Sometimes kittens will get reach a few months of age and decide playing in the litter box is the best thing in the world. Naturally, being the uncoordinated ball of fur they are, litter gets everywhere. Which means more mess for you to clean up.
So, is this behavior normal? Are there some stress or medical-related issues to contend with? Let’s see if we can get questions answered.
Is It Normal for Kittens to Play in the Litter Box?
Yes, most of the time. A lot of kittens have been known to go through this phase. Why? Well, no one has ever given me a straight answer on that. Cats are inherently clean creatures, but they have to grown into that cleanliness.
Just think back to when you were a mischievous tot. You didn’t give a hoot how wet, muddy or stinky you were- as long as you were having fun! But now that you’re all grown up, I bet you take a shower right after you’ve finished with the yard work. Give your developing furball some time to learn to be clean.
On the other hand, this phase probably brings with it a lot of extra noise and extra clean up. All that obsessive rolling, digging and scratching is sure to get litter all over the place. If you can’t stand the constant mess, it’s probably worth it to invest in a covered litter box or a litter box mat. Neither of these things will really deter your kitty from playing in with the litter, but at least they’ll help keep the litter where it’s supposed to be.
Why Do Kittens Play With Their Poop?
During their romp in the litter box you may notice your kitten playing with their poop. This is mainly because of two things. First, they are still figuring out what poop is and what to do with it. The second may be that they’re just bored. Under-stimulation can lead an energetic kitten to do some strange things.
Both house cats and wild cats bury their poop. It’s instinctive. According to the SCPA, this is likely an attempt to cover their trail so other predators can’t easily track them. Felines are sneaky. Because of this, they need to maintain the element of surprise when hunting for food.
Your kitten playing with their feces may just be them figuring out how to deal with the mess they made. There’s usually a fair amount of digging alongside this ‘fun with feces’ stage. Your kitty just needs a little time to iron out their instincts.
I’ve found that litter boxes that are self-cleaning mostly eliminate this problem. Once your cat has does their business, the dirty stuff is scooped away, leaving a fresh bed of litter. Of course, there’s always the risk of your curious cat playing with the new contraption , but that’s the cost of convenience. If you’re considering getting an electric litter box, check out our review of the Litter-Robot 3 Connect.
Anyway, if your kitten isn’t using the litter box properly and is defecating all over the house, that’s a whole other problem. Read our post explaining why cats poop outside the litter box and what you can do to stop it.
How Do I Stop My Kitten From Playing in the Litter Box?
For the most part, the only thing you can do is wait out this phase. With most kittens it will only last a couple of weeks. Although it’s true that some fully grown cats still play in the litter box, it’s not as common.
Nevertheless, there are things you can do to distract your maturing feline from their feces. As we said before, this could just be a case of boredom. Take their favorite toy and have some quality playtime! If you tire your kitty out, they’ll forget all about the litter box and find their favorite spot to nap.
Be that as it may, if your cat is scratching the litter box excessively, this is more likely due to an underlying medical condition or just plain unhappiness.
Why Does My Cat Lay in the Litter Box?
If your full grown cat is laying in the litter box, it may be they aren’t feeling well. A good indicator of a health issue here is if your feline hasn’t ever done this before. If it’s your kitten who’s sleeping in the litter box then you have a little less to worry about. It could just be that your kitty feels safe and protected inside there. Try getting a heated cat bed to mitigate this behavior.
Another possible explanation is your cat is guarding its territory. This is usually only the case with multi-cat households. Sometimes there may be a little tension and your feline is just being defensive.