How to Stop Your Cat From Peeing Outside their Litter Box

One of the benefits of owning a cat, compared to a dog or other types of pets, is that cats can largely handle their waste on their own with access to a litter box. This makes it easy to keep your cats indoors without any worry about accidents taking place in your home.

Yet even with a litter box available to your cat, it’s possible that cat owners will find urine spots and other waste on the floors of their homes. In some cases, these accidents may seem to develop out of nowhere, even with cats that have proven themselves to be potty-trained and capable of using their litter box.

If you’re dealing with a cat that’s not using the litter box, you’re probably high on stress and short on patience. Fortunately, there are usually clear reasons why your cat stopped using the litter box—and by addressing these issues, you can hopefully get your cat back on track with regularly using its litter box.

Why Is My Cat Peeing Everywhere?

Exactly why do cats pee outside the litter box? It typically has to do with either a medical issue or a behavioral one. Typically, the cause of a cat peeing outside the litter box falls under one of the following:

  • Bladder stones. These blockages can make it difficult to urinate on command and could cause your cat to pee at times when even your cat would prefer not to release its waste. If your cat keeps peeing on your bed or another location where the cat likes to relax, for example, this could be a sign of bladder stones.
  • Cystitis. Bladder inflammation is a very common condition in cats, and its cause is unknown. A vet appointment is needed to diagnose this condition.
  • A dirty litter box. Cats are sanitary creatures, and dirty litter boxes may repel your cat and send them elsewhere in search of a place to relieve themselves. If your cat is peeing in your home, check your litter box to make sure it isn’t too dirty.
  • Stress. High stress—which can be caused by a number of influences, such as moving or bringing new people or animals into the home—could lead to more frequent and impulsive urination. Cats may also misbehave as a stress response. If you notice your cat peeing on clothes or other items, for example, it may be trying to send a message.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are more common in older cats, but they can occur at any age and may require antibiotics to alleviate the infection and the inflammation it causes.
  • Other conditions and diseases. A wide range of illnesses, such as diabetes and liver disease, may change your cat’s urinary habits and increase the risk of accidental urination.
  • Urine smells from other cats and pets. Like dogs, cats will want to cover up old urine scents with their own. This is particularly likely if you move into a home where a cat or other animal previously lived.

What to Do When a Kitten is Peeing Outside the Litter Box

Young kittens need to learn how to use a litter box by being trained by their owners. The best way to do this is to bring your kitten to the litter box after meals and naps and to reward them if and when they use the litter box. Over time, the kitten will learn to use the litter box and even prefer it over making messes elsewhere in the home.

Most kittens are naturally drawn to the cleanliness and convenience of a litter box, so the process of litter training shouldn’t be too long or difficult. Still, every kitten is different and may respond differently to training. If you’re struggling to train your kitten to use the litter box, consult your local veterinarian.

How to Stop a Cat From Peeing on Carpet

If your litter-trained cat has started peeing elsewhere in the home, it’s recommended that you visit your veterinarian to diagnose the problem—even if the underlying cause is behavioral.

A vet can evaluate your cat and look for signs of medical issues that could be causing involuntary urination to occur. If a medical diagnosis is found, prescription medications may also be provided to address the issue and return your cat to full health.

In cases where the cause is behavioral, your vet can work with you to identify the cause and how this influence might be resolved. Whether this means increasing the frequency of your litter box cleanings, reducing sources of stress, or cleaning your home’s floors and carpets, your vet can give you a plan going forward that will hopefully address your cat’s behavioral issues.

Cleaning up messes is never any fun—and with the right attention to your cat’s needs, these problems can be remedied now and avoided in the future.

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