Help! My Cat Peeing Outside Her Litter Box

Cat peeing outside her litter box in spite of having a place assigned for her shedding business? We suggest you ways out to stop your cat from peeing outside her litter box. 

Cats and their related litter box issues have persisted for years now. Wonder what makes them pee outside their litter box? There are several reasons that your cat may refrain from using the box for her shedding business.

For all those cat parents and feline lovers, read below as we help you figure out why is your cat peeing outside her litter box and what can you do to stop it.

Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside Her Litter Box?

Usually, a cat may pee outside her litter box due to medical reasons or because of some behavioral issues like anxiety or stress. 

We often wonder as to why cats pee outside the litter box in spite of having a separate space set up for them for their shedding activities. There can be various concerns or underlying health conditions that your cat may be suffering from.

Cat Peeing Outside Litter Box

Here are a few reasons we think why your cat is peeing outside her litter box.

  • Medical Issues

If you see any abnormal behavior in your cat, it is best to visit a vet before making any further assumptions about your cat’s condition.

Maybe, your cat is not peeing outside the box on purpose but has a genuine medical issue due to which she cannot control her urges to pee. Common problems include:

    • Idiopathic Cystitis

Idiopathic cystitis deals with inflammation of the bladder, the cause of which remains unknown. Cats who suffer from idiopathic cystitis may have hematuria (blood in their urine).

In such cases, you need to consult a vet immediately and get your pet’s samples tested. The blood in the urine can only be seen microscopically.

If the vet determines the presence of blood in your cat’s urine, but there are no crystals or stones found, your cat might be suffering from idiopathic cystitis.

The best treatment for your cat is a change in diet and maintaining a healthy environment for them. Since stress and anxiety may also lead to cystitis, anti-anxiety medications can be given.

    • Bladder Stones

Bladder stones can cause burning and blockage during urination. Therefore, your cat may need to undergo an x-ray to determine the presence and size of stones.

Bladder stones cause inappropriate urination and hematuria. Moreover, if the situation is grave, your cat may need to undergo surgery.

    • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTI infections commonly occur in older cats due to other underlying medical conditions that may affect the urinary system. UTI infections are generally treated by antibiotics as the bacteria in the urine can cause peeing problems in your cat.

    • Metabolic Diseases

Metabolic diseases include chronic kidney disorders, liver disease, diabetes, and thyroid issues in cats. These conditions can cause inappropriate urination as they may get sudden urges to pee incessantly. This leads them to pee anywhere outside the litter box.

Usually, during such conditions, your cat may feel more thirsty or need to pee more often. It is ideal to show your vet and run a few blood tests on your kitty to confirm any metabolic disease.

  • Behavioral Issues

Behavioral Issues in CatsOnce you have ruled out the medical conditions, if your cat is still seen peeing outside the litter box, then you need to determine why is your cat behaving inappropriately.

Did you found that best automatic litter box or maybe the best cat litter she can’t refuse?

Here is a list of a few behavioral and conditional issues we think is forcing your cat to pee outside the litter box.

    • Trouble With The Litter Box

Cat Refusing Litter Box

Your cat is not using the litter box because there is a problem with the litter box itself. Litter box issues range from problems with the type of litter box and the litter, litter box maintenance, etc. Your cat might be having trouble because:

  • The litter box is too small.
  • The design and the type of litter box is uncomfortable.
  • The litter box is kept at a busy location in the house.
  • There are multiple pets using the same box.
  • The litter box stinks of old urine and poop shedding.
  • The type of litter is not suitable.

Most of these issues listed above are amongst the common reasons why your cat prefers peeing outside the litter box

    • Stress

Often, stress and anxiety give your cat frequent urges to urinate and pee anywhere outside the litter box since they cannot control themselves.

Stress in cats can be due to various reasons, like a change in the environment, a new member in the house, you are not giving them enough time, change in food or litter box, etc.

It may not seem so but cats are emotionally sensitive creatures. Therefore, anxiety causes them to pee anywhere around the house, outside their litter box.

    • Urine Smell

If your cat uses a certain spot in your house to pee, the smell remains for quite some time and cats mark their territory with the smell.

The smell leads them to use the same spot frequently as they are attracted by the peculiar odor of their urine and associate that spot with shedding.

