Why Does My Cat Watch Me Clean His Litter?

how to clean a litter box
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Cleaning my cat’s litter box is a daily part of my life as a cat owner. If there’s one thing that makes me wonder, it’s that my cat keeps watching me while I am cleaning his litter box. I’m not entirely sure if this is normal behavior, but it somehow makes me conscious. It’s like my cat is trying to check if I’m cleaning his high-sided litter box correctly.

how to clean a litter box

Curious about this behavior, I decided to find out more. Surprisingly, I’m not the only cat owner who is experiencing this. If you’re in this same situation, here are some possible reasons why your cat is watching you clean his litter.

Cats are Observant and Curious

Cats are observant and curious. Have you ever experienced bringing in a new object, and your cat suddenly plays with it? He loves touching things, and sometimes, he loves dropping them on the floor. Just for the fun of it!

This trait might be the reason why she’s watching while you’re cleaning his litter. She wants to observe what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s their litter box you’re touching after all.

If you’re feeling like your cat is managing you, as I do, then you might be right. Once he gets why you’re cleaning his litter box, he may want to make sure you’re cleaning it right. And that he will be able to use it comfortably after.

But I’ve been doing this daily. Why does he need to watch me clean every time?

Well, cats want to be sure you’re not doing anything that will damage his toilet area. If he’s outside your house, he would likely prefer finding a new location every time he does his business. He can’t do that in your home, so he has to make sure that he still has a Litter box to go back to after you’ve done what you’re doing.

Don’t get me wrong. Your cat trusts you. However, this behavior most of the time boils down to another cat trait – territorial.

Cats are Territorial

Your cat treats your home as his territory – all of it. Like a Lion, the king of the Jungle, they are territorial, perhaps more territorial than dogs.

Litter boxes are considered your cats territory. This is because it’s the place where they can relieve themselves. So, it’s only natural for them to watch what you’re doing to their beloved litter box.

In extreme cases, however, your cat might get mad or attack you for this. If you’ve ever experienced this, territorial behavior might be the reason.

Cats freak out easily when someone touches any part of their territory, even if it’s their beloved owner. Because, come on, we all know we don’t own cats. They own us!

So, if you’re having this kind of problem, it’s best if you try to go the careful route. If possible, have a reserve litter box if you’re cleaning the current one your cat is using. Then, take the litter box outside and scoop it out there. This way, your cat won’t feel alarmed, and at the same time, you’re in a safe zone.

However, if this is a new behavior, go to the vet and have him checked. This would be the other best thing to do.

Cats are Competitive

If you have multiple cats in your household, then it could be more of a competition if who gets to use the litter box first. As I’ve already mentioned above, cats can be very territorial, and they would love to mark their spot.

So, if you’re cleaning the litter box and you have your cats surrounding you and watching, this can be the reason. They want you to get done with what you’re doing so they can jump in.

Your Cat Might Be Thanking You

Just like us, cats like clean litter boxes. No cat would want to step in a dirty litter repeatedly, and since they can’t clean it themselves, they expect you to do it. So, if your cat comes near you to observe what you’re doing, they might be thanking you for cleaning the litter box for them.

Cat Litter Cleaning FAQs

Why is cleaning the litter box essential?

A clean litter box is something that cats love. Who doesn’t? Even we want our toilet area cleaned when we use it, right? Animals are no different, especially cats. Their sense of smell is 14 times better than ours, and a stinky litter box will surely drive them away.

There are two benefits as to why keeping the litter box clean is essential.

  • It stops your cat from finding an alternate location to do his business.
  • It prevents the risk of illnesses for your cat.

So clean your cat’s litter box as often as possible. This is so you can always keep your cat’s happiness at best.

How often should you clean the litter box?

Litter box cleaning should be done daily, but how often should you clean it? Is once enough? Well, there are three essential things that you should remember when cleaning the litter box.

The first thing you need to remember is that you should do it daily. This will depend on how dirty the litter box becomes in a day. Once or twice is good, but if it’s possible to scoop out litter every time your cat uses it, then why not?

Next, you need to do deep cleaning once a week or every two weeks. This means removing all the litter, scrubbing the litter box with dishwashing soap and warm water, rinse it clean, and dry it. After that, pour out fresh cat litter for your cat to use.

Finally, you need to buy a new litter box every year. For plastic litter boxes, I recommend changing the litter box once a year. Litter can easily soil plastic surfaces, and in one year, your litter box will not be in excellent condition for your cat to use.

Doing these will keep the litter box fresh and clean always for your cat to use comfortably.


Litter boxes are essential for your cats. This is because it’s part of their territory. So, don’t be alarmed if your cat wants to observe what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. They want to make sure you’re not doing anything that will damage their litter box.

However, if this bothers you, then you can look for ways on how to clean the litter box where your cat may not see you. Just make sure though that you don’t take too long or you return it on the same spot right after. You don’t want to stress out your cat.

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