Why Is My Cat Suddenly Peeing Outside Litter Box?

What You Need to Know About Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box

The reasons for cat peeing outside litter box range from dislike of the particular cat litter type to medical problems. Here is a closer look at the common causes of inappropriate elimination in cats:

  • Stressors: Some cats may stop using the litter box because they are stressed. Anxiety can be caused by changes in the cat’s environment, having a new cat in the house, etc. Basically, all environmental changes can trigger house soiling.
  • Behavioral Issues: Male cats often urinate outside the litter box in an attempt to mark the territory. Usually, they spray urine on vertical surfaces. This is more likely to happen in multi-cat households.
  • Litter Box Problems: Inappropriate urination is often the result of problems with the litter box. This can include:
    – A dirty litter box that is not regularly cleaned and is too smelly
    – If a large number of cat uses the same box, such as in multi-cat households
    – Inadequate litter box location or litter box size (if it is too small or too big)
    – Using a new litter type the cat dislikes (because of its texture or scent)
  • Health Problems: Many medical issues can cause the cat peeing outside litter box scenario. Such medical problems include:
    – Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): can make it impossible for the cat to reach the cat’s litter box as the peeing urge is too strong.
    – Osteoarthritis: can also make older cats unable to use the litter box, especially if it has an elevated entrance and high sides.
    – Endocrine Conditions: such as hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) and diabetes increase the cat’s thirst, which causes more frequent urination.
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What Can I Do to Stop My Cat from Peeing Outside the Litter Box?

What You Need to Know About Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box

There are several ways of managing a cat peeing outside a litter box. The exact approach depends on the underlying cause of the problems. In general, here are some helpful tips for cat owners:

  • Monitor Behavior: If the cause of your cat peeing outside litter box is behavioral issues, you need to monitor its behavior. It is a good idea to place cameras in strategic locations around the house to discover potential cat behavior problems.
  • Get More Litter Boxes: If you have multiple cats, one may be preventing the other from getting access. So it’s important to rule out that possibility with another cat and make sure that all cats have their own litter boxes. Provide plenty of them (one per cat).
  • Keep the Litter Box Clean: Keep the cat litter box clean by scooping it at least once a day. Ensure to thoroughly clean urine spots left by your cat with a product designed specifically for cleaning pet stains. You can also use enzymatic cleaners to remove cat urine from outside the litter box and cat litter fresheners.
  • Change the Cat Litter Type: Consider changing brands of cat litter because many cats don’t like how certain litters feel on their paws. For example, if you were using non-clumping litter, try a clumping formula for a change.
  • Change the Cat Litter Box Location: It is also helpful to change the location of the litter box and see if a different one works better for your cat. This is because some cats do not like to do their business in high-traffic areas where they do not feel safe.
  • Talk to Your Vet: Finally, if there is a medical reason behind your cat peeing outside litter box, you need to talk to the vet. With a medical condition being the cause, the course of action will be different compared to other causes.

When Should You See the Vet for Your Cat Peeing Outside the Box?

What You Need to Know About Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box

If you notice a sudden change in your cat’s litter box habits, it is important to contact your vet. In general, calling the vet can wait until you try some of the above-explained tips. However, if there are additional changes in the cat health and behavior, you should schedule an urgent vet visit.

The vet will perform a full physical examination. Then, they will order diagnostic tests like urinalysis, bloodwork, abdominal radiographs, and ultrasound. If there is a health issue behind the problem, it is necessary to make a proper treatment plan.

The vet and pet owner will work together to determine and carry out the treatment plan.

How do Vets Treat Cats Peeing Outside the Litterbox?

There is no unique treatment for a cat peeing outside litter box. The treatment depends on what causes the inappropriate urination.

Some medical causes of house soiling can be treated with antibiotics. For example, if the diagnosis is idiopathic cystitis, the veterinarian will prescribe a long course of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Other issues, like bladder stones, require a surgical procedure. Metabolic conditions, endocrine issues, and kidney disease require a more systematic approach – a combination of medications, supplements, and dietary changes.