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Tips On How To Stop A Cat From Peeing Outside The Litter Box

Updated on June 13, 2016

Tips On How To Stop A Cat From Peeing Outside The Litter Box

A cat which pees outside its litter box can be extremely exasperating. Given the stench of cat urine, a cat peeing around the house can cause the entire house to stink. To make matters worse, cats are adept at finding hidden places to pee. As such, tracing for the exact source of the cat urine stench can be difficult. This just adds to the feeling of frustration.

Therefore, every cat owner needs to master how to ensure that their cat pees within the litter box. The ultimate question is: how do you go about this? How can you stop a cat from peeing outside its litter box while within the house?

Well, this simple guide will give practical tips on how to achieve this. However, before even getting to the specific tips, it is important to, first of all, understand the reasons why cats pee outside their litter box.


What Makes Cats Pee Outside The Litter Box

There are a number of reasons why a cat may pee outside the litter box while within the house. The most common ones are the following:

  • Sickness: there are certain sicknesses which make a cat to lose bladder control and leak urine. Examples include urinary tract infection (UTI), feline interstitial cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) and bladder stones or blockage. These cause the cat to pee involuntarily.
  • Environmental stress: when a cat is stressed, afraid or distressed, it can begin peeing around the house. For instance, a cat which is threatened by the arrival or another cat can begin peeing in order to mark its territory.
  • Litter Box problems: when a cat has problems using the litter box, it can choose to pee outside it. Examples of such problems include an unhygienic litter box, poor location (e.g. when the litter box is placed near sources of loud noise), and when the litter box is inaccessible.
  • Lack of training: some cats (e.g. stray cats which have been rescued) may not have been trained to use a litter box. As such, they pee wherever they feel like.

The bottom line is that there are numerous reasons why a cat can pee outside its litter box. Each of these has its own solutions. For instance, a cat which is leaking urine needs to see a vet. In this guide, we shall focus on training and retraining. In other words, if your normal cat keeps peeing outside its litter box, how do you train it to stop doing so?

Training A Cat To Stop Peeing Outside

Training a cat to stop peeing outside its litter box is actually a two pronged strategy. Making it stop is only one half of the equation. The other (and more important half) is making it to begin peeing in the litter box. Achieving this takes a three step approach.

1. Eliminate Its Peeing Spots

To stop a cat peeing outside the litter box, you have to eliminate its peeing spots. Cats are creatures of habit. Once a cat begins peeing in one spot, it keeps coming back there. Every time it feels the urge it runs to its peeing spot.

As an owner, your task is to identify and eliminate these peeing spots. Identifying where the cat likes to pee may require some detective work around the house. However, once you identify a spot, there are a number of things you can do to dissuade the cat from using it again.

-Clean the spot thoroughly using a disinfectant. The smell of urine in a particular spot is what keeps the cat returning there. Make sure that you clean the spot to the extent that the cat cannot smell the urine previously peed in it.

-Cover up the spot. If the cat keeps returning, cover the spot with an aluminum foil. Most cats find the sound and texture of aluminum foil irritating. When a cat returns to the spot and finds it covered, it won’t pee there.

-Move its food and water to the spot. Cats are very principled creatures. They can never pee where they eat from. Therefore, if a cat keeps returning to the spot (even after you’ve thoroughly cleaned it), put its food there. It will not pee near its food.

2. Make The Litter Box User-Friendly

Cats often pee outside when they find using their litter box inconvenient. For instance, some litter boxes are so high that a cat with a full bladder cannot climb into it. When a cat cannot conveniently use its litter box, it will pee outside it. Therefore, you have to make sure the cat can easily use the litter box. There are a number of things you can do to ensure this:

-Make the litter box is easily accessible. There are two aspects of this. First is proximity. Make sure that the litter box isn’t located so far that the cat cannot easily find it. Cats typically pee after sleeping, eating or playing. Therefore, the litter box should be within proximity of where the cat does these things. If your house is very large, then consider purchasing multiple litter boxes and positioning them in different parts of the house. The second aspect is physical access. The cat has to be able to easily climb into the litter box.

-Make sure that the litter box is spacious enough. Sometimes, cats stop using the litter box because they no longer feel comfortable inside them. This is especially true for closed litter boxes. If the cat cannot easily turn inside the litter box, it will stop using it.

-Make sure that the location of the litter box is convenient. Cats like a little bit of quiet when peeing. They also need privacy. As such a litter box which is located near loud, startling noises or in an overly open space won’t please most cats. So, ensure that the litter box is placed in a relatively private and quiet location.

-Keep the litter box hygienic. The most common reason why cats stop using their litter boxes is hygiene. Cats are very clean animals. As such, they don’t like staying in dirty environments. So, a litter box needs to be cleaned regularly.

3. Train The Cat To Pee In The Litter Box

Some cats pee outside because they don’t know (or have forgotten) how to use the litter box. As such you have to train (or retain) them to do so. Training a cat to use a litter box is simply a matter of association. You basically want them to know that every time they feel the urge to pee, they should go to the litter box. There a number of things you can do to ensure this.

The first thing is to study the cat’s cycles. Normally, a cat pees after sleeping, eating or playing. When you are just starting out, as soon as the cat has just woken up or fished eating, carry it and put it in the litter box. Also, when in the moments when you play with the cat, do so within proximity of the litter box.

Secondly, when you find the cat has defecated outside the litter box, don’t simply throw its droppings into the toilet. Scoop some of it and put it into the litter box. The smell will tell the cat that the litter box is where the business is done. Next time it wants to pee, this smell will draw it to the litter box.

Also, whenever you realize that the cat has peed outside the litter box, don’t yell at it or punish it. Yelling at the cat may vent out your frustration, but it doesn’t teach the cat anything. The only thing it does is make the cat to fear you. This fear does nothing to teach the cat how to stop peeing outside the litter box.

In case you got the cat when it was still very young, it may not have learnt cat toilet manners from its mother. Generally, when cats pee, they dig a hole in the sand, pee inside and cover it. If the cat doesn’t do this, then you should play the role of mother.

When you suspect that the cat needs to pee, you carry it to the litter box. You then dig a little hole with your finger. If it does its business and doesn’t cover up, you show it how to do so by covering it with your own finger. Do not try to force the cat’s paw to cover it up. Holding the paw will cause the cat to simply pull away and not learn the lesson.

In case the cat doesn’t seem to master how to pee inside the litter box, then you need a more extreme measure. Find a room where you can lock the cat. Put its food and water on one corner, and the litter box on the opposite corner. Leave the cat there for a couple of days. Every time the cat pees or poops outside the litter box, collect the poop, put some of it in the litter box, and thoroughly clean up the spot where it peed. With time, the cat will learn that peeing is done inside the litter box.

In a nutshell, that is how to stop a cat from peeing outside the litter box. Therefore, if you have been struggling with the cat peeing all over the house, try the above tips. However, before getting to them, first ensure that your feline isn’t actually sick. Best Wishes!

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