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Stop Cats Peeing Outside the Litter Box

It’s understandably upsetting when you find cat pee around your house. What owners need to understand is that cats are not being bad when they do not go in their litter box. They are behaving in a way that addresses their needs at the time. There are many reasons why cats might pee outside the litter box, but with investigation you should be able to figure out what needs to be done to stop the inappropriate urination situation.

Plan a Vet Visit

If you have inappropriate urination from your cat and it has become an issue, the most important thing you can do is go see your vet. The doctor will take a history and perform a physical exam, urinalysis, and some other diagnostic tests to figure out if the problem is medical instead of behavioral.

Possible Reasons for Inappropriate Cat Urination

Diabetes, urinary tract inflammation and kidney disease are all common health issues that make cats urinate outside of their box. If your cat is given a good bill of health, your vet can then help you figure out what behavioral or environmental issues might be causing the inappropriate urination.

Importance of Cleaning Up Urination

Whether the vet determines the problem is behavioral or medical, be sure to clean all the areas where your cat has peed. You need to make sure you have eliminated the odor, so the smell doesn’t bring your cat back to that same spot. Use a black light and your nose to identify all the areas.

With fresh urine, blot up as much as possible with cloth or paper towels. Next, choose the best cleaning method based upon what item is soiled.

For bedding, towels, and clothing you can put these in the washing machine on a cold cycle and then hang them outside to dry. For hard surfaces and floors, you should use your favorite household cleaning product or a pet odor and stain remover solution. For mattresses, carpets, rugs, and upholstery a bacterial or enzymatic cleaner should be used, being sure to follow the instructions.

Is It Urine or Spray?

If you discover pee where it doesn’t belong, you need to figure out whether it’s the result of urination or spraying. Cats pee outside the litter box for different reasons than if they spray, so they require different kinds of treatment.

When spraying, cats usually stand in front of vertical surfaces and squirt relatively small amounts of urine on it. If you find a splatter of urine on your wall, the cat is probably spraying. When cats pee, they squat and leave behind a larger amount of urine on horizontal surfaces.

You need to address both these issues quickly, before it becomes a normal behavior for your cat. Male cats who are intact are the most famous offenders for spraying. Male cats who are not part of a breeding program need to be neutered, hopefully before puberty. If a neutered cat is spraying, attempt making him feel safer in his territory. In multi-cat households, it might help to provide separate living areas for each cat. If that is not possible, provide elevated perches for cats. These are covered escape routes and hiding places so cats can avoid each other easily.

Over-the-counter anxiety relief products may also help cats who spray. If everything else fails, your vet can give an anti-anxiety medication. Be mindful there are also natural ways to relieve cat anxiety.

Litter Box Usage

If you determine your cat is urinating inappropriately instead of spraying, it’s time to look closely at your litter box.

First, take inventory of how many litter boxes you have. Generally, just having one litter box is not enough. It is recommended to have one box per cat, plus an extra box.

Cats are very picky about using boxes that already contain feces or urine, particularly if it is not their own. The more boxes you have, the more likely the cat is to find one that he likes. Then you should ask yourself where the litter boxes are located. If you have multiple stories in your house, you need at least one box located on each floor. Because, think about it, if you are on the second floor of your house, do you want to run all the way downstairs to use your bathroom?

Your cat doesn’t either!

And when litter boxes are hidden inside cabinets or in the corner of a laundry room, cats might not bother to go find them. Make it convenient for your cat to use the box. The set-up and placement of your litter box can make a real difference.

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