Why Is My Cat Dragging Things Into The Litter Box?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

Have you ever felt perplexed watching your cat drag all sorts of strange items into their litter box? You may be thinking to yourself “why on earth is my cat doing this?”

Have you noticed your cat dragging toys, socks, or other items into their litter box instead of just using it normally? You’re probably wondering what on earth your furry friend is up to. Cat litter box behavior can seem strange at times, but there is usually a logical explanation for what’s going on. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common reasons cats may pull this peculiar trick and what you can do about it. By understanding your cat’s perspective a little better, you can address any underlying issues and hopefully restore peace and cleanliness to the litter box area. Keep reading to learn why your cat dragging things into their litter box and how to stop this strange behavior.

Why Is My Cat Dragging Things Into The Litter Box?

Cats may drag objects into their litter box for various reasons:

  • Territorial Marking: Cats are known for their territorial nature. Bringing items into their litter box might be a way of marking their territory.
  • Instinctual Behavior: In the wild, cats often bring their prey back to their den. This could be a manifestation of that instinctual behavior.
  • Comfort and Security: Cats may drag familiar items to their litter box because it’s a space they feel secure and comfortable in.
  • Attention-Seeking: If your cat isn’t getting enough attention, they might start doing unusual things to get noticed, such as dragging stuff into the litter box.
  • Health Issues: In some cases, this unusual behavior could be a sign of a health issue. 

Always consult with a vet if you notice any drastic changes in your cat’s habits.

Related: Why Does My Cat Drag My Clothes?

What Should I Do If My Cat Is Dragging Items Into The Litter Box?

If your cat is dragging items into their litter box, here are some steps you can take:

Observe Their Behavior: Watch for any other unusual behaviors or changes in appetite or demeanor. These could be signs of underlying health issues.

Provide More Attention: If your cat is feeling neglected, they might act out by dragging objects into their litter box. Try spending more quality time with your cat to see if this stops the behavior.

Consult a Vet: If the behavior continues or if you notice other signs of distress, it’s important to consult with a vet. They can rule out any health issues and provide advice tailored to your cat’s specific needs.

Keep the Litter Box Clean: Cats are naturally clean animals, and a dirty litter box could be causing them stress. Be sure to clean up cat litter regularly.

Create a Safe Space: If your cat is dragging items into the litter box for comfort, try creating a safe, cozy space elsewhere in the house where they can relax. This could include a soft bed with some of their favorite toys.

My cat steals clothes from my closet and then brings the item she stole to  her litterbox, in which she carefully places it so the item of clothing is  always fully inside

Does This Behavior Have Any Health Implications For Cats? 

While dragging items into the litter box can sometimes be a harmless quirk, it can also be a sign of health issues in some circumstances. If your cat is dragging objects into the litter box in conjunction with other changes in behavior, such as decreased appetite, lethargy, changes in bowel movements, or increased agitation, it may indicate a potential health issue. The cause can range from stress or anxiety to neurological disorders, digestive issues, or other physical ailments. Always consult with a vet if you notice any drastic changes in your cat’s habits. Ultimately, while this behavior isn’t always a direct sign of health issues, it’s vital to stay observant and act promptly to ensure your feline friend’s well-being.

Is There A Difference Between Male And Female Cats When It Comes To This Behavior?

When it comes to cats dragging objects into their litter box, there isn’t much scientific research suggesting a significant difference between male and female cats. Both sexes have been observed displaying this behavior. However, individual personality, health, and environmental factors can influence this behavior more than gender. For instance, more territorial cats, regardless of their sex, might be more prone to this behavior as a form of marking their space. It’s crucial to remember that each cat is unique, so behaviors can vary widely from one cat to another.

How Can I Discourage My Cat From Dragging Items Into The Litter Box?

If you’re looking to discourage your cat from dragging items into their litter box, consider the following steps:

Provide Interactive Toys: Offering other forms of amusement like interactive toys can distract your cat from dragging items into the litter box. This can also stimulate their hunting instincts in a healthier way.

Spend Quality Time Together: Spend more time playing with your cat. This gives them attention and can minimize attention-seeking behaviors.

Keep Items Out of Reach: If there are specific items your cat tends to drag into the litter box, try to keep these items out of their reach.

Behavioral Training: Positive reinforcement can be effective in altering this behavior. Reward your cat when they play with their toys and not with the random items.


In conclusion, we have explored the various reasons why your cat dragging things into its litter box. From instinctual behaviors to marking their territory and even possible health concerns, there are many factors that can contribute to this seemingly odd behavior. As responsible pet owners, it is always important to pay attention to our furry friend’s actions and provide them with the best care possible. If you notice any changes in their litter box habits, it is crucial to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any potential underlying medical issues. Additionally, implementing proper litter box maintenance and providing a stimulating environment for your cat can help prevent this behavior from continuing.