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Why Does My Kitten Play In Its Litter Box?

Kittens are the sweethearts of the internet, and for a good reason. Pretty much everything they do is adorable, from how they sleep to how they purr and play.

If you’re raising or have raised a kitten, you’ll be able to attest first-hand to how darling these babies can be. But you’ll also probably be able to share a few tales about their various quirks.

As kittens grow, they develop and then abandon certain habits over time. Presumably, this forms part of their growth phases and eventual (and distinct) personalities.

Their behavioral patterns can vary from the endearing to the annoying, and perhaps one of their most tiresome pastimes is playing in their litter boxes. If you’ve ever experienced this, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

That being said, we know that cats rarely do anything for no reason, which is why I’ve done a bit of research into what makes their little heads tick.

In this post, we’ll delve into the possible motivations for why kitten plays in litter box and if there is anything you can do to prevent this. Read on to find out more.

Why Does My Kitten Play In Its Litter Box?

It is perfectly normal for kittens to play in their litter boxes, including jumping, rolling, and scratching in them. They have various potential reasons for doing so, including territoriality, bathing, and needing to feel secure.

Alternatively, it may just be a habit they form because they enjoy their litter’s sound, feel or texture, or because they are not receiving enough play stimulation.

When you’re facing off with a fluffy little cat, it can be difficult to comprehend that they are the cousins of huge wild animals. And more so, to understand that they possess many of the same instincts. Even kittens feel territorial and anxious from time to time.

Often, when kittens play or rest in their litter boxes, it’s because they’re feeling a little apprehensive and need security. In this regard, their litter box, which belongs to them only, represents a safe space.

If this is not the reason, it may be that they are using their litter to dust bath, which is a way of relieving itchiness and getting rid of bacteria embedded in the top layer of their fur.

Kittens are also prone to playing in their litter box for no reason other than being bored. Baby cats are busy and will entertain themselves if they have no other choice, kicking up litter included.

How Do I Stop My Kitten From Playing In Its Litter Box?

There are a few ways to curb kittens from playing in their litter boxes. You can try changing their litter to a different texture or brand that they feel less inclined to play in or use less litter and a smaller container.

If that is not effective, try distracting them with other playtime activities. It may be that your cat has needs that are not being met in terms of entertainment.

Identifying the root cause of your kitten’s insistence on scratching in their litter box can be tricky. Sometimes, it’s just a temporary habit that they grow out of over time.

However, to try and stop this behavior, you can consider changing their litter to a different type and see if that is effective. If not, and the cause of their attachment to the litter box is anxiety, make sure they have a safe place to go to when they’re feeling scared.

If your furball is scratching in their box for the sake of playing, you may want to try and incorporate more toys into your bonding time. Kittens can get bored easily, and they are very high energy.

Spending a portion of the day entertaining your kitty will go a long way to preventing destructive habits. Regular grooming and brushing can also help stop your kitty from rolling in the sandbox, as this may alleviate any itchiness it is experiencing.

Is It Normal For Kittens To Play In The Litter Box?

It is normal for kittens to feel attached to their litter boxes and play in them. This is a space that is completely their own territory, and that aside, sometimes they just enjoy the sound and feel of scratching and playing in their boxes.

However, playing in the litter can become excessive for some cats (and their owners) and indicate unmet needs. Any compulsive behavior in disproportionate measures warrants consideration.

Kittens will be kittens, and a fascination with the sandbox is not necessarily a cause for concern. It is normal behavior and more than likely a phase they will grow out of or that they can be distracted from.

If you feel, however, that your kitten’s behavior has extended beyond the realm of normal, it may be worth it to consider if something is bugging your baby cat.

A dirty sandbox, an unpleasant litter texture, or a noisy environment can all disrupt your kitten’s bathroom experience and cause them to develop unhealthy litter box habits.

If their scratching seems more furtive than playful, and they come across as anxious, puzzle out whether there may be something else wrong with them. If not, don’t stress. Your kitty is just being mischievous.


Of all the places they could entertain themselves, we have to wonder why a kitten plays in litter box, and of course, it can feel concerning. As a cat parent myself, I’ve often wondered about weird behaviors that seem to crop up and disappear without rhyme or reason. Fortunately, in this regard, a kitten playing in their sandbox is no cause for concern unless it’s especially excessive. And if you’re wondering how to measure that, trust me, you’ll know. There is a noticeable difference between a kitten that likes to play and be a bit naughty and a kitten that has developed a frenzied relationship with its litter. In the latter case, consider a visit to the vet just to be sure nothing has gone awry with the baby cat’s health.