Last Updated: 1 week ago

Discovering your beloved feline companion’s urine outside the litter box can be frustrating and puzzling.

This common behavior problem can stem from various factors, including medical issues, stress, territorial marking, or dissatisfaction with the litter box itself.

In this article, we delve into the reasons behind this behavior and provide valuable insights and practical tips to help you address and resolve this issue, ensuring a harmonious environment for both you and your furry friend.

Cat Peeing Outside Litter Box: Behavior Explained

Cat Peeing Outside Litter Box? 12 Most Common Reasons Why

For a cat owner, inappropriate urination is one of the most common problems. Cat peeing outside litter box is one of the most common questions I hear from kitty parents.

And it’s a serious one because cats can get used to peeing or pooping on other surfaces. Moreover, no one wants their house to smell cat urine or feces.

So, why do cats pee outside the litter box? Usually, cats avoid their toilet box due to behavioral issues, medical conditions, or stress.

Let’s talk about what to do if the cat pees outside the litter box and the reasons in detail.

#1 Medical Issue

Why is my cat suddenly peeping outside the litter box?

Whenever you notice any sudden changes in your cat’s bathroom habits, it’s a red flag that something is wrong.

If elimination is associated with pain or discomfort, the cat may begin to eliminate outside the box.

Many medical conditions can make it painful for your cat to use the toilet box:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bladder stones
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Idiopathic cystitis
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid diseases

#2 Dirty Litter Box

cat checking litter box

Cats are clean animals who hate the smell of dirty litter boxes. And many cats refuse to use boxes full of cat waste because they don’t want to dirty their paws. 

So, if you’re not keeping the litter box clean by scooping it every day, it’s no wonder you’re dealing with inappropriate elimination.

#3 Wrong Litter Box Location

Think about where you keep the toilet box!

Cats need to feel safe using the bathroom, so placing the toilet box near a loud machine can stress your feline friend and make them avoid the toilet box.

Many cats also won’t go looking for their toilet if you place it in a remote area or if another cat is blocking the access. They also don’t like when it’s close to the water and food bowls.

#4 Not Enough Litter Boxes

cat sitting on one litter box

Cats don’t have the habit of waiting in line to use the bathroom, so you need to have one box per cat plus one extra for multiple cats. 

Also, some cats don’t like to pee in the same box they poop, so they find another suitable location to do their business. 

#5 Wrong Litter Type

A cat peeing outside litter box can also mean that your feline friend doesn’t like the litter you’re using.

Some cats have a texture preference, so they won’t use crystals or pellets. And some felines hate the smell of scented cat litter. 

Some felines won’t use the box if you haven’t poured enough litter to satisfy your cat’s digging preferences. 

#6 Litter Box Size

girl measuring something

As specialists recommend, the litter box should be 1 1/2 times your cat’s length.

Otherwise, your furry friend won’t have enough space to turn and bury its waste.

#7 Too Many Cats

The transition from solitary living to living with others (rather than the number of others) appears to be one of the main risk factors for urinary house soiling by many cats.

That’s because it’s easy for one cat to bully the others in multi-cat households and chase them away from the toilet box area. 

Moreover, some cats get stressed when living with multiple felines, resulting in urine marking, peeing all over the house, or cats pooping outside the litter box to mark territory. 

#8 Stress

Cat stress can be caused by many issues. It's important to know these signs a cat is stressed so you can treat it quickly & effectively.

Changes in routine, introducing new family members, and getting another cat – all these things can stress a cat and lead to inappropriate elimination. 

#9 Surface Preference

Some cats develop a surface preference, so they always urinate on a particular texture, such as carpets, floors, beddings, or slippers. 

#10 Bad Litter Box Accossiations

a cat being startled

Sometimes cats stop using their toilet box because they have a negative experience with them.

For example, a loud noise that startles them, a punishment, or another pet ambushes them. 

#11 Your Kitten Is Still Learning

Kittens need a bit of time to learn where they’re supposed to pee/poop, and they can’t hold it very long, so accidents are common. 

#12 Your Cat Is Old

adult cat sick and trembling

Cats with mobility problems can’t climb inside a regular high-side toilet box, so they pee near it.

Some seniors cats also have dementia, so they forget where the toilet is. 

How To Stop Cat From Peeing Outside Litter Box?

So, your cat is frequently urinating on the carpet, inside your slippers, or in your flower pots.

There’s no reason to despair with these 8 tips on what to do if a cat pees outside the litter box.

#1 Consult with a Vet

a vet petting a cat

First, take your cat to the vet to rule out an underlying medical condition.

Your vet will do blood tests and collect a urine sample to ensure your cat doesn’t have a bacterial infection or kidney problems.  

#2 Add More Litter Boxes/ Try Different Sizes

Get several boxes of different sizes and place them around the house. Doing it this way means your cat will have a clean bathroom, even if you forget the daily scooping.

#3 Change the Type of Litter

coconut husk made cat litter

If you’re using scented brands, switch to unscented litter. Provide several boxes with different types of substrate and watch which one your cat uses the most. 

#4 Change Location

Place the litter box in a low-traffic area with no loud noises or intruders. For multiple cats, spread the boxes throughout the house. 

#5 Manage Conflicts

How to Introduce Cats: 5 Things You Must Consider

Reducing conflicts in a multi-cat household is essential for preventing litter box issues.

Talk to your vet about using pheromones to calm down your cat, and always introduce new cats slowly.

#6 Use Enzymatic Cleanser

When your cat pees outside the box, clean the mess with an enzymatic cleaner to remove the urine odor completely. Otherwise, the cat will keep coming back to the original location. 

#7 Scoop, Scoop, Scoop

cleaning a cat litter

You need to remove the cat waste from the toilet box on a daily basis to promote good litter box habits.

Consider a self-cleaning cat toilet box if you’re away for too long and can’t scoop. 

#8 Don’t Punish

Never scold or hit your cat for not using their toilet box. Also, don’t push or rub your cat’s nose in the mess. 

Conclusion

Cats have many ways to ask for help when in distress, but peeping outside the box is the most likely to attract the attention of pet owners. 

So, if peeing outside the toilet box is a frequent event, you should have your family vet examine the cat to rule out a disease.

And even if your cat is healthy, you shouldn’t let this behavior continue because your cat may get used to urinating on soft surfaces and never go back to its toilet box.

What do you think about these 12 reasons why cats pee outside the litter box? Have you ever had to deal with this unwanted behavior? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Resources:

How To Stop Cat From Peeing Outside the Litter Box
Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.