Can You Keep A Litter Box In The Bathroom?


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Can You Keep A Litter Box In The Bathroom

It can sometimes take some creativity to completely “catify” your home!

From water bowls and cat trees to litter boxes and scratching posts, there’s a lot to consider and our feline friends can sometimes be quite picky.

But one of the biggest issues that cat parents face is finding the perfect spots for the litter boxes. It doesn’t matter if you have a massive home or a small studio, it can be a tricky task.

However, one of the most obvious locations seems to be the bathroom.

While humans do a lot more in bathrooms than just use the toilet, the overlap between our bathrooms and litter boxes is pretty obvious.

So can you keep a litter box in the bathroom? Is it okay to do?

Bathrooms can be a great place for the litter box thanks to their central location and the fact that they’re already being used as a human bathroom. There’s usually enough space to squeeze in the right sized litter box. The biggest downside is that the bathroom may not always be available for cats. 

That’s the quick answer but there’s plenty more to cover so let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about placing the litter box in the bathroom.

Cats Need More Than One Box!

Before we dive into the details of keeping the litter box in the bathroom, it’s important to understand that even if you just have one cat you’ll ideally have more than one litter box. Feline experts agree that you should have the same number of litter boxes as you do cats, plus one.

In households with multiple cats, this can go a long way to preventing conflict but even a solitary feline will appreciate more than one litter box.

But if you’re using the bathroom as a litter box location it’s even more important since there’s a good chance that the bathroom won’t be available 24 hours a day for your feline friend.

Whether it’s because a guest is using the bathroom or you just don’t want to use the toilet with the door wide open (understandable) your cat may need to have another option to use the bathroom while their main litter box location is occupied.

So make sure you’re considering the cats plus one rule of litter boxes before you decide on any litter box location!

What’s Good About Placing The Litter Box In The Bathroom?

There’s a lot to love about placing a litter box in the bathroom and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the more popular options out there so let’s look at some of the big benefits of going this route.

Smell Management

While it may not always be pleasant, stinkiness in a bathroom is normal and to be expected. At least a lot more expected than the smell of cat poop in the kitchen!

In other words, it’s a lot easier to manage stinky smells in the bathroom compared to the rest of the house. Even though you wouldn’t want to place essential oils or similar air fresheners inside the litter box, most bathrooms have a built-in vent which is a big improvement from the rest of the home.

Cental But Secluded Location

Most cat parents want to put the litter box as far away from the rest of the house as possible which means out-of-the-way locations like garages, laundry rooms, etc.

This can work for some cats but ideally, it’s not a feline’s only option and as Jackson Galaxy explains in the video below what cats really want are socially significant locations for their litter box:

That means spots in the house where people gather, scents mingle and territory can be claimed. Because at the end of the day, your cat’s bathroom breaks are very much about territory and your cat knows that the garage isn’t exactly prime real estate in the house.

It’s also why the bathroom can be such a great spot to keep the litter box!

The bathroom is most certainly a socially significant place and people spend plenty of time there. But it’s also not dead center in the living which is what your cat probably really wants.

Instead, the bathroom is a compromise. It’s prime real estate in terms of territory but it’s not completely out in the open either!

Cleaning Will Be Top Of Mind

Everyone uses the bathroom and with the litter box in such a frequently visited location, you’ll have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the box.

Well, hopefully, your finger isn’t literally involved but you get the idea.

It will be much easier to work in a quick scoop compared to having the litter box in a secluded location like the garage or other part of the house.

Of course, the opposite may be true if the litter box is placed in a rarely used guest bathroom.

Cats Want To Follow You Into The Bathroom Already

This isn’t the most serious reason but it is worth mentioning and cats are already happy to follow us to the toilet whenever they get the chance! Not to mention our feline friends hate a closed door so why not just indulge them and give them a reason to barge in on you in the bathroom?

What Are The Downsides Of Keeping A Litter Box In The Bathroom?

But it’s not all sunshine and roses when it comes to the litter box in the bathroom! Let’s look at a few of the potential problems.

Cats May Not Always Have Access

In most households, bathroom doors are frequently closed which means cats may not always have access.

I’ve already mentioned this as a potential issue but it bears repeating!

If you live alone, then it’s probably not a big deal to simply keep the door open most of the time but if you ever need some privacy your cat could be out of luck.

But most cats aren’t going to simply wait patiently by the door while you finish your business. Instead, cats will often try to open the door themselves or go to the bathroom somewhere else. If you don’t have a second litter box, that could mean somewhere like your clothing, the nearest plastic bag, or any other less than ideal location.

Obviously, that’s a bad thing and in the worst-case scenarios could eventually lead to cats preferring their emergency bathroom locations instead of the litter box.

However, this is easily preventable and having a second litter box is always the best practice even more so when you keep one litter box in the bathroom. Additionally, folks with bigger spaces can use a guest bathroom which will also make this much less of a concern.

Moisture Could Be A Problem

There’s nothing wrong with using your main (and only) bathroom as the litter box location but if you’re accustomed to taking long showers then you could run into problems. Additionally, if you or someone in the home gets a lot of water on the floor as part of their shower routine then that could be an issue as well.

Both scenarios can make the litter box less appealing for cats and entering the litter box with wet paws isn’t going to make anyone happy.

