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Several reasons why your cat is peeing outside the litter box

Cute little cat

By Dylan M ParkinPublished 2 years ago 6 min read

It can be frustrating seeing your cat ditch their litter box and pee just about everywhere else. The constant cleaning is not as disturbing as the strong cat pee smell that you have to deal with.

But have you asked yourself, “Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box?” The truth is that the behavior is not normal, instead, it is influenced by several factors, which we shall be discussing in this article.

However, the problem can be corrected by addressing the underlying cause and you cat can get to stop peeing outside of their litter box.

So we will discuss the several reasons that may cause your cat to pee outside of their litter box and what you can do about it.

Why do cats pee outside their litter box?

Here are several causes of litter box problem and possible solutions you can adopt:

Stress and Anxiety

When your cat is stressed due to a change in environment, whether minor or major change, it can affect their behavior. For example, moving their litter box to another spot or allowing loud noises near their box can make them ditch the box and pee wherever they find peaceful.

You can talk with your veterinarian about how to make changes (if you need to make one). You should consider options that keep their stress level to a minimum after you’ve completely made the changes.

Remember, it is easier to prevent stress than to treat it later.

One other factor that may induce stress in your cat is when outdoor cats linger in your yard. This may cause your feline friend to pee near the front door as a response. Your cat may display a behavior called spraying just to mark their territories, which they do normally whenever they’re stressed.

A dirty litter box

Will you use a dirty toilet that smells so bad? Definitely No. Well, the same applies to your four-legged companions. If you do not clean their litter box regularly, your cat tends to consider peeing somewhere else.

Scoop the litter daily to keep the box clean. If you have multiple cats, ensure you scoop the litter multiple times daily. However, every two weeks, ensure you do a deep cleaning of the box.

Always remember that your cat has a stronger sense of smell than you. So if the box looks clean to you but smells disgusting, your cat may still require you to do a thorough cleaning.

Litter type

Not all types of litter work for every cat. Basically, kittens learn to use a particular type of litter from their mothers when they are barely three weeks old. So, bringing a different type of litter when your cat is already an adult cat could cause a lot of problems, and encourage them to pee outside the box.

What you can do is to try a few different types of litter to know what suits your cat best. If you’re considering to make a switch, you can set up three litter boxes using different types of litter to see which option your cat would prefer.

The placement of the litter box

As we’ve mentioned earlier, when the litter box becomes hard to access, your cat tends to go elsewhere to do their business. Placing a litter box in a basement for an older cat to use many not work if the cat has joint issues or problems with their eyesight.

Always ensure the litter box is placed in a relatively active area in your home. Although you may not put it in your living room, but keeping it too far makes it hard to find and unappealing.

You can place your cat’s litter box in the bathroom or a nearby hallway. Just ensure the set up allows your cat to enjoy privacy, quietness, and peace.

You can also try litter box enclosure options that serve as furniture having hidden entrances for your cat to use as a litter box. This would be undetectable by your guests.

Multiple pets in your home

When you have multiple pets in your home, your cat tends to pee outside of their litter box, especially if there is a bully amongst them who stops the cat from getting into the box.

In this case, you should have more than one litter boxes than the number of pets or cats, and ensure you place them at different rooms or locations.

If your cat is the timid type, you can devote a little box that other cannot access to them.

But in all, ensure you do not use covered litter boxes, as your cay may become uneasy because they can’t easily know when another cat is coming around their box.

Medical Issues

When your cat constantly pees outside of their litter box, the first thing you should do is to call your vet. This way, most possible medical conditions can be checked and ruled out through simple blood and urine tests.

Changes in a cat’s feeling of well-being can cause a change in their behavior, and this can include litter box problems. This behavior could result from a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or kidney disease.

Some painful conditions, such as severe arthritis in older cats, can cause difficulties in getting into a box with high sides. The cat might be left with no option than to pee outside their litter box.

Some common medical conditions that may cause a cat to pee outside their litter box include:

Kidney disease

This disease is common among aging cats and the most common signs include decreased appetite, increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and vomiting.

You can try kidney supplements, dietary changes, and fluid therapy to help slow the progression of kidney disease and lower the frequency of peeing outside the litter box.


This condition is common in cats as they age. It is caused when the thyroid gland, which produces thyroid hormone that controls metabolism, becomes hyperactive. Your cat tends to vomit chronically, lose muscle mass and weight, vocalize more, and drink more water, which causes frequent urination.

After proper diagnosis by your vet, you can get the proper medication to help reduce the signs and symptoms of this condition.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

If a cat suffers UTI, the bacteria in their urine can affect their bladder and kidney, triggering inflammation. Your cat tends to strain to urinate in small amounts, and sometimes the urine gets stained with blood.

You can visit your vet if you notice any of these signs so proper diagnosis of the urinary tract can be carried out to determine the cause of the infection. Most times, antibiotic therapy helps to clear the infection.

Degenerative joint disease (arthritis)

When a cat suffers pain in their joints, they tend to avoid peeing in their litter box, especially when they would have to climb or jump into it.

You can help a cat with arthritis by getting boxes that are easy to walk into and keeping them at areas where they can easily access.

If your cat has to walk up on stairs just to use their litter box, they may choose to pee wherever is convenient for them.

You can discuss pain medications and joint supplement with your veterinarian to know what would work best to manage your cat’s condition.


Cats would love to pee in their litter box if all things stay the same, but when the factors state above starts to set in, your cat tends to go elsewhere to pee. If you notice this behavior in your cat, do not punish them. Instead, try to trace the cause of the problem. You can talk to your vet to know if there’s an underlying medical condition or psychological disorder.

If your cat’s health is in good form, you may decide to consult a cat behaviorist to help you trace the source of the problem and recommend the best way to fix it.

However, with good attention and a bit of energy, you can help your cat go back to their normal use of litter boxes and restore harmony to your home.


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    DMPWritten by Dylan M Parkin

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