How To Stop A Cat Peeing Outside The Litter Box

If your cat is straining to urinate
Take your cat to a vet immediately

Suddenly, your perfectly toilet-trained cat has decided the whole of its world (i.e. your house) is its toilet and has started peeing outside the litter box.

If your cat was once trained to use the litter tray and has always been fastidious about cleanliness what could be the reason to suddenly stop using the cat litter box?

Unfortunately, feline inappropriate urination is a common problem that can be caused by a medical or behavioural problem.

Working out the cause for this can take some time and requires a system of elimination and a little bit of trial and error.

Read on for our step-by-step process to solve the problem of your cat peeing outside the litter box once and for all.

cat urinating in litter box

Why Is My Cat Not Using The Litter Box?

To determine why your cat has a problem with inappropriate urination involves a little detective work.

We begin with identifying whether the cause is medical or behavioural.

1. Is Your Cat’s Problem Due To A Medical Issue?

There are many potential reasons why your cat is peeing or pooping outside its litter box.

First things first though, does your cat have a medical issue that is either creating urgency to pee or makes it painful or unpleasant to pee in the kitty litter?

We start by taking a thorough history to try to determine if there is a pattern to this behaviour:

  1. Are they dribbling urine in multiple places around the house?
  2. Is there blood in the cat’s pee?
  3. Does your cat have trouble getting into the litter tray
  4. Is your cat straining to urinate?
  5. Is your cat drinking and peeing more than usual, sometimes finding that they can’t find the litter tray in time?
  6. Is your cat disorientated or meowing at night?

If you can answer yes to any of these problems, then it is possible that your cat has a medical reason for urinating outside the litter box and it is wise to talk to a vet or visit a vet for a physical examination.

Some common medical causes of inappropriate elimination include:

  • Arthritis
  • FLUTD – feline lower urinary tract disease
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Bladder stones that can lead to urinary tract obstruction
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia

2. Is Inappropriate Urination Due To A Behavioural Problem?

To work out the problem of why the cat stopped using the litter box you will need to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and start observing behaviours and thinking like a cat!

Cats are creatures of habit, any change to their environment can lead to stress.

Occasionally a stressed cat will take to urinating outside the litter box as a way of voicing their dislike of a situation essentially showing their anxiety.

A good way to work out what potential stressors may be at play is to consider changes that may have occurred in the household.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have you recently moved house?
  2. Has someone left or joined your household?
    • Maybe you have had visitors to stay or you have a new boyfriend or girlfriend?
  3. Have you been decorating or doing alterations in the house?
  4. Have you changed the type of litter being used?
  5. Have you introduced a new pet to the household?
  6. Is your house a multi-cat household?
  7. Are there signs of a new cat in the neighbourhood?
  8. How often do you clean the litter tray?
  9. What chemicals do you use to clean the litter tray?
  10. How many litter trays do you have for each cat in the household?

These may sound like weird and bizarre questions, but they help us to get a gauge of what is going on in your cat’s life and why they may not be using the litter box as you want them to.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is possible that this might be the very reason your cat is not using the litter box.

In most circumstances, inappropriate urination is due to some sort of stress.

A step by step protocol is required to help eliminate stress.

Remove Cat Urine Contamination From Carpet

First things first, and before we focus on reasons for your cat peeing in places it shouldn’t, we need to clean up the cat urine so that they don’t become repeat offenders.

It is important that you clean up accidents as soon as possible.

Cat urine has an almighty stink that can be very difficult to get rid of completely.

Cat urine contains urea that converts into ammonia as well as a type of pheromone 3-mercapto-3-methylbutan-1-ol (MMB), a compound that gives cat urine its typical odour.

When cat urine dries, both the stains and smell became near impossible to remove.

It is important to remove the smell and stain from these areas to prevent your cat from using the floor as its toilet again in the future.

You can find the spots where your cat has urinated by using ultraviolet or black light to highlight the stains.

Once located, the most important part of cleaning is to lift all carpeted areas up and ensure that you clean the floor underneath.

Ordinary household cleaners will not do the job properly as they cannot break down the chemical bonds in uric acid.

You need to purchase a special enzymatic cleaner.

These enzyme cleaners target uric acid and remove the lingering smell so the kitty does not return to the spot.

How To Stop Your Cat Peeing Outside The Litter Box?

Once we have cleaned up the mess our cat has made it is important to prevent the problem from happening again with targeted litter box training.

If you catch your cat in the act of urinating somewhere it shouldn’t please avoid yelling and reprimanding your cat.

Punishment does not help this problem at all and can make the situation far worse.

You will only scare your cat so it learns to go to the toilet in secret.

Instead, we recommend you pick up your cat and lock it in the room where you want to keep the litter tray.

Ensure the litter tray is scrupulously clean.

If this is the first time your cat has done this, always check the litter tray to make sure that a) it has obviously urinated and b) that there is no blood in the urine.

To learn more about how to solve this problem we have designed a guide with all the steps outlined for you.

Please fill out the following form to receive this step by step guide directly to your mailbox.


Sometimes you can have the best litter box and the best cat litter, but still, your cat refuses to use the litter tray. There is hope. Contact us to receive all the top tips on how you can stop this once and for all. 
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