Pottying Outside the Litter Box

If you’ve had a cat, chances are you’ve struggled with this once or twice. Cats are more difficult to “read” than dogs and it’s not quite as easy to train them to tell you what they need. A common way for cats to act out is to pee out of the litter box, but depending on the cat, it can mean a variety of different things.

Note: the list below highlights some of the most common reasons kitty companions urinate outside the litter box, but if you notice a change in your cat’s behavior, we recommend a trip to the vet to make sure there are not hidden health issues going on.

Dirty litter box

Cats are very persnickety about hygiene and cleanliness (hence why they’re constantly cleaning themselves!) so a litter box that hasn’t been changed in a while is a sure fire way to make them seek alternative places to use the bathroom. They want to hide their waste and if they can’t do so inside the box, you’re likely to find unwanted gifts elsewhere. Note: unclean litter boxes can lead to health concerns as well. We recommend keeping litter boxes clean and tidy to stay safe.

Kitty cat stress

Stress from moves, new family members, new daily routines, diet changes, etc. can cause behavioral and health challenges in your feline companions. If you find they’re urinating outside the litter box, consider if any other parts of their daily lives have changed and you might find the culprit.

New furry siblings

If you’ve recently welcomed a new dog or cat into the house, you’re likely to notice changes in your cat’s behavior. They’re creatures of habit and a change to their family group and/or routine can cause stress. Remember, we recommend introducing new furry family members slowly and always suggest having more than one litter box if there’s more than one cat in your household.

New litter

Again, as creatures of habit, cats like what they like and they don’t always adjust well to change. If you find a litter your cat likes, try your best to stick to it. Changing litters, either new brands, or changing from crystals to other organic materials can cause stress and discomfort for your cats.

Health concerns

If the litter box is clean and there aren’t any obvious stressors, your cat might need medical attention. Health conditions like UTIs, bladder infections, cystitis, kidney disease, aging, diabetes, and thyroid problems can push cats to seek alternative places to urinate. We recommend seeking the advice of your vet if the reason for them missing the litter box is not immediately apparent.

While you’re trying to identify the reason your kitty cat is urinating outside the box, considering buying an enzyme-clearing cleaning product to clean areas they’ve peed and consider using an attractant spray to encourage them to begin using the litter box again. Your goal should be to make the litter box the most desirable place while removing traces of urine from all other areas of the house.

Kitties can be hard to figure out sometimes, but paying attention to changes in behavior and routine can make all the difference and we promise, they’re so worth it! 🙂

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