We have three cats at home. We love them dearly. Their bathroom habits are good and that is because we have followed the recommendations of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Litter box guidelines from the AAFP help to prevent behaviour related poop and pee accidents around the house. The guidelines recommend one litter box per cat in the house PLUS one extra. So, for our three cats we have four boxes.
The litter boxes need to be placed in different areas and preferably on different floors of the house. If all the boxes are kept together cats will consider the group as one box (just like having 4 toilets in one room it is still one bathroom). By separating the boxes cats are able to do their business in peace without anyone crowding them. This brings out another recommendation, each box should be in a quiet, private place but not in a closet or small room where another cat could block the exit. Litter boxes should also not be placed close to furnaces, water heaters, water softeners or other appliances which could start up and startle a cat doing his business.
There is a debate over covered and uncovered litter boxes and which is better. When the research was done (and yes someone did research this) it came down to the preferences of individual cats so, in our house most of the boxes are open, but we have one box with a cover and one of our cats loves to use this box.
The litter used can be as important as where the box is placed. Low dust clumping litters allow easy daily cleaning of the boxes. Scented litters are for our benefit and some cats will not use heavily scented litter.
Boxes should be scooped at least daily to remove poop and pee. Boxes should be washed at least every 4 weeks with a mild soap and water to ensure they stay fresh.
So to summarize, one box per cat plus one extra; each box is in a different, quiet area and each has clumping unscented litter. The boxes are scooped daily and washed out once a month with mild soap and water.
Following these guidelines will help to prevent house soiling (pooping and peeing out of the litter box) and keep everyone’s house clean.