Cats aren’t doing anything wrong when they “go” outside the box, despite the fact that finding cat urine around the house is naturally distressing. They are merely acting in a way that meets their current demands. However, there are things you can do to stop your cat from peeing outside the litter box.
A cat may urinate outside the litter box for a variety of reasons, such as health problems, anxiety, or bullying by other cats in the house that needs to be addressed. You should be able to figure out what has to be done to stop your cat from urinating in unsuitable places with a little research (and perhaps a trip to the vet’s office).
1. Clean the litter box more often.
It is nearly a given that a cat will urinate somewhere other than in a dirty litter box. Cats like to use a clean litter box since they are naturally very clean animals. Stop your cat from peeing outside the litter box by cleaning it more often. Litter boxes ought to at least be scooped out once every couple days. At least once per month, you should thoroughly clean the litter box by removing all the litter, scrubbing the boxes, and refilling them. If you struggle to keep up with the scooping, think about a self-cleaning litter box system.
We’ve curated a guide to cleaning your cat’s litter box.
2. Reduce Conflict Between Your Pets
Inappropriate urination might result from fights between cats, from introducing a new cat, or from other pets. Your cats may decide to avoid the litter box rather than face the danger that another fight will break out if they use it if they recently got into a fight in or near the box. For a period, keep your cats apart to allow any tensions to subside, and then try slowly reintroducing them. For many owners this will stop their cat from peeing outside the litter box.
The litter box may possibly be being protected by one cat. Make sure there are multiple litter boxes scattered throughout your home so that no one cat may block access to all of the boxes at once. To ensure that your cat is constantly aware of their surroundings, you might also think about using an open-air litter box. They will feel safer and less anxious as a result of this.
3. Consult Your Veterinarian
The most crucial action you can take if your cat has started going beyond the litter box is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Cats may urinate outside of their litter box for a variety of reasons, including urinary tract infections, hyperthyroidism, feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), bladder crystals or stones, arthritis, diabetes, and renal illness.
Your veterinarian will inquire about the problem and when it first occurred. They will then carry out a physical examination, a urinalysis, and maybe other diagnostic procedures to see whether the issue is medical as opposed to behavioral. If your cat is given the all-clear, your vet can assist you in addressing any potential environmental or behavioral problems. In summary, your vet will be an important ally to help stop your cat from peeing outside the litter box.
4. Clean Up the Mess Completely
This one is really important to stop your cat from peeing outside the litter box: make sure to completely clean any locations of urination. For your own benefit as well as to prevent your cat from returning to the same location due to the scent, you should make sure the odor has been completely removed. To locate every trouble spot, all you need is a black light and your sense of smell. First, dab up as much of the new pee as you can with paper or cotton towels. Next, based on what has been contaminated and for older areas, choose the most effective cleaning technique:
- You can wash bedding, clothes, towels, and other items in the washer on the cold cycle, then hang them to dry outside.
- Floors and other hard surfaces: Use a pet stain and odor remover or a general household cleaning solution to give them a thorough washing.
- Rugs, carpets, beds, and upholstery should all be cleaned using an enzymatic or bacterial cleaner, such as Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats Oxy Cat Stain and Odor Remover. However, to ensure maximum efficacy, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
5. Tackle Territory Issues
Cats will occasionally spray to demarcate their area. Cats typically stand in front of a vertical surface and spray a small amount of urine on it when they spray. As a result, if you discover a splatter of urine on the wall, your cat is likely spraying rather than peeing. The cats that spray the most frequently are intact males. Prior to puberty, which occurs in cats at 5 or 6 months of age, neutering is preferable. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best time to neuter or spay your kitten.
Make your neutered cat feel more secure in his domain if he is spraying. It might be beneficial to give each cat their own dwelling space in a home with multiple cats. If this isn’t possible, consider getting some tall cat trees or perches and setting up covered escape routes and hiding spots so cats may easily avoid one another. Sometimes the neighborhood or feral cats outside your home are the cause of the territorial problem. Even just catching a glimpse of your indoor-only cat via the windows could cause problems.
