Why Does My Cat Pee Right Outside The Litter box?
Nothing beats cuddles with our feline friends, but we can all agree that a cat’s urine doesn’t smell great, right? If your cat is usually good at knowing where to do their business, there is likely a reason why they are now peeing outside of their litter box.
It does not come as a surprise that you are asking yourself; why is my cat peeing outside the litter box? when your house is beginning to smell a lot like cat pee. While a difficult question altogether, it is not one that is unanswerable.
Cats can go through periods of urinating inappropriately, but the good news is the problem can be resolved in the majority of circumstances.
What Causes My Cat to Pee Outside the Litter Box?
Cats are affectionate and adorable pets, while also being independent and low maintenance. According to research published by NCBI, 63% of pet cats in the United States live indoors. Indoor cats need a litter box, so they have somewhere to do their business.
Dealing with cat pee and poop in a litter box isn’t the most glamorous of tasks, but most of us cat owners will get the job done without too much drama. The real potty time problems start when your cat urinates somewhere else.
Cleaning cat pee from carpets or furniture is no easy task – we are speaking from experience, unfortunately. Cats’ pee has a strong and unpleasant smell that lingers on long after cleaned up, a lethal combination, but not one that is diagnosable.
Behavioural issues, medical problems, and a cat’s environment can all lead to peeing problems. Let’s take a closer look at all the possible reasons behind your cat’s inappropriate urination:
There are many behavioural reasons that could be linked to your cat’s unpleasant behavior. If there has been a change to your cat’s routine, this may be causing them to feel stressed or frustrated. Our cats can’t talk, but they can let us know something is up by changing their peeing habits.
Your cat may be able to smell a cat nearby and is peeing in different parts of the house to mark their territory. Urine marking is a normal feline behaviour, especially for unneutered male cats. If this is happening excessively, you may want to seek advice from a vet.
Introducing a new pet to the home can lead to your cat peeing in places they shouldn’t. Multiple cats should not be sharing one litter box. To keep your felines happy, each cat should have their own box.
Stress and anxiety are also common causes of litter box problems. Loud noises in the home can make your cat scared, as can shouting and punishments.
There are several health problems that can lead to your car peeing outside of their litter box. If it is a medical condition affecting your feline’s urination, there may be a simple treatment that will stop the problem.
The most common heath problems include:
Urinary tract infections – According to PetMD, common signs of a UTI in cats include: blood in the urine, straining, and the frequent urge to urinate but only passing a small amount of pee.
When there is bacteria in the urinary tract, this can lead to problems with a cat’s bladder and kidneys. Cats can associate their litter box with feelings of pain when they have a UTI.
Kidney disease – Cats of all ages can develop this condition, but it is more often associated with aging felines. If your older cat has started peeing in the wrong place, it is worth checking they don’t have any other symptoms of kidney disease.
Common signs of kidney disease include decreased appetite, increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and vomiting. This is a chronic condition, but a vet can provide treatment to slow down the progression and help your cat cope with the symptoms.
Crystalluria – If the pH of your cat’s urine is off, this can lead to crystalluria. This condition is caused by crystals forming in a cat’s pee, which can lead to bacterial overgrowth in the urinary tract and bladder.
Untreated crystalluria can cause bladder stones to form and can lead to your cat getting a urinary tract infection. In severe cases, bladder stones can cause a blockage – this is treated as a medical emergency.
Your cat may need surgery to remove the stones and relieve them of their painful symptoms.
Degenerative joint disease – Arthritis can make it difficult for cats to comfortably use their litter boxes. If your cat can’t easily step into their litter box without pain, they may avoid it altogether.
If you have been questioning why my cat pee right outside the litter box, the answer may be as simple as this – it hurts too much for them to get into it.
If your cat is suffering from a degenerative joint disease, find a box that is low to the ground and easy for them to step into.
Uncleaned Litter Box
Would you want to pee in a dirty toilet? No? The same is true for your cat. Felines are clean creatures and do not want to go on dirty litter.
If you are not regularly putting fresh litter in their box, your cat is going to find somewhere more pleasant to pee, and this place might be your bed.
Type of Litter
A cat likes what they like and if they are not a fan of the litter you have chosen, they’re not going to pee on it. There are several different types of litter and it is important that you find out which one your cat prefers.
If your cat pees on the couch when there is clay litter in their box, try switching to a silica gel, unscented litter instead. The litter you are using may be the root cause of your cat’s pee problems. If so, this can be solved with a little trial and error.
Old Urine Smells
Cats have a strong sense of smell, and the smell of old urine is disgusting. If we humans think it smells bad, imagine what our cats must think.
Ways to Reduce Litter Box Smell
If your cat is avoiding their litter box because it is dirty and smells, the easiest solution to this problem is to clean it.
Here are our top tips for reducing litter box smell:
#1. Maintain regular litter box cleaning
How frequently should cat litter be cleaned? Poop should be scooped out of a cat’s litter box at least once a day. The box will need to be emptied completely once a week and refilled with clean litter.
Don’t use bleach to clean the litter box. Cats can find strong chemical smells off-putting, and although their box will be clean, they may still refuse to use it.
#2. Baking Soda or Any Deodorizer
Adding baking soda or another all-natural deodorizer to your cat’s litter can help to reduce the smell of urine.
The baking soda will absorb the pee, while also neutralizing the smell.
#3. Choose an open area
Keeping litter boxes in an open space is a much better idea than using the closet as your cat’s own personal bathroom.
#4. Charcoal Filter
Covered boxes are a great choice for several reasons, including the opportunity to use charcoal filters. Placing one of these filters near the door, under the hood, or over any vents in the box will help to eliminate bad odours.
#5. Purchase the right litter box
There are many different litter boxes to choose from. World Animal Foundation highly recommends automatic cat litter boxes. There are also litter boxes with doors, lids, or self-cleaning options.
As we said earlier, don’t try and hide the litter box in a confined space. Instead, put it in a well-ventilated area, this will stop the odour from becoming concentrated and more disgusting than it needs to be.
#7. Replace the Boxes
Your cat’s litter box won’t last forever, and you should aim to replace it annually.
#8. Air Purifiers For Cat Litter Smell
If you want a quick solution to removing litter odour, an air purifier can help. HEPA filters in an air purifier are often thought to be the best for removing cat urine smells.
If your cat is peeing in places they shouldn’t, we hope you now have a better idea of why this may be happening. Your cat is a clean creature and won’t want to pee in a dirty litter box.
Health issues can also cause your cat to pee outside of their litter box. We advise you to take your cat to the vet if this problem keeps happening.
Remember, there is no point shouting at your cat for peeing on the floor. Stress and anxiety can make the issue worse. Instead, try and find the root cause of your cat’s litter box problem.