My Cat Urinates Outside the Litterbox

CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses causes and suggests solutions for cat that urinate outside the litterbox.

Q: My beautiful, white long-haired cat, Cory, has one blue eye and one green eye. He is almost 3 years old and I have always had trouble with him urinating on the floor. He also uses the litterbox only when he wants to. He has had bladder infections his entire life. My veterinarian puts him on medication for two or three weeks and we’re good for two or three months, but then Cory has another episode.

His litterboxes (all three of them) are in the laundry room, which is a low-traffic area. I have tried separating the litterboxes in different rooms, but nothing changes. Cory does not urinate very often, but when he does, the puddle is very large.

I have another cat named Lucy, and she has no problem. These cats are the best of friends. They play together, sleep and eat together and share all three boxes, so I don’t think it is because of her that he is urinating on the floor. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to stop him from urinating on the floor?

A: When cats urinate outside the litterbox, you have to rule out a medical problem first. Because of Cory’s history with urinary tract infections, we always have to consider the possibility that when he does this, he has a bladder infection, an inflamed bladder, or some other bladder discomfort.

If it’s not a medical problem, then it’s behavioral. Either he doesn’t like something about his litterboxes, or he likes the particular spot he’s going on, or both. So, you need to make the boxes more attractive, and the spot he’s going on less attractive.

It sounds like you have enough litterboxes. I know you’ve tried moving some of the boxes to different rooms in the house and it didn’t work, but still, I would continue to keep the boxes in separate areas of the house, in case there’s something about the laundry room that bothers him (perhaps he’s been in the box and the washer started agitating very loudly, which scared him). If the boxes have hoods on them, remove them. You should use clumping cat litter, and clean the boxes every day.

Repel him from the spot he’s been using by putting “Sticky Paws” on the spot. These are sheets of double sided sticky tape. You can find it in big pet stores. Cats hate the feel of the sticky tape on their feet, will leave the area once they step on the tape, and will not urinate there.

If all of these maneuvers do not work, there are drugs that usually help cats overcome these behaviors. Prozac often works, and so does buspirone. Your vet can talk to you about these drugs. Good luck!

Article Categories: