A Matter of Preference
So your kitty is missing the mark when it comes to the litter box. While it’s definitely not a pleasant reality by any means, it also isn’t the end of the world. Once behavioral problems and underlying medical issues are ruled out, the most common reason your cat is peeing where they aren’t supposed can be boiled down to one thing: preference.
Specifically litter box preference. Here are some common problems cats find with their litter boxes and how to solve them.
You haven’t cleaned your cat’s litter box often or thoroughly enough
Cats have a much stronger sense of smell than humans do and can readily detect their own waste – and that of other cats. That’s not so appealing when trying to go.
How to help: Set out more than one box if you have multiple cats. You should also change the litter at least twice a week (or more), and scoop out clumps daily.
Your cat just doesn’t like its litter box
It can be a bunch of things-- the litter box might be too small, your kitty might feel cramped by the box’s hood or liner. And no one wants to contort their body if they really need to go.
How to help: Turns out that the majority of
cats prefer large boxes that they can enter easily!Just like people prefer bigger bathrooms! Try out a larger box, or go DIY with a plastic sweater storage container. If you think your litter box’s hood or liner might be the problem, just removing that and see how your kitty responds!
Your cat just doesn’t like its litter
Like people, some cats are good with change. Others-- not so much. It’s possible that your kitty has developed a preference for the litter type and scent they had as a kitten. [#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]Or maybe something about the litter[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Notice the difference[#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]Litters, like silica crystal litter, with large irregular pellets, can actually get caught in between your cat's toes and paw pads, making it especially irritating for your cat.[#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#], like its scent or texture, is putting them off from it.
How to help: Test out the litter to see what your cat likes, and avoid litter with added scents – cats may find them offensive. In general, cats like a clumping litter with a medium to fine texture. To test what your kitties likes, put a few boxes with different kinds of litter side-by-side. They’ll let you know which one they like best!
The litter box is in the wrong place.
Cats develop preferences, like people and dogs, for where they do and don’t like to do their business. If their litter box isn’t in the just right location, they may just avoid it altogether. It’s also possible that something happened to upset your kitty while they were using the litter box. [#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]If that ends up being the case, you might notice that they are hesitant to return to the box or the area surrounding it, or go into the box quickly and leave before every getting to do what they needed to[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Important![#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]It's important to remember that your cat can get stressed out by things a human wouldn't necessarily think of as traumatic. Changes that don't even seem like they would affect your cat, from moving to changing your daily routine—can bring up your cat's stress levels.[#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#].
How to help: All kitties, in general, tend to prefer their bathroom areas to be in a quiet place. They don’t want to feel cornered, though, and like to have good sightlines to see people and your other pets so they can plan their multiple escape routes accordingly. Be sure to place your litter box in easy to access areas, away from any high-traffic routes in your home or places kitty might feel cornered. If you have more than one story, be sure to place a litter box on every floor. Also avoid any possible high-stress areas, like loud laundry rooms or, if you have dogs, where they hang out.
Some other basic tips
Place a litter box in the places where your kitty seems to be peeing. If it’s not possible to put a box in that spot, place their food bowl, water bowl, bed or toys there to make your kitty less likely to use that spot as a bathroom. Another way to make those frequent pee spots less appealing is by making the surface less pleasant by using upside-down carpet runners, tin foil or double-sided sticky tape.
While these problems are easy to solve, it’s important to make sure there aren’t any other issues causing your kitty to pee in inappropriate places. Always be sure to check in with your vet if the problem is persistent or if you think your kitty might have an underlying illness.[#BeginTLDR#]We all know that cats are particular, and the litter box is no exception to that particularness.[#SplitTLDR#]Beyond underlying behavioral or medical issues, some of the most common reasons a cat might pee outside their litter box have to do with their preferences around their litter box.[#SplitTLDR#]Finding out what these preferences are and how to fix them is easy once you recognized the problems and know how to fix them.[#EndTLDR#]