Cats have the ability to find the most uncommon places to nap. It could be above the refrigerator, small gaps, top row of your closet, or inside a magazine rack. You name it I have seen them all. For the most part, as long as they are safe you have nothing to worry about. However, when your cat starts sleeping next to their litter box you need to immediately assess why your cat is doing so.
Is it normal for a cat to sleep in or near their litter box?
No, it’s not normal. There could be different reasons why your cat is sleeping near or in the litter box. They could be situational, medical or something completely unrelated to the litter box.
Reasons your cat is sleeping near the Litter Box
Let’s start ticking these off for you to make a quick assessment on why your cat is sleeping near or in the litter box.
SAFETY, COMFORT & SECURITY
Take a box that is similar to the shape of the litter box and add some soft cloth or bedding to it. Place the box slightly away from the litter box but in a more quiet and private space. If your cat moves into the box and stays there, your cat is probably feeling a bit scared or unsafe. The litter box acts as their safe place and makes them feel more in control and calm. The boarded surrounding gives them a sense of privacy and coziness that they crave for from time to time.
If you have moved houses, added a new member to the family, or are a multi-cat family any of these small or big changes can make your kitty feel a little unsettled leading them to go into the safest spot they know.
CAT SLEEPING IN LITTER BOX AFTER SURGERY
When cats come home from surgery, they have no idea what they just went through and try to cope with the uneasiness & stress they are feeling. They may find it hard to move around and could be in a lot of discomfort and pain. Your cat may find it hard to urinate or may want to urinate often. This may lead them to stay put near or in the litter box.
If your cat is emotionally stressed, the safest place for them at that moment is the litter box as it is familiar, smells of them & makes them feel safe.
Why is my elderly cat sleeping in the litter box all of a sudden?
As your kitty gets older, they may face issues walking or moving around. Arthritis is very common in senior cats and can be a core reason for your cat behaving this way. Creating an easier more approachable litter box will help your cat access it more easily and avoid sleeping there.
Elderly cats may suffer from dementia or be disoriented. If your feline cannot find their bed or spots, they may just move to the place that smells the most like them, drawing them to the litter area.
UNRELATED LITTER BOX ISSUES
Sometimes the problem doesn’t lie with the litter box but with its surroundings. A quick look at what may be drawing your floofs to that area may solve the problem. One of our cats would sleep near the litter box to stay close to the heater. Even when the heater was turned off, you would find him laying close to it waiting for it to be turned on.
A quick way to check if they are there for something else is to move the litter slightly away and see if they move as well. If not, Try and observe what’s keeping them there.
If none of the above are the reasons for your cat’s behaviour please take your cat to the vet immediately. Your cat could be suffering from UTI, urinary crystals, kidney stones or diabetes. There could be other medical reasons that only your vet can help with.
It is important to keep track of when they pee and poop and how they behave before and after. Do they yowl and meow loudly? Are they unable to stand and hold a position? Observe them as much as you can and provide all the information you can to your vet.
Do not delay the vet visit.
When litter boxes are not cleaned & maintained they can be the root cause for illnesses among cats. Sleeping in them triples the chances of your kitties health deteriorating even more. When your cat sleeps near the litter box, it is a clear indication that there’s something wrong.