Why Cats Sleep In Their Litter Boxes

17 August 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Do you have a cat that likes to sleep in its litter box? Sometimes this behavior can be benign, but in many cases it's the symptom of a deeper problem. By knowing your cat's behaviors, you will be able to ensure your cat is happy and avoid potentially dangerous health issues.     

Guarding Behavior And Stress

If you have more than one cat and one of them is sleeping in the cat box on a consistent basis you have trouble on your hands. Cats can exhibit this behavior when they're guarding their litter box from other felines. If this is going on you may notice your other cats eliminating inappropriately elsewhere. So what's the solution to this problem? Go out and buy one cat box for each cat you have plus an additional one. Placing these boxes in different areas of the home will ensure all of your cats have the opportunity to use the litter box without invading another cat's territory.

If your cat is stressed, they may show similar behaviors to a cat that is guarding the litter box. However, this could happen even if your cat is an only cat. If your cat begins sleeping in the litter box or eliminating inappropriately, stress could be the culprit.

Cats can become stressed if anything new happens in the household. This can mean anything from a new puppy, to installing a new dryer that is slightly louder than the last one. You can help minimize stress for your cat by gradually moving their litter box to a quieter place, or by using a hormone spray. Hormone sprays work by marking an area with a feline hormone that induces calm feelings in cats.

Health Issues

One of the more common reasons for cats to sleep in the litter box is if they're having problems urinating properly. Urinary tract infections are common in cats and can cause them to have to urinate frequently. Due to the urge to frequently urinate your cat will sleep in the litter box so it doesn't eliminate inappropriately.

When To See Your Vet

Urinary issues can become life threatening in cats if not treated properly. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your cat, get it to a vet (such as one from Phoenixville Animal Hospital - R B Wolstenholme DVM​) immediately:

  • Breathing open mouthed
  • Straining to urinate or defecate
  • Blood in your cat's urine
  • Little or no urine or fecal matter after straining
  • Exposed third eyelid

These symptoms indicate your cat is in a life threatening situation and needs to be seen by your vet as soon as possible.