Why Does My Cat Lie Sleep Or Play In The Litter Box 8 Reasons For This Behavior
It is more common than you might think to see a cat laying or even sleeping in their litter box, but it is usually an undesirable action. It can be a sign of illness or may indicate that your cat is stressed or anxious. If your cat is playing in the litter, that could be a sign of boredom. In any case, spending time in their litter box can make your cat ill or cause them discomfort, and it will almost certainly mean that more cat litter is tracked around the house and will need cleaning up.
We have highlighted nine reasons that your cat might be lying, sleeping, or playing in the litter box, as well as a few steps that you can take to stop this behavior.
Have You Changed Her Litter
Your cat laying in the litter box more than usual could be because of the different litter you have got this time for her.
If you have got a clay type of litter this time, you find that your cat is lying more often there. It is because she likes the extra softness and coolness of the clay litter. Especially in hot summers, clay litter is the best for cats.
If you have switched to recycled newspaper litter or corn or wheat litter, they might like the scent and neatness of the box. And, this will make her sleep in their litter box for a long.
To deal with this, try mixing 1/4 new litter with the old litter at first, then gradually increasing the quantity. This will help her get used to the new litter. And shell identify it exclusively with her toilet business, not with a sleeping spot.
You should get the best self-cleaning litter box for cats, so your furball would not sleep inside the litter box.
Provide A Shorter Box
A regular commercial litter box may be too tall for arthritic cats to climb in and out of. Since arthritis is common in older cats, it’s important to have a litter box that’s the right height. Because it may hurt the cat to get into the box, the sides should be low and easy to climb over, and there should be plenty of room to allow the cat to take its time in comfort.
If you want to make your cat a lower litter box, look for a plastic shirt-box-size storage container, use the lid of the container itself, or cut down the sides of a regular litter box. Aluminum disposable bakeware that’s about the size of a roasting pan may work as well, and the height of the sides can be modified if necessary . Add a stable ramp into the box if necessary.
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Provide A Birthing Box
If you have a pregnant cat, provide a suitable birthing box in a quiet location and ensure no loud noises or people are bothering the other.
Dont panic if the cat starts giving birth in the litter box. Move the mother and the kittens to a nesting box and clean them well. The mother mustnt ingest too much litter, or she will get sick
Tips To Encourage Your Cat To Use Its Litter Box
- Cats like knowing theyve done something good, so praise your cat when they use their box.
- Dont yell at or scold your cat about this problem. It will scare or confuse the cat, but it wont solve anything.
- If your cat still isnt using the box after youve ruled out medical problems and tried the other solutions, consider working with an animal behavior specialist. This person can help you to get to the bottom of the problem. Ask your vet for suggestions or do an online search for qualified animal behavioral specialists in your area.
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So What Should You Do
The first thing should always be to rule out an illness, especially if your cat has shown no reason for any of the behavioral issues to be the cause. Youll likely know if your cat is pregnant or stressed, or having territorial issues, so if your cat sleeping in the litter tray comes as a surprise then book an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you can.
If it is behavioral, you can usually solve the problem by looking at your cats bed and seeing why they might not see it as a safe space for them. Consider the bed itself does it need to be more sheltered, or more comfortable? Has it become harder for your cat to climb or jump into as theyve got older?
Then think about the location. Is it somewhere in your home where theres a lot of traffic from people walking by? Could you find somewhere quieter?
If youre still struggling, try putting the bed close to the litter tray and showing your cat the option they have for an alternative space. Your cat wont want to sleep amongst its own urine and poop, so it shouldnt take too much encouragement.
Your Cats Uncomfortable Or Sick
Sleeping in the litter box can indicate that your cat is uncomfortable. One of the most common reasons why cats sleep in their litter box is because of medical issues. Cats with kidney disease, urinary tract infections, constipation, or other digestive problems may sleep in their litter box when theyre not feeling well. If your cat is struggling to go to the bathroom or they think they may not make it back in time, they may decide its best to stay close by. Some cats that are suffering from an advanced stage of dementia may also sleep in their litter box.
If you suspect your cat is ill, take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis. The veterinarian will be able to ease their pain and solve their digestive troubles. Once their medical condition is addressed, they should refrain from sleeping in the litter box once again.
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Why Is My Cat Sleeping In Their Litter Box
Published: by Jenny
Is your cat sleeping in their litter box? Its not the most pleasant idea, but sometimes it can be harmless. However, that doesnt mean you should take it lightly, as it may be the sign of something more serious.
