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Here is why your cat uses a litter box just after cleaning

Does your cat use the litter box right after cleaning?

Has something similar happened to you? Are you noticing this behaviour for the first time?

Is it something to worry about?

I will try to explain why the cat likes to do the toileting in the fresh clean litter. This is based on my personal experience and isn’t an expert opinion.

This behaviour seems to be very common among cats as many cat owners have shared their experiences online.
Major reasons for the cat using the litter right after its cleaned are: they prefer clean litter to soiled litter and wait until they find their litter box is fresh the other possible reasons are fresh litter box has a different smell so cats being territorial in nature like to spray their scent.




I will be explaining this interesting cat behaviour in detail in this blog post.

Let’s get to the point now.

So why is my cat using the clean litter box immediately?

Out of several reasons for your cat using the litter box to his/ her business as soon as you clean the dirty litter box, we can list the major reasons into a few points.



Cat doesn’t use the litter box when it is soiled

Cats like everything fresh and clean. As we notice while owning and caring for our cats, they try their best to keep themselves clean and dirt clean.

They intend and expect to have their things clean and tidy.

I have noticed that our cat Eleven, barely used the litter box if it is already soiled or wet. Instead, she prevents using the dirty litter box as much as she can.

And once she finds, that we’ve cleaned her litter box with fresh clay litters, she enjoys doing her business.


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This might be the one possible reason for cats using the cat litter box right after being cleaned.

Not enough clean cat litter to hide their excreta

Quite often, if a cat decides there isn’t enough clean cat litter to cover and hide his/ her urine and faeces, s/he will prevent not using the litter box.

When most of the top layer of the litter is wet or already has cat’s excreta, there mightn’t be enough extra cat litter to hide their urine or stool, this might trigger the cat not to do any business until they find enough clean cat litter.

  • cat being a territorial animal in nature and having feline behaviours, they hide their excreta (urine and poops) most of the time
  • a cat always prefers to use clean litters to cover/ hide their excreta
  • they may not use the litter box if the litter box has been completely soiled or wet leaving no more clay litters to cover their excreta

To mark the territory

As we talked earlier, cats being territorial animals they mark their place, things and people with their scents.

You may have noticed some territorial behaviours of cats like:



– sleeping on your neck and body
– sniffing and purring coming close to you as you come home
– rubbing shoulders against your legs

Among several other such behaviours, one distinct habit of cats is they like marking and spreading their scent in cat litter box too.

  • cats like marking the clean cat litter with their scent by using it
  • to show their ownership and posses the litter box
  • to educate themselves that they have got fresh litter to use!

They are happy!

Yes, you read it right!

Seeing their cute small toilet dirty for a long time makes the cat very upset and unhappy. They try not to use the litter box as much as they can control.

Once they find that their litter box is fresh and clean, they want to enjoy the freshness of their toilet and empty their bowels.


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Well, maybe they equally understand the real meaning of restroom like we humans. 😀

Now we know some possible reasons for our cat using the clean cat litter as quick as they can, let’s talk a little bit about some cat behaviours related to the cat litter.

Common strange cat litter behaviors

Even though cats tend to keep themselves neat and tidy, sometimes they happen to show some strange litter behaviours. This mightn’t happen always but you shouldn’t be surprised to see some strange cat litter behaviours.

Cat watches me cleaning the litter box

I have noticed many times, that as I am emptying and cleaning the litter box, our cat comes close to the bathroom’s door and patiently waits there.

Not just she patiently waits but she shows the usual “curious cat” behaviour. She observes her owner cleaning her litter box with great curiosity and interest.

Pooping just outside the litter box

Well, this happens!

Even though this might make us angry at our cat but we should understand they don’t do this always.

I have noticed a couple of times, our cat’s excreta right outside the box.

The possible reasons why this happened might be not because she did this intentionally but it was just a miscalculation and in rush? Or might be because her litter box was too dirty already.



Digging and playing with the clay litter

Often, I hear our cat playing with the litter. She tries to spread the clay litters from one side to another and keep doing this for a long time. Sometimes, she does this to get our attention too!

Naughty, isn’t it?

And as we can imagine, sometimes she spreads it outside the litter box too.

Pooping somewhere else instead of the litter box

Well, this is the worst nightmare for any cat owner!


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Find your cat’s poop on top of your slippers or on top of the carpet!

This has happened a couple of times with us too!

Even though our cat is litter trained and uses the litter box for toileting all the time, there have been few instances when things didn’t go right!

Once, I bought her a new cat fur bed from Kmart and introduced it to her.
That evening I saw her pooping on that small fur bed. Maybe she thought it looked and felt like her litter box? It happened again later in a few months, then, we had to discard the idea of fur bed. 🙁

And our cat has also pooped on the slippers that we wear in our home!
Not quite sure why though! 😀


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Remember to consult your vet doctor, if you notice such strange cat behaviours multiple times.

Do you have a similar experience with your cat?

Let me know your experiences and your cat’s strange litter behaviours in the comment section below. I can’t wait to read about your experiences.

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About the Author
Lakshman Basnet
Digital Media Marketer from Nepal currently based in Adelaide, South Australia who apart from playing with his cat - Eleven, also enjoys developing web content, publishing blogs and YouTube videos in his free time.

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