How To Stop My Cat From Peeing Outside Her Litter Box?

Ideally, the best way to stop your cat from peeing outside her litter box is to consult a veterinarian or fix your cat’s litter box as per their liking and comfort.

If the above-mentioned reasons concern you and your cat continues to pee outside the box, here are a few ways you can opt for to stop your cat from peeing outside her litter box.

  • Consult a Veterinarian

If your cat is urinating inappropriately anywhere outside the litter box, then she may be suffering from the aforementioned health conditions or it may happen due to stress or anxiety.

Talk to your vet about this issue as they can help you analyze any underlying medical cause and suggest some changes towards behaving with cats that can help improvise their condition and habits.

  • Clean the Litter Box

If the litter box is dirty, your cat would certainly refrain from using it and look out for other places outside the box like your couch or the bed.

Scooping Waste from Litter Box

You can clean the litter box using non-fragrant enzymatic detergents and cleaners to get rid of the odor and clean any dirt around the walls of the box.

Alternatively, baking soda and vinegar are also good home remedies to get rid of the dirt and odor that stays around the box. Make sure to scoop the litter every day and clean the litter box at least once a week.

  • Change The Type Of Litter

There are different types of litter available. Maybe the type of litter you are using for their litter box does not suit your cat’s preferences. This causes her to pee outside the litter box as she is clearly uncomfortable with the type of litter.

In such cases, it is best to let your cat choose the type of litter. This may require experimenting with different types of litter until your cat takes a liking to a particular type. There are two types of litter available:

    • Clumping Litter: This is made of bentonite and looks like clay. Clumping litter is easy to handle as it forms clumps immediately when it comes in contact with cat urine.

Moreover, it controls odor and is good for burrowing and digging poop within its surface. Most cats prefer clumping litter.

    • Non-clumping litter: Any form of litter made from a material other than clay is non-clumping litter. As the name suggests, it does not clump when it comes in contact with urine.

It is usually made of wood pieces, paper, pine, cornmeal, or silica gels. These are cheaper as compared to clumping litter but are too dusty and do not absorb very efficiently.

  • Maybe it’s the Litter Box

The type of litter box equally determines why your cat is not wanting to use it and looking out for other places for shedding. She may feel uncomfortable as the litter box is too small for your cat or she is not being able to access it easily.

Top entry and high walled litter boxes are good in terms of keeping the box and its surroundings clean. They provide a confined environment for your kitty to pee and poop.

However, cats might find it difficult to climb or access the litter box which makes them look out for places that feel more comfortable and accessible, like outside the box.

Consider changing the type of litter or the box. A large-sized box offers more room and space for your cat. Moreover, if your cat is too small or old, they will require a box with easy entry and exit points.

  • Location Matters

Perfect Location for the Litter BoxThe location of the litter box matters. Cats prefer quiet and secluded areas for their shedding activities.

If your cat is peeing outside the litter box, consider changing the location of the box to the place where your cat prefers.

Make the litter box more accessible to your cat and place multiple litter boxes in areas of the house where your cat visits the most. That ways, whenever your cat wants to pee, she knows she has to be headed towards the box.

  • Need More Litter Boxes

This is an issue when you have multiple cats at home. If too many cats are using the same litter box, they would not prefer sharing their space and seek for a different zone.

Therefore, it is advisable to get litter boxes equivalent to the number of cats in your house and one extra litter box just in case one of them gets unsuitable for use.

Each time your cat wants to pee, they do not have to wait or share their litter box with someone else and look out for other resorts to shed.

  • Amount of Litter

Filling Up Litter BoxMaybe the amount of litter in the box is not sufficient for your cat to burrow and dig her poop within the litter. In that case, you need to fill the box with an optimum level of litter.

Ideally, 2 to 2.5 inches of litter is sufficient but if your cat is a digger, increase the level up to 4 to 4.5 inches but not beyond that. Too much litter will only cause spillage and kicking out of the litter as your cat may not find enough space to burrow her sheddings.

Therefore, maintaining an optimum amount of litter is necessary for your cat to use the box and not seek places outside of it.

  • Food and Water Bowls To The Rescue

Cats are very careful of their belongings. If they have marked a particular territory in your house to carry out their shedding business, consider using their food and water bowls to the rescue.

