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Why does My Cat Sleep in the Litter Box

  • 5 min read

The litter box is suddenly misused as a place to sleep? This can have different reasons.

If your cat uses the litter box as a place of retreat, there can be various reasons. In most cases, this behavior indicates a physical or mental illness in your cat. We have described for you why your cat converts the litter box and what you can do about it.

The litter box as a retreat from pain

If your cat uses the litter box as a place to sleep, it can be a sign of illness. High blood pressure , an overactive thyroid , or kidney failure are some of the conditions that can cause such behavior. In old cats, this unusual choice of sleeping place can be an indication of dementia. Yes, cats and tomcats also suffer from dementia in old age! Either way, you should get to the bottom of the behavior. A visit to the vet will give you an idea of ​​whether your cat might be ill or simply have odd tastes when it comes to sleeping places. After a professional diagnosis you can tackle the problem together with your furry friend. Most of these diseases can be easily treated, for example with medication or special food – so don’t worry! In younger animals, frequent and long sessions in the litter box indicate constipation or a urinary tract infection . Special caution is required here, because an intestinal obstruction or FLUTD (“Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease ”) can be bad for the four-legged friends. So the relationship your cat has with the litter box should always be kept in mind.

Cat in pain

Litter box as a haven from stress

Have there been any changes in your cat’s environment lately? When stressed, cats like to hide or sleep in places that smell familiar and feel safe. There is an intriguing connection between cats and tight, enclosed spaces, such as boxes or suitcases. One could almost say that the velvet paws are magically attracted to it – and they love it! The litter box apparently gives some cats a similar kick. You feel safe and secure there. So when your cat is stressed, it can be easy for them to hole up in the litter box. Causes of stress in cats can be the following events:

  • removals
  • the death of a loved one
  • the death of an animal roommate
  • a new pet
  • a baby
  • a new partner in the house

In most cases, the fur noses get used to the new situation after a while and the litter box is no longer misused. However, if your cat persists in this behavior over a long period of time and the vet cannot diagnose an illness, it may be a sign of depression or anxiety . An animal or cat psychologist can certainly help you in this case. If several cats live in the same household, it is also possible that one of the cats is being bullied. Therefore, the four-legged friends often seek refuge or a hiding place in the litter box. In this case, too, you should get professional help and work out a concept together with the trainer and all your velvet paws.

Cat in stress

Suddenly a litter box refuser – what to do?

Of course, the litter box should not be used as a place to sleep or hide. As we just learned, this behavior is often a sign of illness or stress. Basically, the litter box has only one essential task: It serves as a toilet. But what if your cat no longer goes to the litter box? This can have the following reasons:

  • The litter box is not cleaned. Cats are very finicky animals. Your cat may refuse to visit the litter box if it isn’t clean. So make sure to clean the cat litter regularly and replace it completely if necessary.
  • The litter box is too small . In order to be able to do your business in peace, your cat needs enough space. So if the litter box is too small, she will be reluctant to use it. The placement of the litter box is also important. Put it in a quiet place , because your cat also wants to do its business in a quiet place.
  • The litter box is shared. Have you perhaps acquired a second velvet paw? Cats mark their territory with urine. If two cats suddenly live in the household, it can easily be the case that they simply do not want to share the same toilet. A second litter box simply has to be used. Ideally, the two litter boxes should be spaced apart so the two don’t get in each other’s way.

If your otherwise housebroken cat continues to refuse to go to the litter box after checking the points above, this may again be due to illness. Every cat deals with their condition differently, so refusing to use the litter box could also be a sign of a UTI. Regardless of whether your cat spends too much time on the litter box or not at all, a health check at the vet is advisable in both cases !

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.