Home > Litter Box 101 > When it Comes to the Litter Box Set-up, Follow the “Keep it Simple” Rule

When it Comes to the Litter Box Set-up, Follow the “Keep it Simple” Rule

When setting up the litter box, the more complicated you make it, the less likely your cat will want to go there. Sure, you can find litter boxes on the market that do just about everything except take the bag of dirty litter out to the trash can for you, but the price you pay for them (and I’m not talking financial price) may be too high.

Ok, I admit that scooping the litter box isn’t the fun part of being a cat parent. Many humans go so far as to try to pretend there isn’t even a litter box in the house at all by locating it in such a remote area  a cat would need a GPS to find it. The reality is if you live with a cat he needs a litter box and that box should be:

1) the right size/type

2) kept clean

3) conveniently located

Taking shortcuts when it comes to setting up and maintaining a litter box will put you on a slippery slope toward being the cat parent of a cat with a litter box aversion problem.



The most common calls our office receives are from people who have cats with litter box problems. Many of those problems are the result of cat parents not following the 1-2-3 rule mentioned above. I’ve visited countless homes where litter boxes were hidden in damp basements or shoved in dark closets. I’ve seen boxes where it was obvious they hadn’t been scooped in days. Those poor cats had to step on mounds of soiled litter while attempting to eliminate. Would you want to use a toilet that hadn’t been flushed for days?

It’s time to take an honest look at your cat’s litter box set-up.

Photo: Fotolia

1. Litter Box Size and Type

Covered litter boxes top my list of horrible ideas. The covered box reduces air circulation so it takes longer for the litter to dry. The cover also reduces head room for the cat when he’s in there. If your cat feels too cramped when in the litter box he’ll very likely choose another location… your living room carpet, for example. That’s probably not a choice you’re going to like.


  1. We are thinking about getting a cat as a companion for our current cat. We have a litter box in the laundry room now for our current cat (easy for her to get to, easy for her to run away if needed) and we would probably put the second litter box in the bathroom. We have a small, one bedroom condo. My concern is, if the bathroom door is closed, as it occasionally obviously will be, and the new cat has claimed the bathroom litter box as her own, would she know to go use the laundry room litter box? Any thoughts here would be appreciated.

  2. Always have one more litter box than you have cats. So 2 cats = 3 boxes. You can easily point out the locations of the boxes to a new cat by picking them up and placing them in each box (let them return to you before going to the next box).

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