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Top 10 Ways to Help Cats that Don’t Like the Litter Box

Top 10 Ways to Help Cats that Don’t Like the Litter Box

Addressing Inappropriate Urination

When your cat starts shunning its litter box in favor of other places throughout your home, it is definitely not something you want to become a habit. Address the issue quickly with these simple ways to help your cat stop peeing outside of the litter box.

10. Define the Problem

The first thing you need to do when you discover pee where it doesn’t belong is determine whether it is the result of spraying or inappropriate urination. Spraying is a result of cats marking their territory, and is generally just a splatter, whereas inappropriate urination will be a larger puddle.

9. Tackle the Problem Quickly

You will want to address any urination outside of the litter box quickly, before it becomes normal behavior for your cat. If your cat is spraying, try making it feel more secure in its territory, as that is often why cats get possessive. In a multi-cat household, it may help to provide separate living areas for each cat.

See Also: Cat Behavior 101 (Slideshow)

Image Credit: Eli Hodapp / via Flickr

8. Thoroughly Clean the Mess

Be sure to thoroughly clean all areas where your cat has peed outside the box. You really want to be sure you’ve eliminated the odor, not just for your own sake, but so the smell doesn’t draw your cat back to that same spot.

7. Add an Additional Litter Box

One litter box often isn’t enough. The general rule of thumb is one box per cat, plus an extra one. Think about it – if you were on the second floor of your house, would you want to run all the way downstairs to use the bathroom? Neither does your cat. Making it convenient for your cat to use the litter box will usually avert problems.

Related: 10 Tips for New Cat Owners

Image Credit: Gregor Smith / via Flickr

6. Address Litter Box Location

Think about where you have the litter boxes located. If you have multiple stories, you’ll want at least one on each floor. If your litter box is too tucked away, somewhere inconspicuous, your cat may not bother to go find it. If your cat keeps peeing in the same spot despite your best efforts, try moving the litter box over that spot, and then slowly moving it back to where you want it.

5. Try a Different Box

An enclosed litter box may fit nicely within your decorating standards, but your cat may not agree. Enclosed boxes can be small, dark, smelly and difficult to turn around in – not conducive to cats doing their business. You will also want to make sure the sides of your litter box are not too high for the cat to easily step over – especially as the cat reaches old age.

Image Credit: abbamouse / via Flickr

4. Clean Your Litter Box Regularly

A dirty litter box is one of the first things that will send a cat peeing elsewhere. Cats are very clean creatures by nature. Would you want to go walking barefoot through your cat’s litter box? Well, neither do they. Be consistent about cleaning out the box and changing the litter.

3. Check the Type of Litter

Heavily perfumed litter may seem the better choice (who wouldn’t want to smell perfume rather than a dirty litter box?), but cats tend to disagree. They also like to stick with the familiar, so if you adopt an adult cat, it may urinate outside the litter box if you switch up the standard, non-perfumed litter. Studies have shown that amongst cats, the all-around favorite litter type is a loose, clumping, unscented clay litter containing activated charcoal.

Image Credit: Barbara Wells / via Flickr

2. Observe the Social Dynamics

Conflicts between multiple cats, or the introduction of a new cat, may cause inappropriate urination. Occasionally, the case may be that your cats got into an altercation in or near the litter box and it has left one of them with associated bad memories.

1. Consult Your Veterinarian

If inappropriate urination has become an issue with your cat, the most important thing you can do is make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your cat’s doctor will perform a physical exam and urinalysis to determine if the problem is medical. Urinary tract infections and kidney failure are just some of the common health issues that either cause a cat to produce more urine, or add an increased urgency to urination. If your cat is given a clean bill of health, you can then move on to addressing environmental or behavioral issues.


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Top 10 Ways to Help Your Cat Stop Peeing Outside the Litter Box originally appeared on

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Nicolas, selected from petMD

petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. For more information, visit


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6:12AM PDT on Jul 1, 2014

Fortunately we never had litter box problems with our cats so far, but I know the recommendations, and I keep Thori´s and Gizzy´s litter box (with clumping litter) super clean, I don´t want to use a dirty toilet, too!

3:34AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014


3:14AM PDT on Jun 10, 2014

The blog is good enough, keep up writing such type of posts.Lend A Box LLC

6:42PM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

My older cat pees in our bathtub when I pee! Thank God! She defacates 3 feet away from the litter box. I may have to invest in another litter box as we have a 2 year old male cat also.

11:15AM PDT on Jun 5, 2014

My 7 year-old female cat suddenly started peeing EVERYWHERE, although she would still use the litter box to defecate. A long exam at the Vet's diagnosed her as diabetic! She is now on insulin twice a day, and has her first follow-up exam in a few days., at which time the insulin dosage may have to be changed, Her activity level has increased a bit, but she still does not look very good, and although her "accidents" have decreased, she is still having them. I had been in the hospital for the past few months, and I was hoping her problem was related to stress, but, apparently not. Poor kitty!

10:55PM PDT on Jun 4, 2014

Nicolas thank you for this information which I will print out and share with my friend who adopted a cat I rescued last year. Rudy is 2 yrs. now but was only a year old when I found him in the park. He loves his new 'mom' but has been peeing on the carpet and her sofa's. My friend is convinced that it's a urinary tract problem ( she's a retired nurse); however, I suggest she try a different litter container and one with a lid. She nix'd that idea! If you can offer any additional suggestions I would be grateful and certainly will pass them on to my friend. She had talked about giving him up but I know in her heart, she adores him!

12:34AM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

When I got married, I had a cat who did not like my hubby's son (he played too rough with Sir Gallahad). He would pee on anything that Stacy left laying around.
When Stacy moved out, Sir Gallahad stopped peeing everywhere - he went to the litter box!

11:03AM PDT on Jul 22, 2013


8:44PM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

Thank you

8:33PM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

good tips, thanks.

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