“Why is my cat sleeping in her litter box?” You contact your vet, unaware of the social protocol suggesting that you shouldn’t bother people when they’re having a day off.
“She keeps searching for cramped spots and refusing to use her bed,” you go on and on, turning a blind eye to the fact he told you to contact the office on Monday.
Now what? You’re left to your own devices, knowing you’re about to phone everyone who’s ever had a fluffer and ask them for advice. And, you’re pretty sure nobody’s going to refuse to come over and speak with your fluffy friend face-to-face.
“You’re stepping over the line. She’s fine!”, you utter. Of course, you should be happy to know the only odd thing she does seem to be sleeping where she’s not supposed to sleep.
Come on, other four-legged friends don’t shy away from pooping everywhere other than the litter box, bringing dead cockroaches as tokens of gratitude, and leaving clumps of fluff behind them.
Not to mention that some of your friend’s fluffers keep them up at night because they can’t stop running around the apartment at 3 a.m. or knocking things down for no freakin’ reason.
Truth be told, never have you thought you would be spending your Saturday nights researching whether cats can leave parasites and other crawling creatures on your bed.
Circling back to the topic of the article, don’t you agree that your cat sleeping in the litter box doesn’t sound that bad anymore? She might have been worn out from playing outside. She might have been comfortable enough and decided to stay there.
Whatever her reasons might be, we’re bringing you a bunch of pawsible explanations for your kitty’s sleeping habits. Let’s start from the beginning, why don’t we?!
Why is my cat sleeping in her litter box? What does she mean by that?
Cats are quite talented creatures, contrary to popular belief. Right off the bat, my mischievous monster can spend her day hopping on the highest shelves without knocking anything down (unless she wants to, of course).
God, she can munch on chicken nuggets with her eyes closed. She can meow the G6 note purrfectly (preferably at 3 a.m.) She can sleep wherever she lays her head. And, she doesn’t steer clear of laying her head on her sand (apparently).
Now, we can agree that cats don’t mind napping in the strangest of spots. But, chances are you never thought you would find a cat sleeping in the litter box. Nope, you never thought cats could be that gross.
Sure, they put their tongues in places we don’t want to talk about. But, sleeping in the same spot where they poop doesn’t sound that appealing. There has to be a medical or behavioral reason behind such an odd decision, right?
Of course, you’re right! Cats have reasons for everything they do (kind of). And, we’re bringing you a rundown on why we think your fluffer might be choosing her litter box as the preferred bedding.
1. She’s stressed out
“Mommy, where do I sleep?” – Cats aren’t that familiar with the way our mind works, you know. You might think you were pretty clear about the fact that the bed you bought from Urban Outfitters (for a ridiculous price) was meant for her to use.
But, your cat might not understand that’s what you meant when you told her to “stay there for the night.”.
What are we trying to say? Cats can get stressed out when they’re newly adopted, when you move them to a different apartment, or when you buy them a different “something” to use. Cats are creatures of habit. And, that’s how they learn when and why to do the thing you want them to do.
Give your kitty a little time to figure out her litter box doesn’t have to be the place where she dreams of running across your backyard and chasing after butterflies.
2. She’s marking her territory
Who’s surprised?! Cats value the fact that they can mark the territory they deem as “property of Mrs. McFluffer.”
Whether they’re sharing your apartment with another cat. Whether they’re fearing your friend’s dog. They might resort to napping on the sand to accumulate as much of that scent as they can.
While that does sound disgusting, that’s how an animal’s instincts work. We might think our cats are strange for feeling defensive when they’re hanging out with others. But, that’s how they’re wired.
So, make sure your cat doesn’t feel the need to spend the night covered with her poop. And, you might want to make a couple of purchases for her “friends.” Separate litter boxes, food bowls, water dishes, and even toys can make a huge difference in your cat’s confidence.
3. She’s doing something she doesn’t want you to see
Cats need privacy, too! There’s a pawsibility you catch glimpses of your cat sleeping in her litter box because she’s been trying to figure out whether she can spend her “alone time” there.
Whether she’s napping, keeping her eyes closed while resting, or hanging out on her own, you should respect her privacy. Come on, new litter boxes have been upgraded with enclosed spaces, lights, sounds, and other features. So, there’s no surprise that your cat wants to spend her time there.
But, given that you’re not that fond of having her spend her days there, consider getting her a separate spot for resting. Whether that’s a nook somewhere she can have some privacy or an entire room, you can’t go wrong.
4. She’s sleepy
What else would be the reason behind such anomalous sleeping arrangements? First things first, maybe you have a kitten that’s learning how the world works (and that can be pretty exhausting).
She probably doesn’t even understand she’s not supposed to sleep there. She figured she was comfortable enough and did it without a single thought.
On the other hand, maybe you have a grown cat that’s suddenly started sleeping everywhere (including her litter box). She’s probably tired from running around, knocking things down, and meowing your ears off on a regular.
But, there’s nothing wrong with contacting your vet and checking whether there’s a health problem that’s making her lethargic, depressed, and tired.
5. She’s comfortable even though she’s sleeping on the sand
Sand can be comfortable, right? Sure, you might not think that the sand you use for your cat’s litter box would be better than your mattress. But, cats don’t have the same sleeping standards we do. And, she might be keen on sleeping on the sand as much as you’re fond of napping on your sofa.
And, we can’t forget about the fact that we sometimes change the type of sand we use. Maybe the store ran out of your cat’s preferred sand. Maybe you forgot to buy some on time and you had to borrow a bucket from your neighbor.
Whatever the case might be, there’s a chance your cat couldn’t recognize the sand and thought she should sleep there (rather than do her business, apparently). There’s nothing wrong with that. Give her time to become acquainted with the changes and she should be back to normal as soon as possible.
6. She’s getting accustomed to your apartment
Circling back to the probability your cat might have been adopted recently, maybe she’s getting accustomed to your apartment.
Cats need some time to learn where everything goes on. She probably doesn’t even know she’s supposed to eat on the kitchen floor or she’s supposed to snuggle with you every moment of the waking hour.
But, when you notice your cat sleeping in the litter box, you shouldn’t make a huge deal about that. While you should address the fact that she’s supposed to do something else there, you shouldn’t scare her away from using the litter box altogether.
Spend enough time showing her where she should sleep, eat, and go potty. Make sure she has everything she needs. And, have some patience.
7. She’s pregnant!?
We’re hoping you would know whether your fluffer was pregnant or not. But, we can’t overlook the possibility that she’s looking for an appropriate spot for kittens.
More times than not, when cats are pregnant, they look for hidden nooks and crannies where they could safely go to labor without having anyone or anything disturb them.
Cats are private creatures. Cats seek shelter when they’re experiencing health niggles, when they’re depressed, and even when they’re about to give birth to kittens. What do you do, then? When your cat chooses a spot she feels comfortable enough about, you should respect her wishes.
Of course, you could try to get her to move to a better spot. However, we wouldn’t recommend doing that without consulting with your vet. Other than that, make sure to clean the litter box as much as you can and keep an eye on her at all times.
8. She’s dealing with health problems
“She can be comfortable AND uncomfortable when she sleeps in the litter box?!” We know that sounds confusing, but keep an open mind and observe other signs your cat might be showing.
When you notice she’s lethargic, depressed, losing appetite, and hiding in her litter box for most of the day, you might have a health problem on your hands.
More often than not, specific conditions make your cat assume the crescent Moon position and refuse to leave her litter box. Kidney disease, urinary tract disease, constipation, and other digestive problems are typically the ones to blame.
Therefore, make sure to research the most common symptoms. Keep an eye on your cat and schedule an appointment with your vet to ease your worries.
9. She’s looking for an appropriate place to hide
Sure, when you catch a glimpse of your cat sleeping in the litter box, your mind doesn’t go straight to “Well, she’s probably hiding from me.”.
But, there are times when our fluffy friends don’t want to hang out with us. And, there’s a pawsibility that’s why your fluffer’s been spending her time away from you.
There’s nothing wrong with that. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. But, you’ve probably gone overboard with cuddles, snuggles, and “let’s watch Friends together” moments. On the other hand, maybe she’s not even hiding from you.
Maybe she’s hiding from your awkward friend that keeps rubbing her stomach without her consent (how dare they disrespect her like that?!) Whatever the circumstances, make sure she’s not spending too much time rolling in the sand and she should be fine.
10. She doesn’t like the bed you bought her
“Mommy, I wanted the one that cost half of your rent!”. Sure, first-world problems might not appear that ground-breaking. Cats can be divas when they’re picking and choosing what they want to eat, how they want to spend the day, and where they want to sleep.
And sure, more times than not, cats want to sleep on your bed (that’s why your cat keeps waiting outside your bedroom door). But, there are times when they choose “the odd one out” and opt for the litter box because they’re posting about the choice of bed you bought for them.
Don’t worry, they come around eventually and realize they’re wasting their time trying to get you to spend more money. What little rascals they are, don’t you think?
Whatever the reason behind your cat sleeping in her litter box might be, schedule an appointment with your vet to rule out health problems. Good luck!