A warm and cozy bed, plush with soft blankets, hot bottles, and fuzzy toys is awaiting your cat’s arrival. However, you find her loitering in her litter box, refusing to come out.
You might be scratching your head and wondering “what’s this strange fascination that my kitty has with her litter?”
Well, to answer your question, it’s not just your kitten that suffers through this dilemma. A lot of cat owners have often caught their furry friends sleeping in their litter boxes.
However, this inclination is not at all conventional and is most likely indicative of an underlying medical condition that should be rectified immediately.
Carry on with the rest of the article to find out more about the same.
Is It Normal For My Cat To Sleep Next To Her Litter Box?
To put it simply, no, it’s not normal for cats to sleep next to or inside their litter boxes.
Cats are generally very hygiene-centric creatures and may even be near obsessive about cleanliness.
Most of them stray far away from their litter boxes under normal circumstances and don’t prefer to be near them.
A newly adopted kitten may get especially attached to her litter box because she feels territorial of it and is comforted by her own scent.
However, it is quite unconventional to find grown-up cats sleeping near their litter boxes.
Thus, if you catch your cat doing so, you have to be cautious of the probability of an underlying medical condition and must consult a veterinarian promptly.
Why Does My Cat Sleep Next To Her Litter Box?
Your cat could be sleeping in her litterbox for a plethora of different reasons, however, most of them trace back to a medical cause. Let’s explore some of them:
1. Urinary Tract Infection
UTI, Urinary Crystal Formation, and bladder stones are common ailments in cats. They can make the bladder lining so severely inflamed that even the smallest amount of urine collection makes your cat feel like she has to urinate right away.
Thus, a cat with a profound UTI will stay near the litter box simply because she has to urinate frequently.
At times, urinary crystals or stones can get wedged in the urethra, obstructing the flow of urine. This is a very painful and life-threatening condition and might cause your kitten to express her discomfort verbally.
You should take your cat to a vet immediately if you think that she has a urethral blockage.
Animal Planet reports “male cats can develop crystals in their urine that if left untreated, could block their ability to pass urine completely”
It is a condition that causes painful urination, blood in the urine, or an inability to urinate. This malady is triggered by UTI, crystals in the bladder, or bladder stones.
Its symptoms also include fatigue, nausea, and lethargy, which is why you might see your cat lying in the litter box: she’s too tired to move.
Diabetes is an ailment that occurs commonly in older cats and causes them to drink and urinate more.
An elevated glucose level in your cat’s blood panel test is indicative of diabetes. An increased urge to urinate might be compelling your cat to sit or sleep near the litter box.
Interesting Read: Why Does My Cat Play In The Litter Box?
A newly adopted kitten can take a while to adjust to new surroundings.
In an entirely different environment, they tend to cling to any semblance of familiarity that they can find, which is often their litter box.
Susan Paretts of The Nest says “ cats actually mark their territory with their urine and its scent can sometimes be comforting to an anxious cat.”Susan Paretts
This is why you might find your kitten in the litter box, trying to feel more at ease in a new place.
A cat under excessive stress might also end up in her litter box to feel secure and protected. In such cases, just a warm blanket and cozy bed might be the only thing your kitten needs, instead of the litter box.
Just like us, cats can also get arthritis as they grow older. The most common arthritis locations in mature cats are the hips, hind legs, and tail.
Thus, such cats would require a more joint-conducive bed and they might be sleeping near the litter box because they are unable to reach their usual beds.
It is crucial that you visit a veterinarian to rule out any medical causes.
If your cat is a female and hasn’t been spayed, visit your vet to check if she is pregnant. A pregnant cat is likely to search for a safe space to birth her kittens.
The litter box is usually kept in an enclosed space in the house and this is why your cat might be finding it a secure space for giving birth.
However, it is actually a breeding house for diseases and infections, so you must find an alternate nesting space for your pregnant cat.
Interesting Read: Why Does My Cat Drag My Clothes Into The Litter Box?
Can Sleeping In The Litter Box Make Your Cat Sick?
Yes, sleeping in the litter box can make your cat sick. A litter box harbors a plethora of infections and diseases and if your cat lays near it, she can easily catch those infections.
Amelia Wieber, a certified cat behaviorist explains “It’s certainly not ideal for a cat to sleep in the area where she urinates and defecates. It could lead to bacterial infections of the eyes, ears, and perhaps the bladder.”Amelia Wieber
The litter could also get lodged in your cat’s fur and subsequently, her digestive tract and result in a blockage.
How Can I Stop My Cat From Sleeping Next To Her Litter Box?
To stop your cat from sleeping in the litter box, you will have to determine the cause first. Only then will you be able to fix the situation.
1. Visit A Vet
If your kitten is infected with any serious ailments like UTI, Urinary crystals, etc., then the first step of action would be to visit the vet as soon as possible.
Be vigilantly aware of even the slightest sign of discomfort and pain that your cat indicates.
2. Alternate Bed
Kittens are champion bed hoggers and really relish the feeling of a nice, cozy bed.
If you have recently adopted a kitten and find her clinging to her litter box, try directing her toward a different cat bed.
You can either purchase one online or by visiting a pet shop, or even just DIY by covering a cardboard box with soft blankets and clothes.
3. Alleviate Stress
Stress is the root cause of a myriad of medical problems and if you suspect that your kitten is suffering from excessive anxiety, then you must do everything in your power to help her. You will first have to identify the origin of her worry and then work on eliminating it.
I encourage you to start spending more time with your kitten and play with her often. Take her out for a walk or exercise.
Physical exertion is a great way of reducing stress as it releases chemicals called ‘endorphins’ which increase happiness and joy.
4. Nesting Box
If your cat is pregnant and has dubbed the litter box a good nesting spot, then you must find her a different nesting space.
A litter box is naturally not a very hygienic spot and can infect your cat and her kittens with various transmittable diseases. Thus, it is best to provide an alternate birthing box in a quiet place with no undue disturbance.
Interesting Read: Why Do Cats Dig In Litter Box?
Frequently Asked Questions
Could your cat be sleeping in the litter box for comfort?
Yes, at times cats do find comfort and security in their litter box. This is especially true if you have just recently brought home a new kitten or if you live in a noisy or crowded area. Cats gravitate towards their own scent and a litter box provided them with exactly that.
Why is your cat lying in the litter box but not peeing?
This could be indicative of a urinary tract issue like UTI, urinary crystals, or bladder stones. If the bladder is blocked by stones or crystals, then your cat will likely be struggling to pee or peeing very little. You must consult a veterinarian without any delay if you suspect that this is what your cat is going through.
Cats are infamous for getting in some strange, quirky positions, but sleeping in the litter box probably tops the list. You should be aware, however, that it is not a commonplace occurrence, and that cats very rarely ever lay in their litter boxes.
Thus, if you catch your furball doing so, then you must take her to a vet to rule out any medical causes.
Once you sort out this issue, your cat should likely return to her regular sleeping habits – outside the box.