Why Is My Rabbit Lying In Its Litter Box?

Sometimes, some rabbits make their owners confuse by changing their behaviors that they had never done before. For example, one habit of rabbits is lying in their litter box for hours, which makes us question why. Why is my rabbit lying in its litter box? Is it normal for them or a sign of illness? How can we stop them from doing so? Let’s find out all the answers from this article.

Rabbits like to sit or sleep in their litter box because of their soft and comfortable bedding. Also, they feel safe in the litter box as it is their territory. However, sitting or lying in a litter box for hours can also cause health problems. It is crucial to litter-train your rabbit.

This article will discuss how to stop your rabbit from sleeping and sitting in its litter box and the health problems that allow it to sit in its litter box. So, let’s find it out.

My rabbit is lying in the litter box.

Rabbits like to lay and sleep in their litter box because they feel it is a safe and comfortable place as a part of their territory.

Some rabbits spent their young days in their litter box when they were trained to pee/poo in the box. This could make them habitual and used to sleeping in it.

Your rabbit can connect its litter box with eating if you have given it tasty treats while training for the litter box.

If rabbits spend most of their time in their litter box, whether peeing or pooping in it or just sitting in it, they will become increasingly habituated to utilizing a box as time passes. And due to this, your rabbit will start sleeping and sitting in its litter box for hours.

Also, rabbits are hygienic animals. They do not sleep or lay in dirty areas. Therefore, they may eliminate outside of the box if they start sleeping in their litter box. Unfortunately, this behavior can become habitual, and the condition will always become messy. 

So, monitoring and confinement in training are essential to prevent this type of behavior. 

Is it normal for rabbits to lay in their litter box?

Rabbits’ sleeping habit in the litter box is entirely natural. 

Some rabbits find the surface or bedding of the litter box comfortable for sleep.

Also, if the bedding is edible and soft, they can even eat and sleep in the same spot.

If you have layered the litter box with hay and other materials like shredded paper or another type of litter, your rabbit will enjoy eating and laying in it. Hay can be both bedding or food, and the litter box is an excellent location for both.

However, if your rabbit has suddenly changed its behavior of staying in the litter box, it could also be a cause of concern.

Is it a problem if your rabbit suddenly starts staying in its litter box?

If your rabbit suddenly stays in its litter box when they do not usually do it, and there is a change in its behavior, it could be a sign of sickness.

Sometimes, sleeping in the litter box can be normal, but on the other side, it can also be a sign of health issues, which can be identified by analyzing their behavior.

Therefore, it would be best to take your rabbit to the vet to diagnose any health problems if you find any sudden change in their behavior. Here are some possible reasons for this type of behavior:

  1. GI Stasis: This condition can be painful for rabbits, making them not want to move. If your rabbit has a GI stasis problem, its energy becomes low, and it may experience low appetite or even rejects its favorite treat. This condition can also make a rabbit eat and eliminate in the same place, which requires immediate attention to prevent life-threatening problems.
  2. Arthritis: Arthritis is more common, especially in eight-year-old rabbits or above. This condition makes the joints pain, and your rabbit can stumble or slow down while entering or exiting the litter box, making them stay in it.
  3. UTI: Also known as urinary tract infection. In this condition, your rabbit may experience frequent and painful urination. And due to this, they may lie or sit in their litter box for hours.

Therefore, taking your rabbit to the vet is essential if it suddenly changes its behavior.

Also, if your rabbit likes to sit or sleep in its litter box, you must clean it frequently to prevent infection or health issues. 

You can use puppy pads or even add hay to its litter box for extra protection. However, ensure not to buy cat litter for your rabbit as it can cause respiratory problems. Instead, always try to choose an odor-free and dye-free litter.

Also read: How To Train a Rabbit?

How do I stop my rabbit from sleeping in its litter box?

Some rabbits may love to relax in their litter boxes. However, these boxes can be naturally wet and solid, which can cause skin infections or other health problems if they try to sit on a damp surface for hours.

