This issue is often raised in cat lovers support groups: what to do if my cat peed outside of the litter box? Avoiding the litter box is a complex problem and requires certain steps. You have to play a detective and a serial killer…
Most important thing is to find out why your cat ignored the litter box. There may be a number of reasons:
- Your cat has health problems (e.g. with the urinary tract or diabetes) – this is the worst but also the most common cause of peeing outside of the litter box. If going to toilet is painful to them, the pet starts to associate pain with the litter box. To avoid pain, the cats starts to do his business in places that he associates positively (e.g. with safety or play). This usually means in corners, the floor or on the bed. And when they have problems with bladder control – well, they will pee wherever they are standing at the moment. So if your cat ignores the litter box, take him to the vet immediately for a basic check up!
- The litter box is located in a wrong place, for example where it’s too noisy and busy or too close to food bowls. Nobody likes to relieve themselves in plain sight or where people are bothering them. Well we don’t tend to go number 1 or 2 right next to our plate, do we? Cats have the same opinion on this matter. So if you eliminated any possible health issues, then check whether the location of the litter box may be the problem.
- The litter box is not cleaned frequently enough – some cats attach a great deal of importance to the cleanliness of their toilet and will not use it unless the previous load hasn’t been cleaned 🙂 This seems pretty logical to me. At work I also avoid those toilets which previous users forgot to flush.
- Cat may not like the litter we use or we’ve changed the brand recently – cats don’t like sudden changes. Moreover, majority of cats don’t like strongly scented litter. Well, there are as many preferences as there are cats. Some may prefer bentonite, others silica gel crystals, while some may go for plant-based litter. Some kitties may like coarse litter, while others prefer compact. Sometimes you just have to test a few options out!
- Cat marks the territory – this mainly concerns intact male cats, but not only (e.g. cats may do it when they sense other animals and want to mark their territory). It may be particularly helpful to ask a qualified animal behaviourist for help. Once they get to know the cat, his history and the present territory, they will be able to pinpoint the reason of territory marking. And knowing the reason means an easier way to solve the problem.
- Cat feels bored, lonely or neglected and try to let you know by peeing in forbidden spots. In such a case we also recommend a consultation with an animal behaviourist. It’s easier for an outsider who’s not emotionally involved to diagnose the real problem.
Calm down, it’s not about killing your pet! But you should get rid crime evidence in a clever way.
- Wash the urine-covered areas with soapy water or sparkling water.
- Then wash the spot once again – this time using a citrus-scented cleaning solution or water with soda or vinegar. This will neutralise unpleasant smell. And getting rid of the smell is crucial here. If the cat smells urine, they automatically take this spot for a toilet. I bet that you also want to get rid of the stench of cat’s pee.
- Avoid ammonia-based cleaning solution! Cat’s urine contains a lot of ammonia, thus using ammonia-based cleaning products will only intensify pee-perfume. And this in turn will encourage the kitty to pee there more often…
- To make it clear to your kitty that a given place is out of bounds for them, after cleaning it up, put their… food bowl there. Their cat food, of course. No healthy cat will ever go to toilet near their food.
Have your cat ever had a pee-related incident? Did you manage to work out what was the reason?