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Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box?
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Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box?

Views: 0     Author: Olivia     Publish Time: 2022-05-06      Origin: Site


I’ve expected some inspiring or thought-provoking topics and queries during the past week as we’ve just had the earth day. But the hot topics for cat and cat litter on google search turn out to be a little funny – except for “odor control” and “absorption”, there is a worldwide search interest for “why is my cat not using the litter box”, “why is my cat peeing on everything except for the litter box”.

Actually, this also happens a lot in my cat café as we have over 30 cats and it’s almost impossible to let them each have one litter box. The reasons for our cat urinating inappropriately can be medical or behavioral. Here are some potential solutions to help our adorable furball use the litter box again.

#1 Medical Issues

If we find our cat suddenly starts peeing outside the litter box, contact our vet for professional opinions. Usually a 1-2 days observation period will be suggested if no other symptoms. However, abnormal urine amounts, bloody urine, decreased appetite, hiding, etc. can indicate a number of medical conditions. Simple urine and blood tests will help figure out the underlying health issues.

Any physical discomfort may cause improper urination of our cat. If our cat is experiencing urinary tract infection(UTI)/obstruction, bladder stones, kidney disease or cancer, they may have difficulty urinating. urinating pain or even urinating blood, which drives them to avoid their litter box. Age-related declines in brain function and hormonal disorders such as diabetes, including medical problems affecting nerves, muscles or joints, can be possible causes also. For example, our cat suffering from arthritis disease may feel painful and difficult to enter a litter box, so they need to find a new place to do their business.

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I still remember two years ago my cute Blueberry suddenly started peeing everywhere. I took her to the vet. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer. I always knew that she didn’t do it to annoy me, it was just because she was so painful that she couldn’t control it.

Since our furry friend is so good at hiding health issues, it is always necessary to keep an eye on what they are trying to tell us. If medical conditions are ruled out through vet investigation, we may need to look for behavioral causes.

#2 Stress

Our feline is very sensitive to changes in their environment. Moving to a new home, rearranging furniture or litter box, new guests or pets in the home, new noises nearby, change in cat litter or diet, separation anxiety can all be possible stress triggers. If our cat pees elsewhere, do not get angry. Remember, they do not mean it. It’s just a way to relieve their stress because their own urine smell makes them feel safe, or to mark their territory as a message to newcomers. So what we need to do is try to avoid sudden changes, keep our cat emotionally balanced, provide toys and play with them, and soothe them down before it develops into a serious health issue.


Wrong location of the litter box may also stress our cat out. Feline doesn't necessarily need visual privacy. However, it is important that our cat is able to go to the toilet without being disturbed, just like us. Heavy foot traffic or a washing machine suddenly starting to work can both panic our cat. Such experience for only once may lead to the end of litter box use.

#3 Maybe the litter box is too dirty, or too small, or hard to reach, or not enough for use

If our cat suddenly stops using the litter box anymore, it may be that our cat doesn’t feel comfortable there and is seeking other options to do their business. No one would like a smelly toilet, neither does our cat. The litter box should be cleaned at least once a day, or our picky feline may refuse to use it next time. If we can't clean it so often, consider buying a fully automatic litter box.


Another possible reason for our cat urinating inappropriately can be the unsuitable size of the litter box. The litter box should be large enough for our cat to easily turn around in.  The rule of thumb for choosing a litter box is as follows: roughly measure our cat's length from nose to tip of the tail. The ideal size should be 1.5 times that length. Remember to adjust the size of the litter box as our kitten grows up and try to keep it uncovered especially if our cat is large or fluffy as a covered litter box may make it feel cramped inside.

In addition to suitable size and cleanliness, the litter box should be placed where the cat can easily find it, but not in the area where our cat eats or drinks. And it would be better if there’s no barrier between the litter box and our cat.  If our cat is too young, too old, or weak from illness, the litter box should not be placed in high places. If we live in a large house, especially one with multiple floors, we should set up at least two litter boxes so that our cat doesn’t have to travel far to do their business.

It is usually suggested to have one litter box per cat plus one extra in a multi-cat family to avoid competition for litter box territory. Felines like having choices. Some of them prefer “dry wet depart” -- pee in one litter box and poop in another, which means you may set up two litter boxes even when you own only one cat.

#4 Maybe the cat litter is not the right type for our cat

If our cat starts peeing outside upon change of new cat litter, it is highly likely because our cat doesn’t like the litter. Cat litter can come in a variety of scents and textures, and our cat may be prone to get upset about some of the deodorants or perfume-scented litter.


We probably go through a lot of considerations when choosing cat litter. We want it to be dust-free, odor-trapping, easy to scoop, not sticking to the bottom, safe, eco-friendly, durable and affordable.  But the real question is: does our cat like it?  Our cat has its own unique preferences when it comes to pooping and peeing. So if our cat has expressed an aversion to a certain type of litter, it's worth considering a change. To find the type that works best for our cat, we may set up two or more litter boxes with different litter to see which our cat prefers. As mentioned in my last blog (Which cat litter is the best?), cats are sensitive and picky, always mix the new cat litter with some old portion so that our cat can get used to it gradually.

Make sure the litter is 7- to 12-centimeter thick in the litter box.  Always be a responsible and attentive cat owner to watch our cat's behavior while in the litter box. Some cats prefer thick cat litter, but if our cat keeps digging the litter, try fewer layers of cat litter as it may feel comfortable standing at the bottom of the litter box to pee and poop.

#5 Physiological cause

If our un-neutered male cat is in heat, it will spray, fuelled by sex hormones, as a message for marking territory and looking for a mate, thus causing inappropriate urinating behavior. So get our cat spayed or neutered before it goes into heat, it is not only good for its health but also avoid frustrating litter box issue.

Checklist for training our cat to use the litter box

微信图片_2022050515542511• It would be better to start with a simple, shallow and uncovered litter box when training our kittens. Repeat exercises and limit activity areas will expedite the training.

•  Ideally, choose a safe and unscented cat litter for our cat.

•  Place the litter box at a fixed, quiet yet accessible location of the home; clean it up regularly.

•  If catching our cat in the act, take it to the litter box immediately and calmly tell where it should pee.

•  Remember to clean up the accident with an enzymatic cleaning solution to be sure no odor remains. There’s a good chance our cat returns if old urine odors remain in the area.

•  Last but not least, make our home a happy and relaxed place for our furry friends. Plenty of vertical space, toys, pleasant and loving company.

Most of our cats can mind their own business well, but sometimes they just need some assistance. Our feline friends are very clever and sensitive and will always understand us if we are gentle and patient.  




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