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Do Cats Need Access to Litter Box at Night?

Many cat owners wonder whether or not their cats need access to the litter box at night. The answer is yes, but there are a few things you can do to make it safer for your cat and easier for you.

Cats are creatures of habit and prefer to use the same litter box all the time. They tend to be picky about their choice of litter too, so changing brands or types often leads to accidents and frustration on both sides of the equation.

Having a separate box for nighttime use avoids interrupting your cat’s routine and helps keep your house clean.

Read also: When Do Kittens Start Cleaning Themselves?

So, Do Cats Need Access to Litter Box at Night?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Cats are a nocturnal species by nature and frequently use the litter box at night, especially if they are unable to go outside.

Cats Need Access to Litter Box at Night

However, cats should always have access to the litter box during the day too, as you can’t predict when they might need to go.

Some adult cats can go as long as 12 hours between bathroom breaks. However, if you’re just getting a new kitten, it’s best to keep the litter box available at all times while they get used to their new home.

The same goes for any elderly or infirm cats who might have trouble holding it for longer than usual.

Where To Put Litter Box at Night

If you have a cat, you know that these lovable creatures are nocturnal. Your cat may start meowing at 3 AM in hopes that their owner will wake up and feed them.

Once the cat food is served, your cat may then decide to use the litter box. This can be a problem for people who share a home with other humans or pets.

If your cat decides to use the litter box at night, they may wake up any sleeping animals or humans in the house.

You may want to consider placing the litter box somewhere other than where it normally is at night.

There are several different places you can put your cat’s litter box if you don’t want it out in the open. You could put it behind a screen or in a cabinet, but those options aren’t always ideal for all cats.

Places To Put Litter Box at Night

  1. In the Living Room

It’s the most common place for litter boxes, and for good reason. Your cat will be able to access it easily and you can keep an eye on things.

Just make sure your litter box is in a private spot that isn’t very trafficked by humans, so your kitty won’t feel like it’s on display.

2. In the Laundry Room

If your laundry room is on the smaller side, consider your cat’s litter box its newest occupant. The space just needs to be easily for your cat to get to, plus some extra room for their litter box.

Put up a baby gate if you want to keep this area off limits to other pets or small children.

3. In the Bathroom

The bathroom makes another convenient location for your cat’s litter box, especially if there are multiple bathrooms in your home.

Just make sure it’s not too close to the toilet, you don’t want any accidents!

 If this location works well with your home layout but you’re worried about keeping the bathroom clean, try putting down a vinyl mat underneath the litter box and sweep or mop regularly to cut down on dust and tracked litter.

Read also: Why Is My Cat Hanging Out in The Bathroom?

Things To Consider When Deciding Where to Put Your Cat’s Litter Box

  • Is there enough room for your cat to get into the box? If it’s too small, then she might not use it and instead go somewhere else, which isn’t good either!
  • Is there enough light? Cats prefer a dimly lit area and will avoid bright places where they feel exposed or vulnerable.
  • Is there ventilation? Cats need fresh air too! If there isn’t any airflow in the area where you’re keeping her litter box, then she might refuse to use it because she feels uncomfortable with all that waste being trapped next door.

4 Common Places to avoid putting litter box

  1. Porch or balcony

You might think it’s convenient to have an outdoor litterbox for your cat, but it’s really not.

The box can also be knocked over by wind or rain, creating a big mess.

2. Where you store your food

Your cat may begin associating the litter box with food if you keep them too close together.

3. In the middle of a room

If there’s no privacy for your cat to use its litter box, it’ll be likely to find another place in the house that feels safe enough to use as a bathroom.

4. Basements

A basement can seem like a cool and dark place to put a litter box, but if there are any leaks or water damage, it could make its way into your litter.

A better option is to find an unused closet on the first few floors of your house that has enough ventilation and light.

Do Cats Poop More at Night?

This varies and depends mostly on how your cat’s lifestyle is. Some cats will not even poop at night at all while others do poop at night. However, all is normal because nature can call anytime at any point.

If you’ve ever wondered why your cat is meowing in the middle of the night and wandering aimlessly around the house, it’s likely because they need to poop.

Some cats are nocturnal creatures. If your cat is one that prefers to sleep during the day and prowl around at night, then your cat will naturally be more active when you’re sleeping.

Therefore, if you’re sleeping from about 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., your cat might just decide to use the bathroom during those eight hours.

Cats have sensitive noses. The smell of their own feces can be very unpleasant for them which is why it’s important to be diligent about cleaning the litter box.

So, if you have a very clean-smelling litter box, your cat will definitely want to use it at night when no one else is home and especially when everyone else is asleep!

