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Why is My Cat Urinating (Peeing) Outside of the Box?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Why is My Cat Peeing Outside of the Box?

Inappropriate urination (peeing) outside the litter box is a common problem in cats and one of the most popular reasons cats go to the veterinarian. It is also frequently to blame for cats being abandoned, surrendered to shelters, or euthanized.

So why do cats pee or urinate outside the litter box? There are many reasons. Here are some of the most common:

•        Medical reasons : cats will pee outside the litter box due to inflammatory bladder diseases, bladder stones, bladder infections, kidney problems and diabetes.

•        Behavioral reasons: in other cases, cats will urinate out of the box due to the desire to mark territory or show dominance. This is especially common in young intact male cats. Neutering typically fixes this problem in 9 out of 10 cats.

•        Psychological reasons for peeing outside of the litter box can include anxiety and/or stress. Some cats will experience intimidation from another cat, animosity between cats in the house, or competition/guarding of litter boxes

•        Sanitation reasons: cats are highly sensitive to the state of their litter box and can turn away from an unacceptable one for a variety of reasons. Some examples include a litter box which is too dirty, in a scary or noisy location, filled with scented or uncomfortable litter, uses a noisy litter box liner, too frequently used (typically in multi-cat homes where more litter boxes are needed), hooded boxes (many cats don't like hoods), cleaned with smelly detergents, too shallow or deep, and many more.

•        Physical reasons: some cats, especially elderly cats and those with disabilities or arthritis may have difficulty getting into high boxes.

•        Urine smells: if allowed to urinate inappropriately without proper cleaning, cats will be encouraged to return to those locations. Careful and complete cleaning and neutralization of these odors is essential.

KEY POINT: It is important to try to figure out WHY your cat is peeing outside the litter box so you can fix the problem. This sounds easy but isn't always easy.

If you can identify the underlying problems it is much easier to resolve the situation but finding the cause of the problem in a multi-cat home can be difficult.

For a complete article on Inappropriate elimination in cats (a common medical term for cats urinating or peeing outside the litter box), go to this very good article for more information.

I hope this gives you more information on why your cat might be peeing outside the litter box.


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