NutriSource Blogs

Why cats pee in unexpected places and other things to know about managing a litterbox

December 09, 2020
photo of cat standing next to litter box

There’s nothing that sparks joy like bringing your cat home for the first time. You likely got a cat because they require much less training and maintenance than a dog. However, some training may be necessary, as you may find your new feline friend likes to pee outside of their litterbox. Cats can be a bit stubborn at times, but training them to use their litterbox regularly is relatively easy.

Why is my cat peeing everywhere except for their litterbox?

Each cat is unique and can have little triggers that upset them. The more time you spend with your cat, the more you’ll learn about these upsets and better understand how to handle them.

Your new cat may have some stress and anxiety issues. Cats are creatures of habit, making them uncomfortable with disruptions to their daily routine. This can cause them to act out and do their business in places they shouldn’t, like your floor, your bed or your houseplants. Such stressors can be prompted by people or pets moving into their space, a change in their owner’s schedule or receiving more affection than they’re comfortable with.

Your cat may also pee outside of their litterbox due to health issues. In some cases, this behavior could be due to a urinary tract infection, kidney disease or even diabetes. Your veterinarian can facilitate a proper diagnosis and treatment option if these kinds of issues persist.

In other cases, your cat may not use their litterbox because it isn’t set up or maintained to their liking. That can sound frustrating, but it’s important to ensure their litterbox contains litter that is pleasing to your cat’s nose and paws.

Training your cat to use their litterbox

When your cat doesn’t use their litter box, it can be problematic. Luckily, this is an easy issue to fix. Cats are prone to use their litterbox, but occasionally need extra guidance. And with a little patience, effort and tender loving care, your cat will become accustomed to it. Here are a few things you can do to help them adjust:

Make sure their litterbox is the right size

Cats can be very particular about their litter box’s size and shape. If they feel like they don’t fit well inside, they may be hesitant to use it. Make sure the sides are low enough so they can enter and exit their litterbox with ease. And if you notice your cat tends to have bad aim, you may want to consider getting a litterbox with higher sides. Doing so can help keep waste off the floor.

Make sure you set your litterbox in an appropriate place

Cats can be shy and skittish; they tend to be very private creatures and don’t want to pee or poop in a loud or chaotic spot. You’ll want to place their litter box in a peaceful and sequestered area of your home. If you find your cat doesn’t like a certain spot in your home, keep moving the litterbox until you find a location that works for them. If you have an outdoors cat, the circumstances may be different. If so, place the litterbox next to the door to ensure quick and easy access.

If you have multiple cats in the house, that can create conflict, which may cause them to avoid it all together. Make sure you have as many litter boxes as cats plus one more and place them in different rooms.

Buy litter your cat likes

It not only matters where you place your cat’s litterbox, but what kind of litter you put in it. If your cat doesn’t like their litter, they may display avoidance, perching or “hit and run” type behaviors. Testing new litter may involve some trial and error, but once you find a brand or scent they like and feels comfortable on their paws, stick to it.

Show them where the litterbox is

Placing the litterbox in a quiet spot is crucial, but if your feline friend doesn’t know where that is, they may decide to “go” elsewhere. However, if you regularly guide them toward the litterbox, they’re much more likely to go to the appropriate spot. Using a litterbox is usually instinctive for cats, so the moment they know and understand where it is, the more likely they are to use it.

Regularly place them in their litterbox after activities

Cats thrive on routine. Many like to have structure to their day, even if it’s spent mostly eating and sleeping. Because of this, it may be a good idea to take your cat to the litterbox after playtime or naptime so it becomes part of their daily ritual.

Of course, if you think your feline friend looks like he needs to go, take him there as soon as you notice the signs.

Clean their litterbox regularly

Since cats like to be clean, they don’t like it when their litterbox gets too full. They want to have space to bury their scat. If you don’t clean it out regularly, they may start leaving droppings in places that aren’t their litterbox. To avoid this, you’ll want to scoop their poop out once a day and rinse out the litterbox with soap and water weekly.

Don’t punish or scold your cat inside the litterbox

Like many animals, cats tend to associate certain places with certain emotions. While potty-training your cat can be frustrating at times, you never want to punish or reprimand your cat when they’re near or inside their litterbox. You don’t want to associate the place where they do their business as a bad one. If your cat makes a mistake and goes to the bathroom outside of the litterbox, calmly place them in it afterward. Eventually, they will make the connection.

A little training and tender loving care can go a long way

There’s no greater joy than having a cat. While it can take a little effort to potty-train them, it’s important to do it with the right attitude and approach. If you want your cat to maintain regular bowel movements, feeding them healthy cat food is a step in the right direction. Pure Vita Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry can provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and other proteins for your cat. It comes in a variety of flavors, including chicken, duck and salmon. And the best part? It’s packed with prebiotics and probiotics to promote strong gut health and digestion, resulting in less litterbox odors.

You can find this brand and more at your local, independent pet retailer.