Having said that, cats are territorial creatures. They like to claim things as their own, including their litter box and don’t want any other animals using it either.

If your family has a dog that tends to sneak into the litter box, this might be the same reason your cat wants to leave a territorial sign.

Other reasons to why your cat is pooping at night may be due to some health conditions. You must ensure to seek advice from your vet to make sure your cat is just as safe as you would like it to be.

Do Cats Need Light to Use Litter Box?

The answer is yes, cats do need light to use the litter box. Some cats don’t seem to mind the dark, but many others are frightened when they’re in a dark space and don’t know what’s around them.

We want our cats to feel safe and comfortable in their environment. And that means having good lighting for your cat’s litter box.

It also helps us monitor our cats as well as helping us avoid any potential accidents.

The best kind of light for your cat’s litter box is natural light, either from a window or through a skylight. If that’s not an option, there are plenty of other choices.

Cats can see in the dark. They don’t need light to go to the bathroom. However, they do need light to find the litter box, so if your cat is having accidents, it might be because they can’t see. What can you do?

Make sure there’s a light on at night. Just enough for them to see but not so bright that it keeps you awake.

Also read: New Cat Won’t Leave Room [Solutions]

How Long Can Cat Go Without Litter Box?

Cats can go up to 24 to 48 hours without using the litter box.

The average healthy cat will use the litter box 3 to 4 times a day. However, it depends on a number of factors, including the cat’s age and size, how long she can hold it, and her temperament.

If your cat is elderly or has some kind of health condition, you may want to take her out to use the litter box every 4 hours or so.

Otherwise, assuming she is in good health and has no specific conditions, you should let her use the litter box every 6-8 hours.

Make sure you try to place the litter box in a spot where it isn’t likely to get too dirty or be disturbed by other animals.

How To Know When a Cat Needs to Go to The Bathroom

You may notice your cat is circling around, your cat is sniffing, your cat is meowing, or your cat is doing the weird back legs-shuffling dance that signals he’s about to pee.

Cat needs to go to the bathroom

This might be a bathroom emergency, and you’re about to be on the receiving end of some feline wrath if you don’t do something about it, And fast.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to tell when your furry friend needs to go to the bathroom. And luckily, just as many ways to get your kitty the relief he needs without causing an accident in your home.

When it comes to bathroom training, the two most important tools are patience and observation. By observing your cat’s behavior, you’ll be able to tell when she needs to go and get her to the litter box in time.

Once she’s there a few times, she’ll start to associate the spot with the action, and will learn to go on her own.

3 signs that your cat might need to relieve herself

  1. Scratching and Digging

This is one of the first things a kitten learns to do, so if you see your older cat scratching around on a surface you’ve previously designated as off-limits, it could mean that she’s trying to make a bathroom for herself, and you should probably get her over to her litter box.

2. If She’s Sniffing

If your cat takes off running, but then stops and starts sniffing around at one particular spot; say, in the laundry room or next to the couch, it could mean that she’s looking for a place where she can set up shop and do her business.

3. If She’s Meowing

Meowing is one of cats’ primary means of communication, if you find that yours is meowing more than usual, it could mean she needs your help or signaling you that she needs to go to the bathroom.

How To Potty Train A Cat Without a Litter Box

Potty training a cat without a litter box is easier than you might think but, it does require patience and consistency. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to a litter-free home in no time.

  1. Pick a spot

You’re going to want to train your cat to go in one specific spot, so think about where that makes the most sense for you.

Some people pick a corner of their bathroom or laundry room, or even a patch of lawn outside if they have one that’s easy to reach from the house.

If your cat isn’t already using that spot to go potty, they might try to at first while they get used to the idea. That’s totally fine, as long as you clean up after them right away and don’t allow them to smell any lingering messes.

2. Set up your litter box

There are two main approaches that work well here: either use some kind of artificial grass or pee pad as your litter box (both of which can be found online), or simply place down newspaper in the area that you’ve chosen.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s probably a good idea to make sure your cat has full access to the litter box at night. You don’t have to make it a part of your nighttime routine.

But you should let them enter and use the litter box while they’re awake in the middle of the night. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but it could help prevent a number of potential issues.

If you have more than one cat, it might be nice to give them some alone time in a separate room. Where they can’t bother each other or you.

If you’re going to do this, I would suggest creating an accordion doorway so that they can come and go but still have their own space.

If changing locations every once in a while, is too big of a hassle, it’s best to provide each kitty with its own litter box if they share the same room.

Resources

https://hsmo.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Golden-Rules-of-Litterbox-handout.pdf

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/litter-box-problems