Q: My cat uses her litterbox to pee, but also pees outside the box. Sometimes she will actually pee, and other times she will back up to the box and spray out. Not sure why this is and I have tried different litter, boxes, foil around the box, carpet under the box — but nothing has stopped this behavior. My cat does not pee or spray anywhere else in the house, just around her box.
A: Whenever a cat has a change in behavior, take her to a veterinarian. Many cat health problems can cause cats to not use their litterbox. After the cat receives a clean bill of health, approach the problem as behavioral.
The litterbox location, the number of boxes and type of litterbox available are a few factors that could influence your cat’s elimination behavior, such as your cat not peeing in the litterbox.
Check your litterbox size and type. Covered litterboxes or too-small litterboxes can cause cats to urinate outside of them and spray over the top. I recommend large, translucent, uncovered 66-qt storage containers. They are about 12 inches tall — a good solution for cats who urinate while standing and for those who energetically dig in their boxes. If your cat has problems jumping into the box, cut a “U” shape into one side for accessibility.
Check the number of boxes you have available. Ideally, have one box per cat plus one for the household. If you only have one cat, then you need two litter boxes, located in different areas of your house.
Check the location of the litterboxes. Place them in areas where your cat won’t feel she can be trapped or ambushed. Ideal locations provide views of the room and out the door, and are areas with good escape potential. Closets and bathrooms are not ideal locations for litterboxes because cats can easily be trapped and ambushed in enclosed areas.