Why is My Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box?

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This is a common question that might come across many cat owners’ minds. As cats are a special kind of animal that is obsessed with being clean, it might be confusing for cat owners when their cat chooses the litter box as a place for napping.

Sleeping in the litter box is a weird behavior that is usually seen in kittens. However, if your adult cat spends a lot of time in his toilet, sleeps inside or near the box, your cat might be suffering from one of the below situations.

Urinary Problems


The first problem that your cat might suffer is the urinary issue, which might develop into kidney disease if left untreated.

When cats face urinary issues, they might feel insecure when they are away from the litter box. Especially cats with a urinary infection or crystal formation might have a sudden urge to pee. Since then, they might be afraid of getting out of the box.

Another problem that can explain why elderly cats sleeping in the litter box is the lower tract disease in male cats. If you notice your boy spending a lot of time squatting in the box without producing urine, it might be a warning symptom. You should take your feline friend to the vet immediately since this type of fatal issue should be handled in 48 hours.

If the cat displays abnormal behaviors such as an increase of thirst, lack of appetite, quit meals, or less social interactions, it might be the sign of illness. Taking your cat for an overall check-up might be the best choice for this circumstance.



According to the experts from Pet Health Network, sleeping in the litter box is an effective way for a cat to fight back stress.

As you might know, cats are in love with boxes and closed spaces because they feel more secure and protected inside a small place. Not only a little box offers an enclosed space, but it also smells familiar. I know that it might be ridiculous for our humans, but cats don’t think the same way as we do.

This case usually happens for newly adopted cats, especially those who are from the animal shelter where they are locked in small cages. They are familiar with small spaces and are afraid of the new environment. So, they hide inside the litter box to stay away from external threats.

There are also cases of a 15-year-old cat sleeping in the litter box. When you move to a new house, your feline friend cannot adapt to a new home due to its old age. It might suffer from stress and tend to stay in the litter box. However, this problem can be solved after a few days with effort and proper care.



Pregnancy is the most popular reason why a female cat is sitting in the litter box. As you might or might not know, female cats will need a safe and private place to give birth to their children. And in some cases, a little box might be a great choice for them, even though it is not hygienic.

The root cause is the lack of a proper place for your cat in labor. Thus, she has to choose the toilet since it is quite safe and familiar to her.

With that in mind, you can solve the problem with ease. Providing your cat with a secure space and giving it enough privacy is the best solution. You should help it get used to the new place by preparing the area for several weeks before that day.

Moreover, don’t forget to give it a lot of care during the pregnancy period. It might be a wise choice to ask a vet for more information.



This reason strongly associates with the stress problem that I have mentioned above. And it is likely to happen with both kittens and old cats.

So, what are the root causes of this problem? Cats are quite shy and skeptical about everything. They are hard to adapt to and don’t prefer changes. Thus, they might feel threatened when things go differently from their regular days.

But, which specific cases can make a cat seek refuge in a litter box?

Well, such a small change like your home welcomes a new baby, or a friend drops by and stays for a few days might cause anxiety.

Renovating your home might also lead to the same pressure on your feline friend. Another typical situation is when you adopt a new pet, especially a curious and active dog who loves to inspect around.

The solution here is quite simple. You should provide your feline friend with a cozy place like a cardboard box with a soft towel to rest and let him get over the insecure feeling. If your cat is not engaged in switching to the new box, you can move the litter box to another quiet place and leave the new box right next to it.

Territorial Guarding

Cats use their urine as a means of marking their territory. If you have more cats than litter boxes in your house, the fight between them might be the cause for cats sleeping in the litter box.

When you adopt a new cat, your cat might sleep in the litter box to assert dominance over the litter box. They want to claim that the box belongs to them, and do not allow other cats to walk near, not to mention enter the box.

While some dominant cats want to mark their territory, timid cats who are harassed by others will sleep in the box to retain the access and to prevent other cats from chasing it away from the box.

So, the solution is to provide your cats with enough litter boxes, at least one cat will own a box. According to some experts, you can place more litter boxes around the house if the cat does not get used to them.

FAQs about cats sleep in the litter boxes

1. Why is my cat suddenly sleeping in the litter box?

Suddenly sleeping in the litter box might be a sign of health issues. You should notice the activities of your cat daily to indicate whether it is in any mental or physical problems.

It is not only about the stress that your cat is suffering from, but it also reflects health or urinary problems such as urinary tract infection, lower tract infection, or crystal formation. It might be best if you ask a professional vet for help.

2. How can I get my cat to stop lying in the litter box?

When you indicate the problems, you can quickly solve the problem. For health problems, it is best to have some help from pet doctors. To deal with mental issues like stress, you should pay more attention to your cat. Spending more time with him and a gentle approach might be useful to destress your cat.

3. Do cats play in their litter box?

Yes, cats do play in the litter box. They love digging and playing around in the box before finding the right place for their waste. However, you should be clear that it is not an acceptable reason for a cat sleeping in the litter box.

Wrapping Up

So, I hope that you have found the answer to the question of “Why is my cat sleeping in the litter box”. Remember that the key here is care and notice. You should pay attention to your cat’s behavior to point out the problem and help your feline friend.

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