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Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box?

Sharing life with a cat is a wonderful experience. They’re affectionate, playful, and remarkably devoted when it comes to providing companionship. Plus, studies show that cats can even reduce stress and improve heart health!

But cats also have their own unique personalities and behaviors that may not always align with our expectations. And one of the most common behavioral issues is peeing outside of the litter box.

Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to address your cat’s inappropriate urination. In this post, I’ll take a closer look at the problem and explain what you can do to fix it.

Why Do Cats Pee Outside the Litter Box?

There are several potential causes for litter box avoidance. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common.

Litter Box Problems

Cats are clean freaks. They groom themselves frequently, sniff their food before eating, and always cover their waste. So, if your feline friend is peeing outside their litter box, there may be an issue with the box itself.

Do you keep the litter box clean? Does it have enough litter to bury their waste? How does the litter box smell? Exploring the answers to these questions will help you figure out if the litter box is to blame.

As a general rule, it’s best to scoop out your cat’s litter box once or twice per day. To provide the most hygienic environment for your kitty, try to clean up right after they eliminate in their litter box. Some cat parents choose to have automatic litter boxes so their furry friends can always enjoy a clean, comfortable place to do their business.

Behavioral or Environmental Reasons

In some cases, the problem may be a behavioral or environmental issue. For example, if you’ve recently adopted a new cat or there are multiple cats in your house, they might not feel comfortable enough to use the litter box.

Other behavioral reasons for going outside the box include stress, anxiety, or even a litter box aversion. And if you’ve recently moved to a new home or changed your cat’s routine in any way, they may be feeling overwhelmed and have trouble adapting to their environment.

If your cat’s litter box is located in a busy area of the house, try moving it to a quieter spot. This can help reduce stress and make them feel more comfortable when going to the bathroom.

It’s also worth experimenting with different types of litter. Some cats like soft, sandy litters while others prefer clumping varieties. Just make sure the litter is safe and non-toxic before you let your cat use it.

Health Issues

Finally, your feline friend may not be using their litter box because of an underlying health problem. This can make it difficult for them to control their bladder, causing them to eliminate in other places.

Cat litter box problems can be caused by a variety of medical issues, including:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney disease
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Urinary obstruction
  • Age-related issues
  • Diabetes
  • Bladder stones
  • Digestive problems

If you suspect a health issue, take your cat to the vet for an examination. They will be able to help diagnose and treat whatever is causing the problem.

Why is My Cat Peeing on the Floor but Pooping in the Litter Box?

Cats are known to mark their territory by leaving behind a fragrant reminder. This could explain why your cat is peeing on the floor but pooping in their litter box.

Try cleaning any areas where your cat has previously peed using an enzymatic cleaner to remove the scent. This will signal that they no longer need to mark this spot and should hopefully encourage them to go back to the litter box.

Another reason why cats pee on the floor is that they may be recovering from a health problem such as a urinary tract infection. As mentioned earlier, this can cause them to lose control of their bladder or make them uncomfortable using the litter box.

If you have multiple cats, it’s also possible that your cat is peeing on the floor as a way to assert their dominance in the house. A good way to reduce this behavior is to make sure there are enough litter boxes for every cat in the house, plus one more litter box. So, if you have two cats, consider investing in three litter boxes.

Lastly, some cats prefer using separate litter boxes for peeing and pooping. So, they may be avoiding the litter box because it’s only used for one purpose. You can try adding a second litter box and see if that helps.

How Do I Stop My Cat from Peeing Outside the Litter Box?

Throughout this post, I’ve discussed a few possible causes of litter box issues and how to address them. Here’s a quick summary of the most important steps you can take to stop your cat from peeing outside the litter box:

  • Make sure litter boxes are clean and regularly scooped
  • Try different types of litter to see what your cat prefers
  • Clean up soiled areas with an enzymatic cleaner
  • Try moving your cat’s litter box to a quieter area
  • Provide extra litter boxes if you have multiple cats

It’s also a good idea to make sure your kitty is feeling comfortable and relaxed in their environment. Enriching your cat’s environment with toys, vertical space, scratching posts, and plenty of quality time with you can help reduce stress and make them feel more secure.

Should I Take My Cat to the Vet for Peeing Outside the Litter Box?

If you notice sudden changes in your cat’s litter box habits, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up. This will help rule out any underlying health issues that may be causing them to urinate outside the box.

In many cases, simply making a few changes to your cat’s litter box setup and giving them more attention can help resolve the issue. But if you’ve tried the tips above and the problem persists, it’s best to seek professional help.


Cats peeing outside the litter box is a common problem, but with a bit of effort and understanding, it can be resolved. I hope the tips in this post help you understand your feline family member and get them back to using their litter box properly.

Remember, if you suspect an underlying health issue or your cat’s behavior doesn’t improve after making changes, be sure to take them to the vet for a check-up. Good luck!