My Cat Pees Inside the Box, My Cat Pees Outside the Box ? What Can I Do?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat behaviorist Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, encourages cat owners look at litterbox placement, litterbox type and number of litterboxes in the home to help cats' elimination behavior.

By Marilyn Krieger, CCBC

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Q: My cat uses her litterbox to pee, but also pees outside the box. Sometimes she will actually pee, and other times she will back up to the box and spray out.  Not sure why this is and I have tried different litter, boxes, foil around the box, carpet under the box — but nothing has stopped this behavior. My cat does not pee or spray anywhere else in the house, just around her box.  

A: Whenever a cat has a change in behavior, take her to a veterinarian. Many cat health problems can cause cats to not use their litterbox. After the cat receives a clean bill of health, approach the problem as behavioral.

The litterbox location, the number of boxes and type of litterbox available are a few factors that could influence your cat's elimination behavior, such as your cat not peeing in the litterbox.

Check your litterbox size and type. Covered litterboxes or too-small litterboxes can cause cats to urinate outside of them and spray over the top. I recommend large, translucent, uncovered 66-qt storage containers. They are about 12 inches tall — a good solution for cats who urinate while standing and for those who energetically dig in their boxes. If your cat has problems jumping into the box, cut a “U” shape into one side for accessibility.

Check the number of boxes you have available. Ideally, have one box per cat plus one for the household. If you only have one cat, then you need two litter boxes, located in different areas of your house.    

Check the location of the litterboxes. Place them in areas where your cat won't feel she can be trapped or ambushed. Ideal locations provide views of the room and out the door, and are areas with good escape potential. Closets and bathrooms are not ideal locations for litterboxes because cats can easily be trapped and ambushed in enclosed areas.
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My Cat Pees Inside the Box, My Cat Pees Outside the Box ? What Can I Do?

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Reader Comments

Martina    Elizabeth city, NC

6/6/2013 5:33:03 PM

I adopted zoey from the shelter 4 years ago. She pees outside the litterbox. She will get in her box and back her butt up to the entrance of the box and pee. I buy bed pads that are used by the elderly for incontinence. I cut one in half and place it under her litterbox so when she pees outside the box she pees on the pad. There is a litterbox that has a large hole in top and the cat goes down into the box and It cannot pee outside the box. It is sold at Petco

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

7/1/2012 11:12:57 PM

Interesting.

Ginnie    North Chelmsford, MA

5/13/2012 10:15:25 AM

My futer son-in-law has a cat that is about 1 years old. He adopted the cat when he was 4 months old at which time the cat would pee any place in the house including the bed. He brought his cat to my daughter's apartment and the cat pees on everything, including people in bed. The cat had crystals I believe in the urinary tract. He has now been on a diet for this condition for about two weeks. He still pees. Everyone thinks that the cat should be put to sleep except my future son in law. My daughter can not take it anymore. They will be moving into a new apartment soon and my daughter doesn't have to pay cat damages like she did in the last apartment. Anyone elses thought? We all know how devastating euthanizing an animal is but what choice is there?

Lorrie    Windsor, CT

5/11/2012 6:19:46 AM

My 19 year old Himalayan has always had urinary issues since I adopted her from the Humane Society many years ago. She has always lived in a multi-cat household with multiple litter boxes available. Sometimes she peed in the box, sometimes throughout the house. She would periodically pee blood but have no urinary infection. After much frustration, my vet put her on paxil, which has pretty much eliminated the issue. I also placed a piece of plastic on the floor in my bedroom (where she spends most of her time)and a small area rug on top of that. On the occasions that she pees outside of the box, she pees on the area rug, which I simply throw in the washer.

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