It Actually Makes Sense...
Cats are expected to pee in the litter box, so we assume that’s what they do. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
If you’ve ever come home and discovered a wet spot on your bed, or your shoes, or some random area of the floor, you know the frustration it can cause. Not to mention the grossness factor. I mean there’s pee. On your bed. Your kitty must be retaliating against you for SOMETHING, right?
While cats may be master manipulators, it’s unlikely they’re peeing everywhere as payback for that new cat food you made them try the other day.
So then, what is going on?
Basically, your cat is peeing outside of the litter box because there’s a problem afoot. He needs you to help him out and make it right.
It’s Not You, It’s a Medical Condition
The first step in figuring out why your cat is not using their litter box is to rule out medical problems. Cats are notoriously good at hiding illnesses but may pee in inappropriate areas because they are unwell. Have your cat checked thoroughly by a veterinarian to rule out possible issues like a urinary tract infection, diabetes or kidney disease.
It’s Not You, It’s Just Your Cat
Did your kitty just see a neighborhood cat walk by, and now there’s urine on the wall? What happened was that your pet felt threatened, and he reacted by marking his territory. Urine marking is dealt with differently than other litter box issues, which is why you should also rule it out.
Now, how do you know if your cat is marking? Start with one of the easiest telltale signs: location. Marking always occurs on vertical surfaces, not horizontal, which is where you’ll see pee. As well, marking has less volume than standard urine. It’s also really smelly because it’s not just urine. Marking is a mixture of urine and chemicals designed to communicate a message to other cats.
Unneutered males mark most often, but neutered males (10 percent) and spayed females (5 percent) can do this too. You can learn more about how to spot and help with urine marking in our article about it here.
It’s Not You, It’s the Litter Box
We all know that cats are very particular. The litter box is no exception to their particularness. If your cat isn’t comfortable, it’s unlikely they’ll use their little box to go -- and can you blame them? Some common problems your kitty may have with their litter box is lack of cleanliness, an uncomfortable box, or an aversion to their current litter. There are many types of litter on the market. Try a few different ones and see what your cat likes best.
It Actually Is You (Or Your Other Cats)
If you only have one cat, you need to remember that you are your cat’s only companion. That means your kitty can become lonely and stressed when you’re not home.
Peeing on some of your belongings could be a way for your cat to cope.Essentially mixing your scent with his for comfort.
If there are multiple cats in the home, your kitty won’t be lonely but he might be bullied. Whether he’s prevented from using the litter box or is the recipient of frequent aggression, he might feel he has no option but to pee elsewhere.
For bullied cats, you’ll want to put out multiple litter boxes to help the less dominant kitty get some privacy. Solitary kitties need to know you care, so make sure you set aside extra time for play and companionship.
How your kitty feels at home can complicate their relationship with their litter box, but with a little love and understanding you can help them feel comfortable again!
Discovering pee spots is frustrating, not to mention smelly. Never fear! There is hope, whether the cause is a dirty litter box or a daily round of kitty battles.[#BeginTLDR#]Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons why your cat may be -- ahem -- missing the mark with regard to their litter boxes. The most important first step in solving the issue is ruling out any sort of medical problem or significant behavioral issue, like urine marking.[#SplitTLDR#]Once the more pressing issues are ruled out, you can march forward in diagnosing and treating your kitty’s particular peeing problem.[#EndTLDR#]