Spraying cats may also benefit from over-the-counter anxiety-relieving medications like Vetoquinol Zylkene calming supplement or Feliway Classic. If everything else fails, your veterinarian may recommend fluoxetine or another anti-anxiety drug.
6. Provide more litter boxes
It’s time to examine your litter box closely if you’ve found that your cat is urinating inappropriately rather than spraying. What number do you have first? Frequently, one litter box is insufficient. One box per cat, plus one more, is the normal rule of thumb. Cats can be very choosy when it comes to using a box that already has urine or excrement in it, especially if it is not their own. Your cat is more likely to find a box that works for them if you have numerous litter boxes available.
7. Evaluate the Litter Box Location
Where can I find the litter boxes? You should have at least one on each floor of your home if it has numerous stories. Do you really want to run all the way downstairs to use the restroom if you were on the second story of your home? Your pet does not either. Additionally, cats might not bother to look for litter boxes if they are excessively hidden, such as inside cupboards or in a basement laundry room corner. Many issues can be resolved by making it easy for your cat to use the litter box.
Keep litter boxes away from unsettling areas, such as those close to washing machines and dryers, loud pipes, and other places where your cat can get scared. Try putting a litter box over the area where your cat continues going potty, then slowly transferring it to the location where you’re happy with having a litter box. Litter box placement and configuration can actually make a difference.
8. Find the Right Type of Litter Box
Although enclosed litter boxes help restrict the mess and smell and fit perfectly within your décor standards, your cat may not be a fan. Enclosed boxes can be awkward for cats to turn around in since they might be small, stinky, dark, and cramped. Stop your cat from peeing outside the litter box by finding an appropriate container.
Especially as cats get older, you should make sure the sides of your litter boxes are low enough for your cat to comfortably step over them. Large, wide, and with low sides—or at the very least, one low spot—the perfect litter box allows cats to enter readily. This alone can stop your can from peeing outside the litter box.
9. Use a Different Type of Litter
You might think that purchasing heavily scented cat litter is the best option, but cats frequently disagree. Because they have more sensitive noses than humans do, things that smell good to us may be overpowering to them. A cat may urinate outside the litter box if you abruptly switch to a different type of litter, since they too want to remain with what is familiar.
According to studies, odorless, clumping clay litter with activated charcoal is cats’ preferred form of litter overall. Make sure you have at least one box of the previous type of litter in the house if you wish to try a new type of litter, just in case. Don’t use the new litter if your cat rejects it.
10. Reduce Your Cat’s Stress
Cats are habit-forming animals. Any deviation from the norm will make people anxious, and anxiety has an impact on the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and others. Many situations that people wouldn’t find difficult can make cats anxious. For instance, when we choose to take a vacation, we eagerly anticipate it. Your cats may even be intelligent enough to associate your luggage with the fact that you left the house because they perceive your luggage as something altering their environment.
They might experience extreme stress as a result, which might force them to urinate inappropriately—on, in, or near the luggage. A similar stress response might be brought on by unexpected guests, house parties, moving and packing, new furnishings, or alterations to the layout of the home. Cats won’t use their litter boxes if there are loud noises coming from pipes, dryers, or even fireworks on special occasions, especially if the noises happen when the cat is using the box or is close to the box.
The easiest method to reduce stress is to have many conveniently accessible boxes filled with clean litter placed in peaceful, secure spots throughout the house. Possibly relocate your cat to a location where they cannot see the luggage if you need to pack for a trip, or pack in a room that is closed off. To keep the surroundings as stress-free as possible, employ cat calming aids like specially designed cat calming treats or cat pheromone diffusers. Talking with your veterinarian and taking your cat in for a checkup can also help you identify stressors, and in some circumstances, you can use medication to help reduce your cat’s anxiety. Reducing stress is one of the most effective ways at stopping your cat from peeing outside the litter box.