Question: Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside The Litter Box

When your cat stops using the litter box, it can be really frustrating. Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box Peeing outside of the litter box or elsewhere in your home is usually due to one of two issues: a medical issue or a behavioral issue. The first step is to take your cat to your veterinarian for a full exam. Your vet is likely to collect a urine sample to check for abnormalities including blood and bacteria and may do x-rays to check for stones.

If you’re dealing with the frustrating issue of your cat peeing outside the litter box, it’s important to understand the possible reasons behind this behavior. There are several factors that could contribute to this problem, including painful and more frequent urination, problems with the litter itself, stress or anxiety, and behavioral issues or habits.

One possible reason for your cat’s inappropriate urination could be related to physical discomfort. Painful urination can be caused by various health issues such as urinary tract infections or bladder stones. If your cat is experiencing discomfort while using the litter box, they may start associating it with pain and choose to eliminate elsewhere.

Another factor to consider is the condition of the litter box itself. Cats are known for their cleanliness, and if their litter box is dirty or not maintained properly, they may seek alternative places to relieve themselves. It’s essential to keep the litter box clean and provide enough boxes for multiple cats in a household.

Stress or anxiety can also play a significant role in causing a cat to pee outside of their designated area. Changes in routine, new pets or family members, loud noises, or even moving furniture can all trigger stress in cats. This stress can lead them to mark their territory by urinating outside of the litter box.

Lastly, behavioral issues or habits developed over time can contribute to this problem as well. If a cat has been allowed to eliminate outside of the litter box without any consequences in the past, they may continue this behavior out of habit.

Understanding these potential causes can help you address and resolve your cat’s inappropriate elimination issue more effectively. By identifying and addressing any underlying medical conditions, providing a clean and comfortable litter box environment, reducing stressors in your cat’s life, and reinforcing positive litter box habits through training techniques, you can encourage proper bathroom behaviors for your feline friend once again.

Medical Issues That May Cause Your Cat To Pee Outside The Litter Box.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) can be very painful and lead your cat to associate pain with using the litter box. A UTI can be diagnosed by your vet, usually through a urine sample. Bacteria can cause an infection that can be resolved with antibiotics.

Metabolic Diseases Can Cause Your Cat To Stop Using The Litter Box.

If your cat has a diagnosed metabolic disease such as kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, or thyroid disease, you may notice that they are urinating more often or the volume of urine is increased. It’s important to stay on top of these diseases to keep your cat optimally healthy and avoid secondary behavioral issues. Any time you notice a change in litter box contents or habits, be sure to take your cat to the vet to stay on top of any potential issues.

Bladder Stones or Kidney Stones.

If your cat has stopped using the litter box, a bladder stone or kidney stone could be the culprit and s/he may be in pain. Your veterinarian can diagnose stones through an X-ray and determine how many stones your cat has, as well as the size of the stones. Larger stones usually have to be removed surgically. If your cat has bladder or kidney stones, they may also have a urinary tract infection which can be diagnosed through examination of a urine sample. Antibiotics are usually required.

Idiopathic cystitis is an inflammation of your cat’s bladder that is of “unknown origin.” This means that after having your cat checked for a UTI, metabolic diseases, and stones, there isn’t a clear cause. Your cat may be experiencing cystitis due to environmental factors. As a result, your vet may recommend changing your cat’s diet and exercise routine to see if your cat responds well.

Lower urinary tract disease is the number one cause of cat visits to the veterinarian. According to Cornell’s Feline Health Center – look out for the following clinical signs:

  • Difficult or painful urination.
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Crying out while urinating.
  • Blood in the urine
  • Inappropriate urination (that is, outside of the litter box)
  • Frequent licking of the genital region.

The Bottom Line: Take your cat to your vet when you notice any sort of change in litter box behavior. Your cat has no other way to communicate with you when they aren’t feeling well, so peeing outside of the box can be their way of telling you this. Don’t hesitate and call your vet immediately. Urinary/bladder diseases can be very painful.

