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Why does my cat pee all over the house and what can I do about this?

Updated on August 22, 2016

Cleaning up urine

As cat urine has a strong smell, it will take no time before your whole house smells like a litterbox. So you want to clean everything well before people stop visiting you because your house smells of urine.

Clean the pee stains with cleaning soda and not with a cleaning product that has a strong (perfume) smell. The smell may (temporarily) mask the urine smell, but it will not make the smell go away permanently. Besides that, when the cat smells you have covered the spot with a stronger smell, it will urinate there again to again mask that smell with its own urine again. Cats do not like very strong smells (unless it comes from something they produced themselves). Use cleaning soda instead or something that has no (perfume) smell.

Behavioural problem or medical problem

When a cat pees or sprays in the house (outside of the litterbox) there is always a good reason for it. In order to find out what that reason is, you will have to study your cats behaviour more closely. You need to discover whether your cats peeing is a behavioural problem or a medical problem. In both cases there are symptoms to recognize and possibilities to solve the problem.

Medical symptoms and possible solutions

Peeing or spraying
The first thing is find out whether your cat is peeing or spraying. When a cat sprays it leaves only drops of urine, rather than a larger amount of urine. Spraying is more common with male cats rather than female cats, although females also spray.

Territorial behaviour?
When a cat sprays it may be a sign of showing territorial behaviour. With spraying they leave their scent behind in areas where they small other scents that are not theirs. This especially happens with cats that are not castrated/sterilized and are surrounded by other cats in the household. To prevent the spraying it is advised to have your cat castrated/sterilized by contacting the veterinarian. For male cats this is a small procedure, for female cats it is a slightly more complicated procedure so your cat may have to stay at the vet's office overnight.

Bladder infection?
Cats have very small bladders and are therefore quite sensitive to bladder infections. Especially female cats are sensitive to it. You can recognize a bladder infection by the following symptoms:

  • Your cat leaves small amounts of urine in corners of the room.
  • Your cat keeps going to the litterbox to pee, but only drops come out or no urine at al

A bladder infection can be caused by certain types of cat food. When you change the brand of cat food, your cat might develop a bladder infection. Whether this happens has nothing to do with the brand, it being cheap or expensive, but rather the change of one brand to another.

When you suspect that your cat might have a bladder infection, contact your veterinarian. The best is to try and get some urine to bring with you which makes it easier for the vet to check whether it is indeed a bladder infection.

Behavioural problems

Another reason for your cat peeing or spraying in the house can be because of stress problems or problems with cleanliness. Important is that you do not punish a cat for peeing or spraying as cats do not show this behaviour out of spite but because there is a good reason for it.

Cleanliness and territory
When you get a new cat, it being a kitten or adult cat you will have to train it in using the litterbox. Drag your cat a couple of times a day to the litterbox, as well as when you see it will start peeing/spraying somewhere else. If you have more than one cat, it can also happen that one of your cats or maybe even both of them will spray to mark off their territory as it were. When your cats show territorial behaviour, you could make use of special products that cause cats to relax more, which might solve the spraying problem.

Litterbox behaviour
The environment and condition of the litterbox is of much more importance than many think. If a cat is unhappy with its litterbox it will start doing its business elsewhere. Here a few tips on litterbox environment and use.

  • There should be one litterbox available per per cat, and perhaps one extra even if possible. One litterbox for more than one cats is not enough.
  • Place the litterbox in a quiet environment. Most cats don't like to use the litterbox if many people walk by or if it is too noisy. Litterboxes should also not be placed too close to the water and food. Who would like to do their business close to where they eat/drink.
  • Clean the literbox minimally once per week, but perhaps twice per week is better. Scoop any poo out of the litterbox every other day. The cleaner the litterbox the better.
  • Try out whether your cat is happier with a litterbox with a lid on it or perhaps not. Some cats prefer having a more closed off space, but others may like a more open litterbox.

It is possible that your cat might be stressed. The cat will start peeing everywhere because it feels unhappy. A number of reasons that can cause stress in cats:

  • Getting another cat or animal in the house
  • Moving to another environment or location
  • A birth or death in the family (either of an animal or person)
  • Too many animals or other cats in the house
  • Having a bad relationship with another animal in the house
  • Too little attention from the owner, cats also need a bit of loving on a daily basis

Medication or therapist?

If in doubt, always contact a veterinarian. You can find a solution together, and they might have a good tip or the medication needed to solve the problem.

