Cats use the litter box after you clean it. It must have happened to you that your cat is lining up right behind you while you are cleaning the litter box, ready to jump on it as soon as you move out. Why is that?

The reason for cats’ use of the litter box after you clean it is because they like to do their private affair in a clean box. In fact, if the litter box is not clean, cats may hold their pee or poop and wait for you to clean it before going to do the bathroom. Ultimately, since the litter box is clean, their scent is gone, they want to mark the litter box again to claim proprietorship.

Let’s analyze the situation.

Cats use the litter box after you clean it - Pinterest Pin


I have an actual case study to support the claim that cats like to use clean litter boxes, and that is why they ambush you while you are cleaning their litter boxes.

One day my cat Coco ( you see in the picture with me on the right of this article), looked at me and meow really loud while looking at me, I looked at him back, and he started to move toward the bathroom. Since I did not follow him, he stopped, looked at me, and launched another loud meow.

This time I move toward him, and he started to move toward the bathroom. I kept following him until he arrived in front of the litter box. He stopped, looked at me, and made a higher pitch meow, almost crying.

I looked at him, then at the litter box. I started talking to him; he repeated the meow and would not move from there. He was standing in front of the litter box. I came close, and I looked at the litter box. I saw that it was full of poop and needed cleaning.

Wait a moment? Was my cat complaining about the litter box cleaning situation? Was it even possible a cat could do that?

I decided to see if that was the problem or not. Therefore I clean his litter box. Coco was supervising the operation, of course, and attempted a couple of times to get into the box while I wasn’t done. As soon as I added the clean litter, he was already in it digging and pooping.

After that, he left satisfied and went to his bawl and started eating. I was a bit puzzled. Did my cat actually speak to me? Surely I was dreaming. This happened when Coco was around a year old. Since then, he has done this with me many times. And not only with the litter box. I am happy that I have such a bond with my cat that I can nearly understand what he is meowing about.

Conclusion: Why cats use the litter box after you clean it? Definitively, cats do not like to use a dirty litter box; they like it cleaned. If they do not have a clean litter box, they may end up waiting for you to do your job and cleaning it out.


Cats use the litter box after you clean it because they like it cleaned. It is difficult to have a cat dislike the operation. However, cats have different personalities. Therefore you may encounter a cat who doesn’t like it at all. Cats hate certain things, and one of these is the dirty litter box.

It is not my personal experience, but I do have friends with this situation. Litter boxes have cats scents and marks. They mark it as their territory, factually when you are changing the litter box, you are intruding, and they do not like it.

In nature, some cats hide their poop because they do not want other cats to know they are around. Some other cats, often big cats, are not covering their poop so he can let other animals know that that is their territory, and therefore they should not enter.

In this case, they may attack you or act weird when you are cleaning the litter box. They are telling you to stop messing with their property.


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Yes, cats can’t tolerate dirty litter boxes; they like it clean. If I let the litter box dirty, my cat would hold from going to the bathroom. He actually knows how to complain to me about it. Other cats can start peeing around in the house if they find the litter box too disgraceful to be used.

Cats already have to use a smaller container to do their private business. In nature, they have a lot of space to choose from. If it is dirty, they will try holding it at first, but if this is a routine, they can grow health problems, they may start to act weirdly and do their business around the house. Some cats may even stress out about it.

Therefore it is important to clean the litter boxes often. It is not only for your cat health and hygiene but also for yours. Cats using a dirty litter box can bring around germs and infections. But cats are intelligent creatures and know best, so they keep clean, and that is why cats use the litter box after you clean it.


It is good to find out out how often one should replace a cat litter box. Most commonly around the web, you will find most sites recommending to change the box once a year. The reason behind it lies in the fact that most litter boxes are made out of plastic and cheap materials.

I tent to agree with this estimation; however, you can check your litter box’s state each time you clean it. If you see that it is too much consumed or stained, you may want to change it even earlier. In fact, cats use the litter box after you clean it as a common behavior, tell us that they really want us to keep their bathroom cristal cleaned.

So no-no to an old, smelly, and ruined litter box!


Maybe you have seen this behavior from your cat before; he goes to the bathroom, and right after he has done what he has to do, he jumps out of the litter box and runs around the house. Is this normal?

This is pretty normal from my own experience with cats, especially when they are in the kitten stage; when they grow up, they tend to do it less and less. All my cats went through the stage of running like mad out of the litter box as if a lion would be after them.

