I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated and stressed I was every time I saw my cat peeing a lot outside the litter box. I couldn’t figure out if he was sick or doing it just to spite me. But more importantly, I didn’t know what I could do to stop it.
After taking my cat to the vet and verifying that he was physically fine, I had to figure out what else was going on. So, I did a deep dive on the Internet and was able to train it out of him.
Here’s what I found and what’s helped my cat stop peeing outside his litter box.
Why Is My Cat Peeing a Lot Outside the Litter Box?
Before I could train the behavior out of him, I first had to figure out why is my cat peeing a lot outside the litter box. I found that these are the most common problems.
1. Medical Problems
My first reaction was to take my cat to the vet to see if there’s something physically wrong with him. The first thing the doctor wanted to rule out was bladder stones, a UTI, cystitis, and whether it was a metabolic disease.
For a wide variety of environmental, dietary, and genetic reasons, some cats develop bladder stones. Once they do, the stones can cause blockage and irritate the cats so much that they pee outside the litter box.
What’s more, they might have crystals, which are usually a precursor for bladder stones. If the vet suspects the cat has bladder stones, they’ll do X-rays to see how big they are and how many there are.
If the stones are small, a change in diet, along with some antibiotics for the UTI that usually follows, can fix the problem. However, if the stones are bigger, the vet will have to take them out surgically.
Urinary Tract Infection
Now, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common with older cats, as their immune systems are usually weaker. Most often, they have bacteria that are causing an inflammatory response in their urinary tract.
If the vet determines that the cat has a UTI, they’ll prescribe a series of antibiotics and do some follow-up tests a couple of months later.
The most common metabolic diseases found in cats are kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, and thyroid issues. All of these conditions can cause cats to pee in inappropriate places or have an increased amount of urine.
The most common telltale signs that cats have a metabolic disease is if they start drinking more water than usual. Also, they might be peeing in the litter box (or out of it) more often than normal. If that’s the case, a vet has to do some blood tests before they can prescribe a treatment.
In simple terms, cystitis is a condition where the bladder is inflamed. When cats have it, they’ll also have microscopic traces of blood in its urine. So a vet has to do a series of tests, and if they rule out all of the previous conditions, chances are, it’s cystitis.
Usually, the vet will recommend dietary and environmental change. However, if the case is more serious, they might also prescribe some anti-anxiety and pain meds.
Cat Peeing a Lot Outside the Litter Box
2. Stress and Anxiety
One thing to know about cats is that they’re incredibly sensitive to even the slightest environmental changes. So when they start peeing outside of their litter box, they might be telling us that they’re stressed out or feeling anxious.
The most common thing that can upset cats is changing homes. When we move, our cats feel lost and out of place, so they lash out by peeing everywhere.
Also, if we introduce a new member to the household (animal or human), they might feel threatened. So regardless of who’s joining our home, we need to make sure our cats feel safe and secure.
3. Dirty litter box
Just like us, our cats don’t like doing their business in a dirty bathroom. In fact, cats are notoriously particular about which litter boxes they like. Basically, it’s pretty similar to Goldilocks and the three bears story.
For our cats to enjoy peeing in their litter boxes, they have to be just the right size, material and be the appropriate comfort levels. Now, there’s no right answer on how often we should be cleaning the litter boxes to make our cats happy.
However, I found that my cat hasn’t peed outside his litter box once I started changing the litter weekly. Also, each time I cleaned it, I used a mild soap and water. What’s more, now I take out his droppings every single day and wash the edge of his litter box.
4. Multiple Cats Are Using the Litter Box
All cats, except those who’ve lost their sense of smell, are pretty sensitive to scents from other cats. Also, if we have two cats and one cat is a bully while the other one is timid, usually, the latter will start peeing outside the litter box.
Most vets say this problem is easily resolved if we follow the golden rule: one box per cat, plus one. The idea is, if we give our cats a litter box of their own, with an extra one, they won’t feel compelled to pee outside of them.
5. The Wrong Type of Litter
As I mentioned before, cats are pretty particular about what kind of litter boxes they like. The same thing applies to the type of litter we use. If the litter has a specific scent or texture that our cats don’t enjoy, they simply won’t do their business on it.
One thing that has worked for my cat and I was using scent-free, non-clumping silicone litter. However, using this type of litter won’t work on all cats. In fact, some research suggests that cats know what they like when they’re just three weeks old.
So if the cat continues to pee outside the litter box, I recommend switching it up and trying different types of litter.
How Can I Stop My Cat Peeing a Lot Outside the Litter Box?
Here’s the million-dollar question: What can I do to put a stop to my cat peeing outside the litter box? Well, my advice is to try all different tactics, starting with a clean litter box. Also, we need to make sure that the box is easily accessible and that we have more than one lined up, just in case.
I would also suggest buying cat food that’s specifically made to improve urinary tract health. However, if the problem persists, we need to take our pets to the vet. If the cats have a medical condition, tackling it as soon as possible is vital.
There are countless reasons why our cats start avoiding the litter box and peeing on floors and carpets. But since every pet is unique, we need to figure out what’s bothering ours.
For some, they might hate having a dirty litter box, while other cats don’t like the new members of the household. Whatever it is, once you figure out why is your cat peeing a lot outside the litter box, you’ll be able to fix the problem in no time.