Cats would not dirty the areas where their belongings are located. So if it’s your bed, a secret corner in your house, or anywhere outside the litter box that your cat prefers, guard those areas with their belongings until they learn to use the litter box.

  • Consider Spaying or Neutering

If your cat is non-neutered, or not spayed, they usually end up marking their territory by using a corner of your house as their favorite spot. The urine smell attracts them to use the same spot repeatedly and not use the litter box.

In such cases, consider getting your kitty spayed or neutered for them to stop marking areas in the house and acting stubborn.

  • Cat Conflicts

Multiple pets or a number of cats in the house can end up getting into conflict sometimes. This can cause stress or anxiety in cats and lead them to pee anywhere outside the litter box.

If cat conflicts are an issue, consider keeping your pets separately for a while. Cats tend to mark their territory and belongings. Hence, a particular cat may have marked their area around the litter box which does not allow the other one to use it.

Multiple litter boxes can help resolve their conflicts as each cat will have its own litter box to use. Try maintaining a friendly environment between multiple pets at home in order to make your cat feel stress-free.

  • Train and Teach

If you lose your patience each time when your cat pees outside the litter box, then it would make them feel more scared and anxious. Anxiety causes them to pee more often at unwanted places and you don’t want the problem to aggravate.

Every time your cat needs to poo or pee, direct them towards the litter box, and once they are done using it, reward them with a treat. Let them get used to the litter box habitat. Teaching and training your cat to use a litter box can take time.

Over time, your cat starts associating the litter box with getting a treat until it becomes a habit. Ultimately leads to training your cat to use it each time she wants to pee.

How to Clean Outside The Litter Box

After trying the above-suggested measures, if your cat pees or poops anywhere else apart from her own litter box, then here is what you can do to clean it.

Cleaning Outside the Litter Box

  • If you see a puddle of pee or poop anywhere in your house, react immediately before it gets too stinky or attracts your cat to the same spot again.
  • Use pieces of tissue paper or cloth to blot the urine immediately and soak it up.
  • In order to get rid of the odor and germs, use a mild detergent or enzymatic cleaner along with a scrub or brush to clean and rinse of the section.
  • Alternatively, you can also use baking soda or vinegar to break the odor particles and kill the germs associated with urine.
  • Allow the surface to dry well and check for persisting odor or spots for your cat to not return back to the same spot.

Final Note

Now that you know why is your cat behaving unusually that is causing her to pee outside her litter box, its time to fix her concerns. Start by setting up the litter box right for her and show her to the vet if you notice the slightest changes in her behavior.

And if at all, you find some corner of your house stinking and smelling of cat urine, the steps mentioned above for cleaning will definitely help you.

At the end of all, your cat’s shedding business is supposed to happen in her litter box, and not outside of the box!!

FAQs

Why would a cat start peeing around the house?

If your cat is peeing everywhere around the house except for her litter box, it may be due to an underlying health condition or stress, that causes them to pee more often and they cannot control their urges to pee. You may want to consider showing your cat to a vet.

How do you discipline a cat for peeing outside the litter box?

In order for your cat to use the litter box, start by keeping the litter box clean and make it a desirable place for your cat. Use a large-sized box that is open and kept in a secluded area of the house for your cat to shed comfortably and not be disturbed.

Why is my cat peeing just outside the litter box?

If your cat is peeing just a few inches away from the litter box, maybe your cat is not being able to figure out how to use the litter box and you need to train her.

Cats can sometimes find it difficult to attain the proper posture to sit and use the litter box or dig their poop in the litter. Training them patiently for a few weeks can lead them to adjust and use the litter box over time.

Should I punish my cat if she pees outside the litter box?

You should never punish your cat if she pees outside the litter box. Punishment will only damage the bond between you both and make them feel stressed and anxious. This will cause them to pee more often anywhere outside or around the box.

Why does my cat pee outside the litter box but poop inside the box?

Cats who or non-neutered or not spayed have a habit of marking their territory. Usually, their urine has a very strong odor that helps them mark a particular spot in the house to use it for their peeing. For these reasons, they prefer peeing outside the litter box and pooping inside the box.

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