Why they do it?

One explanation is that cats feel released after having just emptied their “containers,” therefore getting a surge of activity. The other explanation is that they could be scared for some reason, and they poop and run right away not to be “taken.”

They are convinced someone is running after them. Therefore, they want to run fast away from their poop; that smell can be how other predators find them.


Here some related questions to ” Why cats use the litter box after you clean it?”, and related answers:

  • Why do cats meow before going to the litter box?

This is another funny thing my cat does. Not only does he meows at me to follow him when he wants me to clean the litter box. He does the same when he has to go to the toilet, and he will not go until I actually follow him and start watching him.

He started when he was young, I start to meow while going toward the litter box, then he stops and looks at me and meows some more. I have to follow to see that he goes right into it and start pooping. When he stops and stare at the litter box, I know my cat wants me to clean it. What can I say it is missing only the ability to speak. He could not be more clear.

Cats do this because they want to be watched while they are pooping. If fact, if you are next to him, they feel more secure not to be attacked while they are in the bathroom, being that the moment of more vulnerability.

Another evidence of this is that when I go to the a bathroom myself since the litter box is in the bathroom, he also goes and does his private business while I do mine. Cats use the litter box after you clean it and use the litter box while you are using yours!

  • Why is my cat not using the litter box after moving?

I have moved three times since I had my cat. At the very beginning, he may decide to stay in one place and don’t eat, don’t poop, and stay in a corner. I usually make him smell immediately where the litter box is and where the food bowl is so that if he decides to come out of isolation, he knows where things are.

One time I had to bring him the litter box and the food in his corner to make him use it. He was too afraid to come out and do it. You may try to bring him the litter box and let him pee or poop, then bring the litter box back. He will get used again. Stressed cats may need this extra care.

  • Do cats care if you move their litter box?

Yes, they care, and they don’t like it, so unless it is really necessary, do not do it. Cats are very sensitive to changes. They are creatures of habit. In fact, you may have seen that they have their favorite place, their favorite bed, their favorite toys, and pretty much do the same routines.

In case you have to change the litter box place, you may want to pick up your cat and bring him there, so he can see that now the place has changed. In the end, he will get used to it. But he would not like it.

  • How often should I change cat litter?

If you are using clumping litter, you can scoop out the clumps every day and change the entire litter every week or 2 times a week. You may have to look and see how much the litter has been used. Depending on cat age, the answer may differ. For a kitten, obviously, you can leave the litter in the box a bit longer.

Cats use the litter box after you clean it because they like a clean litter. If you see that your cat has used the litter box more then usual, you may want to change the litter more often.

  • Why do Cats Roll Around in a Litter Box?

Cats use the litter box after you clean it, and they like to roll on it as well. The only thing is that they may not do it only after you have cleaned the litter box.

They may do it at other times too. Cats like to roll in the litter box, to leave their scent in it, to play (especially for kittens who have to dig into everything), and because they want to sand bathing

  • Why Cats Stare At Litter Box?

In the life experience I gave above, it is clear that if the litter box is not cleaned, cats will keep staring it in the hope that magically would clean itself or you come and clean it. My cat does that all the time.

He does the same with the food bawl; when he wants food, he will position himself in front of the bawl, waiting that it fills out. It is actually funny to watch.

Another possibility could be the presence of another cat that uses the litter box. The new scent may intrigue your cat, who will not lose time to be all over the litter box, smelling it and staring at it.

Cats use the litter box after you clean it and stare at it if it is not cleaned or another cat has marked it with their scent.

  • Why is my cat standing on the edge of the litter box to poop?

Oh, my fluff! This is one of the funniest things you may run across, one of my cats one day put his paws on the corners of the litter box, climbing on them, and while keeping his balance, he started pooping. I actually took a video of it as it was so funny.

They do it either because they can’t find the position to poop, because they do not like the litter or have problem pooping, maybe a bit constipated.

  • How Do I Stop My Cat From Playing In The Litter Box?

For small kittens, this may be a challenging objective. Cats like to play and dig; however, if they are small and start doing it,start training them. You should pick them up every time they do it, bring them in another room, and say the word “NO” each time.

Without screaming, just a decisive NO. I trained my cat like this, and each time he does something he should not, I say NO, and he stops in his track. It works most of the time.


Cats use the litter box after you clean it because they really like to have a clean bathroom! If you have more questions, leave it in the comments below.


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