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Why is my cat urinating outside the litter box?

 by jennifer on 03 Sep 2021 |
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Most cat owners have struggled with their pet not using the litter box, but this can be your cat’s way of saying something is wrong.

Why is my cat urinating outside the litter box?


At some point, most cat owners struggle with their companion urinating outside of the litter box. Though this can be frustrating, it helps to know this unusual behavior is one way your pet communicates to you that something is wrong, either medically or emotionally.

Physically ailments such as urinary tract infections are one of the common causes of inappropriate urination. There are many other medical conditions that can cause your cat to feel uncomfortable, including bladder stones, kidney disease and infections. Any problem impacting his kidneys or liver in particular can cause your cat to drink more water and, therefore, need more urgent trips to the litter box. With this change in his schedule, he may not be able to reach the litter box in time, or it may become dirty faster, leading your cat to do his business elsewhere until the litter is cleaned. Even if the physical discomfort is not directly related to your pet’s bladder, he may start urinating in inappropriate places due to other physical conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis. Senior pets are especially prone to problems with the litter box as their mobility and cognitive function decrease. It may simply be harder for older cats to get into the litter box, or they may become confused as their brain function changes during their senior years. 

There are also non-physical conditions that can make Kitty urinate outside of his litter box. Feeling stressed or anxious can change a range of your pet’s behaviors, including where he uses the bathroom. Even small changes, such as a visitor in the house, can cause cats to feel stressed, and larger shifts such as adding a new pet to the household or moving can certainly trigger unusual behavior. Some cats will also mark spots in the household with urine when they feel threatened by a new pet or person.

If your cat suddenly starts urinating outside of the litter box, take this is a sign that something may be wrong. If the behavior does not change, take him to the veterinarian for a check-up to rule out any physical ailments. If he is physically healthy, you will then need to address the stressor that is causing your pet’s behavioral problems with his litter box. Be sure to keep the box clean and in a private section of your house so it is inviting to your pet. Try different types of litter, as some pick pets have a texture preference. If you have a senior pet who is struggling with mobility, try a tray with a lower lip and open top. Block off any parts of the house where your cat has been making a habit of urinating, or place a litter box directly over the spot he has made his makeshift bathroom. You can also use odor-neutralizing sprays to remove the smell in those spots, as this can encourage your cat to continue urinating there. When introducing a new pet to a multi-cat household, place multiple litter boxes around the house to encourage your cats to use their litter boxes.

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