If you have multiple cats and there’s tension between two or more of them, then that tension may be carried over into the litter box. When a cat is taking care of personal business in the box is sometimes the ideal time for an opponent to stage an ambush. This is especially convenient for the one doing the ambushing if the box is covered or wedged in a corner. The lack of escape potential makes the kitty in the box a sitting target.
Develop a Plan
If you suspect that litter box ambushes are taking place there are three things that need to be done:
First, create a litter box set-up that allows the kitty in the box to have maximum visual warning time. Place the box opposite the door to the room. If your cat can see who’s entering the room and still have time to make a hasty escape, that will increase her sense of security.
Next, create maximum escape potential with an uncovered litter box. A covered box limits the cat’s visual warning time and also allows only one entrance and exit. When kitty is in the middle of elimination duties isn’t the time she wants to be surprised. An uncovered box lets the cat escape in whatever direction is safest.
Finally, set up multiple litter boxes in various rooms in the house. In a multicat household the rule of thumb is to have the same number of boxes as you have cats. In addition to having the right number of boxes, their location is crucial as well. You don’t want boxes all lined up in one room because one cat may be guarding that room and making it difficult for another cat to pass through in order to reach the box. Spread the boxes out so one cat doesn’t have to come into another cat’s area if she doesn’t feel comfortable.
Need More Help?
For specific step-by-step help with litter box issues in multicat homes, check out the book Cat vs. Cat. This first-of-its-kind book provides solutions to the unique challenges that multicat households face.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.