Cats urinate outside of their litter boxes for many reasons. Health problems, behavior issues and stressful situations can cause felines to choose inappropriate locations to urinate. Once you get to the bottom of these problems, there are steps you can take to prevent urination in a forbidden spot.
Ruling Out Health Problems
One of the most common reasons a feline will urinate in a spot that makes her owners cringe is illness. A feline with a disease or infection of the urinary tract may have sudden urges to go, making the spot on the bedroom carpet seem like a good option if her litter box is in another room. Urinary incontinence from a previous illness or injury may also prevent a cat from making it to her litter box in time. Infections of the bladder or kidneys, problems in the liver, thyroid disease, kidney failure and diabetes are all medical conditions in felines that could lead to peeing outside the box. Therefore, a complete veterinarian exam that includes blood tests and urinalysis is necessary to rule out illness, injury or disease as the main cause of your cat's choice to urinate in a forbidden spot.
Evaluating Behavior and Stress Issues
Emotional distress can also play a big role in litter box issues. Cats are sensitive animals, and their behavior is often played out by urinating in areas not designated for this purpose. Lifestyle changes such as moving to a new home or adding a new pet may cause your kitty to be confused or stressed about peeing in her litter box. In addition, many cats prefer to have their own litter box and may seek out a new spot in multiple-cat homes. Evaluating your pet's circumstances or changes will help you determine if there are environmental issues causing your feline to pee somewhere besides her litter box.
Considering Your Cat's Bathroom
Some cats are picky about the type of litter they use. Scented or coarse litter may be offensive to a sensitive cat, resulting in her finding another place to pee. Cats are also very clean animals. A dirty litter box and surroundings may send your cat in search of a new bathroom.
Cleaning the Urine
Whether the cause of your feline's inappropriate urination is medical or environmental, discovering the root of the problem is the first step to eliminating it. However, it is also important to take care of the mess to discourage her from continuing this unappealing behavior. Once you locate the area, cleaning it with appropriate items will help deter your cat from returning to the spot. Areas without carpet are easiest to clean with basic cleaning solutions and water, then wiped dry. For carpet, use a steam cleaner or professional cleaning service to remove all of the urine and decrease the smell. A cleaner with enzymes or one specially formulated for animal urine is ideal to remove the scent and make the spot less enticing for your kitty to return to do her business. Finally, put an item such as furniture over the spot or keep your cat from entering the room altogether as a helpful step in stopping the problem from happening again.
Preventing Future Problems
Preventing your feline from returning to a spot outside of her litter box is easiest when you exercise patience and determination. If your vet finds a medical issue, follow the treatment plan he provides to help her get well. If you find that your cat's issues are environmental, working with her to eliminate stress in her life will encourage her to pee in her litter box. Putting it in a secluded, quiet area is ideal. If you have more than one cat, consider providing your pets with more than one litter box. If you have ruled out other problems as the cause of your pet's issue, switching litter brands may be the solution. And don't forget to clean your pet's potty area thoroughly on a regular basis.
Jennifer Lynn has been writing as a correspondent and reporter since 1991. She has written for numerous newspapers and currently writes as a correspondent for Gannett. Lynn has a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on English from Ohio University, where she also studied journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.