why is my cat laying in the litter box

A litter box is a place where your cat does its business, so when you find your kitty peacefully lying inside it, you might think there’s something wrong.

There are several reasons why your cat may be lying in the litter box, and some of the reasons may be causes for alarm. If your pet cat is suddenly lying in its litter box, either napping or simply staying in it more often than usual, it’s entirely normal for you to worry.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “Why is my cat laying in the litter box?” By pinpointing the exact reason, you can take measures to ensure your cat stays out of its litter box and lies in a cleaner and more hygienic place.

Possible Reasons Why Your Cat is Lying in the Litter Box

1. Your Cat is Stressed

Your cat may be lying in the litter box because it’s highly stressed. Cats need a place of security and familiarity to find comfort, and its litter box could be one of these places. This is particularly true in cases where you just moved into a new place, and your cat hasn’t established its private and secure spaces yet.

A litter box contains your cat’s urine and signature scent, and therefore, a place of familiarity and security.

If this is the case, you can place some blankets with your cat’s scent beside the litter box or in a cozy space so your cat will choose that spot rather than inside the place where it pees and poops.

2. Your Cat Is Marking Its Territory

If there are other cats in the house, your kitty may be lying in its litter box to tell other cats that it owns the box. There may be other litter boxes in the house, but your cat lying in one of them means it wants to claim that specific box.

If there are no other cats in the house, but it’s kitten season, and you can hear cats from outside loudly mating, your cat might also display this marking behavior by lying inside its litter box.

Adding more litter boxes might solve the problem if you have a multicat home.

3. Your Cat Is Seeking Privacy

Cats love enclosed spaces, and if the litter box is enclosed, your cat might be lying in it for privacy. An enclosed litter box mimics the security of closets and cardboard boxes, so your cat might find it soothing.

In this case, buying a cat cave or giving your cat a cardboard box might solve the issue.

4. Your Cat Finds the Litter Box Comfortable

Your cat might also love the feeling of lying in its litter box. This might be the case if the cat litter you use is soft, such as recycled paper. If you recently changed your cat litter to a softer alternative, your cat might not associate the litter box right away as a place to relieve itself.

If you insist on using soft cat litter, it might be better to start replacing the litter gradually instead of changing it entirely all at once.

Related: Why do cats like boxes

5. Your Cat May Be in Labor

If your cat is on the verge of giving birth, it will seek a private spot to do it, and the litter box might be its only private place. If you notice your female cat’s belly being bigger and you’re unsure if it’s pregnant, seeing it lying in a litter box more often might signify that it’s about to have kittens.

6. Your Cat May Be Suffering from a Medical Condition

Unless your cat litter is Pretty Litter (dubbed as “the world’s smartest cat litter” for detecting urinary tract infections and other medical conditions based on a cat’s urine), then chances are, you might not know your cat has a health issue.

A cat rarely shows it’s suffering from pain, so it can be hard to detect if they have a medical condition. A cat suffering from a bladder, kidney, or urinary tract infection may want to stay inside its litter box due to frequent urination. Or, staying inside a smelly space can also signify dementia.

A trip to the vet is a good idea if you believe your cat sleeping inside its litter box is more than just stress, marking its territory, or seeking a private space.

Related: Test your cat’s health with Cat DNA Test


If you’re worried about your cat lying in its litter box, the best thing to do is bring your kitty to the vet to rule out any medical condition. If your cat is healthy, you can try some of the abovementioned ideas to stop its behavior.

Try giving your cat a private spot, such as a cat cave, or adding more litter boxes if there are other cats in the house.

Lying in a litter box may not be problematic, but why your cat is sleeping in it might be.

Related: Why is my cat pooping outside the litter box

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