Your cat likes to keep his emotional or health issues hidden, perpetuating the whole mysterious cat thing. Sometimes hiding his problems isn't possible, though -- such as when you start smelling pee outside his litter box. Inappropriate elimination is a sign something's amiss with your cat, be it emotional or physical.
Although no less disgusting and stinky, your cat may marking spots with little squirts of urine, rather than relieving herself. Cats like to let others know what they consider their possessions and places, and they do so by spritzing a spot with a bit of scent -- namely, their urine scent. A cat may mark when feeling anxious, too. Male and female cats alike tend to spread their scent like this, particularly those that are not neutered or spayed. But altered cats can also spray, especially in times of stress.
Litter Box Aversion
Cats sometimes earn the description “finicky” in regards to their preferred food, and that picky nature can also extend to the litter box. Your cat may decide to do his business elsewhere if something about the litter box is not to his liking. The box may need cleaning or may be in a location your cat feels is too busy or uncomfortable. He may also have disdain for the litter's consistency or smell. The shape of the box itself can also turn cats off, as some prefer an open box while others like one with a lid.
A frustrating truth about inappropriate elimination is the fact that it is a common symptom for many different issues that could be plaguing your cat. He could be feeling stressed or suffering from an underlying medical condition, for instance. Peeing -- relieving himself, not just marking -- where he shouldn't is a sure sign that something is amiss. Various conditions such as diabetes, kidney problems and urinary tract infections can appear in their early stages as puddles on your carpet. Additional symptoms can appear in the form of appetite changes, weight gain or loss and lethargy.
Stopping the Behavior
Unless you share a psychic bond with your furry feline, you're not really going to know what is causing him to let loose outside the litter box. Get him to the veterinarian first to check for medical issues and get a treatment plan in place. If your cat gets the thumbs-up in terms of health, think back to pinpoint when he started this behavior. Changes in the litter box, be it the box itself, the litter or location, are easily corrected by switching back to what your cat liked. Clean up any pee or marking spots with a cleaner specially designed to remove all urine odor -- an enzymatic cleaner is suitable for most surfaces. Give him extra attention to try and lower his anxiety level, and use a synthetic calming pheromone like Feliway to encourage him to relax.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.