So, here are two ways to stop a rabbit from sleeping or sitting in its litter box:

Place two boxes in its cage: 

Some rabbits may like to sleep or sit in litter boxes because of their soft bedding. To prevent your rabbit from sleeping or sitting in its litter box, you can put two boxes in its cage. 

Rabbits are hygienic animals and do not pee or poo in their sleeping area. So if they like to sleep in a box, you can put two boxes in their cage. They will make themselves understand to sleep, groom, and meditate in one box and use another box as a toilet.

Litter Training:

Another way to stop your rabbit from sleeping and sitting in the litter box is litter training. 

Litter training can be as complex and time-consuming as your rabbit desires. However, giving litter training to spayed/neutered adult rabbits could be easier than the small or baby rabbits.

Some rabbits require litter training, while others can do it by themselves. You can put the litter box in the right place once you identify where your rabbit likes to pee and poo. Place the soiled, fresh litter, and add a handful of hay in the litter box. After that, you can put the litter box in the corner chosen by your rabbit.

Once your rabbit gets habitual to using the litter box, keep a tiny quantity of dirty litter in the rabbit’s litter box each time you change it.

Also, do not try to punish your rabbit if they accidentally pee or poo outside the litter box. Instead, you can clean it up with a mixture of water and vinegar and praise your rabbit for good behavior by petting and giving favorite treats.

Sometimes, young rabbits mistake their litter box for a bed and decide to sleep in it. So, it is essential to convince them of the true purpose of the litter box.

Corner litter boxes (available on amazon) are best to use inside your rabbit cage.

How to prepare a litter box for rabbits?

Preparing a litter box for a rabbit is very easy. However, there are some essential things to know before making or buying a litter box. 

Many types of litter boxes are available in the market according to the different animals, sizes, shapes, or colors. Therefore you can choose the best litter box for your rabbit. 

Here are some steps to prepare a litter box for your rabbit:

  1. You can use a rectangular-shaped litter box so that your rabbit can turn all around 360 degrees.
  2. Clean it by spraying pet-friendly sanitizer or vinegar in it. But, if you are cleaning the old litter box that is too dirty, you can deep clean it using dish soap and hot water.
  3. Once you have cleaned the litter box, let it dry for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Afterward, you can use newspaper or puppy pads as a bottom layer of bedding. Make sure that you cut the borders of the pee pad and shape it according to the litter box size so that your rabbit does not come in contact with it.
  5. Use paper-based litter or aspen wood shavings on puppy pads as litter bedding. Aspen is safe and comfortable for your rabbit as they also control the odor.
  6. After this, you can add another layer of hay to their litter box, as it is edible and absorbs the pee. Also, hay is the staple food in your rabbit diet, so they may require it to spend its time there.

For rabbit litter, you can use Carefresh pet bedding ( available on amazon), which is made up of softwood pulp and absorbs the urine very well. However, if you want paper-based litter, it is also available from the same company Carefresh white pet bedding.

Things to know:

  • Do not use pine, cedar wood shavings, or any other softwoods for your rabbit’s litter box, as they contain toxins called phenols which can cause liver damage and respiratory issues.
  • Do not provide kitty litter in your rabbit litter box. It can be very dangerous as it contains clay and other harmful chemicals.
  • Do not use clay-based litter because it can cause respiratory problems or even cause life-threatening problems if your rabbit ingests it.
  • Do not use chemicals to wash litter boxes. 

Also read: How To Clean Rabbit Urine Stains?

How often should I change rabbit litter?

You should clean or change the litter box every two days; however, if you have more than one rabbit, you must change it accordingly.

You can also identify to change the litter box when it becomes smelly and heavy because of urine and pellets.

However, if your rabbit produces too much urine and pellets, you must change it once a day when the litter absorbs all its urine.


  1. Rabbits like to sit or sleep in their litter box because of their soft and comfortable bedding.
  2. Litter training is essential for rabbits.
  3. Sitting in a litter box can cause health problems.
  4. Placing two boxes in the cage can also stop your rabbit from sleeping on its pee and poop.
  5. Cleaning or changing the litter box every two days is essential.
  6. Any sudden change in your rabbit’s behavior can signify illness. 

Reference: rabbit.org

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