Reader: My CH Cat Is Peeing Outside of the Litter Box
The other day Misty came to me with a concern. I feel like several of you have experienced similar situations before, so I wanted to share her story in hopes that we can all offer advice, thoughts, stories and, perhaps, solutions.
“Winnie is a little over a year old, has a mild case of CH and has no problem getting in and out of any type of litter box. We have a multiple cat household so we have 2 litter boxes and one litter robot for a total of 3. One is located upstairs and the other two are downstairs right next to each other. We’ve seen her use all of them. The problem is that sometimes she doesn’t.
She’ll go behind the litter box on the floor, or at times in front. It’s not a constant problem, but it’s been happening more and more and we don’t know how to correct the behavior. The boxes are always cleaned out and in a few cases were completely void of urine or feces. Sometimes she’ll go into the litter box, then come out and go behind it on the floor. Is there something we can do or some product we can use to discourage her from doing this?”
When a cat goes to the bathroom outside of the litter box, even if just an accident, it can be a frustrating situation to deal with — especially if there isn’t an obvious solution. And if not corrected, this can become a regular habit.
While Winnie’s behavior is still a mystery (perhaps someone can shine some light on it!), here are some things to consider if your cat is peeing outside of the box:
1. General Issues
Once your cat starts to pee out of the box, consider a few points:
- How long has the cat been peeing outside of the box?
- Have you noticed any patterns? How often does it happen?
- Is the cat spraying (happens on vertical surfaces with intact male and female cats) or voiding (happens on horizontal surfaces and can be urine or stool)?
- How many litter boxes are in your home?
- Where are the litter boxes located?
- How do your other cats treat the one having problems? Is she picked on?
- Do other cats bug her while she’s in the litter box?
- Are you sure it’s just the one cat having trouble? You may want to confine the suspected cat for a few days just to make sure.
2. Health Issues
I immediately thought that it could be a health issue — and so did Misty. She has already had Winnie checked out, and she’s not suffering from a UTI or any other illness.
Whenever your cat begins to go outside of the box, give your vet a call and make an appointment. You’ll want to make sure right from the start that it’s not a medical concern.
3. Litter Box Change
Sometimes moving a litter box to a new location or changing the type/brand/scent/depth of litter you’re using can turn a cat away.
According to Misty, the litter boxes have remained in the same location. They did change the type of litter (from Tidy Cats to Arm & Hammer), but the litter was changed in all of the boxes, and Winnie still has trouble with one of them.
Misty’s vet suggested using an attractant that you sprinkle on the litter, which is supposed to attract the cat to the litter box; however, she’s not sure if it’s helping since Misty goes outside of the box so randomly.
If accidents have been occurring around the litter box, don’t forget to give the area a thorough cleaning. Otherwise the issue cat, and your other cats, may continue to go in that same spot.
4. Household Change
Even the seemingly smallest household change (a new family member, new cat, even a new piece of furniture or rearranged furniture) can set a cat on edge and lead to a behavioral change.
While Misty says they have brought in three fosters into their home, those cats are located in their own room upstairs, and don’t mingle with Winnie or Misty’s other cats.
If you believe your cat may be voiding inappropriately due to a household change, call your vet or a cat behavioralist to find out what you can do to remedy the situation.
So dear readers, I’m asking you — have you had a similar problem? If so, did you learn what the cause was and how to resolve it? Do you have any tips for Misty? Please share in the comments below!