Help My Cat Is Peeing Outside The Litter Box
For a few years, I worked in the Animal Help department for the largest no-kill companion animal sanctuary in America. Working in Animal Help meant fielding all the public calls from desperate people who wanted to surrender animals to the facility. Most of the calls included behavior issues. The topcat behavior problem I encountered from frustrated feline guardians was a cat peeing outside the litter box.
Because we received thousands of calls monthly, sharing resources and providing coaching was required before making an admission appeal to the cat department. So, I worked closely with individuals who were ready to throw in the towel on their tabbies. I quickly learned that if people took the proper steps, permanently fixing the issue was quite doable. Another big revelation was that being proactive about determining the reasons behind a cat peeing outside the litter box issue was the key to solving the issue!
Has Your Cat Injured Its Paw
If you notice your cat limping, take a look at your cats paws and keep your eyes peeled for signs of injury. If there is a foreign object stuck in its foot, you can try pulling it out, and an ingrown claw can be clipped. You should also see your vet who can provide painkillers and antibiotics if the wound is infected.
Why Are Cats Pooping Outside Of The Litter Box
In most cases, the reason why your cat is pooping outside of the litter box is simple. You have probably changed something with her litter box or with her routine.
Did you move the litter box to a different spot?
This is the common cause.
However, if your house-trained cat has stopped using its box all of a sudden, this can mean trouble.
Our first suggestion always is to take your cat to the vet.
Here are some things that can cause cats pooping outside of the litter box.
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Thoroughly Clean Up The Mess
Whether your vet determines that the problem is medical or behavioral, be sure to thoroughly clean all areas where your cat has peed outside the box. You want to be sure youve eliminated the odor, not just for your own sake, but also so the smell doesnt draw your cat back to that same spot.
You can use a black light and your nose to identify all the problem areas.
If you are dealing with fresh urine, first blot up as much as possible with paper or cloth towels. Next , pick the best cleaning method based on what has been soiled:
Bedding, clothing, towels, etc.: You can clean these in the washing machine using a cold cycle, and then hang them outside to dry.
Floors and other hard surfaces: Thoroughly clean with your favorite household cleaning solution or a pet stain and odor remover solution.
Rugs, carpets, mattresses and upholstery: These are best cleaned with an enzymatic or bacterial cleaner like Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats Stain and Odor Remover, but make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions to maximize the effectiveness.
Your Cat Needs To Be Fixed
Cats are territorial creatures. If your cat is not fixed, their need for territorial claim is even worse. Many people believe that only male cats mark their territory but that is not true. Female cats also mark, especially if they are not fixed. Thus, if your cat is peeing just outside the litter box, they may be trying to tell other pets in the house that this is their litter box and to stay out.
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Stressed Out Or Anxious Cats May Pee Everywhere
A cat who is anxious, nervous, or stressed may pee outside the box. This isnt revenge-peeing or holding a grudge though many humans blame passive-aggressive kitties.
A distressed cat can forget routines or legitimately have difficulty with bladder control. They also may not feel comfortable using the box due to whatever is stressing them out. Some factors to consider:
- Did you get a new pet, lose a pet, or foster some kittens? Did you have a baby or adopt a child? Your cat may feel uncomfortable and as if their territory has been invaded. New pets and children also make loud and unexpected noises, which no cat is a fan of. Repeated loud noises and erratic behavior can create underlying kitty stress that leads to peeing outside the box.
- Did you have a change in routine? A new work schedule or visitors to the home, an illness or injury? What about home renovations or a new appliance installation? Cats get nervous about changes to their home structure and may respond by inappropriate urination until they feel safe again.
Your veterinarian can help if you have a stressed-out kitty, with advice and behavioral modifications or perhaps with medication. If you can identify the likely cause and its something that wont continue , you can re-establish routine and see if the behavior clears up on its own once things are back to normal.
How To Help Your Cat Use The Litter Box Properly
Contrary to what you might think, your cat is not trying to spite you by soiling outside of her litter box. Punishing her for the act will only make her fearful and exacerbate the problem. You should instead identify the reason shes doing it and address it.
