Best Place for a Cat Litter Box?

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What’s the best place for a cat litter box in a small apartment or home?

Here’s our quick tips for choosing the perfect litter spot:

  • Use a quiet area.
  • Try converting unused sink areas to use the litter box.
  • Make it easy to access for your cat.
  • Keep it away from food and water.
  • Make it a consistent location.
  • Keep it away from other pets.
  • Offer two litter boxes.

Need more help finding out where to put the litter tray?

In the rest of this article I’ll help tease out more specific advice on where to place a litter box, then I’ll answer frequently asked questions.

Best Place for a Cat Litter Box

Unfortunately, the research on what’s best for cats is lacking.

Most expert advice is to problem solve.

In other words, try a bunch of things to find what the best place for the litter box is.

Here’s things to try:

Give Cats Time to Adjust

Cats are creatures of habit and will need to time to adjust to new location.

One study gave cat owners with (n =20) or without (n = 20) elimination problems a camcorder to record toileting.

Location didn’t affect litter box use.

One problem is this was litter was already in a known location for the cat. Other research suggests that confounds results.

A 2014 study compared a small and large litter box in different locations. After 28 days cats preferred the large box, but had a location preference for the first 2 days.

This suggests cats have muscle memory for litter box location. If you do need to change things up, give your cat time to warm up to it.

Give at least a week for your cat get used to a new location.

Use Multiple Litter Boxes

Offer at least two litter boxes.

This helps you find the best place to put the litter tray that your kitty will want use.

Experts recommend one extra litter box for every cat.

The benefit of this approach is it helps you find out which area is best. It’s easily accessible for your cat, especially for older cats with arthritis.

Cats also prefer going in clean litter boxes.

If you’re not around to scoop a litter tray 24/7 every time your cat makes a deposit, they can rotate to the fresh box.

Use a Quiet Location

Nobody wants to go to the toilet with all the hustle and bustle happening around.

Cats are no different.

Opt for quiet locations, as this offers a sense of privacy to cats.

Examples include:

  • Linen closets
  • Unused sink areas
  • Box cabinets
  • Laundry room
  • Bottom of the closet
  • Around the washing machine
  • Behind appliances

One study showed cats tended to hold in urine more in a vet clinic environment. This shows that cats hold pee in when there’s too much stress (e.g. other pets and noisy people).

What might be important is having access without having to pass other cats, people, or pets.

If they’re going to the bathroom, you want to place the litter box with accessibility in mind.

Having new people are pets in the house can interrupt the normal toileting behavior of cats. Stress is one reason for elimination problems.

My theory is cats want a discrete toileting experience to remain low key. Odor control is also easier to manage if the litter tray isn’t smack bang in the middle of the house.

An infographic showing the best place for a cat litter box

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Keep My Bathroom Smelling Good With a Litter Box?

Keep it clean.

Cleaning the litter box daily is the best way to keep smells down. However, also try using a cat litter with good odor control.

In our testing, cat litter with activated carbon is an excellent choice for smelly litter. It has high adsorption (gas trapping) properties, making it superb for cat litter.

Can Cat Litter Box Be In The Bathroom?

You can keep your cat’s litter box in the bathroom.

It is after all…a bathroom.

It’s the ideal spot for pooing and peeing!

However, you want to find out if your cats don’t mind by offering two locations.

Put one in the bathroom and one somewhere else. See if your cat is happy to use it.

You can also cat a hole in the door (which may be viable depending on where you live) for easy access. Or just keep the door open when you’re not using it.

Why Do I Need 2 Litter Boxes for 1 Cat?

Having a number of litter boxes helps you find out what cats like best.

It takes the guesswork away from knowing what your furry friend prefers. The other benefit is they can eliminate more conveniently, which is helpful for older cats that find it hard to get around.

Why Is My Cat Staying in the Litter Box?

Could be stress.

Cats in a clinic environment spent more time pawing at the litter tray, and sniffing eliminations after use. This may be stress over whether they’ve properly concealed their waste.

There’s some evidence that cats in a new environment will use a litter box to hide if there’s nowhere else.

A carboard hiding box seems to alleviate this.

Do Cats Prefer an Enclosed Litter Box?


One study compared two litter trays (covered vs uncovered). Litter boxes were placed side by side for 14 days in 27 cats, using the same cat litter (Fresh Step).

The average cat doesn’t didn’t have a preference. However, four cats preferred either covered or uncovered – suggesting the minority of cats have a preference.

Is It Ok to Keep A Litter Box In The Bedroom?


However, some research points to clay bentonite litter and lung problems. This is due to the dust kicked up.

Case studies report owners in multiple cat houses (i.e. more litter) are more at risk. Plant based cat litter is safer for use in a bedroom.


Research hasn’t demonstrated a clear preference for litter box location.

There are many factors at play unique to every house or apartment. Consider logistics of how easy the litter is to access and traffic (i.e. people and pets).

Start with two litter boxes, and tease out whether your cat prefers one spot.

Here’s our quick tips for choosing the perfect litter spot:

  • Use a quiet area.
  • Try converting unused sink areas to use the litter box.
  • Make it easy to access for your cat.
  • Keep it away from food and water.
  • Make it a consistent location.
  • Keep it away from other pets.
  • Offer two litter boxes.

One litter box is also not enough for multi-cat households. Make sure to keep both cats happy with at least one extra per feline.

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I'm qualified dietitian that's turned their attention to cat nutrition. My goal is to help tease out the science on how best to feed your cat.