Why Does My Cat Sit In The Litter Box? Here Are 6 Possible Reasons

Cats develop unusual habits because of their quirky nature. They can run around the house, hide in an enclosed space, rub their head on the wall, and many more.

These habits are quite natural for many cats. If your kitten is spending a long time in the litter box, you can deem this behavior to be harmless, and you should accept the kitten the way it is.

However, if the cat develops this kind of behavior at some later stages of life, you should pay attention to the cat’s health.

Any unusual behavior can indicate an ailment, and you should take the cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

This article will address all the possible reasons and help you understand the issue in depth.

Why does my cat sit in the litter box?

Cats develop all sorts of quirky habits in their lives. Sitting in the litter box is another addition to the list.

In this section, we will look at several possible reasons for which the cat can act in such a manner. Let us look at those reasons one by one –

1. Safe Haven:

Cats can behave in a different way when they are under duress or stress. There can be a plethora of reasons that can induce anxiety issues in cats.

A change in the fixed schedule of a cat can be one of the most common reasons to make the cat behave in this way.

The litter box might be the only place in the house where they feel most safe, and it is probably trying its best to find a calming atmosphere.

Kittens are more prone to show this behavior. If they sleep in the litter boxes, it is more likely that the kitten is continuing its habit. The small, cozy litter box might seem more comfortable to them than a cat bed.

2. Alone Time:

Cats can choose to spend most of their time in the litter box to have alone time as well. A litter box is their paradise where no one disturbs them.

If they are tired of all the daily chores, they can decide to spend the rest of their time alone in the litter box.

If the litter box is in a suitable corner of the house, cats can spend most of their time in the litter box. If that is the case, we can confirm that the cat is certainly happy with your litter box cleaning skills.

3. Territory:

Some cats can have a strong territorial nature, and they can block out other cats from using the same litter box.

If you have multiple cats in your household and use a single litter box for more than one cat, there will be territorial conflict.

The stronger cat will spend most of its time in the litter box so that other cats do not use it. If other cats approach the litter box, the stronger cat will stretch and glare at them.

The weak cats often develop urinary tract problems because of the unavailability of a litter box. Hence, you need to take proper caution if that is the case and introduce new litter boxes into the household.

4. Improper Urination:

When a cat is spending most of its time in a litter box, it might be possible that the cat is probably suffering from an illness.

If the cat does not move away from the litter box, the cat may be suffering from a condition called Dysuria.

In this condition, cats cannot urinate properly, and it can lead to blood in urine, increased frequency of urination, unproductive urination, and many more.

As they helplessly try to urinate and cannot urinate properly, they start to spend most of their time in the litter box. It can also lead to exhaustion, fatigue, and nausea, as they continuously try to urinate.

5. Kidney Stone:

It is probably the most severe reason that can cause this behavior in cats. Bacteria present in the kidneys can cause urinary tract infections, and the acidic nature of the urine can form several kinds of crystals.

These crystals can cause blockage in the urinary tract, and it can result in urinary infections as well. If you suspect any symptom in your cat, you must take the cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

This blockage in the urinary tract can lead to kidney failure or heart failure within 24 hours. If the cat has feline intestinal cystitis, the cat might urge to urinate continuously.

You need to be attentive to your cat and take it to a veterinary clinic if you suspect any of these ailments.

6. Other Medical Reasons:

The cat can spend time in the litter box for another severe medical problem. Chronic diarrhea or gastrointestinal upset can cause a constant urge to defecate.

You can check the diet of the cat to ensure that it is not responsible for diarrhea. If you do not find any reason for its upset stomach, you need to take the cat to a veterinarian for a complete checkup.

If you have an old cat and spend most of its time inside the litter box, it may be due to the severe pain in their bone joints.

This condition is called feline arthritis. You should replace the litter box with a one having low sides. It will help the old feline to go in or out of the litter box without experiencing severe pain.


By now, you should have a clear idea about all the possible reasons that can be responsible for this unusual behavior.

If your cat spends time in the litter box since you adopted it, you shouldn’t be concerned about this habit.

However, we have pointed out several severe ailments that can cause this behavior.

So, you should take the cat to a veterinarian and check the health if it developed this habit abruptly. If there is nothing wrong with the cat’s health, you should not worry about it at all.

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