Why Do Cats Watch You Clean Their Litter Box?

Cleaning the litter box is not a glamorous job but it has to be done. While you’re scooping, you may feel like you’re being watched, probably because you are. As you look over your shoulder, you notice that your cat is staring at you, watching you as you clean his toilet. 

At first, this may seem like he’s making fun of you having to clean up after him, but pet experts know that there are other, more primal reasons behind this behavior! As curious critters, your cat may also be watching you clean his litter as a sign of appreciation!

Keep reading to learn why do cat watch you clean their litter box! 

Being Inquisitive

Cat’s love to explore everything.

If you’ve brought something new into your home, you will notice that your cat is quite curious about it.

He will watch it for a while, and then he’ll go in for further investigation by pawing at it a little. 

When you catch your cat staring as you clean the litter box, this means that he wants to know what you’re doing, where his “business” is going”.

He has put his scent into the box and even though it is a recurring job, he’s confused as to why you’re taking it away. 

Cats are also very picky about the litter box.

You will notice that after you’ve cleaned, your cat may hop in just to rearrange the clean litter.

So, if he already knows what’s going on, he could be watching you to make sure that the litter box is cleaned to his standards. 

Cats are awesome right?

It’s things like this that make us love them more!

They certainly do have high standards!

Territorial Behavior 

Cat’s can be very territorial.

We all know that sometimes, they just need their space.

They can show this in different ways, including reactive behavior like biting and clawing. 

When it comes to staring at you while you’re cleaning the litter box, this is a different form of territory.

Your cat “owns” his litter box and may feel quite threatened by you going through it.

He may not realize you’re cleaning it but instead assumes that you’re trying to steal his spot.

Even if you have multiple cats that share a litter box, you’ll notice that they will either watch each other in the litter box, or they will both watch you clean it.

It may be odd to us, but this is a natural thing for cats to do. 

Showing Dominance 

Cat’s typically have pretty dominant behavior, such as the belief that you are the pet, and your cat is the owner.

They can distribute their alpha personalities in different ways, such as breaking rules or interrupting you to give him attention. 

Another clear sign of dominant behavior in cats is watching you clean the litter box.

Again, the litter box is your kitty’s domain.

Their litter box is full of their scent, which they use not only as a toilet but also to tell other animals in the home that “this is mine”. 

This type of behavior happens more commonly in tomcats, even after being neutered.

If you have a male cat, he may be watching you as a sign that this is his domain, and he wants you to know that he’s watching you.

It’s not so much about cleaning but keeping an eye on you while you’re in his territory. 

A Sign Of Appreciation

Gratefulness is not a commonly known cat characteristic, but believe it or not, your cat is always appreciative of what you do for him.

He usually shows that in other ways like cuddling but standing by while you clean may actually be his way of saying thanks!

To those that know how domineering a cat can be, this staring can seem like he’s micro-managing you, but that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, there is a totally benevolent reason behind his glances.

As your cat overlooks you, he may be watching you because he appreciates you cleaning up after him. 


One of the oddest behaviors a cat can display is watching his owner clean the litter box.

For humans, this is quite weird to humans but is totally normal for cats.

There are four simple explanations for why your cat watches you clean the litter box. 

Since the litter box is his designated domain, he owns his litter box.

Cats are very territorial and inquisitive of their surroundings.

He may be curious to know what’s going on, even though he’s seen you do this before.

If he’s watching you, he wants to know what you’re doing and why you’re in his spot. 

Another explanation is that he could be showing you that this is his spot and he’s the boss when it comes to the litter box.

This is a sign of territorial and dominant personalities in cats and usually is not a negative thing unless your cat gets aggressive over the litter box.

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