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Stop Your Cat's Pee Problem With These Changes
CatsBehavior

Stop Your Cat's Pee Problem With These Changes

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Oct 20, 2022

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Have you been stepping in a lot of pee puddles of late or found that your fur baby's been messing up your favorite rug or sending your clean laundry right back to the hamper? You'll need to address the issue ASAP. Get up close and personal with your kitty and consider whether its appearance and behavior are normal. You can make many swift changes, and if none of them work, you might need to book a consult with your pet's doctor.

1

Keep the litterbox clean

Maine coon cat using the litter box. Lightspruch / Getty Images

Cats are relatively clean animals and are fussy about where they do their business. If a cat feels its litter box is dirty, it will behave oddly around it by, for example, crying or refusing to touch the litter as it usually does to bury its pee and poop. Respect these high hygiene standards and scoop out the soiled litter once or twice a day. Disinfect the box once a week with a thorough wash under hot water.

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2

Location is key

cat looking at litter box Adene Sanchez / Getty Images

Cats are also finicky about privacy and need alone time to lower their guards and eliminate waste. Placing a litterbox in a high-traffic area of your home where there's constant activity and a sensory overload will prompt your cat to find a less hectic place to go potty. When you're toilet training a new cat, place the litter box in a quiet room with an always-open door. Bathroom time shouldn't require a trip up or down stairs either.

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3

Swap supplies

owner pointing litter box for cat to use Siarhei SHUNTSIKAU / Getty Images

In the absence of medical or behavioral issues, inappropriate peeing may come down to the finer details of the litter box. What kind of surfaces does kitty enjoy lounging on? There are carpet and sofa cats that might want a softer type of litter, and the cats that like glossy floors might prefer a thin layer of litter in a box with tiles.

If you're changing litter brands, do so gradually and stick with unscented material. Be sure to provide a box with a 360-degree view, so your feline friend feels more in control and is less likely to encounter unpleasant surprises. Covered boxes tend to be stinkier for the cat, so opt for an uncovered one instead and see if it makes a difference.

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4

Consider your cat's age and size

White cat in cat's litter box OlyaSolodenko / Getty Images

Kittens, older cats, and cats with mobility issues require boxes with low entryways to make getting in and exiting easy. A ramp can help too. High sides are still necessary to prevent urine and scattered litter from falling outside the box. Larger cats need a bit of space and benefit from having bigger litter boxes. Aim for a receptacle that's 1½ times your cat's length with a width that equals said length. It's also worth remembering that older cats can suffer from cognitive decline that leads to more accidents—you will have to adapt.

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5

How many litterboxes should you have?

Devon Rex Kitten Digging Sand in Litter Box CasarsaGuru / Getty Images

The bigger the household, the more bathrooms are necessary. If you have multiple cats, the rule of thumb is to have a litter box for each cat plus one extra. This makes territorial competition less of a worry and can accommodate cats who want one box for doing a Number One and another for Number Twos.

Cats can have accidents in huge homes, so be mindful of litterbox accessibility. Imagine badly needing to go to the loo, but the bathroom is too far away for the emergency.

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6

Figure out which cat is making boo-boos

two kittens sitting near their litter box Galina Sandalova / Getty Images

Having multiple cats in a household can make fixing a soiling problem challenging. You may need to confine one or more of your cats and work out the culprit by a process of elimination. You can use a fluorescent dye on one cat at a time—it's discernible with a black light but can stain. It's best to use a video camera that won't be disturbed to catch a cat in the act.

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7

Make changes at inappropriate spots

cat looking at human cleaning up vomit stain on carpet krblokhin / Getty Images

Your cat may be returning to an inappropriate area because of a lingering urine smell and cat scent that screams 'my restroom!' As a result, it's crucial to clean messes quickly and thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner. The aim is odor neutralization rather than simple deodorization, which often won't fool a cat's keen sense of smell.

You'd also do well placing your cat's treats where it's incorrectly peeing. Cats don't like to eat where they pee and poop, so the presence of food may put them off, eliminating in an off-limits area.

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8

Spraying versus peeing

Sleepy pensive little tabby kitten sitting on the wooden floor alongside its box staring sleepily down at the floor ysbrandcosijn / Getty Images

Cats spraying to mark their territory usually urinate on vertical surfaces, and they eliminate much less fluid during this process than when they need to pee. It's much rarer that a cat will spray on a horizontal surface, so you can assume these puddles are an accident.

Intact males are the most likely to spray, and neutering can often sort the matter out. A neutered cat spraying frequently could be an insecure cat

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9

Minimize stress for your cat

Young girl giggles as a tiny, fluffy grey kitten sits on top of her tummy in a domestic environment. Space for copy. Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

Your cat could be stressed out for several reasons, including:

  • Visible stray or feral cats outside
  • New animal members of the household that terrorize it
  • A lack of stimulation
  • Changes in its routine
  • An as-yet undiagnosed medical condition

Assess your kitty's living environment, try making changes, and use a vet-approved pheromone spray to calm its anxiety.

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10

Take your cat for a check-up

White cat on a medical exam at veterinarian office BraunS / Getty Images

Numerous medical conditions can lead to soiling, so keep an eye on your cat. If it looks fine, try the tweaks mentioned above, but if they don't work, it's time to head to the vet to rule out illness. A bladder infection could be to blame, in which case your vet will prescribe antibiotics and dietary changes. Diabetes mellitus, kidney and thyroid diseases are linked to greater fluid consumption, which makes accidents more likely.

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