Where To Locate a Cat Litter Box
In this article I am going to discuss the location of your litter box. This is actually a very important issue to understand, especially if you want to make sure that your cat is going to use the litter box to do its business.
Initially the location may not sound that important, but the reality is, that it is very important to understand where these should be placed. In most homes people tend to put litter boxes somewhere that is simply out of the way.
That is usually in a corner of a room, or in a hallway or basement.
That does achieve two things:
- It keeps the box out of the way and virtually out of sight
- It also gives your cat or cats some privacy to get on with doing their business
Are those the right locations though? As a general rule most cat owners don’t want to see, and they certainly do not want to smell a cat litter box. Those decisions and more is what I will be checking out in this article.
What Do Cats Naturally Do?
Now I am not a cat mind reader and would never pretend to be that clever. It is possible however to watch cats and learn what they instinctively do. The same behavior is displayed with all cats, both large and small.
By natural instinct, cats will naturally try to bury and cover up waste by pawing through some type of sand like substance in a private location. This is what they would do if we humans were not around. There are very clear lessons to be learned here.
Golden Rules for Cat Litter Box Placement
- Always place the cat litter box in a safe area, that they can reach quickly and easily
- Find a clean, quiet and low traffic area – this is important for cat privacy
- Avoid using a closet or alley that is closed off as this makes cats very anxious and afraid as they have no escape route. All cats hate the feeling of being trapped with no escape route.
- Cats like to be able to have a clear view of their surroundings when doing their business
- If you have multiple cats, remember that one cat can be more dominant than the others, and they will not allow sharing of a cat litter box
- A corner of a spare bedroom is ideal, whereas a laundry room is not. Machines and noises will make your cat very anxious
- Never place a cat litter box near where they eat their food
- Keep your location consistent and don’t change it around if they are using it
- The area where the litter box is placed should have good light. We don’t like going in the dark and neither do your cats.
Those are the key golden rules, and below I will explain why they are very important.
Understanding Cat Behavior When Using a Litter Tray or Box
Under normal circumstances, when a cat is laying in wait, walking, stalking etc they are always in a sense of control. It allows them to attack, relax or be ready for any eventuality. That is because they have a clear vision and they feel they are in complete control.
When doing their business most cats adopt a crouching position. Just like us they have to partially concentrate on what they are doing, and just like us, they are in what they consider to be, a vulnerable position.
That is why they like to have a completely clear view and be able to see anything and everything that is going on.
Cats will also react very quickly to noise or smells. That is why a washing machine or dryer suddenly starting up in a laundry room would make them jump. That type of sudden noise would also make them avoid the litter box.
Where To Put a Litter Box In A Small House or Apartment?
If you live in an apartment or a smaller home, then the reality is that you really don’t have a large number of choices. The best that you can hope to achieve is to find a space that works best for your cat, and doesn’t use up a lot of your valuable space.
The golden rule of litter boxes is that you should have one litter box per cat plus one extra. So even if you have only one cat, the ideal situation is to have two litter boxes. My advice here is that if you just own one cat, then stick with one litter box, but make sure to clean it every day.
It’s either daily cleaning, or better still, by an automatic self cleaning litter box, and you will never have to worry about that problem again.
Most apartments just will not have the space for multiple cat litter boxes.
When placing a litter box in an apartment or smaller home, the same basic rules apply. Try to find somewhere relatively quiet, and make sure that your cat can see out of it and have a clear view.
A lot of apartment owners place it in the bathroom, which works well, as long as the door is left open.
Buying a piece of cat litter furniture is also a good idea, as that can double up as a litter box, and also serve as a useful piece of furniture around the home. These come in a few different formats such as a cabinet, bench and even an urn.
Should You Put A Litter Box in the Kitchen?
I have had a few cat owners ask me should they place their cat litter box in the kitchen? The clear answer to this is absolutely not. You do not want a cat litter box anywhere near an area where you are preparing food.
Aside from the potential of cat litter odors, the tracking of litter etc, the kitchen is also a busy area in most homes, and our cats all like to have a bit of privacy, when doing their business.
Should You Put a Cat Litter in the Bedroom?
The answer to this is yes and no. Using something like a guest bedroom, or one that gets very little use is actually a very good idea. In the main bedroom or in a kid’s bedroom is a big no.
As I have mentioned cats like a litter box somewhere quiet and out of the way with easy and full access. That means open doors and good lines of vision. It is very easy to forget about cleaning a cat litter if it is in a bedroom and not in regular view.
Should You Put a Cat Litter In a Closet with Clothes?
No, it is probably one of the worst places to do that. If you are stuck for space, then you can use a closet as long as the entrance to the box faces out towards the room. Cats don’t like darkness or confined spaces, and if your closet is in an area like that, it is not a good location.
Aside from it not being a good location, there is always the risk of litter odor getting up and around any hanging clothes. Trust me, yo don’t want to go on a night out smelling of ammonia, as it could be a very lonely night.
Should You Put a Cat Litter in the Basement?
Now this answer is an “it depends answer.” It really does depend on where the basement is with reference to where your cat likes to hang out. Cats typically like to be around their owners, and will tend to be where they are.
Kittens and younger cats are very unlikely to move too far away from the people in a house. Older cats may use it as they get a lot more used to their surroundings. Most cat owners advise that with younger cats is to initially keep the litter box close to where they hang up.
Then slowly move the litter box just a little every day, something like 6-8 feet and take it nice and slow. That way you can eventually get to the basement and the cat will understand. That of course does take quite a bit of patience and training on your part.
Summary of Litter Box Location
- Having 100% access at all times is the first priority
- Ideally in a quiet, low traffic area, with a good field of view
- Make sure to keep the litter box clean
- Close to where the humans hang out
- Not anywhere near where your cats eat and drink