Basically, your cat peeing outside the box can be caused by four main reasons:
- An underlying medical condition leading to painful and more frequent peeing;
- Problems with the litter or the litter box;
- Stress or anxiety that has disrupted your cat’s routine and sense of safety; and
- Behavioral issues or a habit from not cleaning up pee stains properly.
Peeing Everywhere Means Take Your Cat to the Vet
If your cat is peeing everywhere, it’s time for a visit to the vet. This behavior isn’t normal, and kitty is signaling that something is wrong. Cats are great at disguising tremendous pain from humans, but peeing outside the box is definitely something you will notice and take action on.
Your veterinarian will help you unravel the mystery of why your cat is peeing everywhere. The vet will likely check your cat for a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, kidney issues, diabetes, or a few other possible causes. Only a veterinarian can diagnose whether there’s an underlying medical reason, so if you see your cat peeing outside the box, get out the cat carrier and bring her in.
The good news: if it is a medical cause, medications and sometimes dietary changes can get kitty feeling better soon. And most of the time, once the underlying condition is treated, cats resume their normal litter-trained habits.
If all of the medical tests come back clear, the pee problem may be behavioral or psychological.
Litter or the Litter Box May Be Lead to Peeing Outside the Box
The least worrisome reason why a cat may be peeing outside the litter box is a fault with the litter or the box itself. Something may have happened that makes the box unappealing to your kitty, and they don’t want to use it. Consider:
- Is the litter box in need of scooping or a complete change? Cats do not like using a dirty box and may choose to go elsewhere.
- Did you change the type of litter you were using? Some cats are flexible but others have definite preferences for texture or scent.
- Can your cat reach the litter box? Did something obstruct it, or is your cat no longer able to easily jump through the opening due to age or weight gain?
- Did you change the location of the litter box? Kitty may not like where it now is.
- Did something happen in or near the litter box that spooked your cat? Consider if something fell, they were ambushed by another animal, or there was a loud, unexpected noise while they were in it. Your cat may associate the litter box with a lack of safety and privacy now and not want to use it.
A first attempt at solving a cat peeing outside of the litter box problem is to address any of these issues. Empty and clean out the litter box and refill with a litter your cat prefers. ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ Litter is used by millions of cat parents and minimizes the smell of cat urine and feces, making the box more pleasant for you and kitty.
If you did move the litter box or think your cat may be uncomfortable with its location, try moving it or placing a second litter box someplace else and see if your cat uses it. If kitty isn’t feeling well or has gotten older, a long trek to the box may discourage them from making the trip. Try putting the litter box closer to their favorite hang-out spots.
Stressed Out or Anxious Cats May Pee Everywhere
A cat who is anxious, nervous, or stressed may pee outside the box. This isn’t “revenge-peeing” or holding a grudge – though many humans blame passive-aggressive kitties.
A distressed cat can forget routines or legitimately have difficulty with bladder control. They also may not feel comfortable using the box due to whatever is stressing them out. Some factors to consider:
- Did you get a new pet, lose a pet, or foster some kittens? Did you have a baby or adopt a child? Your cat may feel uncomfortable and as if their territory has been invaded. New pets and children also make loud and unexpected noises, which no cat is a fan of. Repeated loud noises and erratic behavior can create underlying kitty stress that leads to peeing outside the box.
- Did you have a change in routine? A new work schedule or visitors to the home, an illness or injury? What about home renovations or a new appliance installation? Cats get nervous about changes to their home structure and may respond by inappropriate urination until they feel safe again.
Your veterinarian can help if you have a stressed-out kitty, with advice and behavioral modifications or perhaps with medication. If you can identify the likely cause and it’s something that won’t continue (such as a home renovation or houseguests), you can re-establish routine and see if the behavior clears up on its own once things are back to normal.
Inappropriate Cat Peeing and Separation Anxiety
If your cat is peeing on your bed, pillows, or clothes, especially while you are gone, it might be a symptom of separation anxiety. Talk with your veterinarian or a cat behavioral specialist about ways you can help your kitty feel more secure. Medication, changes in playtime with your cat, getting her a companion, or other tactics may help.
Also, make sure whoever is taking care of your cat while you are gone keeps up certain routines and maintains a clean litter box. As above, these changes in schedule and environment may exacerbate stress and peeing outside the litter box.
Most cats resume normal litter box usage once the underlying stressors causing anxiety are under control. If you’re still having trouble, talk with your veterinarian.
Clean Up All Urine Accidents Properly to Discourage Peeing Outside the Box
Between your care as a cat parent and the help of your veterinarian, you’ll have your kitty on the mend and back in the litter box soon. And one more thing: make sure you clean up any urine outside of the litter box completely, so that your cat doesn’t return to that area to pee again. This is very important for re-training them to use the litter box and not picking up new (and unwanted) habits. Try ARM & HAMMER™ Pet Stain and Odor Eliminator Plus OxiClean™ to neutralize the urine smell and remove stains.
May your kitty feel better soon!