Why Is Cat Sleeping Next To a Litter Box?

Venturing into the labyrinth of feline behavior is an undertaking that can be as enigmatic as attempting to decode an arcane riddle. A particular conduct that frequently bemuses pet parents is the sight of their cherished furry companion choosing to nestle down for a slumber next to their litter box, a site traditionally earmarked for the disposal of waste, rather than a spot for comfortable relaxation. Renowned for their fastidious approach to cleanliness, cats displaying such an atypical behavior can indeed be confounding. The unusual circumstance calls for a thorough exploration to comprehend why a feline might opt for such an unconventional location for rest, what this act may signify, and when it might be necessary to seek expert guidance. Let’s delve deeper into this intriguing feline eccentricity.

Is It Ordinary For a Cat To Repose Beside a Litter Box?

In a nutshell, the behavior of cats choosing to sleep next to or even inside their litter boxes is not typically observed. Cats, by their very nature, are incredibly meticulous when it comes to cleanliness, often exhibiting an almost obsessive dedication to hygiene. Under normal circumstances, most felines prefer to maintain a safe distance from their litter boxes, seldom desiring close proximity.

An exception to this could be a newly adopted kitten, who may demonstrate a peculiar affinity for her litter box. This could be due to a sense of territoriality over the box and comfort derived from her own scent. Yet, witnessing mature cats sleeping near their litter boxes is an oddity. Therefore, should you observe such behavior in your pet cat, it’s prudent to be vigilant about the possibility of an underlying health concern and seek a veterinarian’s advice without delay.

Why Does a Cat Choose To Sleep Next To a Litter Box?

Your cat’s inclination to sleep in her litter box could stem from an assortment of reasons, the majority of which point towards a potential medical issue. Let’s delve into a few of these:

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Common afflictions in cats like UTI, urinary crystal formation, and bladder stones can severely inflame the bladder lining. This can make even minimal urine collection trigger a strong urge to urinate. Consequently, a cat grappling with an acute UTI might stay close to the litter box due to the need for frequent urination.
In certain cases, urinary crystals or stones can obstruct the urine flow by lodging themselves in the urethra. This distressing and potentially life-threatening condition might prompt your cat to vocalize her discomfort. Immediate veterinary attention is required if you suspect your cat to be experiencing a urethral blockage. As reported by Animal Planet, untreated urine crystals can pose a significant risk to male cats by completely blocking their ability to urinate.

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This condition, characterized by painful urination, blood in the urine, or difficulty in urination, often arises due to UTIs, bladder crystals, or bladder stones. Dysuria can also manifest symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and lethargy. This could explain your cat’s preference for remaining in the litter box – she may simply be too fatigued to move elsewhere.


Commonly found in senior cats, diabetes results in increased thirst and more frequent urination. A higher glucose level in your cat’s blood test can indicate the presence of diabetes. This enhanced urge to urinate might be compelling your cat to sit or sleep near the litter box.


Adjusting to a new environment can be quite a task for a newly adopted kitten. In such unfamiliar settings, kittens may gravitate towards the one familiar entity – their litter box. According to Susan Paretts from The Nest, “cats mark their territory with their urine and its scent can sometimes be comforting to an anxious cat”. Hence, your kitten may seek solace in the litter box to feel more at ease in the new surroundings.


Excessive stress can drive a cat to seek refuge in her litter box, viewing it as a secure and protective space. In such instances, all your kitten might need is a warm, cozy bed instead of resorting to the litter box.

Read more: How Much Does a Cat Behaviorist Cost – Training Your Cat!


Just like humans, cats can also develop arthritis as they age, with the most common areas being the hips, hind legs, and tail. Cats with arthritis may require a more joint-friendly bed and may end up sleeping near the litter box if they struggle to reach their usual resting spots. Therefore, a visit to the vet is essential to rule out any medical causes.


If your cat is an unspayed female, it’s worthwhile to consult a vet to ascertain if she’s expecting. Pregnant cats often seek a secure environment to birth their kittens. Since litter boxes are usually located in enclosed areas, your cat might perceive it as a safe space for delivering her kittens. However, it’s important to remember that litter boxes can harbor diseases and infections, so it’s crucial to arrange an alternative nesting space for your pregnant cat.

Can Sleping In The Litter Box Lead To Illness In A Cat?

Absolutely, the act of a cat choosing to sleep in her litter box can indeed result in sickness. A litter box is a breeding ground for a multitude of infections and diseases. If your feline friend decides to lie down in close proximity to it, she stands a higher chance of catching these infections.

Amelia Wieber, a credentialed cat behaviorist, illustrates this by saying, “It’s unquestionably suboptimal for a cat to take her slumber in the same vicinity where she eliminates waste. This behavior could foster bacterial infections that might affect her eyes, ears, and potentially even her bladder.”

Moreover, the litter from the box can become entrapped in your cat’s fur and eventually, her digestive tract, leading to a potential blockage.

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How To Stop A Cat From Sleeping Near A Litter Box?

In order to discourage your cat from choosing the litter box as her sleeping spot, you first need to identify the root cause. Once the core issue is established, you can then strategize an appropriate solution.

Consult with a Veterinarian

Should your kitten be battling severe health conditions like UTIs or urinary crystals, it’s vital to make a visit to your vet a priority. Stay observant of any subtle signs of discomfort or distress exhibited by your cat.

