Why does my cat pee outside the litterbox?

Vets conservatively estimate that ten percent of pet owners struggle with this issue. Cats are usually very clean animals, so if your she is urinating outside of the litterbox, she is trying to tell you something:

1. Your litterbox cleaning habit is not up to your cat’s standards

Clean your litter box every day. A clumping litter can make the job much easier. We have several excellent brands. Behavioral issues can be resolved by scooping frequently to remove waste.

As a general rule, you should keep as many litter boxes as you have cats in the house, plus one. Check out our post on cat litter, litter boxes, cleaning, and training your kitten to use it. The Litter Locker is truly a godsend for reducing litterbox odors .  

2. Aging cats often have arthritis

As cats age, they can get arthritis, which makes it harder for them to get into the box. If your cat has arthritis in her paws, even covering her litter can be painful. The sides may be too tall or the box may be located in a place that requires the cat to go up or down a flight of stairs, which can be painful. Instead, place the litter box closer to the cat. Litter boxes don’t have to smell if you use the right litter and clean it regularly (see point 1). If you want to help your cat feel better, we also wrote a post about cats and arthritis.

3. Behavioural Issues

Cats may spray out of stress, anxiety, or frustration with their circumstances, including such conditions as restrictive diets, insufficient playtime or territorial disputes with other cats. If your cat is spraying because of disputes with other cats in the home or in the neighborhood, it’s important for you to identify and remove what’s causing it.  Separate feuding cats in your household and reintroduce them slowly, using food treats to reward and encourage peaceful behavior.

Behavioral issues can sometimes also be resolved by adding additional litter boxes around the home, scooping frequently to remove waste or by moving a litter box from one space in the home to another.

4. Medical conditions and the litter box

catpee-boldrawYour cat may have a medical condition that makes urinating too painful — in or out of the litter box. Common medical conditions which may affect litter box use include:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) If your cat frequently enters her litter box but produces small amounts of urine, she may have a UTI. Including more raw food in your felines diet could decrease the likelihood of her contracting a UTI because good quality raw ingredients naturally contain more water. We carry quite a few raw brands with high quality raw ingredients such as Rawz and Bold Raw. The more water in your feline’s diet the better when it comes to preventing UTIs!
  • Feline interstitial cystitis Feline interstitial cystitis causes inflammation of the bladder. It can cause a cat to eliminate outside the litter box because of the urgency to urinate.
  • Bladder stones or blockage If your cat has bladder stones or a blockage, she may frequently enter her litter box. She may also experience pain and meow when she tries to eliminate. Her abdomen may also be tender to the touch.

Here are some other medical issues that can cause kitty incontinence.

Next time: How to remove cat urine from carpets, bedding, clothing…