Sleeping in the Litter Box

by Claire

I just adopted a four-month female kitten from the Humane Society. I have had her for four days and she has been a happy, loving, kitten, always jumping up on my lap to be loved, which I do.

From the first day, she has used her covered litter box without a problem, eaten her food and drank her water, also played when I play with her, but today, she started using her litter box for a place to get to sleep.

I keep her box very clean and do not leave any elimination in the box but remove it shortly after she uses it. She has a comfortable bed, and loves to sit on the diningroom chairs which I allow her to do, and also jumps up on the window sill in my bedroom and has basically, the run of my apartment.

The only restriction is my computer desk and the diningroom table which I will spray her with a small spray of water if she goes on them. She has not been on the diningroom table, but is still not trained with the computer desk. Also noticed that she is sneezing and one eye is watering.

Why does she choose to lie in the litter box rather than all the other comfortable places she can use or in my lap. I am totally at a loss as to what is causing this behavior. Any ideas?? Please help!!

My thoughts:

You're giving her lots of good care, so it's puzzling. I've seen this behavior, but never in my cats. I have not found much information about it, and none of the books I have on cats seem to mention it (I have about 10 books).

Sleeping in the litter box may simply be a sign that she is not feeling right. Whether it's a physical problem, or perhaps just the stress of her recent moves, it's hard to say. Cats will sleep in the box when they feel stressed, frightened, or intimidated, and you'll often see cats at shelters doing this.

Call the vet about the sneezing and the watery eye. It's very common for kittens to be ill from exposure to sick cats at shelters, and then begin showing symptoms at home. She may need to be treated, and at the very least, you should have a phone consultation to see what the vet thinks. Mention the sleeping in the litter box.

Keep a close eye on her behavior patterns, eating, drinking, and box usage and note if anything changes.

The covered box may be giving her a sense of security that she is not getting in other parts of the house. If she's not feeling good, that may just be an additional factor. Most of us probably don't want to recover from illness out in the open! We'd rather be hiding some where... so would she.

The places that you've offered her may be comfortable, but they may not seem as safe. Cats often like an area surrounded on three sides (or at least 2), and preferably, up high (think cave-like). So, try to create an area for her that is all at once safe, somewhat hidden, comfortable, and away from the box. If she seems to want your company, spend time with her in that place, then let her sleep if she will.

It's possible that she doesn't appreciate the spraying behavior modification technique, and this is stressing her as well. Some cats don't respond well to it. A firm "no" (without being so loud that you make her afraid of you) is often enough to teach a young cat when you're not pleased. If you spray and use "no" at the same time, you may be able to reduce the frequency of the spraying, and eventually just using "no" will give her the idea.

If you have any other animals in or near your place, or she's been scared by any noises or people in the neighborhood, this may also explain why she feels a little off and is sleeping in the litter box for comfort. It usually takes cats quite some time to adjust to a new home, so it may also just be a matter of time. She's been through a lot in her young life.

I hope that helps!


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Jul 29, 2014
Not many ideas.
by: Anonymous

Evidently this is somewhat rare as the comments are thin and not much good except the one thing that comes through. See your vet. E Curry

Aug 12, 2010
cat sleeping in litter box
by: lomiri8

I also have a new kitten who is sleeping in his litter box. Everything else is fine. The problem is that we have 2 kittens and the other can use the box if he's sleeping in it. He is a very happy kitten. Your idea of the comfort from the semi enclosed area sounds like it just might hit the nail on the head. I'm going to put his bed in a little box tonight I'll let you know how it turns out.

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