How to stop your cat peeing outside the litter box. A helpful and useful guide.
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How to stop your cat peeing outside the litter box
When your cat won’t accept to pee in the litter box, it becomes frustrating. This is because he will soil your house, especially furniture and carpet. Cats pee outside the litter box may be due to medical or behavioral issues. You will, however, need to monitor your cat thoroughly to determine the cause of the behavior. In this article, we are going to look at how to stop your cat peeing outside the litter box as well as the reasons why cats do so.
Why do cats pee outside the litter box?
Your cat may develop the habit of peeing outside the litter box for various reasons. Some of these reasons may be as a result of underlying medical issues. Some of these medical concerns include:
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Like humans, cats may also contract urinary tract infections. The only difference with UTIs in cats can actually be deadly, especially in male cats. As much as this infection can affect any cat, female and older cats are at a higher risk. On the other hand, young cats will rarely contract a urinary tract infection and when they do it might be an indication of an underlying disease.
UTIs in male cats are serious and require immediate medical attention because they may lead to urethra blockage. At this point, it is important to understand the anatomy of your cat. A male cat has a narrower urethra compared to that of the female cat. Should your cat’s PH get higher than normal, or even get lower, they can form crystals in the urethra. This will definitely block his urethra, which can be life-threatening.
Some of the symptoms of a UTI infection include the following:
- The need to pee more often than usual
- Abnormal drinking patterns
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Your cat might experience loss of appetite
- Depending on the extent of the infection, your cat may also have blood in the urine.
Treatment and Prevention of UTI in cats
Since we now understand that UTIs can be life-threatening, we need to prevent and treat underlying infections. This will require you to visit the vet once you observe the above symptoms in your cat. The vet will be able to conduct several tests to determine the presence of bacteria in your cat’s urine.
Once diagnosed with the infection, your vet is going to recommend antibiotic therapy. This will eliminate the infection as well as other measures.
You should also make sure that the litter box is clean at all times. In the case where your cat had a blockage, he is going to require specialized treatment and sometimes surgery. It is also important to note that increased stress or anxiety is also likely to cause UTI in cats. Thus, it is important to pet, play and exercise your cat to get rid of stress.
If your cat is peeing outside the litter box, you may consider also consider placing multiple litter boxes so as he can remember to use them at his convenience. Cats that develop a Urinary Tract Infection are likely to have a reoccurrence of the same in the future. This means that you will have to keep monitoring your cat for symptoms in order to catch the infection early.
Crystalluria is the formation of crystals in the urine. This condition may be accompanied by a urinary tract infection and sometimes not. Usually, crystals are formed in your cat’s urine following a change in PH. High or too low PH could lead to the formation of crystals in the urine, which are usually microscopic. Although the exact cause of this problem is unknown, UTIs are a major concern. Your cat’s diet may also lead to crystalluria.
Some of the signs and symptoms of crystalluria may include;
- irregular urine patterns
- your cat may find it hard to pass urine
- Frequent urination
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Your cat may also drink more water than usual
- Enlarged belly
- Excessive vocalization
Prevention and treatment
As mentioned above, the exact cause of crystalluria is not known, hence need to seek medical attention. In the case your cat’s urethra is blocked, your vet is going to provide medication to dissolve the crystals. To prevent the condition, it is advisable to provide your cat with clean drinking water at all times.
In addition, you may consider incorporating your cat’s diet with wet food more often. You should also encourage your cat to pee more often. This is achieved by placing multiple litter boxes strategically in your house. This way, your cat will urinate whenever convenient.
Once again, medication will vary based on the extent of the illness. Most cats will not need surgery when the infection is caught and treated early.
Bladder stones is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. It causes your cat irritation and blockage in the advanced stage. Usually, this condition is preceded by crystals formation in your cat’s urine.
The vet will be able to recommend the correct form of treatment based on the X-ray results. An X-ray will enable the vet to determine the size and number of stones. The vet will then recommend medication to dissolve small crystals while large crystals will require surgery.
The vet may also prescribe antibiotics to follow up with possible infections.
This is the technical term for bladder inflammation. Usually, your cat will pass bloody urine if it has this condition. The cause of this illness of the urinary tract is not known, amid theories associating it with low water and fluids intake.
Some of the symptoms of idiopathic cystitis in cats include frequent urination and need to drink more water than usual. Your cat will also pee outside the litter box and show signs of restlessness. Cats with idiopathic cystitis will also tend to vocalize more when urinating. This is due to the irritation of the urethra. In some circumstances, your cat may also appear to lick his genitals.
Your vet will conduct a urine test to determine if your cat has the condition. Thereafter, he/she will be able to advise on the correct form of treatment.
Now that we have looked at some of the medical reasons why your dog might be peeing outside the litter box, let us discuss the behavioral vices associated with the behavior;
- Stress and anxiety
Cats are probably the most sensitive pets we have to keep. They get stressed pretty quickly and as well as anxious. For this reason, your cat will develop undesirable behaviors in order to deal with stress. One of these behaviors is peeing outside the litter box.
There are several situations that will cause stress in your cat, as said, they are quite sensitive. Some of the factors that may contribute to stress in cats may include;
Moving to a new place
Well, we all have the need to move from one residence to another because of various reasons. It could be that you are changing jobs, or simply moving to a new city to start over. However, when we do so, we bring our cats along with us since we cannot leave them behind.
As much as you may have difficulty in adapting to your new neighborhood, it is likely that your cat is struggling the most.