There are therapists who specialize in animal behavior. They could help if your cats problem is behavioral.

Feliway to help your cat "spraying" problem


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    • profile image

      Zohaib Syed 

      5 months ago

      I have a 7 month old cat and he keeps peeing all over the house and he has a perfectly good litter box . I also have another cat which is a female but my male cat is peeing everywhere and it’s becoming a problem .. help please

    • profile image

      Marianne Wildin 

      6 months ago

      I've had my spayed female cat for 6 years. Never has she ever peed anywhere in the house and just recently, she has been urinating in random places throughout the house. She doesn't seem ill and she still uses her cat box and also goes outside. I'm very worried that she is suffering but doesn't act sick? I don't know what to do, she is like a child to me and means the world to me. I'm also very low on cash but if there is a medical issue, I don't want her suffering. She does seem lonely when I get home from work but I love her up and give her as much attention as I can give.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      23 months ago from Enschede, The Netherlands

      Thank you for the link, will watch :)

    • helenstuart profile image

      Helen Stuart 

      24 months ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

      That's very true. The ancient Egyptians used to shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning when their cat died. (When I was about 9 I recieved a book entitled something like "Everything about cats." I read it over and over till it was in shreds. It also said if a cat turns its back to you and grooms itself, it is listening to what you are saying. (especially about it.) I realized last night that I think the show is called "MY cat from hell." I am going to see if I can find you any sort of link, I found it

      You can go to youtube and just type in My Cat from Hell. this one is about a cat with OCD, I thought it looked interesting. The cat specialist is named Jackson Galaxy, a youngish, punky looking guy who always surprises people with his appearance. The series airs on "Animal Planet" which also comes on Hulu, (I love hulu, mostly) I hope you can find it, well you can get a lot of seasons on youtube!!!!

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      24 months ago from Enschede, The Netherlands

      I will definitely find the show and watch it. Cat behaviour always has interested me. I watched some of the dog whisperers shows aswell, but I think cats behaviour is a bit more complicated and thus more interesting.

    • helenstuart profile image

      Helen Stuart 

      24 months ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

      Have you ever seen that show "My Cat from Hell?" It is amazing. You have the same instincts that guy has. (maybe you can look it up on your computer.) I know they do not have the same bonding-and-pleasing-human impulses that humans have, but they do love us when we love and commit to them. A person like you (if you ever WANT another cat) could handle raising an orphan. Just make sure they get colostrum along with the baby cat milk they sell, and HANDLE it all the time. You could always contact your local animal shelters, because unfortunately, due to the "disposability" of animals, especially cats, and their ever successful breeding, kittens and cats don't have much of a chance. Orphans aren't uncommon. It would be good to know if an orphan baby came from a mom who had had her vaccines. I am NOT recommending creating orphans by any means. Or putting your own cats at risk by bringing a potentially sick kitten into the home. But I have read, and My husband had to raise a kitten from the eyes closed stage, and both reported that kittens which are raised very very early by knowledgable and dependable humans are a whole different animal. Much more dog like and less fearful. My husband's cat (before I knew him) happily went on car rides and got out and trotted after him. I love cats just the way they are anyway. They have very healing spirits. They bless us and grace us. One thing the guy on "My cat from Hell" ALWAYS does, is create a walkwayfor cats that is about as high as the human eye. Whether its from Mantle to windowsill, to something you create for flow, it gives them their "treeness" and makes them VERY HAPPY. I hope you can find that show.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      24 months ago from Enschede, The Netherlands

      Thank you for your comment! Cats are a bit more difficult to train, but it is nevertheless needed. I have also thought about the cat training, no idea if it would work. Perhaps with cats who are a bit younger than mine (14 and 18 years old).

    • helenstuart profile image

      Helen Stuart 

      24 months ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

      Great article! We often treat our cats as if they are creatures from Mars, while we feel comfortable training dogs. Have they taken the stuff out of cat food that causes the urinary tract infections? I know many cats died from that. I am blown away by the show "My Cat from Hell." That guy really knows cats. They are quite different from dogs. (obviously) I have read if you ever have to raise a very very young orphan kitten, it will grow up totally socialized and very different from "ordinary" cats, but you better be ready for the risk, the same Up all night as a baby, etc. It is always better if a natural mom can raise her young. And you are totally right about litter box hygeine and cat health and happiness. I wonder how hard it is to actually train a cat to use the toilet . I know the mechanics. To me that would be ideal.


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