Provide an Alternative Bed

Kittens are undisputed masters of sprawling out and luxuriating in a comfy, snug bed. If you have a new feline addition to your family who seems overly attached to her litter box, make an effort to guide her towards a different sleeping arrangement.

You can source an appropriate cat bed by browsing online or visiting a pet shop. If you’re feeling creative, you could also craft a DIY bed using a cardboard box decked out with soft blankets and cozy clothes.

Mitigate Stress

Stress can be the underlying cause of numerous health issues. If you believe your kitten is grappling with heightened anxiety levels, it becomes your responsibility to alleviate her stress. Begin by discerning the source of her anxiety, and then take proactive steps towards mitigating it.
Consider spending increased quality time with your kitten, engaging in playful activities. Allow her the chance to explore the outdoors or engage in exercise. Physical activity serves as an excellent stress-reliever as it prompts the release of ‘endorphins’, chemicals known to enhance feelings of happiness and joy.

Read more: Can a Healthy Cat Eat Uirany Food?

Offer a Nesting Box

If your cat is expectant and has assigned the litter box as a suitable birthing spot, it becomes necessary to provide her with a healthier alternative. A litter box is inherently unhygienic, posing a risk of various contagious diseases to your cat and her unborn kittens. It would be prudent to furnish an alternate birthing box situated in a calm, undisturbed area of your home.

What To Do If A Cats Still Continues To Choose Their Litter Box

When your feline friend continues to choose their litter box as a snoozing spot despite your best efforts implementing the aforementioned suggestions, there exist a handful of additional strategies that you can employ:

Relocating the Litter Box

There’s a chance your cat may view their litter box as a sanctuary, a corner of safety and security. In such cases, the simple act of shifting the box to an alternative location can disrupt this association. Remember, though, to select a new site that’s equally within easy reach for your cat, ensuring they feel at ease in the new location and continue to use the litter box as intended.

Experimenting with Covered Litter Boxes

It’s possible that the openness of their current litter box may be a source of unease for your feline companion. Switching to a covered litter box might solve the issue, as these provide a sense of seclusion and shelter, potentially making your cat feel protected without feeling compelled to sleep next to it.

Reconsidering Litter Box Training

If you suspect that this peculiar behavior may be linked to insufficient litter box training, a refresher course might be called for. Retraining could involve a gradual transition of the litter box to an appropriate location, paired with a positive reinforcement strategy – rewarding your kitty each time they successfully use the litter box in the desired place.

Providing Ample Stimulation

Sometimes, the monotony of their environment or a lack of stimulating activities can lead to cats resorting to unusual behaviors, like sleeping next to their litter box. Make sure your feline has access to a wide range of engaging toys and allocate time for interactive play sessions. This will ensure that they stay mentally stimulated and physically active, reducing the chances of developing such peculiar habits.

Seeking Professional Advice

Should you find that your cat’s unusual behavior stubbornly persists despite your best endeavors, it might be time to turn to a cat behavior expert. A professional animal behaviorist can help identify and address any deep-seated issues that may be prompting your cat to sleep next to their litter box, offering tailored strategies to correct this behavior and ensure the wellbeing of your pet.

Read more: How To Reduce Cat Litter Dust For Healthier Life!

FAQs Why Is Cat Sleeping Next To a Litter Box?

Can cats sleep next to their litter box?

While physically there’s nothing preventing a cat from sleeping alongside their litter box, it’s certainly not regarded as typical feline behavior. Cats are naturally inclined towards cleanliness and usually exhibit a propensity to keep their distance from their waste disposal area, venturing close only when necessary. Consequently, should your cat begin taking naps next to or inside their litter box, it could be a signal of potential health concerns, anxiety, or stress. Therefore, observing such an alteration in your cat’s behavior warrants a timely consultation with your vet.

Do cats like their litter box moved?

Cats, in essence, are creatures of routine and often do not respond positively to sudden alterations in their environment. This extends to the positioning of their litter box. Should a relocation of the box become necessary, it is recommended that you employ a gradual approach, inching the box a small distance each day over a period of several days, or even weeks. Such a strategy enables your cat to adjust to the shift gradually, reducing the probability of the litter box being rejected due to its new position.

Do cats care where their litter box is?

Indeed, the exact placement of the litter box holds significant importance to a cat. Cats are partial to a tranquil, low-traffic space where they can handle their necessities in peace. They also tend to dislike the positioning of litter boxes in proximity to their food and water bowls. The box should be readily accessible and in case of a multi-story residence, it’s advisable to install a litter box on each floor. Additionally, if you have more than one feline companion, multiple litter boxes should be provided, taking into account that some cats are not comfortable sharing.

Do cats dislike closed litter boxes?

Preferences can fluctuate greatly among cats. While some felines appreciate the seclusion offered by a covered litter box, others might feel restricted or threatened by the lack of available exit paths in the face of perceived danger. Additionally, covered litter boxes can retain odors – a feature that might delight the human occupants of the house but may not be favored by your feline friend. The key is to understand your cat’s preferences and attentively monitor their behavior.

When should cats stop using litter box?

Generally, cats make use of a litter box throughout their entire lifespan. Unlike dogs, cats do not require house-training and will naturally utilize a litter box when provided. However, certain factors such as medical conditions, stress, an unclean litter box, or dissatisfaction with the litter type or box location may lead to a cat discontinuing its use of the litter box. Should a cat that has been consistently using the litter box suddenly cease to do so, it’s crucial to consult with a vet to rule out any underlying health complications.

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