What Does It Mean When My Cat Pees Outside The Litter Box?

Felines are well known for having fastidious grooming routines, and most cats become litter box trained fairly easily thanks to their dislike of being unclean. If your previously house-trained kitty suddenly starts peeing outside of her litter box, it can be incredibly frustrating and unpleasant for you and others living in your home. However, cats very rarely just ‘lose’ their ability or desire to urinate in their litterbox – there is almost always an underlying reason.

Here we look at exactly what it means when your cat pees outside the litter box and what you can do to rectify the situation.

The litter box isn’t clean enough

One of the most common and innocent reasons for a kitty to start peeing outside the litter box is simply that it doesn’t meet her exceptionally high standards for toileting! Sounds funny, but it’s actually true. Felines can be so fussy about hygiene that they refuse to use a litter box that isn’t clean enough.

Cats have a very strong sense of smell, much stronger than our own. This means that a litter box that might smell fine to us could still have a foul odor to our felines. Make sure that you scoop the litter at least once a day – more so if you have multiple cats in your home. You should also refresh the entire litter and do a deep-clean of the box once every 2/3 weeks.

The litter box is in a hard-to-reach location

Cats can be just as fussy about the location of their litter box. While it is tempting to tuck it into a quiet corner in a remote part of the house, this will almost certainly make it unappealing to your cat. Instead, try and find a location that is quiet, easy to find and still in a relatively active area of the house. Hallways, bathrooms and under stairs are often good locations, but it may take a while to find the perfect spot that works for your cat.

You don’t have enough litter boxes or you cat doesn’t like them

If you live in a property with multiple cats, you also need multiple litter boxes. Make sure you have at least one per cat, plus one ‘extra’. Some felines can also be particular about the style of litterbox that they have, with some preferring enclosed types while others prefer an open design so that they can see another cat coming. Equally, she may be fussy about the type of litter you use. Again, this can be process of trial and error to find a litter box that your furbaby is happy to use.

Your cat is stressed or worried

Animals can be just as affected by stress and anxiety as humans can, and if your feline is feeling overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, worried or other similar emotions, she may fail to use the litterbox as she should. These sorts of feelings can be triggered by many things, such as a sudden change in routine, a new family member, a trauma outside the home (such as if an outdoor cat is threatened by another animal) or a house move. Often, peeing outside the litterbox for these reasons tends to resolve itself, but should it not, consult with our veterinarian as there may be a different underlying cause.

Medical problems

If you still cannot pinpoint exactly why your cat is no longer using her litterbox, then a medical issue could be to blame. There are a variety of health problems that can cause a kitty to stop peeing in the right place, including urinary tract infections, diabetes and kidney disease. In some instances, even feeling remotely unwell could cause your cat to pee in outside the litter box.

If you cannot recognize a cause for your cat to be urinating in random places, especially if she has any other unusual symptoms, you should seek the advice of our veterinarian.

If you would like further advice or support on litterbox training, our friendly veterinary team would be delighted to help. Please contact our offices at your convenience.