Again, we don’t want to ever make the litter box stressful or unappealing for cats since they’ll be more likely to just go somewhere else as a result and that doesn’t always mean another box.

A simple litter box mat, which is a good idea anyway, can usually solve this problem. I’m a big fan of these litter-specific mats from Gorilla Grip (you can click here to see them on Amazon) and they have 18 different color options so there’s a good chance you can find something that matches your bathroom.

So make sure you avoid placing the box too close to the shower which could allow water to splash inside and make sure to crack the door a little during a hot shower to minimize condensation.

Smells

While the bathroom is a great place for managing smells, there are some downsides and stinky smells can be enhanced in such a small space. Regular scooping is already a required habit but it will be more important if people are regularly using the same bathroom. Picking the right litter box for a small space, whether that’s an apartment or a bathroom, can go a long way as can picking out the right litter.

Where In The Bathroom Should I Put The Litter Box?

It might seem like you only have a few options in a small bathroom but there are actually quite a few locations to choose from so let’s break them down.

Next To The Toilet

This is one of the most obvious options and there’s usually a small amount of dead space on either side of the toilet. In fact, most building codes in the United States require 15 inches of space on either side of the toilet (as measured from the center of the toilet).

That means a litter box under 11 inches will usually fit pretty well in that extra space and you can check out a very budget-friendly option on Amazon that fits those dimensions by clicking here.

Just remember that it’s usually best to place it on the side of the toilet that’s furthest away from the shower to minimize the chance of water getting into the box.

The biggest downside to this spot is that you usually can’t fit a covered box due to the shape of the toilet bowl. I know there’s a lot of debate over covered boxes on the internet but studies suggest that cats don’t really care too much assuming you’re keeping up with the cleaning so I certainly believe they’re worth mentioning.

However, some bathrooms will have more space than others and if you want to try and squeeze a covered box in your best bet is this top entry box on Amazon that measures 14.75 inches wide instead of the usual 18 to 20 inches from other covered boxes. Top entry boxes have the added benefit of reducing litter from being spread and this particular model has more than 13,000 five-star reviews along with some photos of how this box fits next to a toilet.

Inside The Cabinet

This is by far my favorite option for placing the litter box in the bathroom but I also know it’s not for everyone.

You’ll need to give up storing anything under the bathroom sink which will immediately be a deal-breaker for some folks.

Then, you’ll need to either prop the cabinet door open or completely remove the door from the hinge. Again, I understand that’s going to be a no-go from some folks.

I strongly prefer to just keep the cabinet door open and you could come up with some creative solutions or a doorstop of some kind but my recommended solution is to pick up a couple of non-self closing hinges like these on Amazon. Of course, it will vary by bathroom set up but that will usually allow you to easily leave the cabinet doors open once they’re installed.

It will also make them easier for your cat to open on their own if the doors ever get accidentally closed. And accidental closure is the big downside to this solution as you never want to lock your cat out of their own bathroom!

In The Bathtub

Yep, if the bathtub is unused it can be a great spot for a litter box! You’ll want to plug the drain to prevent litter from ruining your pipes and make sure your cat has something to grip on when they enter the tub but beyond that this can be a great option.

You can learn everything you could possibly want to know about placing the litter box in the bathtub in this article.

Against The Wall Or In The Corner

Simple and obvious, you can just place the litter box against any free wall or corner like you would in any other part of the house.

The big benefit here is that there are no hoops to jump through for your cat and they don’t need to worry about getting inside a cabinet or squeezing into the space next to the toilet. As long as they can get into the bathroom, they’ll be good to go!

In The Linen Closet

Similar to using the bathroom cabinet, the linen closet can make a great option if the space is large enough. Additionally, many linen closets have folding doors that are easy to keep open for our feline friends.

Just make sure the door doesn’t get closed accidentally!

Don’t Flush Litter!

It’s worth mentioning that flushing cat poop and litter down the toilet is usually not a good idea!

And it will certainly be tempting to do with the litter box in the same room as your toilet!

The first problem is that litter that’s not designed to be flushed can easily clog toilets. It’s not uncommon for litter to expand more than a dozen times its own weight in liquid and while that’s what makes it great for capturing cat urine it’s also what makes it exceptional for clogging drains.

Even if your cat litter is okay to be flushed, it’s still not a great habit since those cat poops could be hurting the environment by releasing toxoplasmosis into the water supply. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that’s commonly found in cat feces and one study suggests that otters off the coast of California were killed by toxoplasmosis after it entered the water supply via cat poops.

So skip the toilet and stick to the trash to play it safe!

Closing Thoughts

Not only can you keep the litter box in the bathroom but it’s also one of the best spots in the house assuming the door isn’t shut too frequently.

In most homes, the bathroom has easy access and some social significance- certainly more than that garage or laundry room. Managing smells can be hit or miss but it’s an overall win for cat parents.

However, the bathroom litter box shouldn’t be the only one in the house, even if you just have one cat.

What do you think? Are you going to go for the bathroom litter box?

Logan M.

Logan has always loved everything about cats! Growing up with a family full of pets and a lifelong passion for animals he pursued work in the veterinary industry. After 10 years, he started BetterWithCats.net to help cat owners learn more about their feline friends.

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