In your attempt to provide privacy at the litter box, you may have located it in a closet or even hidden it in a closed cabinet with a cat flap. There are even some litter boxes on the market these days that are disguised as planters or end tables. There are even top entry boxes available. Imagine the poor cat who finds herself getting ambushed from ABOVE. Yikes! Don’t be tempted to purchase fancy litter boxes in an effort to provide privacy for your cat. These products could end up being an expensive mistake if your cat feels too trapped in there.
When a cat needs to eliminate, the area she chooses should afford her safety and escape potential. If the cat lives in a multipet home (especially a hostile or cat-dense one), the need for escape becomes even more crucial. Adequate warning to see an approaching opponent, as well as more than one exit route must be factored in when deciding on the type of box to buy. Where to locate the box must also be a strong consideration. If your cat is eliminating outside of the box in your home and she lives in a hostile multipet environment, you may find the areas chosen for elimination are more open, allowing enough visual warning time and more than one escape option.
Think Like a Cat
Sometimes the solution is as simple as removing the litter box cover or sliding the box out from the closet. I often advise placing the box on the side of the room opposite the entrance. The more warning time the cat has, the better. When choosing a litter box location, get down on the cat’s level and you’ll see her world from a totally different perspective.
In multicat homes you should carefully choose locations for the litter boxes. Just having seven litter boxes for seven cats isn’t adequate enough if all the boxes are lined up in one room. Take into consideration that one cat may not want to cross another cat’s preferred location. Litter boxes should be scattered around to reduce the chances of confrontation. If a cat feels frightened about crossing another cat’s location just to get to the litter box, she may decide it’s easier to just pee or poop on the carpet rather than risk a physical fight. Additionally, if she knows there’s a good chance she’ll get ambushed while in the box she’ll probably avoid that box altogether. That’s why it’s up to the cat parent to create a safe environment when it comes to the litter box set-up. Humans can lock the bathroom door to ensure no one barges in on them but cats don’t have that option.