathroom close to where they eat – they’re fussy like that.
Where Should You Place Your Cat’s Litter Box?
We’ve talked a lot about where you shouldn’t put a litter box, but what about where to put it? Here are some things to consider when you’re looking for the best location for your cats to go to the bathroom.
1. Feline convenience first!
Cats prefer their litter boxes to be in quiet, low-traffic areas, preferably with a large field of view. While there are often such places in bedrooms, living rooms, and family rooms, you probably won’t want a litter box in an area like that.
A large field of view allows your cat to feel safe and allows it to escape from threats while it’s doing its business.
2. Multiple litter boxes
Cats prefer being able to choose from several different areas. For multiple cats, a rule of thumb is one litter box per cat and one for the whole household. If you have five cats, you should get six boxes. Multiple-level homes also require boxes on each level.
3. Quiet areas
Don’t put a box in loud areas where there’s lots of activity. Cats are solitary creatures and probably won’t use a litter box placed smack in the middle of a busy route. While they aren’t as private as humans are, they don’t like eliminating waste with an audience either.
4. Put yourself in your cat’s shoes
The best way to select a litter box location for your cat is to crouch down to cat-level and look at your house from a feline perspective. A site that seems ideal from a human height may seem horrible once you put yourself in your cat’s shoes.
Final Thoughts on Good Litter Box Placement
Litter box placement is a significant factor that decides whether your kitty will eliminate in it or not, so it’s in a pet owner's best interests to find the perfect spot for your feline friend.