It is known to be one of the main reasons cat end up on shelters or worse, killed, simply because they didn’t eliminate in the desired spot. Let’s see if we can solve the problem of your cat peeing or eliminating outside the litter box.
Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box
There are logical and less logical explanations as to why cats choose to pee or eliminate on other places. I understand you can sometimes feel like killing your cat for peeing AGAIN on that sofa, box, chair, computer monitor, door and so on and so on.
We have a boy named Tiger. He refuses to go on the litter box, so he goes outside to do his business. Whenever we accidentally leave him inside, he pees on something. If he is annoyed he also pees on something.
In the past he has peed three computer monitors down and they all ended up on the dump, because the electronics got fried. Some people would by that time have eliminated the cat, but we haven’t. Instead we choose to leave him outside when we aren’t home.
There are however three common causes that should be eliminated first as options before going for more dramatic measures.
3 Common Causes:
- Health issues
- Dirty cat litter box
Perhaps not something you thought about straight away, but a health issue can cause outside the box elimination. It is a good idea to always make sure that you know whether there is nothing underlying on the health side of the story.
A bladder infection for example, will quickly cause your cat to eliminate outside the litter box. There is this constant feeling of having to go, but when your cat is on the box, nothing happens. Than when they go back to their sleeping place, suddenly they need to go again and now they won’t make it to the litter box anymore.
Note that a bladder infection and many other illnesses can be detected using a special monitor litter on top of your litter. But generally your cat has common signs you can recognize to know if they have an illness or not.
Arthritis & other problems
The same goes for arthritis for example, causing pain by the posture required for elimination and it also is a fact that if there are stool problems, this will affect your cat. So check with your vet if you suspect an underlying illness.
Stress in cats is caused by both in and outside factors. Health can cause stress in your cat too. When your cat is experiencing a lot of stress, he/she will also could have more problems with elimination. Stress can also cause your cat to become extremely territorial about their environment, marking their pheromones scent to all your furniture and walls.
Cats can experience stress from:
- When outside going cat – other cats in neighbourhood
- Changes in your house, be that another cat or general changes, more people etc.
- Closed vs open air litter box
- A not clean litter box
Other cats can be easily a stress factor for your cat. Unlike dogs, cats are not pack or flock animals. They are very territorial about their own piece of territory. Apart from those that live together, it is usually another dominant male or female that isn’t all that welcome. Both start to leave scents in places and fights easily happen.
Perhaps you can sometimes leave your cat inside or protect your cat from harm by the use of a Catio.
Changes in your house
It can be changes in the design of the house, such as new smells (new furniture and carpets), it can also be new people in the house. We notice this a lot with different visitors. If you manage to eliminate the stress of your cat, you might find an improvement in your cat’s behavior.
For inside cat stress there is a special pheromone spray that you can install in your house. The calming pheromone takes the stress out of your cat. It has been proven to solve behavioral problems in cats both inside and outside and it can help in those moments that changes in your house cannot be made undone.
Closed vs Open Air Litter Box
Some cats do not like a closed claustrophobic container to do their business in. If you remove the top cap that they come with, perhaps your cat will use it again. The same goes for other contraptions, such as cat flaps in to enter their litter box. Some get scared or hurt by the flap when they enter or leave the litter box and rather do it somewhere else.
It is important to choose the right type of litter box for your cat(s).
A not Clean Litter Box
There are many reasons to keep your litter box clean. For one, you can cause extra stress to your cat if he has to eliminate in a litter box full of eliminations. For another, a dirty litter box is a smelly one in your household. Perhaps you got used to the smell, but a visitor might not be.
Some cats do prefer an absolutely spotless clean litter box, while others just don’t want to dig between too many clumps all the time. If you keep your cat inside, than litter box cleaning is a daily task and a responsibility for having a cat in your house.
Scoop your cats feces and urine clumps (if clumping litter) once to twice a day. Completely properly clean your cat litter box at least once a month.
Dirty Cat Litter Box
According to many other sites, cats hate stinky and dirty litter boxes. I do believe they have a need to have a regularly cleaned box, but I don’t believe it needs to be spotless either all the time. Cats have a special scent and pheromone in their urine and feces that tells them and others that this is their property and their place to eliminate.
This is then also the reason why they return to the same spot elsewhere in your house, such as the corner of your room, if you do not properly clean cat urine from surfaces.
But all cats are different I guess and some might want it cleaner than others. I cannot really speak for another person, since we got more than two cats at home.
There is however one more thing you can do to solve the problem of elimination outside the litter box.
Place additional cat litter boxes
As a rule of thumb, you need one more litter box than the amount of cats you got. So when you got only one cat, you should place two litter boxes. By three cats you need four litter boxes in your house.
Unfortunately, by having 5-7 cats in our small household, placing 8 litter boxes is out of the question. So there is a limit to that rule of thumb in our eyes. But our cats do go outside, so that solves a part of that problem. Not all our cats go outside, because some of them are of the RSPCA.
All litter boxes should be cleaned properly. You need to clean your cat litter boxes by daily scooping for their feces and urine (only possible with clumping litter) and by monthly totally cleaning the box with warm water and soap and some chlorine mixture.
Some cats do not like smaller litter boxes, they need space to move around in. That’s why we have one huge toilet, the size of an IKEA storage container. In it goes at least 12kg of litter.
The litter gets changed about once every month. It gets daily scooped for clumps of feces and urine. Every 1-2 months we also clean the box where the IKEA container is held in.
With that we have answered to the most common reasons for why your cat is peeing outside the litter box.
Did you have a cat peeing outside the litter box? What was the cause of that and how did you solve the problem? Please share below.