Why Is My Cat Sitting in the Litter Box?

Why Is My Cat Sitting in the Litter Box?

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Cats are naturally curious. They like to explore and investigate every inch of their surroundings. So, it's no surprise when they try to get into the nearest litter tray you have set up for them. Some cats may be marking their territory, while others might need some alone time. Whatever the reason, we hope you can figure out  why your cat is sitting in the litter box after reading this article!

Top Reasons Why Your Cat is Sitting in their Litter Box:

1. Safe Haven

Cats need a safe place to retreat. If they are afraid of something or feeling uncomfortable, it is the instinct for them to find a secluded corner and go into hiding. In the wild, cats will seek out holes in trees as their hideouts. For domesticated kitties, anything from an abandoned cardboard box to a litter box can suffice!

Shy cat hiding in its litter box

Cats are naturally skittish animals, and they would prefer to run away from a situation that makes them uncomfortable. By sitting in the litter tray, their instinct is telling them that they're hiding in a safe place, so it provides them with comfort.

2. Alone Time

Cats are notoriously solitary animals. They would instead be left to their own devices than be socialized with other cats or people. So, sitting in the litter box may represent a place where they spend some alone time. In a sense, it's like their little hideaway spot!

Cats enjoy their alone time and will often sit in a litter box for extended periods. Cats do not like being disturbed when they urinate or defecate, so finding them sitting happily in the litter tray is not always cause for concern. They're just spending some alone time in their box. But be sure to have a look at the behavior that nothing unusual is happening.

3. Marking Territory

Walking around the house, your cat may be looking for a spot that smells its own unique scent. Cats usually are very clean animals that avoid soiling their living spaces, but they will start using the litter box as an outlet when they feel threatened. The scent from urine is complex for humans to detect but easy for cats to smell, which means that this is another way your cat might want to leave a mark on the area. You can usually add cardboard scratchers or cardboard houses to give your cat a scent filled alternative to its litter box.

4. Urinary Issues

It's always terrible to see our beloved cats suffer. But when they start spending most of their time in the litter box, it might be a sign that something is wrong. In some cases, it could mean your cat has Dysuria, and you should take your cat immediately to the vet.

Some of the common symptoms are change in frequency of urination, blood in urine, unproductive urination, and inability to urinate properly. These poor creatures desperately try but end up staying near the litter boxes because they cannot relieve themselves anywhere else! So, do consult the vet in these situations.

5. Stones In Kidney

The most severe and critical reason for your cat sitting in the litter box is kidney stones. Kidney stones are a terrible cause of feline urinary obstruction. Urinary tract infections and acidic urine can lead to the formation of crystals in the kidney that will eventually block your cat's urethra, which causes infection or heart failure.

If you ever suspect any symptoms like blood in their urine, lethargy, straining too much after urination in cats, please take them immediately for an exam by your veterinarian! The condition can be fatal for your cats if you don't pay attention.

6. Constipation

Constipation is a common problem in cats. Some causes of constipation are simple and can be solved with diet changes or medications, while other cases may require more extensive treatment from your veterinarian.


Straining in the litter box is also common among cats with this ailment. It can even lead to vomiting for some cats, which is not something any pet owner wants their furry friend going through! It can be another reason for your cat sitting in the litter box.

7. Urethral Obstruction

For many cats, a plugged urethra is an uncomfortable and terrifying experience. Cats may need to strain in their litter box for hours at a time without producing any urine. The discomfort is that the cat's bladder gets blocked by mucus or crystals that accumulate while urinating. The condition gradually worsens over time.

If left untreated, the condition will only worsen until it becomes a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate veterinary care. The treatment can be costly depending on how long this problem has been going untreated.

8. Other Medical Issues

With an old cat that spends most of its time in the litter box, it may be due to increased pain in the joints. It is called feline arthritis, and you should replace the litter tray with one having low sides. So, they can get inside or out without experiencing such a painful experience.

Cats with Pandora's syndrome are typically only afflicted by a bacterial infection. It is caused due to the cat being obese, inactive, or stressed. It should be avoided for them not to get infected! It has a direct relation with the overall health and urinary tract of the cat. Therefore, do consult your vet to prevent any serious issues.

Cat owners should be vigilant in evaluating food intake and litter box use for their cats. The cat may have a gastrointestinal problem that requires medical attention. The cat's regular diet can be examined for the cause of diarrhea or gastrointestinal upset. If it cannot find any reason, take it to a veterinarian and check if there is something more serious going on. The vet will analyze the condition of your cat and will treat it accordingly.

Is It Normal For My Cat To Stay In Her Litter Box And Play?

Some kittens like to stay or play around the litter box because they are still developing. But don't worry, it's not abnormal for some cats too! They just might be looking for a hidden place where they can feel safe and comfortable. Just analyze their habits properly that there are no prevailing medical conditions in this regard.

Why Do Some Cats Play in the Litter Box?

Cats love to play in the litter box because it is fun and stimulating. It could be that your cat thinks of the movement or sound as a call for a recess. So, try not to scoop right after they finish playing- give them some time before you do. You can also encourage your kitty by having toys around their regular hangout spots, like on top of cabinets. Also, place at the spaces where they usually sleep or near their food bowls.

kitten playing in litter box

Just keep in mind you're trying to get them away from doing those things inside. Patience helps too! Most cats grow out of this phase eventually. But if yours doesn't, please consult with a vet about what might have caused this behavior change.


As you can see, many possible reasons why cats may end up sitting in their litter box. It is essential to take your cat's behavior seriously and consult a veterinarian if she has displayed signs of illness or distress. If not, then try implementing some changes around the home to help alleviate this issue for both you and your furry friend!

We hope you've found this article to be helpful. Cats are quirky creatures and understand that it can sometimes take time and patience before figuring out the reason behind their behaviors. Then, take necessary actions accordingly.


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  2. https://www.greenmatters.com/p/cat-sitting-in-litter-box
  3. https://www.pawtracks.com/cats/cat-lying-litter-box/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4765852/
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