Yes, cats do need access to their litter box at night. If your cat doesn’t have access to a litter box and needs to relieve itself, he or she is going to relieve themselves somewhere else. This likely means on a rug, carpet, or worse – and you’ll have to clean it up!
Do Cats Need Access to Litter Box All the Time?
It’s amazing to me how many cat owners are inconvenienced by having a litter box available to their cats at all times.
Cats need access to at least one litter box at all times if they’re indoors, I can’t stress that enough. How would you like it if you didn’t have access to a toilet and you needed to go?
Obviously, if your cat has access to go outside and they are used to relieving themselves outside, then they don’t need access to a little tray indoors.
Admittedly, a lot of cats that have been trained to use a litter box simply hold it and wait until they have access to one.
This is certainly true with my cats. They are well trained to use the litter boxes and if they don’t have access for some reason, such as traveling, accidentally being trapped in a room, etc, then they do wait.
But I would never deliberately leave them without access to their boxes, that’s just not nice.
Do Cats Need Access to Litter Box at Night?
Cats do need access to a litter box at night, yes. In fact, it’s often more important that they have access to a clean litter box overnight than during the day.
I say this because cats are nocturnal, or some people refer to them as being crepuscular, both of which means they’re more active during dawn to dusk hours.
These are the hours when we’re typically asleep, right?
So, if your cat needs a toilet stop in the night and is trapped in your bedroom, for example, you might not be aware that they need to relieve themselves.
This means you’re risking waking up to cat pee or poop on your floor. Which, I’m sure you’re well aware if you own a cat is not pleasant to clean up.
How Often Do Cats Use Their Litter Box?
The Frequency in which a cat uses the litter tray depends on their age and general physical condition for the most part.
As a rule of thumb, however, adult cats should poop once every 24-hours, and urinate 1-2 times every 24 hours.
This is why it’s recommended that you have a minimum of one litter box per cat plus an additional box.
It’s also important to remember that cats are clean animals, they don’t like to use a litter box that isn’t clean.
Therefore, if they’re using their boxes overnight and need to go more than once, you want that other box available.
There’s no way of knowing how often your cat is going to use their box though. Every cat is different and has its own toilet behavior (some even sleep in their litter box!) It’s something you’ll get to know better over time.
As a general rule of thumb, the more clean litter boxes you have available the better.
To take this one step further, some owners use automatic litter boxes to save all this stress worrying about whether their box is clean.
Automatic boxes are self-cleaning. At least, to the point where you don’t need to immediately scoop out waste every time it’s used.
Why Does My Cat Only Use the Litter Box at Night?
Some cats only use a litter box overnight. Sometimes this is purely just because that’s when a cat is most active, but it’s often also a sign that a cat is anxious.
When cats are introduced to a new home, they will often only eat and use their litter tray at night when no one is around.
This is something that always passes with time. If you’ve moved recently or adopted a new cat, this is most likely the reason they’re only using their litter tray overnight.
If your cat just tends to use their box overnight, that’s something you’re going to have to get used to.
It’s not exactly the ideal thing you want to wake up to each morning. But this is part of being a cat owner, it’s not like it outweighs all the benefits. 🙂
Related – Do cats really need more than one litter box?
Can Cats Find Their Litter Box if You Move It?
Cats are creatures of habit and very sensitive to sudden changes in their environment and daily routines.
If you need to move your cat’s litter box, I recommend either placing a new one in the new location first or showing them that you’ve moved it.
You can’t just move their box and assume they are going to find it – even if they do find it, they might not want to use it where you placed it.
Cats can also be a little picky about where their boxes are. You need to place it in a quiet place (who knew cats needed some privacy when using the toilet!?).
Hopefully, this lesson in little box etiquette was helpful. It’s difficult because cats are both creatures of habit, and very unpredictable at times!
We learn a lot about our cats from living with them, and we certainly have to make some compromises, don’t we?
This means making sure they have access to at least one litter box at all times, day and night.
So, yes, cats do need access to litter boxes overnight. Otherwise, you might wake up to find – or worse, not find – that your cat has used your furniture or carpet as a litter box.
Image credits – Photo by Rhema Kallianpur on Unsplash