If there is one thing that I have largely in common with my cat is that we are very particular about our toilets. I like mine clean, dry and smelling like spring and I’m sure my cat does too.
As pet owners, I am sure we can all agree that when it comes to cleaning out the litter box, it isn’t the most pleasant of tasks. There are times when I will ask my cat “What on earth did you eat??”
I notice that my cat has a particular habit of watching me clean his dirty litter box. There are times when he just sits in front of me while I do it. Other times he will be peeing out from behind the wall.
Why do some cats like watching their litter boxes being cleaned?
Some cats prefer to keep an eye on their litter boxes due to their territorial and curious nature. Many cats regard their litter boxes as a valued possession and can be protective over them. Some might not like the idea of you snooping around or changing out the litter.
In this article, we will be taking a closer look at the reasons which might explain your cat’s litter box watching behavior.
Why Is The Litter Box Important To Cats?
Your cat’s litter box or litter tray might just be another unpleasant daily task for you to complete but to your cat, it is a lot more than that.
A litter helps to satisfy your cat’s natural instinct of burying its waste after it is done. This is what a wild cat would do to cover its tracks and prevent predators from coming near.
You see, as great a predator as cats are, they are also being preyed upon by larger predators who can track down the cat via the smell of its waste.
So a litter box for your cat isn’t just a toilet, it’s a survival device.
But why is your cat watching you closely while you are cleaning its litter box?
Your Cat Is Territorial
You might have the sweetest cat on planet earth but on top of all that cuteness is an animal that is very territorial.
A cat’s territorial nature stems from the very essence of being a cat.
They are solitary creatures that have to feed and fend for themselves after leaving their mothers at the tender age of 12-15 weeks.
The only time a cat will meet up with another cat is to mate but cats can also be sociable and tolerant of each other when forming a cat colony.
When cats roam, they will mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on objects or spray marking. This is to let other animals know that this area is taken and to enter at your own risk.
Having boundaries makes a cat feel safe and secure. A male cat can have a roaming territory of up to 150 acres and a female cat at 40 acres.
Our domestic cats don’t have to mark their own litter trays or boxes as the scent of the waste is already a marker.
Therefore, when your cat sees you coming and starts digging up the seed turds that your cat has planted so nicely, it won’t be a happy camper. Litter boxes are valued resources for cats.
They are naturally protective of them.
You won’t be too happy if someone comes and messes up everything in your toilet, would you?
Your Cat Is Picky
There are some of us that prefer to place our belongings a certain way or to perform a certain ‘ritual’ before doing something important.
Some might call such behavior as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) but I call it being picky and peculiar.
You might have a cat that just doesn’t like it when you touch its stuff. The litter box has to be exactly in the same room, same position and smell since the last toilet break.
Your cat prefers everything the way it is and is happy when there’s order and routine in its life. It can’t help but be close and watch you manhandle its belongings with great anxiety.
Generally speaking, cats absolutely hate change and too much of it can cause your cat to be thrown off balance and behave weirdly.
You’re messing with their stuff! Of course they need to know what’s going on.
But your cat’s litter box ain’t gona clean itself.
You Are Being Supervised
They say that “Dogs have masters and cats have servants”.
Any cat owner will know how true the above statement is.
The moment you bring a cat into the family, you are no longer the owner of the household. Your cat will slowly but surely begin to exert its influence and dominance over those at home.
I say this from experience.
Given how particular cats are when it comes to their litter boxes, don’t be surprised to find yours supervising you each time you clean the litter box.
Thankfully my cat isn’t THAT pedantic when it comes to how I clean his litter tray. But on days when he feels that I’m not doing a good enough job, he won’t hesitate to let me know.
He will do is sit right in front of me while I’m scooping out the soiled litter. Once a week, I will do a complete wash and change of litter.
While I’m scrubbing away in the toilet, he will come by and meow a couple of instructions.
“Make sure you get that corner where I always like to piss on”
“Did you scrub off that poo stain stuck on the bottom?”
Once I’m done in the toilet, I will lay everything properly the way my cat likes it or he won’t stop meowing till I do.
“Must I remind you to always put more litter??”
Sucks to be me at times.
Why Does My Cat Use The Litter Box Right After I Clean It?
It can be rather frustrating to have your cat come and use its litter box right after you make it so nice and clean.
It feels like I’ve spent 2 hours polishing my car only to have to drive it out in the rain and mud.
90% of the time after I have done cleaning my cat’s litter box, he will jump in & christen his newly cleaned litter with more poo and pee.
A part of me strongly feels that my cat does that just to piss me off but a more logical reason is that my cat is re-marking the litter box with his scent.
Cats don’t like it when something that belongs to them doesn’t smell like them.
How Often Should I Clean The Litter Box?
I know that my cat really doesn’t like it if I allow his litter box to get too dirty. I usually scoop out his waste once a day.
But on days when he pees and poos more than usual, I will have to do it at least twice.
I would strongly suggest that you clean out your cat’s soiled litter daily. Because the longer that you let cat pee sit in the open, the worse it will start to smell.
This is due to the concentrated nature of cat pee and that it contains a chemical compound called felinine that smells really bad when it starts to break down.
Cats prefer using a clean litter box and will start eliminating outside the litter box if they don’t find it clean enough.
Be careful to not rub or touch your eyes when cleaning yout cat’s litter box. You do not want to get soiled cat litter in your eyes as it can give you a nasty infection.
How Many Litter Boxes Should I Have?
This point is very important if you have more than one cat at home. For cat owners with only one cat, just having one litter box would suffice.
But if you have two or more cats living under the same roof, you need at least one different litter box for each cat.
Many cats are not comfortable when it comes to sharing litter boxes. It is a very personal item for them and having another cat’s pee and poo in the same box is off-putting.
Some dominant cats will even prevent other cats from using the litter box by attacking them when they get close. The other cats will have no choice but to start eliminating elsewhere and cause more work for the owner.
Have one litter box per cat and place them far apart so that each cat has privacy when using the toilet.
Do Cats Care If You Watch Them Use The Litter Box?
You might not like to admit it but we all have a little voyeur in each of us. My happens to be watching my cat use the litter box.
Yes, I know that isn’t healthy but I do it to know if he’s doing a number one or two. If it’s number two, I will prepare the wet wipes to clean him up.
I admit I do it sometimes just to piss my cat off because he doesn’t like it when he knows I’m looking. And also for times when my cat watches me pee. That gives me performance anxiety and makes it difficult to pee.
If I blatantly stare at him while he is getting ready to go, he will stare back at me hoping to scare me off. When that doesn’t work, he will do a little charge at me and give me a small bite on my ankles.
I get more success when I watch him partially hidden from behind the wall.
My cat is one that values his privacy when it is time to use the litter box. I know of cats that don’t really care at all. My friend’s cat can do a number one or two in front of anyone watching.
Your mileage might vary with your cat.