You love your cat, and you both share a special bond. But have you ever wondered why your cat sometimes pees outside its little box? In this article, our Pittsboro vets share a few reasons why cats urinate outside their litter box and what you can do to try and stop it.
Cat Peeing Outside of Their Litter Box - Health Concern
First and foremost, you should think about your cat's well-being. Cats may urinate outside their litter box if they have a bladder infection or serious bladder inflammation.
Additionally, cats might pee outside their litter box due to excessive anxiety or stress, which can cause chemical imbalances in their body.
If your cat has recently started urinating outside the litter box, it's crucial to take them to the vet for a checkup without delay.
Other Reasons Why Your Cat May Be Peeing Elsewhere
Once you rule out health reasons for your cat's strange new behavior, it is time to consider other possible reasons why your cat is choosing to pee elsewhere. Some of the most common are listed below.
Recent Changes in The Household
Your cat loves routine, and when your cat starts peeing or pooping outside the little box, it's often because something in their environment has changed. This could be a new person moving in, someone leaving, or a new pet joining the household. Perhaps you have started a new job and are out of the house for long hours.
Make sure you spend a little extra quality time with your kitty, helping them to feel safe and secure despite the recent change. With a little extra love and attention, this behavior should resolve itself once your cat feels safe and secure again.
Dirty Litter Box
Cats have a strong sense of smell. If your cat won't use their litter box, it might be because it's not clean. If you use clumping litter, clean it daily by removing clumps and waste, and change all the litter weekly. If you use non-clumping litter, change it fully at least twice a week. If your cat is really picky, change the litter every other day to make them happy.
Litter Box Position
Cats can be quite picky about where they do their business. They prefer a quiet and safe spot. If your cat's litter box is in a busy area, that might be the problem.
It is also important to note that cats will not urinate or defecate near food. This means your cat may not use their litter box if it is too near its food and water bowls.
In some cases, cats want more light, or perhaps your cat's litter box is kept in an area that necessitates passing your dog's favorite spot.
Moving the little box is a simple change that can prevent your cat from peeing outside the box.
Need More Litter Boxes
If you've got more than one cat, a kitten, or a big multi-story house, having several litter boxes can be a real lifesaver.
Make sure that the litter boxes are all easy to access, and if you have a multi-feline home, try having as many litter boxes as you have cats so each cat can have their own.
Dislikes The Style of Their Litter Box
While covered litter boxes are a favorite of pet parents, many cats refuse to use them. Your cat may feel trapped inside these covered boxes; they may find it too dark in a covered litter tray, or the smells may be too strong. Try providing your cat with a standard open litter to see if that is a better solution.
Size matters for litter boxes. For kittens, use a smaller box with low sides. For big cats like Maine Coons, get a spacious box for them to move comfortably and scratch in.
Finds The Litter Unpleasant
You may think that the type of litter you use doesn't matter, but it might matter very much to your feline friend. Some cats will refuse to use litter boxes lined with litter made from coconut or corn. Cats will not urinate or defecate near their food, and because cat litter made from these substances can smell more like food than a place to relieve oneself, your cat may refuse to use their litter box.
Other cats find some brands of cat litter too hard on their feet, too dusty, too scented, or too clumpy. The best thing to do is try experimenting with different types and brands of cat litter until you find one that your cat is happy to use.
Tricks to Help Stop Your Cat From Peeing Where They Shouldn't
Whatever approach you try, be sure not to yell or punish your cat. Positive reinforcement combined with loving patience is always best.
Change the Mean of The Space
Improving your cat's little box experience can also involve changing how your cat views the spots where they do their business. What this means is if your cat has started to pee elsewhere, spend time playing with your cat in that place, and give your cat some treats while in that place. Your cat will stop thinking of that place as a place to relieve themself and more as a place to relax and enjoy.
Thoroughly Clean Area
It will be essential for your sanity, as well as to help deter your cat, to clean the area where your cat has peed to remove all smell. If your cat can smell urine, it may encourage them to pee in that spot again. For yourself, of course, there is nothing nice about having a home, bed, sofa, or rug that smells like cat pee. Be sure to use a cleaner that has been formulated to neutralize the smell of pet urine. In some cases, you may need to rent a steam cleaner to help get rid of the cat pee smell.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.