Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside of the Litter Box?

There are many different reasons cats can begin urinating outside of the designated litter box. It is very rare that a cat will just become “dirty.” There is almost always an underlying cause. Here are some of the most common reasons.

Multiple cats need multiple litter boxes.
Cats can be very particular in their bathroom behaviours and environments. They often do not want to use an already used litter box, especially if it’s been used by another cat. It can be tough to stay on top of cleaning a litter box for multiple cats. Especially when we know, the minute you clean it, they are in making it dirty again. The rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, and add another box if there are more than three cats. It seems like overkill; however, it will save your picky kitty from looking for a cleaner place to go potty. Litter boxes should be cleaned at least once per day. Using scooping litter can help make this a quick and easy task.

Urinary tract infection and/or urinary crystals or stones.
Cats who are suffering from any of the above conditions will often associate the litter box with the pain they are in when they try to urinate. They will try different locations around the house in hopes it will be less painful in a new place. Any of these conditions require veterinary care right away as they can progressively get worse and/or require surgery. Diagnostics can be done in the clinic to determine these causes. Male cats are at a higher risk of blocking, which can quickly turn into an emergency situation. Some signs of painful urination can include dribbling urine, blood-tinged spots of urine, straining to urinate or frequently trying to urinate, crying out when trying to use the litter box, not urinating often, then having a very large pee. If your cat is showing any of these signs, they should be seen as soon as possible by a veterinarian.

Arthritis vs. tall sided litter box,
If you have a senior cat (over the age of 7), there is likely some arthritis beginning to affect their joints. A litter box with taller sides can pose as a painful hurdle to get over just to use the bathroom. They will begin to look elsewhere for easier places to go. Trying a litter box with shorter sides could be a quick fix and result in less pain for your kitty.

Diabetes or Kidney disease
If your cat seems to be increasing its drinking habits and not using the litter box, it may have something serious going on. If you are suspicious of these issues. It is best to have your veterinarian examine the cat as soon as possible. Cats can be extremely stoic and never indicate to you they are in pain or discomfort.

If at any given time, you are concerned over your cat’s bathroom habits. It is always best to have an exam done to rule out any possible diseases or infections that could be causing your cat harm. Give us a call today to book an appointment for your cat.

Written by: Lyndsay McShane, Office Manager/Veterinary Technician

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