Why Is My Cat Sleeping in the Litter Box?

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Your cat sleeps anywhere she wants. This includes her bed, your bed, the couch, and on top of the scratching post. Now, however, you've noticed that she's taken on a funny new habit: She's now napping and sleeping in her litter box.

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You're wondering if it's weird that your cat sleeps in her litter box. Is she going through something? Are health issues factoring in? Or is this totally normal behavior?

By figuring out what the issue is— if there is one— you can take your cat to the veterinarian for care and feel rest assured that she's going to be OK.

Here are some reasons why your cat may be sleeping in the litter box.

The enclosed space and familiar smell are comforting

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If you own a kitten, then she may enjoy the comfort of the enclosed space, according to Purina. However, an adult cat can feel this way too. The litter box also smells like her and makes her feel safe. If you have a new cat that is not used to the new surroundings, then she may go to the litter box because she's scared and afraid and looking for some comfort, according to Sepiacat. If somebody new moved into your home or you just had a baby, then your cat might retreat to her litter box to get some private time and feel more relaxed.

if you think your cat is retreating to her litter box for some alone time, you can put a bed for your cat in a quieter room so she doesn't feel the need to sleep in her litter box. Also, if she likes to cuddle, make sure you cuddle her often and give her enough attention to show that you love her.

Marking territory in a multi-cat household

If you have multiple cats, and only a few litter boxes, then one of the cats may try to mark her territory by sleeping in one of the litter boxes. Additionally, if one of the cats is being harassed, then she may retreat to the litter box to use it before any of the other cats can. To fix this issue, you should buy more litter boxes, if at all possible. The rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat, plus one additional, says The Humane Society. (So if you have three cats, you should have four litter boxes, and so forth.)

Potential health issues

According to Feline Living, your cat may be suffering from health issues. After she goes to the bathroom in the litter box, she might not have the energy to get out of it. She could have kidney disease that she got as a result of a urinary tract infection or because she has intestinal discomfort. According to Hill's, the sign of a urinary tract infection include straining to urinate, crying out while urinating, blood in the urine, irritability, licking the abdominal or genital areas, and urinating outside of the litter box. You should take your cat to the veterinarian right away if you see any of these signs of illness.

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Your cat is in labor

If your cat is not fixed and is in labor looking for an enclosed space to give birth in, then she may retreat to the litter box. According to Care.com, if you have a pregnant cat and know she is close to her due date, then you should fill a box with pieces of torn newspaper and then put a blanket on top. Then, place the box in a quiet area of your home. You should put her food and water bowls as well as her litter box close to her in case she needs to use the bathroom. Show your cat the box before she starts going into labor – if it's not too late – so that can she get used to the area and feel comfortable in it.

In conclusion

Your cat may be napping or sleeping in her litter box because she is scared, seeking out alone time, trying to cope with other cats in your home, or (less likely) in labor dealing with health issues. You can make sure to give her a safe space where she can sleep, like a box in a quiet room, and call your vet if you notice any health problems.

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