A cat sleeping in their litter box could be because of a urinary tract infection or a problem with their kidneys. It can also just be because they are intimidated and want to go somewhere they feel is secure, or it may be a sign of dominance in a home with lots of cats.
Ill go into some of the reasons why a cat might sleep in their litter tray now but remember that I am not a veterinarian and so the suggestions here are exactly that suggestions.
If your cats behavior changes then you should monitor it and seek an expert opinion, especially as some of the reasons a cat might sleep in a litter tray are because of a medical issue. This post is not medical advice, and you should always speak to your regular vet if you are concerned.
Now thats out of the way, here are some of the reasons why a cat might start sleeping in their litter box.
Claiming Or Protecting Territory
One reason why your cat may be lying in the litter box is that theyre claiming their territory.
If you have other cats in the house, especially, its not uncommon for some cats to lie in the box to keep others from using it.
Because cats pee and poop in litter boxes, they associate it with their own scent.
In their minds, that area is now their territory.
Some spray urine while others lay droppings.
A few others have odors that they spread around with glands in their paws.
Cats might claim their territory by urinating.
If the cat feels as though its urine isnt enough to defend its territory, then it might choose to guard it.
If another cat comes by, it might hiss or charge at it to scare the cat off.
Then it might go back to guarding the litter box.
Cats can do this for other animals, too.
If you have a pet dog, for example, your cat might also feel the need to defend its territory from it.
Even if the other pet doesnt use the litter box, if it comes near it, then the cat may see it as a threat to its territory.
One way that you can help get your cat out of the litter box is to ensure each cat has its own box.
Its also worth putting them in different areas.
This ensures that the territories dont mix, and each cat has its own space.
Cats may sometimes lie in the litter box to protect their territory.
Some cats dont like a lot of attention or affection.
They can be quite independent and often prefer to do their own thing.
That allows them some privacy.
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Provide A Better Alternative
Cats love to stay in a closed and small place. Since your home is wide and open, it may stress your cat. Its better to provide a cat cave and cat bed near the litter box. In this way, your senior cat moves quickly and smells its old place. It is also helpful for pregnant cats.
If you have multiple cats, cats may try to make territory separate litter boxes are needed at different places to solve these. Also, focus on the environment around the cat-like in your home. Maybe your cat wont like the background of your homes like noise and smells.
Your Cat Might Be Sick
Just like us humans, cats suffer from ailments such as urinary tract issues and stomach upsets. Problems with waste elimination make them want to lie near or in the litter box.
For example, if your cat has crystals in their urinary tract, they will be unable to pass urine or find it extremely painful to do so. This is a potentially fatal health problem that mostly affects male cats and should be attended to by a vet immediately.
Crystals are like kidney stones in humans. Cats are more vulnerable to these struvite crystals if they are elderly, obese, or eating an unbalanced diet. Other signs of urinary tract problems include:
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Vocalizing while in the litter box
- Straining while urinating
- Licking themselves excessively in the genital area
- Blood spots in urine
Gut health problems like constipation and diarrhea are also common problems that cause cats to stay in the litter box. They probably feel that going out of the litter box takes too much effort, or that they won’t even make it back, so they just stay there.
Look for other signs of gastrointestinal trouble such as vomiting, weight loss, dehydration, lack of appetite, and lethargy/listlessness.
If you suspect urinary tract or digestive tract issues, get your cat to the vet immediately. The vet will do some diagnostic testing to determine the underlying cause of the problem and prescribe treatment to deal with it.
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Your Cat Thinks Its Comfy
Some cats may find the litter box comfy, especially if youve recently changed the type of litter that youre using. A cat may be confused by the new texture and smells in his litter box, and your feline might find a soft litter, like recycled paper, to be comfy and the perfect spot for a nap.
To avoid this issue, make any litter changes gradually. Start by mixing in just 1/4 of your new litter, then gradually increase that new litter while reducing the amount of old litter in the box. Your cat will have some time to get used to the new litter and will have the chance to associate it with the place to do their business, instead of doing their sleeping.
What Kinds Of Litter Does Pretty Litter Offer
Pretty Litter currently offers one type of litter a silica crystal litter that comes in very fine, lightweight silica gel crystals.
This cat litter was developed by a team of veterinarians and scientists specifically for cats. It is made of highly absorbent silica gel combined with a proprietary formulation of pH-detectors to help cat owners monitor their cats urine for acidity and alkalinity levels outside of the normal range.
