Why Is My Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box?

kitten is sleeping in a litter box

If your cat is sleeping in the litter box, you’ll want to know the reason. 

This is not considered to be normal behavior for these animals. In fact, it could indicate that there is something seriously wrong with your cat. We will take a look at some of the possible reasons for this.

1. Illness

One of the possible reasons that your cat is sleeping in the litter box is because it is sick. If this is the case, you’ll want to get them looked at by a vet as soon as possible.

Some of the common signs of illness in cats include:

  • Lethargic behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Defecating or urinating more than usual

Some cats that have a bad case of diarrhea will stay in the litter box to avoid going back and forth. There are lots of different ailments that can cause this, so you’ll want to get them checked out by a vet right away. The longer you wait to do this, the worse your cat will likely get.

2. They are Pregnant

Pregnant cats have been known to occupy the litter box as a place to sleep sometimes. They might have hunkered down in this space because they are planning to have their kittens there. You don’t want this to happen though, as there is a risk of bacterial infection.

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If you know that you have a pregnant cat in the house, it is important that you provide them with a safe and comfortable place to give birth. Make sure that you put down lots of soft towels and/or blankets to make this space as cozy as possible. It’s also crucial that your pregnant cat’s food and water are kept close by.

3. Anxiety

There are all sorts of strange behaviors that can manifest in a cat that has issues with anxiety. This could be due to loud noises, such as from fireworks or a thunderstorm. Your cat might be doing this because there is someone staying in your home that they are unfamiliar with.

The main reason that cats tend to go to their litter box when feeling anxious is that it is a familiar space. It is also usually located in an area that is away from people most of the time. 

There is also the fact that litter boxes are typically enclosed, which could make your cat feel very safe. This might be exactly the sort of thing it needs to comfort themselves at that moment.

Anxiety can be a serious problem with these animals, so you need to take it seriously. It might be necessary to see your vet see if they can give you any recommendations for an effective solution. 

cat sitting in a litter box e1583753948586

4. It’s Their Territorial Instincts

It’s possible that your cat is sleeping in its litter box due to primal territorial instincts. This is fairly common when there are other cats or even dogs in the house. It may cause your cat to feel the need to protect what they view as being their property.

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If you have multiple cats in the same house, you should make a point of having at least two different litter boxes in separate areas. This should reduce any tensions or issues among your pets.

You might want to get self-cleaning litter boxes so you don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning them out each day. This will go a long way towards reducing the amount of work that you have to do with this.

5. You’ve Recently Made a Change to the Litter Box

If you recently put new litter in your cat’s litter box, they might start sleeping in it. There is no telling how certain cats will react to this type of change. It might be necessary to go back to the litter you were using before. You can also try transitioning them to the new litter slowly.

A majority of cats don’t handle change very well, and they can exhibit all sorts of strange behaviors something in their daily routine is suddenly different. This is why it is a good idea to introduce changes slowly instead of all at once.

How to Keep Your Cat from Sleeping in the Litter Box

If you want to keep your cat out of the litter box come bedtime, there are some methods that can be quite effective.

1. Give Them an Equally Comfy Place to Sleep

If you don’t already have a comfy bed for your cat, you’ll definitely want to get one. Take the time to look for a thickly padded bed that will be easy for your cat to get in and out of. 

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If they are having problems with anxiety, sometimes just providing them with a box is enough. They might just need a secure place to sleep.

the cat is sleeping near litter

2. Watch How Your Pets Interact with Each Other

Make sure that you keep a close eye on your pets to see how they interact with each other. If there is another pet bullying your cat, they might hideout in the litter box. This is not something that you should permit.


  • Cats will sometimes sleep in their litter box if they are sick. Some signs of illness in cats include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite.
  • Anxiety is another common reason for this behavior, and lots of things can cause it. They might do this if you have an unfamiliar person staying over.
  • A cat’s primal territorial instincts can also lead it to sleep in the litter box and do a lot of other odd things.
  • If you have recently started using another type of litter in the cat’s litter box, they could start sleeping in it.
  • Pregnant cats have been known to hunker down in their litter box until they give birth. You shouldn’t allow this, as it is not sanitary or safe for the kittens.
  • Make sure that your pregnant cat has a comfy place to rest and give birth when the time comes.
  • Watch how your pets interact with each other just in case another cat or dog is bullying your kitty.