Cat Not Using Litter Box

Pet Newsletter - Cat and Dog Newsletter
Click Here to Sign Up FREE!

     Why does my cat pee out of the litter box?
(or inappropriate urination)

A very common problem for cat owners is their pet urinating outside of the litter box. This can be just outside of it or in some other part of the house.

Other symptoms may include straining to urinate or frequent urination, pink or red tinged urine, increased water intake, licking the genitalia and generally not feeling well.

The first thing to know is most of the time this is a medical situation and your cat has bladder inflammation or infection and needs to see a veterinarian. True, most of the time there is some "stress" that starts this bad cat behavior. As in people though, stress causes physical illness. Now, what is stress to a cat? Let me list out some of the most commons things, but pretty much any change can act that way to a cat. Cats are very routine creatures and don't like any distruption in their daily events.

Here are some of the common cat stressors:
1. Owner leaves to go on vacation or starts working long hours and isn't around as much as usual.
2. New pet is added to the household.
3. New family member (such as a baby) is added to the household or guests visit.
4. Loud noises outside, such as construction, people or animals fighting, thunderstorms, or fireworks.
5. Redecorating-sometimes even moving furniture can do it.
6. You name it-cats and change do not get along!

What to do about this then? First take you cat to your veterinarian for a thorough exam and testing. Blood and urine samples may need to be taken to get a full picture of what is happening. Also, x-rays or ultrasound may be needed if a bladder or kidney stone is suspected.

Obviously, the underlying cause of peeing in the wrong place then must be addressed. If it is simple feline lower urinary tract disease and is only inflammation without infection or stones or even crystals, then the best treatment is patience and fluids to dilute out the inflammatory particles. Fluids can be given by the veterinarian and special diets can also aid in this. Wet versus dry is better as wet food has more water in it. As I like to say "dilution is the solution to pollution".

If there are crystals or stones or infection, the appropriate treatment will be recommended by your veteriarian which may include special diets, surgical removal of stones and antibiotics.

Here is the trouble. Even once the underlying medical cause is treated, your cat may still avoid the litter box. The cat has recall of it being painful to urinate from the inflammation or infection and will associate that with the box. You may need to get a new and different box, different litter and even put it in a diferent location. Offering multiple choices of each is usefull as well.

Also, always be sure to keep the box very clean and odor free as possible. It is best to have one more box than cats in the household.

If there is area where the cat urinated outside of the box, clean them thoroughly with an enzymatic urine dissolving solution to fully get rid of the odor and possible enticement of using that spot again.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow your pet to be put on any behavior drugs or anti-depresants. These drugs are highly dangerous, have side-effects you cannot evaluate in an unspeaking patient, and may even make this problem recur more likely later.

And, as mentioned above, stress starts this usually, so if you can locate the stress, remove it. (This obviously does NOT mean to get rid of a new baby or family member or even pet. Do give the cat lots of affection and a safe place to be until used to the newcomer.)

One word of caution is that this can be a life threatening situation, especially in male cats. If they get their urethra (the tube leading out from the bladder to outside the body) plugged with crystals or stones and cannot urinate, they can die. The urine backs up into the kidneys and causes toxin builup.. therefore, if you see a cat straining to urinate and not getting any urine out, get to a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY!!!

I hope this helps with any mishaps with the litter box.

Recommended reading: To help with stress in pets and people it is best to understand the real cause of it. See for the true data and solution.

Until next time,

Dr. Jan

Pet Newsletter - Cat and Dog Newsletter
Click Here to Sign Up FREE!

Copyright © 2001-2016