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I have two cats and three litter boxes. It seems that some days they will both go mostly in box A, with a little bit in boxes B and C, and other days they will go mostly in box B, with a little bit in boxes A and C. (They never go mostly in box C, which is smaller, but it's rarely completely unused.) It's not strictly alternating or any other pattern I can figure out.

I don't think it's a problem (though please tell me if it is), but previous pairs of cats I've had would each claim one box as "theirs", so I'm curious about what might be going on with this pair.

  • I personally don't think it's anything more than how we determine which toilet stall/urinal to use (with each person having their own preferences), but I'm curious about this too since my cats primarily use one specific box. – Allison C Dec 9 '19 at 20:41
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I agree with you that this isn’t necessarily concerning!

Here are a couple things I’ve heard about cats and their litter box:

  • It could be a location preference. If there is one litter box closer to where they are hanging out for the time being, that litter box may be used more.

  • It could also be a preference of marking their territory. They may be going back to what smells familiar. So if they hardly use one, they may rarely go back to that as it wouldn’t smell familiar

  • As for cats making a “claim” on one box, this could have something to do with compatibility. I’ve heard cats only cover their poop do they wouldn’t be prey.... as if it were an alpha/dominance situation. Maybe your cats now don’t necessarily feel that one is more dominant than the other. This is a total guess though!

  • Cats are very particular about their litter boxes. I’ve seen so much about how they prefer clean ones, ones with the right amount of litter, ones with certain litter, ones of a certain size, etc. It isn’t surprising to me that the smaller litter box gets used less.

My last thought is I think we give our pets a little too much credit of being thoughtful like humans. I think at the end of the day there may be no true rhyme or reason as to why they could be using one litter box more. It could because they just felt like it!

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