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Do Cats Like Privacy When They Poop? Cat Behavior Explained

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

blue tabby maine coon sitting in litter box

One of the conveniences of having cats is that they naturally learn to use litter boxes quite quickly. If a cat doesn’t take to using a litter box, there can be several reasons for this behavior. One common culprit is that the cat doesn’t feel like they have enough privacy.

When cats relieve themselves, they’re put in a vulnerable position physically. So, if they don’t feel that their litter box is in a safe location, they most likely won’t use it. Here’s what you need to know about respecting a cat’s litter box habits and how you can ensure that they feel safe when they go to the bathroom.

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How to Create a Private Space for a Litter Box

Placing a litter box in a strategic location will increase the chances of your cat successfully using it. A good location is a space that’s both easily accessible and quiet. It should be in a spot where you know your cat won’t experience any disruptions, such as a corner of a room that’s far from doors or entryways.

Just keep in mind that if a litter box is too secluded, your cat may have a difficult time accessing it and may feel discouraged from using it. It should also be placed in a spot that’s on the ground or close to the ground.

If you live in a smaller space with little privacy, you can always try using a litter box that comes with a cover or a litter box cabinet. The extra enclosure will help your cat feel safe and inconspicuous.

british cat inside litter box
Image by: Natasha Zakharova, Shutterstock

Do Cats Like When You Watch Them Poop?

While cats and other pets may be able to feel embarrassment, they most likely won’t feel embarrassed if you catch them using the litter box.

While humans seek privacy when doing their business, your cat may actually appreciate it if they know that you’re keeping an eye on them. Instead of viewing this action as an invasion of privacy, your cat may see it as a means of you keeping watch over them while they’re in a vulnerable position. So, the gesture may be appreciated, and your cat may see you as more trustworthy and dependable.

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Other Reasons a Cat Won’t Use a Litter Box

There are several other reasons that a cat may not use a litter box. Here are common factors that may prevent them from stepping into one.

1. The Cat Doesn’t Like the Litter

Cats have sensitive paws and can be picky about the texture of their cat litter. Some cats may prefer larger pellets, while others will only want to step on grainier litter.

The smell of the litter can also determine if a cat likes it. Litters with strong odor-masking fragrances may be too strong for cats and cause them to avoid going near the box.

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2. The Litter Box Is Too Dirty

Litter boxes should be cleaned regularly so your cat always has a clean spot to do their business. This can mean scooping litter daily or replacing soiled litter with fresh litter more frequently.

Cats typically like to stay clean and do their own self-grooming. So, they won’t have any interest in stepping into areas where they risk touching their own waste.


3. The Litter Box Is the Wrong Size

Most cats will prefer large litter boxes over small ones. A cat should be able to completely enter a litter box and have a little wiggle room to scoop the litter and bury their waste.

The entryway also shouldn’t be too tall, especially if you have senior cats. They should be able to easily step inside the litter box without having to leap or jump.

cat in a litter box
Image by: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Cats like having privacy when they use a litter box, but it’s not because they feel embarrassed if they get caught pooping. Cats feel vulnerable when they poop, so they want to make sure that they have a safe space where they won’t be disturbed.

So, if your cat isn’t using their litter box, make sure that it’s in a good location where your cat has plenty of privacy. They may not mind you watching them poop, but they’ll appreciate feeling safe and having some peace and quiet while they do their business.


Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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