First, make sure that you scoop and change her litter box every day. Rinse the box with baking soda or unscented soap once a week. Add litter boxes to different areas of the house, being sure to place them in a quiet but accessible location they should not be placed in areas that are too remote or overly trafficked. Remove hoods and liners from the litter box. Keep food bowls and bedding away from her litter box. Close doors to certain parts of your house when your cat will be home alone. If she tends to favor a certain spot, try to make that spot less appealing to her by placing a litter box, food bowl, bed, or treats there.
Also, make sure to effectively clean areas of your house where your cat has urinated outside of the litter box. This is not only for your benefit of eliminating urination odors and preserving your carpet and furniture, but it also helps reduce confusion for your cat. If she continues to smell areas where she has eliminated outside of the litter box, she might not understand that this isnt acceptable behavior. Read our article about cat spraying for more information about cleaning up cat urine.
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Cat Pee : Causes Of Cat Peeing Outside Litter Box
Feline house-soiling is a complicated problem to solve. However, there are ways to prevent, manage and resolve your cat peeing outside litter box. This week Dr. Anna Coffin will discuss four basic causes of feline house-soiling.
Many owners think their cat urinates outside the litter box out of spitefulness. Cat peeing outside litter box is not because it is mad or seeking revenge but because a specific physical, social or medical need is not being met. Lets learn the reasons why your cat has this behavior so that the problem can be resolved.
Litter Box Aversion And Inappropriate Site Preferences
An aversion to the litter box is common and can lead to house soiling. Aversion could be to the box, the litter, location of the box, or all combined. A cat with an aversion to their litter box will usually eliminate on a variety of surfaces . Your cat may prefer to eliminate in another spot or on a specific surface like clothing or carpets. Cats that choose alternate locations often have an aversion to the litter box location.
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How Do I Determine Which Cat Is Eliminating When I Have More Than One Cat
When there are multiple cats in the home, it may be difficult to determine who is actually soiling. Confinement of one or more cats may be necessary to discover who is not using the litter box. However, if social conflicts between cats contribute to the problem, separating cats may make the problem diminish or stop.
“Therefore, the best solution may be to place a video camera in the area where the soiling occurs.”
A fluorescent dye can be administered to one cat, and the soiled areas can then be evaluated with a black light to determine if that is the cat that is house soiling. However, results are not always consistent and the dye may stain some carpets. Therefore, the best solution may be to place a video camera in the area where the soiling occurs. For stool elimination a small amount of a nontoxic colored crayon can be chopped and mixed into the food of one of the cats.
What Could The Problem Be If It Is Not Medical
Diagnostic possibilities for elimination problems in cats include litter, litter box, and location aversions, and substrate and location preferences. Frustration or stress might also influence feline elimination behavior.
“When frustration, stress, anxiety, or marking are suspected to be the cause, drug therapy and behavior-modification techniques may be effective.”
Keep in mind that the initiating cause of house soiling may have been medical or a change in the environment, and this initiating cause may still be present or may have already been resolved. However, once the cat has learned to eliminate somewhere other than the litter box, the problem may be maintained. When frustration, stress, anxiety, or marking are suspected to be the cause, drug therapy and behavior modification techniques may be effective .
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Your Cat Doesnt Like The Litter
The litter itself could be the problem. This is a more likely cause if you have recently changed the brand or type of litter that you are offering your cat.
Some litters are hard and even quite sharp, which is like sitting on an uncomfortable or painful toilet seat while trying to do your own business.
If you see your cat is perching on the edge of the tray, or that they get in the litter and quickly get back out again, painful litter is the most likely culprit. Revert to your previous type of cat litter, if you recently changed, or try a different type. Be prepared for it to take some time for your cat to get used to a new litter and be patient. You can introduce a new litter type gradually, the same as you would a new food.
It may not be that the new litter is painful. Your cat may dislike the strong odor or even the look of the litter pad that you have started using.
When Kitty Eliminates Outside The Litter Box
If your veterinarian has ruled out a health problem, you can make a few changes to see if you can steer your cat back to the litter box:
- Scoop and change your cats litter at least once a day.
- Thoroughly rinse out the box with baking soda or unscented soap once a week.
- Use less litter. Cats like a shallow bed of litter — no more than two inches deep.
- Use a larger litter box.
- Use clumping, unscented litter of a medium to fine texture or the litter they used as a kitten. You could try putting a few clean boxes side by side, each with a different type of litter, to see which one your cat prefers.
- Dont use box liners or lids.
