Behavioral problems

Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box - Causes and Solutions

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: February 13, 2019
Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box - Causes and Solutions

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There are several reasons that can lead a cat to sleep in its litter box, such as: a stressful situation, the arrival of a new member to the home or the discomfort of its bed. Therefore, it is our obligation to analyze the situation, find the exact cause that motivates this change in their behavior and, above all, go to the vet to diagnose or rule out any health problems. Although it may seem that lying in the litter box does not indicate anything serious, the truth is that sometimes it is a clear sign that something in the animal's health is not right.

Keep reading and discover why your cat is sleeping in the litter box and what to do!

  1. Why is my cat sleeping in the litter box?
  2. Cat sleeping in the litter box: sick
  3. Cat sleeping in the litter box: safety
  4. Cat suddenly sleeping in the litter box: stress
  5. Cat sleeping in the litter box: territorial
  6. What to do if your cat sleeps in the litter box?

Why is my cat sleeping in the litter box?

Many cats like to sleep in their litter box, without this implying any underlying problem. Therefore, if your cat has always displayed this behavior, it does not necessarily mean that this attitude hides a health problem. It is possible that your cat lies in its litter box because of behavior and preference, nothing more. However, if it's a sudden change and your cat has never slept in its litter box before, then this is a cause for concern. This behavior means that your cat is trying to tell you something.

Are you struggling to understand your cat? The first step to knowing whether your cat is ill, stressed or happy is by reading their body language and vocals. These following articles may help you:

Cat sleeping in the litter box: sick

If a cat that is not well and feels the need to go to the bathroom more than usual, it will choose to lie down near the box or, directly in the box. This way, they avoid having to run or urinate outside of the litter box. So, in addition to checking if your cat sleeps in its litter box, you need to pay attention to if your cat:

  • Urinates more times than usual.
  • Has difficulty urinating.
  • Has difficulty defecating

If you notice any change in the depositions of your cat or his behavior in terms of fulfilling their needs, it is probably the reason that justifies lying on the litter box. In this case, if you notice that your cat goes to the litter box a lot or if you have detected an unusual color in your stool, it is essential to consult a veterinarian, examine the animal and determine what is wrong with it.

Keep in mind that this change in the behavior may be indicative of the presence of serious diseases such as diabetes or kidney failure, urine infections, kidney stones or cystitis, among other problems. The sooner you go to a specialist, the more likely the animal will be to be diagnosed in time and, therefore, be treated properly and successfully.

Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box - Causes and Solutions - Cat sleeping in the litter box: sick

Cat sleeping in the litter box: safety

Many cats lie in the sandbox simply because they like it and they feel comfortable and safe there. This happens, above all, when there is more than one litter box in the home or the box is always kept clean, remember that cats are very neat animals and this would only be done by preference when the box is clean. Also, if its bed seems uncomfortable and it does not have another surface to lie on, the litter box may be the best option where it can rest comfortably.

Now, is it appropriate to let the cat sleep in its litter box? Clearly not. Even if you do maintain good litter box hygiene, the bacteria in the box is somewhat uncontrollable. So, to ensure safety when it comes to your animal's health, we recommend looking for an alternative place that is attractive to your cat for sleeping, thus keeping your cat away from the litter box. A good substitute for this can be a cardboard box, since both containers have a similar shape. Know your cat, its tastes and preferences, and try to facilitate them so that it sleeps safely.

Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box - Causes and Solutions - Cat sleeping in the litter box: safety

Cat suddenly sleeping in the litter box: stress

A stressed cat will alter their behavior, showing more nervous, susceptible, aggressive signs that were previously not present. The arrival of a new member at home (human or animal), a move or any modification of its daily routine, however small, are factors that can stress your cat and make it look for a safe place to rest. In its mind, what better place to isolate yourself than a familiar smelling place that no one visits? In general, the litter box is usually located in a space of the home hardly visited, tucked away in order to avoid the smell, so this will be the chosen place by the animal to disconnect.

If a cat feels threatened, it is normal to look for a safer alternative where it can sleep. Therefore, if you suspect that this may be the reason why your cat sleeps in the litter box, inquire into the cause of the stress and treat your animal's emotional instability appropriately.

For more, discover 11 reasons why your cat is stressed.

Cat sleeping in the litter box: territorial

It is no secret that cats are very territorial animals. Therefore, the arrival of a new member in the home can make the animal feel that its resources threatened and that it needs to protect them, specifically its litter box. This is called ‘‘protection of resources’’, and although it is natural behavior, it is not positive behavior. This possessiveness can induce an aggressive attitude and harm coexistence, in addition, it can alter the emotional stability of the animal.

On the other hand, if you have just adopted a new cat and it is this cat who sleeps in the sandbox, it can happen as a result of the territoriality of the older cat. In other words, if the feline that already lived in the home does not let the new cat use the litter box, it is normal for the new cat to sleep in this very same box to ensure that he can use it when he needs it as a form of competition.

Although some cats are able to share their resources peacefully, many others prefer their own privacy and refuse to share a box used by others. To avoid these problems, it is always recommended to provide a litter box to each cat, even if this means buying a new one. For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss, can two cats share one litter box?

What to do if your cat sleeps in the litter box?

The most important thing is to identify the cause that explains why your cat is sleeping in its litter box and treating it, as well as pay a visit to the veterinarian to rule out any health problems. In addition, you can follow these tips:

  • If you live with more than one cat, make sure you have the number of litter boxes appropriate to the number of cats.
  • Provide your cat with different comfortable and safe sleeping surfaces and place them in strategic places of the home that they may like, such as little-traveled corners or high spaces. For this, placing several cardboard boxes or blankets on secure shelves can be excellent solutions that will make your cat stop lying in the litter box.
  • If you plan to make a change at home, whatever it is, remember to carry it out progressively to prevent your cat from getting stressed.
  • If your cat is very nervous, the use of synthetic pheromones, such as those administered by the Feliway brand, can be very useful to make your cat feel calmer.

It is also important to pay attention to the general behavior of your cat and check if there is any other change, even if it it may seem insignificant. So, observe:

  • The amount of water it drinks
  • If it is eating well
  • If it is losing more hair than usual
  • The consistency and color of feces and urine
  • If it is down or apathetic
  • If it bites or reject us

Detecting these small alterations in time can mean an early diagnosis that will help guarantee the success of the treatment if the animal suffers a health problem.

Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box - Causes and Solutions - What to do if your cat sleeps in the litter box?

If you want to read similar articles to Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box - Causes and Solutions, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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Ameera Mills (AnimalWised editor)
Hi Jeff
Yes, the death of your dog can definitely explain why your cat is acting differently. Animal emotions are incredibly complicated but need to be attended to. It´s sounds as if your cat may be depressed, you can take a look at this article for more information
This phase may pass, make sure to offer your cat a diet of high quality food, care and love. This behavior, however, can also be caused by other pathologies. If this behavior does not remit, we suggest consulting a feline psychologist or veterinarian.
patsy massie
Iii just had a cat die that was very old and my other cat has been with her for years also would the fact she isn't here anymore cause him to sleep in the litter box he has to miss her they were very close
thank you
Administrador AnimalWised
We're very sorry to hear it Patsy. We are glad your cat at least got to have a long and happy life, we hope your other cat gets to have the same. Thanks for sharing.
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Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box - Causes and Solutions