Peeing outside of the litter box is one of the most frustrating problems a cat guardian will deal with. Not only does it make your home smell bad, but it can seem impossible to get your cat to stop.
Luckily, there are a number of trusted techniques that can help your cat to pee in a litter box.
7 Tips to Get a Cat to Pee in a Litter Box
- Take your cat to the vet.
- Change the litter box location.
- Try new litter.
- Add another litter box.
- Scoop the litter box regularly.
- Assess the territory for threats.
- Be patient and stay positive.
Take your cat to the vet.
Peeing outside of the litter box is more often a medical issue than a behavioral one. Your cat doesn’t pee on your floor out of spite—that’s just not how their brains work. If your cat isn’t using her litter box, you need to figure out if she is sick. One of the most common reasons cats don’t pee in their litter box is because they have a UTI. This infection can cause incredible pain for a cat when peeing, making them associate their box with that horrible feeling. Clearing up the UTI—or whatever other medical ailment they’re facing—should help them start to go into their box again.
Change the litter box location.
I get it—you don’t want a litter box sitting in the middle of your living room. But sometimes your cat doesn’t want her litter box hidden in a dark corner of a scary basement, either. If your cat isn’t using her litter box, it could be that she simply doesn’t like where you have it set up. Try moving it to a space that is more open and the cat already spends time in. I know it may not be ideal for the humans, but a litter box placed in a frequently used bedroom can be a game changer for cats.
Try new litter.
Cats can sometimes shy away from their litter box because they don’t like the type of litter you are using. Declawed cats can be especially sensitive to certain litters because the pellets can irritate their deformed feet. Consider swapping out the brand and size of litter you use to see if that may be the issue for your kitty.
Add another litter box.
The general rule of thumb is that you should have one litter box for every cat in the house, plus one. That means single cat homes should have two litter boxes, houses with two cats should have three litter boxes, etc. Start by getting at least that bare minimum number for your home, or even adding extra. Place them in different areas of your home so that your cat has plenty of options, and pay attention to which she decides to use. You can move the other boxes closer once you’ve found that sweet spot.
Scoop the litter box regularly.
Your cat shouldn’t have to sift through pee and poop before using her litter box. Cats need fresh, clean litter or else they may stop going in the box altogether. Scoop your boxes regularly to make sure they always stay clean. Automatic litter boxes are a great option to help with this—just make sure you are still monitoring your cat’s waste for any changes that could signal a health issue.
Assess the territory for threats.
If you have a window that looks outside where other animals roam, your cat may be peeing outside of her box as a way of claiming her territory. Take note of what goes on around your house and who may be frightening your cats. If you do have community cats or other animals roaming around, try to humanely deter them with motion activated air spray. The threats should stop coming by your house after a time or two, helping your cat to regain confidence in her area.
Be patient and stay positive.
Sometimes you’ll need to try several different methods before your cat will start using her litter box again. For example, you should always bring your cat for a vet check up when their behavior changes, then you may need to move the location of the litter box while also swapping out the pellet size. Be patient and you’ll find what works for your kitty. And never punish your cat for peeing outside of the litter box. She isn’t doing it to make you angry, she’s doing it because she needs your help and is trying to tell you that.
I know a lot about cats, but I’m not a veterinarian. Please don’t take any of the statements I give as medical advice and do always consult your trusted vet, especially if your cat is experiencing behavioral challenges.