- Try a self-cleaning box, which is generally cleaner than a traditional litter box.
- Move the litter box to a quiet, low-light location where your cat is able to see anyone approaching and can escape quickly. The litter box should be out of sight of their food and water dishes.
- Add a few litter boxes in different locations, all of which have multiple escape routes. Make sure that children or other animals dont have access to the boxes.
- If your cat is old or arthritic, use a litter box with low sides so they can climb in easily.
- Provide a litter box for each of your cats, plus one extra. If you live in a multi-storey residence, place a box on each level.
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My Final Thoughts On Cat Peeing In The Same Spot Outside The Litter Box
While cats are definitely one of the most independent and remarkable pets out there, they are also incredibly picky creatures and like to have things just the way they want them. And, when things dont go according to plan, they can often act up and look for more acceptable alternatives. Make sure that you keep these tips in mind so that you can always remember how to stop your cat from peeing in the same spot style=font-weight: 400 > starting today and lasting for the rest of their lives.
How Do You Stop A Cat From Peeing On Things
Put simple chemical deterrents such as citrus peelings or coffee grounds around the urination spot if your cat is peeing outside of the litter box on different surfaces. It can help in dissuading the cat from returning to that very same spot to pee. Some people recommend sprinkling pepper around the area, but you should avoid this as it can cause severe damage if it goes into your cats eyes.
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Your Cats Litter Box Is Too Dirty
Another common litter box issue comes down to cleanliness. Cats are notoriously clean creatures and spend a large portion of their day self-grooming. It follows that when it comes to using their litter box, they have a huge preference for a clean tray and will always try to find an unsoiled spot to urinate on.
If your litter box is full of clumps of soiled urine, your cat will struggle to find a clean area. Alternatively, they could refuse to use the litter box altogether!
Keeping a clean litter tray is even more important if you own more than one kitty with more cats, there will be more pee and so youll have to spend more time cleaning up. Besides, whereas cats dont like urinating on top of their own pee, urinating where another cat has peed is even worse!
Crystals In Cat Urine
Crystals in cat urine can be a sign of crystals or stones. These crystals can get caught in the urethra, particularly in male cats, and cause a serious obstruction where the bladder is filling but cannot release. If your cat has crystals blocking the bladder, this is an emergency. Cats who present with crystals in their urine are often placed on a prescription diet to help dissolve the crystals and prevent further formation of them. If the prescription diet cannot dissolve the stones, they may need to be removed surgically.
If your cat is straining to urinate, is unable to urinate or is vocalizing from pain while urinating, it is important to get them to a veterinarian immediately. A urethral obstruction from a stone or crystals can quickly become a life-threatening situation.
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How To Prevent Urinary Obstructions In Cats
Some cats are genetically predisposed to urinary problems. However, there are steps you can take to prevent a urinary obstruction.
- Bring your cat to the vet for annual or biannual exams as recommended by your vet. Subtle problems may be discovered on a routine exam and handled before your cat actually gets sick.
- Contact your vet at the first sign of a urinary problem .
- Feed your cat a balanced moist food because it maintains hydration and minimizes mineral content.
- Make sure your cat has fresh, clean water available at all times.
- Keep the litter box clean and fresh so your cat won’t hold his urine longer than necessary.
- Prevent your cat from becoming obese.
Reasons Why Cats Pee Outside The Litter Box And How To Stop It
Almost 90 percent of cats suffer from litter problems and its not always easy to guess the main reason behind it. If you have been observing your cat and enticing unusual behaviors with the litter box, then it might be a matter of concern. Health issues can be one of the reasons behind this. Such problems can also arise if you have many cats at home. It could also be related to previous medical concerns or because your cat dislikes the location or positioning of the litter box. Youve come to the right place if your cat has a litter box issue. Well explain why your cat is having these problems and what you can do to fix them.
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Your Cat Doesn’t Like Its Litter
Cats are picky when it comes to litter. If you switch your cat’s litter on them suddenly, that gives them a very good reason to poop outside of the litter box. Your cat’s dislike may have to do with one or some of the following:
Make sure you stick to the same brand of litter. Even switching one clay litter for another, for example, is enough to upset your cat. They can tell that the texture and scent has changed. In addition, many cats don’t like odor coverups . They may not like the quantity, quality, or feel of the litter also. Too much litter can be just as problematic as not enough litter.