My one-month supply of Pretty Litter arrived within a week of order and came in a surprisingly small cardboard box. It also included a printed insert that explained how the product worked and provided useful tips for how much litter to pour, how to get my cats used to it, and how to maximize odor control.
The first test of Pretty Litter came when I poured it into my litter box. I found the litter a little less dusty than other crystal cat litters Ive tried, but it still produced a noticeable cloud of dust. I also found it to be a little dusty later on when I was scooping the cat litter, so it definitely isnt a dust-free litter.
In addition to being a little dusty, Pretty Litter did cling to my cats paws a little bit. I found myself having to clean up the area around my cats litter box a few times a week.
After filling litter box, my cats Wessie and Forrest took to the Pretty Litter right away.
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Negative Customer Reviews For Pretty Litter Cat Litter
So, it doesnt smell like cat urine, but it doesnt cover up the poop smell. And my cat has managed to get it everywhere just like regular litter. I do like that theres less scoping and its lighter, but Im not sure Im going to continue after Im through with what I bought. Becca K.
I only have 1 cat and clean it out daily and move it around after each visit. Ive only had the first bag in for 2 weeks and it is really starting to smell. I am going to have to change it. I wont be able to get a month use out of 1 bag which is disappointing due to the price. Vicky G.
Is Your Cat Pregnant
If your cat is female and she’s not spayed and sleeping in the litter box, it’s possible she might be pregnant and getting close to delivery. If you didn’t know she was pregnant and there isn’t a birthing box provided, she may choose the litter box because it’s perceived to be safe as the place to have her babies.
Instead, you can make her a birthing box. Line it with old sheets or blankets for softness and ensure her food, water and litter box are nearby but outside the birthing box because she won’t stray far from her babies for a few weeks.
There are many reasons for cats sleeping in the litter box, and some are harmless while others may be more serious. To help you sort it out, consider making an appointment with your cat’s veterinarian. They may be able to offer advice and help to get your kitty sleeping in more conventional places.
There are some small changes you can make at home to deter your cat from a snooze in her litter box. For instance, you can try out some new bedding options for your cat, such as an enclosed plush bed. You can also look for quiet areas in your home where your cat can sleep without being disturbed, such as an elevated location in the sun. For more information on cat behaviour, check out our pet care and behaviour hub.
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How Long Can A Cat Go Without Peeing Before It Is Dangerous
Your cat should have a regular bathroom schedule, and any time that their schedule changes, there could be a problem, and you should call your vet.
If your cat goes for 24-hours without urinating, the situation is an emergency as they could have a urinary blockage.
Urinary obstruction is a condition in male cats where the urethra becomes plugged, and urine cannot evacuate from the bladder. This type of blockage is usually due to a urinary stone, urinary crystals, mucous, or inflammatory tissue.
Signs that your cat may have a urinary blockage include:
- Straining to urinate.
- Small, frequent patterns of urination.
- Straining without urinating.
Why Does My Kitten Play In Her Litter Box
We all love our spaces, dont we? The same applies to a cat the litter box is her safe haven. Thats her territorial ground. She is home so let her be. If the litter box is new, she may be trying to figure things out and learn more about the latest gadget in her possession. However, too much time in the box can also be a sign of illness, so watch out.
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Is It Okay For An Elderly Cat To Be Sleeping In The Litterbox
Our eldest cat is 18 1/2 and is healthy for his age. He still runs, loves attention, goes out for ‘constitutionals’ and generally appears to thrive.
He has lost a little weight but we think that that is normal for his age. He still has a very healthy appetite, and makes sure we know it is feeding time. He is a little stiff, but stairs and laps are no problem.
But as of late, he has taken to sleeping in the litter tray. We have two of them , but he has picked one tray as a bed. The other cats don’t use that tray much, and especially when the tray is clean, the old cat curls up on it and sleeps there. When we move him to another, comfortable place, more often than not he’ll trot back to his tray again.
The tray is not in an especially warm place, so the behaviour has us puzzled a little. Is this something we should be worried about? What might cause him to prefer such a sleeping place?
- 2Sympathy. If you’ll forgive the truism, my usual mantra at such times is “We don’t have them long enough –but they have us all their lives.” And 20 years is a darned good run.
First, with any behavior change, you should take your cat to the vet to make sure there’s no underlying health problem.
After the vet has determined that the change is behavioral and not related to a physical problem, you can start to look at your cat’s environment from his perspective to try to track down the change.