Why does my cat sleep in the litter box?

Why does my cat sleep in the litter box?

13 April, 2018

It is very normal for some cats to sleep in the litter box when they are kittens. But one thing about cats that we should all know is that if an adult cat tends to spend too much time in his litter box, something is not right and he needs urgent care to solve the problem.

If you notice your cat spending a lot of time in the litter box and even sleeping in or near it on a regular basis, you need to observe his behaviour in order to identify the specific problem and solve it straight away. Let’s look at the most common reasons why we cats sleep in our litter boxes and the best course of action.

Kidney disease

The main reason why adult cats sleep in the litter box is kidney disease. This can be the result of a urinary infection, or crystal formation in the urine that prevents the cat from urinating properly, or because of a type of intestinal discomfort, which makes the cat feel insecure when he is far from his litter box.

Cats that suffer from some form of dementia can also display this abnormal behaviour, but these are normally very severe cases that are easily identified through other more obvious symptoms.

Newly adopted cats

A cat that is new to the home after having been in a shelter is accustomed to sleeping in or near the litter box, especially if the cat was kept in a small cage at the shelter. The small size of the litter box can sometimes feel quite cosy and so we feel more secure there until we feel more at home in our new surroundings.

To make a cat feel more comfortable, give him his own space, like a box where he can find refuge.

Multiple cats in the home

When there are multiple cats in the home and there are not enough litter boxes for all of them, they are likely to fight over who gets to use them. Some more dominant cats may mark our territory by sleeping in the litter box. However, cats who are being harassed by other cats may also need to sleep there in order to be able to use the litter box before the other cats prevent them from using it.

To solve this problem, you just need to put more litter boxes in the home. According to experts, there needs to be one litter box per cat and an extra litter box if the cats do not get along.

Stress or fear

Just like cats that are new to the home and are not yet comfortable in their new space, when a cat is stressed or afraid due to a major change in his surroundings, he may display abnormal behaviour by sleeping in his litter box.

According to ethologists’ information on cats, the most frequent stressful situations we house cats face are the arrival of another pet, a baby or a visit from a stranger. To make your cats feel safe, provide them with a place where they can take refuge and spend their private moments.

Cats in labour

When female cats are going to give birth and do not have a proper place to do so, they tend to take refuge in the litter box, as it is their most private and secluded space. If your cat is about to give birth, look up some relevant information on cats and provide her a space that is more suitable than her litter box so she feels safe.

Cat sleeping in a cat litter


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