Unlike humans, cats do not just accept and move on! Your cat is going to stress about the new place, and also miss his old home. And since he is not familiar with the surroundings, he will only spend days at home.
New family members
Cat owners know how much cats love attention, and he will do anything to get it. The introduction of a new family member to your home is not going to be easy when you have a cat. As mentioned above, cats have trouble adjusting to new environments or even conditions.
Not only is it going to be just new people but also new pets. Basically, your cat is going to have a reaction afterward. This is as a result of the anxiety and stress imposed on him. It is therefore important to make sure that your dog is not stressing or over-anxious. You can do this by introducing your cat to several people and teach him to be around new people.
However, the newcomer should let your cat be around them only when the cat wants. This means that they should not pet him when he is clearly resisting eventually, he is going to adapt to the newcomer.
This is closely related to the first and second point in that cats find it hard to adapt to changes. Throwing a party every now and then is going to stress your cat as he finds it disturbing. This includes random and frequent doorbell ringing, fireworks or loud music.
Cats in new homes
Cat owners who recently got a new cat or kitten should expect stress and pee outside the litter box in these cats. However, this should not be a problem since he will adapt. You should make it as easy as possible to fit into your household.
You will be able to do this through initiating play and exercise for your cat. This way, he is going to feel heard and thus sort his emotional needs.
Location of the litter box
This is an important factor to consider if you observe your cat peeing outside the litter box. You should always make sure that you have multiple litter boxes around the house. This way, your cat will have access to one of them when he urgently needs to.
Otherwise, placing only one litter box in a specific place or changing the position of the litter box will inconvenience the cat. It is important to remember that even as much as cats are part of our family, they are also animals with wild instincts. This means that your cat will pee whenever he has the urge to. It is impossible for him to start looking for the litter box whenever he needs to pass urine.
It is therefore important to place the litter boxes strategically in your house. This will depend on where your cat loves to spend more time.
Unclean Litter Box
If your cat’s litter boxes are always dirty, there is a chance that your cat will refuse to use it. This will make your cat pee outside the litter box and maybe on your carpet. For this reason, it is therefore important to empty the litter box as often as possible. This will encourage your cat to use it more often.
Limited litter boxes
It is important to make it as convenient as possible for your cat to pee. You can do this by providing multiple choices of the litter boxes to use. However, you do not just place litter boxes around the house, rather you should place the litter boxes strategically. This might be based on your cat’s behavior. For instance, you may put several litter boxes around the rooms where your cat likes to relax.
The type of litter used in the box
The first lesson every cat owners have to learn is the appropriate type of litter to use. To be specific, this will depend on your cat’s preference as it can vary. However, there are universal preferences for most cats which is:
Fine particles – most cats prefer litter composed of soft and fine particles. For instance, sand is good for your cat’s litter because he will be able to cover his waste. In other words, it is natural for cats to want to cover their waste after releasing themselves.
Odor-free litter is also preferable than scented litter. This is because your cat’s sense of smell is quite strong compared to yours.
As much as we want our cats to be comfortable, we also prefer several factors when choosing the correct type of litter to use. Luckily, there are multiple choices of cat litter in the stores today based on your preference.
You should always make sure that your cat is comfortable with the type of litter you choose for him.
Ways to stop your cat peeing outside the litter box
This should be the first thing to do if you notice your cat peeing outside the litter box. This will help you rule out any medical conditions that may be causing this behavior In the event your cat has an infection, the vet will be able to advise on the best approach to treat it.
Your vet will also be able to provide preventative measures to your cat. This will prevent future occurrences of the infection. In the event that your cat is clean and healthy, you should focus on the behavioral patterns of your cat.
Any illnesses that involve your cat’s urinary tract should be addressed immediately. This will prevent any serious infections that could be life-threatening to your cat.
Keep the litter box clean
Cleaning the litter boxes as often as possible is a great way to stop your cat from peeing outside the litter box. Cats are quite sensitive and will refuse to use the litter box if it is dirty. Not that your cat can be able to pick smell that you are not capable of picking. For this reason, you should always make sure that you check the boxes often.
Alternatively, you can also be able to purchase litter that is capable of absorbing pee. Not only will this encourage your cat to use the litter box but also it will keep your house free of cat pee. You should make sure you clean the litter box prior to leaving your home.
Multiple litter boxes
You will need to keep reminding your cat to pee. You can be able to do this by placing several litter boxes in the house for his convenience. It is unlikely that your cat will pee outside the litter box when he can see it nearby.
For instance, if your cat likes to spend time in the living room, you can place the litter boxes strategically in places he can easily access. This means that whenever your cat has the need to pee, he will always find it easy to use the box.
Praise your cat
This is especially an important aspect when it comes to new cats that are still learning. If you praise your cat after successfully using the litter box, he is going to do it more often. As mentioned multiple times, your cat is sensitive, not only to smells but also to affection and emotions.
Whenever you reward or praise your cat upon using the litter box, you will be encouraging him to do it more often. He will feel the affection you express whenever he does it.
Your cat may be peeing outside the litter box for a number of reasons. It is important to check with your vet before starting on any remedies. This way, you will be able to tell the cause of the behavior and cure it. If your vet diagnosis your cat with an infection, he will be able to treat and prevent future recurrence.
However, it is our duty to protect your cat from potential harm that may come with peeing outside the litter box. This means that maintaining cleanliness and getting the correct type of litter for your cat. Placing several litter boxes is also helpful in curbing this behavior and lastly making sure that the carpets are clean as well as furniture. This way, you will comfortably be able to keep a healthy and happy cat without peeing problems.