If you changed the type of litter you normally use, it could be upsetting and unsettling to your cat. Cats are very sensitive to odors, textures, dust, etc.  Cat litters are available in a variety of textures from clay “sand” to litter “pebbles” and wood, corn, coconut, walnut shells, crystals and more. Many varieties of litter are scented as well. Most cats prefer unscented litter because their noses are much more sensitive that ours. So a scented litter might smell pleasant to you, but be unbearably scented to them.  Try going back to your previous litter and see if your cat comes back to the box.

Cats are known for their cleanliness – and that includes the litter box. You should be cleaning your cat’s litter box every single day. In our home, we clean the litter boxes two to three times a day. Set yourself up for success and make the job of cleaning the litter box as quick and easy as possible so that you develop a regular cleaning routine. Imagine how you would feel if you went to use a bathroom and the previous person had not flushed. It’s gross and off-putting. Your cat feels the same way.

Make sure your cat’s litter box is in a quiet, secluded location that allows for privacy. Cats do not want to use a litter box in a high traffic area where people or other animals are coming and going. If your cat doesn’t feel safe where the litter box is located, they may choose a location in your home that feels safer to them. The inappropriate location where you cat is peeing may be unacceptable to you, but it feels more appropriate to your cat for some reason.

Be sure that you have enough litter boxes in your home. The rule of thumb is to have one litter box for each cat plus one. So if you have three cats, you should have four litter boxes.

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Types of Litter Boxes.

Consider the type of litter box your cat is using and if you’ve changed their box at all. Consider the following:

Size of Box – If your have a large cat and small litter box, your cat may be trying to use the box, but may be missing the target because they simply do not fit. Get a larger box for larger cats.

Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box

Covered litter boxes may be more appealing to you as the cat owner, but cats tend to prefer uncovered boxes so that they don’t feel trapped and also because the odor in a covered litter box is going to be much stronger.

Uncovered litter boxes may be less appealing to your cat if they’re already accustomed to a covered box and prefer the privacy it offers.

Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes – Automated litter boxes may be really cool to you, but your cat may find the shape, size or noise intimidating. Provide a traditional alternative and never switch your cat’s litter box abruptly. Cats need a long time to adjust to new items – especially litter boxes.

Bottom Line – Any time you change anything about your cat’s litter box, be sure you keep your cat’s old type of litter box before switching over to a new style, design, size, etc. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it can be a very big deal to your cat.

Cat urine is notoriously difficult to get rid of. Be sure that you use an odor destroyer that contains enzymes that will eat away at the root cause of the odor. Remember that cats have an extraordinary sense of smell, so while you may not smell the urine, your cat will. That’s why it’s so important to destroy any old odors. Use a black light to find old urine stains – they will glow under the back light.

Cats can express stress by peeing outside of the litter box. Things that might stress your cat out include (but are not limited to):

Moving – If you’ve moved recently, your cat may need some time and help adjusting to the new environment.

Other Pets – If you have other cats or pets in the home, there may be a conflict you’re unaware of. Cats will exhibit territorial behavior, like peeing, to mark territory. If you added a pet or have a cat that is aggressive (or passively aggressive), consult your vet and cat behaviorist.

Routine Disruption – If your routine has changed, your cat may be upset at the disruption. Do what you can to return to your normal/regular schedule.

Don’t punish your cat. It will only serve to confuse your cat and make them fear you. This will only exacerbate the issue. Be sure you’re doing everything you can to provide a clean, safe and healthy environment for your cat. If all else fails, you can try lining a separate litter box with puppy pads.  Some cats just don’t like the feel of kitty litter under their paws, especially if they have been declawed.  Many cats that refused to use the litter box began using it when they had the option to pee on a soft pee-pad inside a litter box.  A separate litter box with litter is still maintained when the cat wants to poo…

When your cat starts peeing outside the litter box, it can be a sign of an underlying health issue such as urinary tract disease. It’s essential to pay attention to this behavior as it could indicate discomfort or pain that your cat is experiencing.

Urinary tract diseases are common among cats and can lead to inappropriate elimination. If your cat is consistently peeing outside the litter box, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any potential health issues.

Understanding why your cat is exhibiting this behavior is essential for their well-being and overall health. By addressing any underlying health issues promptly, you can help ensure that your feline companion stays healthy and happy.

SEE: Do cats think they are human? You May Be Surprised

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