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How to Stop Cat From Peeing Outside Litter Box?
Cats, despite their cool and collected character, have many, many ways of communication that are anything but calm and reasonable. Cats will scream, they will destroy furniture, they will tear up houseplants, and they will urinate where they aren’t supposed to. However, cat owners will still love and appreciate their cats, as this is part of what encompasses pet ownership. As with taking care of a young child, owning a pet can sometimes lead to problems when the pet is having issues. With cats, one of the most prominent problems that you will encounter is when your cat does not use the litter box the way it is supposed to. Assuming that your cat is fully litter trained, there are many reasons why your cat may be urinating outside of its litter box. Almost all of these reasons fall into a form of communication.
While this form of communication certainly isn’t acceptable, part of your job as a pet owner is to “listen” to what your cat is saying. Cats are typically very hygienic creatures. This means when they urinate outside of their litter box, there is something seriously wrong and they are trying to send a message to you. For some cats, it could simply mean that the litter box is too dirty for the cat to feel comfortable using. For other cats, it could be a sign of a territorial feud. There’s even the chance that it means your cat is sick. Before working with your cat to change its behavior, you will first need to rule out any medical causes.
Ruling Out the Medical Causes
Unless it is clearly a territorial feud, or if the cat box hasn’t been cleaned for a while, or if your cat is simply still learning how to use the litter box, you should consider taking your cat to the vet when it urinates inappropriately. It is important to try and rule out any medical causes for this behavior before moving on to work with your cat. After all, if you start trying to help your cat’s behavior first, you might get discouraged if it doesn’t work because the cat has a medical issue.
If your cat feels pain or discomfort while urinating, it might come to associate the litter box itself as the source of pain. This will cause your cat to start avoiding the litter box, as in the cat’s mind, the litter box is the source of pain. When this happens, your cat will begin to pee outside of the litter box, as this will remain the closest to the “right” spot to urinate in, but without entering what the cat associates with pain or discomfort. A cat who is in distress while urinating might meow or yowl in pain as well. If your cat seems to exhibit signs of this, consider taking your cat to the vet so that you can begin solving the problem.
Understanding the Problem
Now that medical problems have either been ruled out or taken care of, the first step to stopping your cat from urinating outside the litter box is to understand why your cat is doing it in the first place. As mentioned earlier, urination is a form of communication in cats. When your cat urinates outside the litter box, it is communicating that there is a problem. There are a fair few reasons why your cat feels the need to urinate outside the litter box.
If the litter box is too dirty or smelly, either due to a lack of cleaning or particularly stinky droppings, your cat is not going to want to use it. You should have one litter box per cat, with one extra litter box to spare. These litter boxes should be cleaned daily, with the litter completely changed out on a weekly basis. If you are not doing this, then there’s a good chance that your cat is not using the litter box because it is too dirty.
Cats may also not use the litter box if there is a territory issue between cats. This is common in cats who are not well adjusted, have issues socializing with other cats, or are interacting with a new cat in the family. This is also why it is important to have one litter box per cat, plus an extra, as it will allow cats to each have their own boxes to use so that there is no potential for a territorial problem.
Cats who have not been fixed will also urinate inappropriately. Female cats will urinate during heat, while male cats will spray to mark their territory and in response to a female cat’s mating call. While this is more likely to result in urination elsewhere besides the litter box, there’s a chance that your cats may choose to urinate outside the box if they are not fixed. This is a relatively easy problem to fix, as you will simply need to take your pets to be fixed.
Finally, your cat will urinate outside of the litter box as a way to get your attention. While this seems offensive and disgusting to the eyes of a person, this is a cat’s natural way of communication. More often than not, it is telling you that it is stressed out and that it is not able to handle whatever the situation may be. It could be that it is telling you that the litter box is dangerous. It could be that the cat is afraid of a new animal or person in the household. It could be that your cat doesn’t feel it has a place to relax. All of these need to be tended to if you want your cat to stop urinating inappropriately.
How to Fix the Problem
To fix the problem, you will need to work on the root of it. After ensuring that your cat does not have a medical issue causing the inappropriate urination, or that your cat is doing it because it has not been spayed or neutered, you will need to address the behavioral causes. These include not having enough litter boxes for each cat to have its own, not having a clean litter box, and not feeling comfortable in the house. Chances are that if these problems are taken care of, your cat will come to realize that it has a safe place to relieve itself, and it will begin doing so in an appropriate manner once again.