As professional cat sitters in the Milwaukee area we get this question asked at least once per week.
It’s natural to be angry at your cat for not using the litter box and making a mess. In order to fix the problem, it’s important to understand why your cat is having problems with their litter box in the first place.
- Medical conditions
When your cat pees outside the litter box, don’t always assume that it’s behavioural.
Cats with bladder or urinary tract infections often urinate outside the litter box due to pain or discomfort. Cats experiencing urinary problems aren’t able to control their urination to make it to the litter box in time and may also start to associate the litter box with pain so learn to avoid it. A cat that is inappropriately eliminating should first have a thorough medical assessment by a veterinarian.
- They don’t like the box
If a cat doesn’t like something, they won’t use it. Common problems include providing too small of a box (it should be approximately 1.5 times longer than your cat) and not enough litter material (or too much). Do not place the box in an area with high foot traffic or where other pets may bother your cat while they’re doing their business. We even had one client who built a 4×4 “playground” for his cats so they never missed it!
Cats will avoid the litter box if it is too dirty. The box should be cleaned at least twice a day or as used. It may be tempting to use plastic liners for ease of cleaning, however cats can have an aversion to them as they tend to rustle a lot when digging in the litter. Household cleaners should be used with caution as cats may not like the scent they leave on the box. We recommend Worlds Best Cat Litter. Hands down, simply. the best.
- Something has changed
Cats are creatures of habit and don’t do well with a change in their toilet routine. Changes can be litter box related such as use of a different litter material or moving the box to a new location.
Changes can also be environmental such as moving house or the addition of a new pet to the household. Consider changes in all areas of the house such as new furniture or a strange new plant. Even small things can trigger stress in cats.
In order to correct your cat’s urination problem, you will first need to figure out why it’s occurring. Consider a range of possibilities and remember that your cat is not (usually) doing it to spite you.