Why does my cat sleep in the litter box?

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 at 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 problem. Although it may seem that lying in the litter box does not indicate anything, the truth is that sometimes it is a clear sign that something in the animal’s health is not right. Read on and discover in Animal Expert why your cat sleeps in the litter box and what to do in each case.

You may also be interested: Why doesn’t my cat use the litter box?


  1. Why does your cat lie in his litter box?
  2. He is sick
  3. Your cat likes to lie down in the litter box
  4. Suffer stress and find a safe place
  5. You need to defend your territory
  6. What to do if your cat sleeps in the litter box?

Why does your cat lie in his litter box?

Many cats like to sleep in their litter box, without causing an underlying problem. Therefore, if your cat has always had this behavior, it does not necessarily mean that this attitude hides a health problem. It is possible that your cat lies in the litter box for a matter of behavior and preference , nothing more. Now if this is a sudden change and you have never been to bed in your litter box before then you should be concerned because your kitty is trying to tell you something. Next, we will see the main causes that explain why your cat lies in the sandbox if it did not before.

He is sick

A cat that is not feeling well and feels the need to go to the bathroom more times than usual, can choose to lie down near the box or, directly, lie down in the litter box. This avoids having to run or urinate outside the litter box. So, in addition to looking at whether your cat sleeps in the litter box, you need to pay attention to whether your cat :

  • Urinate more times than normal.
  • You have difficulty urinating.
  • You defecate as usual or have difficulties.
  • Urinate and defecate with the usual color and consistency.

If you notice any changes in your cat’s bowel movements or his behavior in terms of meeting his needs, it is probably the reason that he is lying in the litter box. In this case, both if you notice that your cat goes to the litter box a lot or if you have detected an unusual color in its feces, it is essential to consult the vet to examine the animal and determine what happens to it.

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

Your cat likes to lie down in the litter box

Many are cats that lie down in the litter box simply because they like it, feel comfortable and safe . This occurs, especially, 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 place is not dirty. Likewise, if your bed seems uncomfortable and you do not have another surface to lie down, the sandpit may be the best option to rest.

Now, is it appropriate to let the cat sleep in the litter box? Clearly not. Although it seems to you that you maintain a correct hygiene of the sand, it is not always possible to control it because for this you should watch your cat 24 hours a day. Thus, to guarantee the health of the animal, we recommend looking for an alternative that is more attractive to sleep and, thus, avoid continuing to lie down in the sandbox. A good substitute can be a cardboard box, since both containers are similar in shape. Get to know your cat, its tastes and preferences, and try to cover them so that they sleep safely and without risks.

Suffer stress and find a safe place

A stressed cat tends to alter its behavior , being more nervous, susceptible, aggressive, or carrying out actions that it did not do before, such as lying down in the litter box. The arrival home of a new member (human or animal), a move or any modification of his daily routine, however small, are factors that can stress your cat and make him look for a safe place to rest . In your mind, what better place to isolate yourself than one that contains your scent and also nobody visits? In this sense, in general, the litter box is usually located in a space in the home with little traffic and remote due to the smell it can emit, so this will be the place chosen by the animal to calm down.

If the cat feels threatened, it is normal to find a safer alternative for him to sleep. Therefore, if you suspect that this may be the reason that explains why your cat sleeps in the litter box, investigate the cause of stress and avoid it to return the animal to its emotional stability. Check out our article on ” Things that stress cats ” and fix the problem.

You need to defend your territory

It is no secret to anyone that cats are very territorial animals. Therefore, the arrival of a new member to the home can make the animal feel its resources threatened and end up having the need to protect them, including the litter box. This is called resource protection, and although it is a natural behavior, it is not a positive thing because it can induce an aggressive attitude and harm coexistence, in addition to altering the emotional stability of the animal.

On the other hand, if you have just adopted a new cat and it is this one that sleeps in the litter box, it may happen as a consequence of the territoriality of the oldest cat . In other words, if the feline that already lived in the home does not let him use the litter box, it is normal for the new cat to sleep in the litter box with the minimum of carelessness to ensure that he will be able to use it when he needs it.

Although some cats are able to share their resources peacefully, many others prefer their privacy and refuse to use a box used by others. To avoid these problems, it is always recommended to provide a litter box to each cat, and add an extra one. Check out our article ” Can two cats use the same litter box? ” And find out what to do.

On the other hand, if you have noticed that the coexistence between them is not correct, visit our article ” How to introduce a cat to another cat? ” And put into practice our tips to remedy it.

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 lies in the litter box and treat it, as well as visiting the vet to rule out any health problems. Also, you can follow these tips:

  • If you live with more than one cat, make sure you have the right number of litter boxes for the number of cats.
  • Provide your cat with different comfortable and safe sleepingsurfaces and place them in strategic places in the home that they may like, such as little-traveled corners or high spaces. To do this, placing several cardboard boxes or blankets on secure shelves can be excellent solutions that will make your cat stop lying down in the litter box.
  • If you plan to make any changes at home, whatever they are, remember to carry them out progressively to avoid stressing your cat.
  • If your feline is very nervous, the use of synthetic pheromones, such as those administered by the Feliway brand, can be very useful to make them feel calmer.

It is also important to pay attention to the general behavior of the cat and check if there are any other changes, although it may seem insignificant. Thus, observe the amount of water you drink , if you eat well, if you lose more hair than usual, the consistency and color of your feces and urine, if you are listless or listless, if you bite or reject us. Detecting these small alterations in time can suppose an early diagnosis that will help guarantee the success of the treatment if the animal suffers from any health problem.

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