Why Cats Urinate Outside The Litter Box

Why Cats Urinate Outside The Litter Box

10 min


Why Cats Urinate Outside The Litter Box

Although it is annoying to find cat pee in the house, owners should recognize that cats are not wrong when they leave the litter box, which is understandable. They behave in a way that meets their current needs. There are many reasons why a cat can urinate outside the litter box, but with a little research (and a visit to the vet), you should be able to determine what needs to be done to prevent your cat from urinating & understand why cats urinate outside the litter box.

There are a variety of mixed factors that contribute to the reason about why cats urinate outside the litter box. But one of the main reasons is because of something that happened before that caused them to do this once, twice, then became a habit which is why they do it regardless of what you do to stop it. Below, we will discuss the top 3 reasons cats urinate outside the litter box so that you can try and figure out the cause by matching the reasons cats do it from our list.

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Top 3 Reasons for Cats Urinating Outside Litter Box

  • Cats may have a sense of urgency when going to the litter box, as you may have restricted them from doing so because of eating or playing, which is why they go outside and not inside. This is because going inside and urinating takes a lot longer than doing it outside on the rug. After your pet does it once or twice, your pet will do it out of habit, as it is a lot easier and saves time as well for the cat. The easiest way to fix this is to remove all mats or rugs beside your litter box, as cats often do not urinate on a plain floor but usually on a carpet or mat. This will force your cat to go inside the litter box to urinate instead of having to find another mat or rug to do it on.
  • Your cat may have had a bladder problem in the past, which made them urinate outside once. Once they did it the first time, they realized that it was fine to do so and it fixed whatever problem they had, so they keep on doing it. As cats aren’t intelligent, they may think that urinating outside is a solution to their bladder problem, which is why cats urinate outside. The answer to the first reason will fix this as well.
  • The final reason is due to the litter box not being comfortable or the litter you are using not being healthy to use. This may cause your pet to be uncomfortable while using the litter box and not feeling safe due to the quality of the litter not being up to standards. As low-quality litter has dust and a smell that feels dangerous to your pet, your pet will urinate outside not to have to breathe in the litter or may urinate outside because the litter box is either too small or uncomfortable to use.

Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box?

It’s normal for your cat to pee outside the litter box and you’ll find that he doesn’t use the litter box. In some cases, if your cat has urinated in the litter box, you may see a urine stain or a greenish colour. This is normal for your cat and doesn’t mean something is wrong. If your cat pees outside on a dirty floor, a litter box or a dirty litter box is the cause, then wash the litter box with soap and water immediately! Do your best to clean the bathroom and don’t give your pet anything to drink until you have washed the litter box for him.

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Why is my cat urinating everywhere?

The more stressed a cat or dog is, the less likely it is to recover from its reaction to this stress. As a result, the need to urinate is usually very intense and painful. Moreover, in some cases, it causes more damage than stress. In the case of cats, urination is the most common reaction to a stress factor, because urine is also the cause of stress in cats.

What should I do if I find cat urine on my carpet?

What should I do if I find cat urine on my carpet?

If your cat starts to pee in your carpet, you can wash it with soap, water or catnip or put a dry sock on the stain and rub it with water to prevent the substance from lying on the carpet. Your cat has a bladder problem because her body contains a lot of urine (the problem may be due to a lack of food/water for this urination process).

Clean your litter box

It’s almost certain that a fouled nest will send a cat to another place to urinate. Cats are very clean creatures. Would you like to walk barefoot in your cat’s litter box? If it’s dirty, he won’t either. Litter boxes should be emptied at least once a day and thrown away, washed and refilled monthly.

Adding litter boxes for them to play around with

If you’ve noticed that your cat is urinating instead of spraying, it’s time to take a closer look at your litter box. First of all, how many do you have? A litter box is often not enough. The general rule is one box per cat, plus one extra box. Cats can be very demanding when using a box that already contains urine or faeces, especially if the urine or faeces do not belong to it. The more litter boxes you have, the more likely your cat is to find one that fits her.

Medical Problems

If your cat is urinating incorrectly, the first step is to go to your vet. The vet will do a physical examination of your cat and check a urine sample. Depending on the results, she will recommend treatment. There are several common urinary medical problems in cats:


  1. Bladder stones: Some cats develop real bladder stones that can cause irritation and even blockage. Crystals can go with bladder stones or be a precursor to stone formation. If your vet suspects that bladder stones are present, X-rays will be needed to determine the size and quantity of the stones. A special diet can dissolve smaller bladder stones, but larger stones may need to be removed surgically (cystotomy). It is common for a cat with bladder stones to have a urinary infection as well. If so, treatment with antibiotics is necessary.
  2. Metabolic diseases: Metabolic diseases, such as chronic kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes and thyroid problems can also lead to inappropriate urination by increasing the amount of urine your cat produces. If your cat has drunk more or if you need to clean the litter tray more often, your vet may want to do a blood test to check for these problems.
  3. Urinary tract infections: Urinary tract infections are rare in young cats, but can be a common cause of urinary problems in older cats, either alone or in combination with other medical issues affecting the urinary tract. Bacteria in the urine can cause an inflammatory reaction in the urinary tract. Antibiotics are used to treat urinary tract infections. Your vet will probably tell you to do a follow-up test after the administration of the antibiotics to make sure that the infection is gone.
  4. Idiopathic bladder infection: The term bladder infection means inflammation of the bladder. Idiopathic means that the cause is unknown. Cats with cystitis often have haematuria (blood in the urine). The analysis of a urine sample is essential because blood can only be detected under a microscope. If your vet finds that your cat’s urine contains blood, but there are no crystals, bacteria or stones, then the likely diagnosis is idiopathic cystitis. Idiopathic cystitis is usually treated by a combination of a change in diet and environmental enrichment. Pain and anxiety medication can also be used.

Steps for handling a cat peeing outside the litter box

Steps for handling a cat peeing outside the litter box

  1. Look at what stress or anxiety can cause in your cat. The disturbance can be easily repaired by removing new threatening elements. If a quick introduction of the cat causes the stress, repeat this using appropriate protocols. Perhaps the fear was created by the movement. Also, look at outside influences, sometimes a new kitten may be hanging around your home – an investment in blackout curtains or preventing your cat from reaching certain viewpoints during the day can help. Or it may be an emotional discomfort of unknown origin – here are some general tips to reduce it.
  2. Take your cat to the vet for a check-up. Bring fresh urine and faeces (Click here for cheap veterinary services and other tips on paying the vet).
  3. If you have moved the litter box from the usual place, replace it. Maybe the litter box itself doesn’t work anymore – perhaps the sides are too high, and your cat is getting older. Try another litter box at a lower level. Have you recently received an automatic self-cleaning litter box? Put it away. Clean it regularly. And remember – have at least a litter box per cat and per household, plus an extra box.
  4. Litter! The type of litter can be a problem – try different types and brands.

Also Read –


The main reason for urinating outside is due to your pet doing it once and realizing that it fixes their problems. You have to make your pet feel like urinating inside the box is a lot better and comfortable than doing it outside to fix its habits. Otherwise, it will continuously do it out as there is no other reason for them to do it inside other than it being more uncomfortable. Think of your pet as a newborn baby who doesn’t know much, as it is an easy way to find out solutions to most problems.


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Bruce Dyer

Retired high school teacher librarian, published historian, collector, and cat person for over 20 years.