The Best Ten Methods to Prevent Your Cat from Urinating Outside the Box

Although it can be upsetting to find cat poop in unexpected places, cats aren't doing anything wrong when they "go" in inappropriate places. They're just acting in a way that meets their immediate needs.

Health problems, anxiety, or bullying from other pets in the home are just a few of the many reasons a cat might urinate outside the litter box. You can find out how to stop your cat from urinating in inappropriate places with some research (and maybe a trip to the vet's office).

If your cat is spraying outside the litter box, try one of these ten solutions.

Get in Touch with Your Vet

The most crucial thing you can do if your cat has begun eliminating in inappropriate places is to schedule a visit with your vet.

Some common medical conditions that can cause a cat to urinate in inappropriate places include: urinary tract infection, hyperthyroidism, feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), bladder crystals or stones, arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease.

Your veterinarian will ask you about the problem and when it first appeared before conducting a physical exam, urinalysis, and possibly other diagnostic tests to rule out medical causes and rule in behavioral ones.

Your veterinarian will be able to assist you in addressing potential environmental or behavioral factors if your cat is deemed healthy after an examination.

Purge the Clutter Completely

Whether your veterinarian diagnoses a medical or behavioral issue, you must eliminate all traces of your cat's inappropriate urination. It's important that you get rid of the smell completely, not just for your own health but also so that your cat doesn't keep returning to the same spot.

All the trouble spots can be located with the help of a black light and your nose.

First, blot up as much fresh urine as you can with paper or cloth towels if you can. The next step (and for older stains) is to select the most appropriate cleaning technique:

  • Towels, sheets, and other linens These can be washed in the washing machine on a cold setting and air-dried in the fresh air.

  • For floors and other hard surfaces, use a standard household cleaner or a product designed to remove pet stains and odors.

  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using an enzymatic or bacterial cleaner on your rugs, carpets, mattresses, and upholstery, such as Nature's Miracle Just For Cats Oxy Cat Stain and Odor Remover.

Dissolve Territorial Problems

Spraying is a common way for cats to mark their territory. Cats typically spray on vertical surfaces, and only a small amount is squirted at a time. If you find a puddle of urine on the wall, it's likely that your cat sprays instead of pees.

Male cats in their entirety are the worst offenders when it comes to spraying. Cats should be neutered before they reach puberty, usually between the ages of 5 and 6 months. Your veterinarian can advise you on the optimal time to spay or neuter your kitten.

Make your neutered cat feel more at home there to prevent him from spraying. If you have more than one cat, it might be best to give them all their own space.

If this is not an option, you can try providing your cats with hiding places, covered escape routes, and some tall cat trees or perches to help them avoid each other.

The presence of feral or neighborhood cats may be to blame for your cat's territorial problems. Seeing your indoor-only cat through the windows could be enough to cause problems.

Cats that spray may benefit from using a calming supplement like Vetoquinol Zylkene or Feliway Classic, both of which can be purchased over-the-counter.

Anti-anxiety drugs like fluoxetine can be prescribed by your vet if all else fails.

Facilitate Peace Among Your Cats

Urination problems can arise when cats fight with one another or when a new cat is introduced to the household.

Your cats may avoid using the litter box altogether if they have previously been involved in a fight in or near the box. If your cats are fighting, separating them for a while may help tensions subside before you try reintroducing them.

The litter box may also have one cat watching over it. Have multiple litter boxes in different rooms of the house so that a single cat can't block access to them all. A litter box that your cat can see outside of at all times is another option to consider. They will feel more at ease and protected.

Boost the Number of Litter Trays

If you've determined that your cat isn't spraying but is instead urinating in the wrong places, it may be time to reevaluate your litter box situation.

How many are there, to begin with However, a single litter box is often insufficient. One box for every cat, plus one more just in case.

A litter box containing urine or feces, especially if it is not the cat's own, can be very off-putting to feline residents. The greater the variety of litter boxes available, the higher the probability that your cat will find one that works for it.

Think About Where You Keep The Litter Box

Exactly where are the cat litter areas At the very least, you should have one on each floor of your house if it has more than one.

Just imagine you were on the second floor of your house and needed to use the restroom. Would you want to make the trip down the stairs? Nor does your pet cat.

Also, cats may not use litter boxes if they are hidden in inconvenient places like cabinets or the far corner of the basement laundry room. Facilitating your cat's use of the litter box can help prevent many issues.

Don't put the litter box near any loud noises, such as a washing machine or dryer, plumbing, or other sources of stress for your feline friend.

Put a litter box over the area where your cat keeps soiling, and then gradually relocate it to a spot where you don't mind it staying.

The location and arrangement of litter boxes is crucial.

Locate an Appropriate Cat Box

While enclosed litter boxes may be more aesthetically pleasing and better at keeping odors and messes under control, your cat may not find them to be as convenient. It's not ideal for cats to defecate in enclosed boxes because of their size, darkness, odor, and inability to turn around.

Also, make sure your cat can easily step over the side of the litter box, especially as they get older.

Cats prefer a large, open litter box with low sides or at least one low spot.  

Increase the Frequency of Litter Box Cleanings

Most cats will go potty elsewhere if they encounter a dirty litter box. Since cats are naturally neat and tidy, they prefer a spotless litter box.

Litter boxes need to be cleaned at least once a day. Every two to four weeks, you should do a thorough cleaning that includes dumping the litter, washing the boxes, and restocking. If you're having trouble maintaining a clean litter box, you may want to invest in a system that does it for you.

Allow Your Cat to Select Its Own Litter

You might think that scented cat litter is the best option, but felines typically don't agree. Because their sense of smell is more acute than ours, odors that we find pleasant may be overwhelming to them.

Also, cats are creatures of habit who may urinate outside the litter box if you switch to a different brand of litter.

Researchers have found that activated charcoal-containing clumping clay litter is cats' preferred litter type.

If you want to switch to a different brand of litter, keep at least one box of the old brand on hand as a backup. Don't use the new litter if your cat doesn't like it.

Calm Your Anxious Cat

They say cats are creatures of habit. They will become anxious about anything out of the ordinary, and this anxiety will have a negative impact on their urinary system.

Anxiety in cats can be brought on by many things that humans would not consider stressful. When we make plans to take a vacation, for instance, we anticipate that time away. Your cat or cats may be perceptive enough to recognize your luggage as a signal that you are leaving the house and react accordingly.

They could get very stressed out and end up urinating on, in, or near the bags. The same stress response can be triggered by having unexpected guests over, hosting a party, packing up and moving, buying new furniture, or rearranging the furniture in your home.  

Cats can be discouraged from using their litter boxes if they are exposed to loud noises like those produced by dryers, pipes, or even holiday fireworks.  

The best way to reduce stress is to maintain an easily accessible supply of clean litter boxes in a variety of quiet, secure locations around the house. Move your cat to a new location where it will not be able to see the suitcases, or pack in a room that cannot be entered while the cat is present.

Keep the atmosphere as stress-free as possible by using cat calming aids like specially formulated cat calming treats or cat pheromone diffusers. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend medication to help ease your cat's anxiety until the cause of the stress can be identified.

Photo courtesy of iStock As seen on com/Casarsa Guru

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