After a double shift, you plop on the couch and Fifi curls up on your lap. Just when you start to relax, you notice the smell -- cat urine. She relieved herself on the cushion next to you. Several things may cause your feline to go potty outside of her box.
Can't Hold It
Kitties aren't spiteful animals and your purring pal isn't trying to make you angry on purpose. Imagine pulling into a gas station when you have "the urge," but the stalls are occupied. After running next door to the fast food restaurant and finally finding an open toilet, you realize you're in the men's room. Your fuzzy companion experiences the same sort of urgency when she has to go. She races to the litter box, but unfortunately, Felix is using it. Since she can't possibly hold it, she heads to the nearest comfortable quiet place: your sofa. You should have one litter box per cat, plus one more, suggests The Humane Society of the United States. This way, there is always one available when your kitty needs to go.
Cats prefer a clean living environment, especially when it comes to their toilet area. If you don't regularly scoop out her droppings or change out her litter completely, she may not want to use her box anymore. Get in the habit of scooping out her litter several times per day. If you use regular clay litter or pellets, swap out the litter twice per week, instead of one time. You'll also need to scrub the pan with a mild detergent before you fill it with new litter. By keeping her potty clean, she'll be more inclined to use it and less likely to urinate outside the pan.
Your finicky feline might not like her litter. Maybe the texture is too rough for her to dig through or maybe the strong floral aroma isn't appealing to her. Switch to fine-grain clumping litter in place of regular clay litter. Cats generally prefer a fine-textured type of litter, which is gentler on their fragile paws. Additionally, if you fill her box with scented litter, swap it for an unscented variety the next time around. While you may enjoy the clean-smelling scent, Fifi might dislike it and not want to relieve herself where she is supposed to. Instead of using scented litters or deodorizers, sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the pan to absorb unappealing odors.
Frequent accidents are not only frustrating, they can be a sign that something is wrong. If urinating is painful, due to inflammation or stones, or if your cat gets the frequent urge to urinate, she'll be more likely to go potty away from her litter box, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Watch for blood in her urine or pay attention to meowing while she relives herself. These might be signs that something is wrong and she needs medical attention.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.