What to do if your cat does not pee where it should!

Cat psychology

a cat relaxing in a cozy place

Cats are endearing complex creatures. Their behavior can be a mystery to us, but there is an explanation for everything! Cats are also very sensitive, and there are a multitude of reasons why they might feel uncomfortable. And they are prone to showing their discontent by peeing in the wrong places, which is why you're here! We will explain the possible reasons and what can be done about it.

jump to reasons and solutions!

Places cats like too pee

In nature cats seek out secluded places to do their business, like in some shrubbery. They want to feel safe and comfortable while in this vulnerable situation! That is also why many litter boxes have a roof by the way, but we'll talk about that later. If somehow disturbed for reasons we will cover in the next section they might do their business at places that can end up being a huge annoyance for their can openers a.k.a. owners. Such as:

a goofy cat with question marks over its head

Why cats are house soiling - and what you can do about it

Only if you understand your cat you can solve this annoying issue for both you and your cat! After all you owe your cat proper care. Here are the top reasons for your cat to become unclean.

Reason 1:
The litter box

icon showing a stinky litterbox

Naturally the cat would prefer to use the litter box to do their business, as they're very clean animals who bury their feces/urine in the ground. There are a couple of reasons the box itself might be the reason for your cat to avoid it. Especially if the cat pees just outside of the box this is a clear message.

  • dirty box!

    if the box isn't cleaned often enough the cat will use other spots. Clean the box at least once a day. If you have multiple cats you should have one box per cat, and ideally one more on top!

  • box positioning!

    most importantly the box should be placed in a calm and secluded spot, where the cat can feel safe while doing its business. Ideally the box is accessable of multiple angles, so don't squeeze it into a tight corner. If you have multiple boxes put them in seperate places, or the cats mights see them as one. On a side note don't feed your cat near the litter box. You wouldn't want to eat on the toilet either, do you?

  • box architecture!

    does the box have a cover, or even a door? Try using an open box, your cat might feel uncomfortable using a closed box, but the opposite might also be the case, it's really up to the cats preference. The box might also be too small - aim for a box about 1.5x the size of your cat. Senior cats may experience pain climbing into their box so there are boxes with an extra low entrance.

  • the litter!

    cats have an strong sense of smell. Many litters do have perfumes or deodorants added to cover the urine smell. But cats don't like that. Try using one without, like the popular Dr. Elseys! It's hypo-allergenic and all natural, and who doesn't like having their litter delivered to the front door?
    Also the size and material of the litter grain might not be ideal for your cat. Try out different types if you must! And of course always have enough litter filling the box. There really speaks nothing against having plentyful.

Reason 2:

icon showing a stressed cat

There are multiple reasons your cat might feel stressed and thus become unclean or even aggressive, for example frequent noise (from outside or even inside your appartment). Or do you have other free roaming pets inside your appartment? Other cats or even dogs? Animals have a character just like humans, maybe they just don't like each other, or a young hyper active cat annoys an older one? It's a big decision to seperate them from each other by giving one away. Before deciding for such a drastic measure you can try different things. Every cat (or dog) should have their own place(s) to rest. Be sure to make it fair, e.g. don't have the cat bed in the corner of the room while letting the dog on your couch. Your cat will get jealous and it'll show.
It is also advisable to have spots where a cat is safe from annoying mates, elevated spots like on a high shelf or a cat tree (shouldn't every cat have one?).

a cat lying super relaxed on a chair Another practical tool you can always use is Feliway ("the secret to happy cats"). It works by releasing pheromones into the air which help the cats relax. Pheromones are messenger substances which the animals use to communicate and they can only be perceived by your cat! Many cat owners swear on this stuff and if you haven't heard of it before you sure will sooner or later. It is especially recommendable when acclimating your cat with a new situation, e.g. when introducing a new pet to the house hold or your existing pet to a new house hold (when moving!). There are multiple variants available but I recommend the diffuser kit. You simply plug it into the power outlet and it does its business. Choose a central spot in your home, or even use multiple ones.

Reason 3:
Spite and protest

icon of a spiteful cat

Although their eyes don't express emotions like e.g. a dog does, cats are very sensitive and have complex feelings! They form a strong bond with their owners and if they feel that bond is threatened they might become unclean to express their feelings.

If you're introducing a new cat to the household be sure to give your existing cat an extra portion of love! Better to just leave the new cat alone anyway, because it's probably overwhelmed with the situation anyway. Introducing a new pet is a topic for itself, be sure to do some research! But also dog or even a human can trigger this behavior in a cat, e.g. when you bring a new partner. Your cat might even pee on them directly! But don't get angry or even hit your cat, they will never understand. Instead show them that they don't need to be jealous and give them the attention they deserve. Again, Feliway helps with the general mood of the cat, but it's no replacement for tender loving care!

two cats having fun in the bath tub If your cat is alone on the other hand, it just might feel bored and lonely! Although cats are mavericks they are social, active and curious creatures, and especially when you're out working the whole day leaving your cat in your appartment: that's not a proper cat life. You should consider getting a mate for your cate! Two cats are better than one anyway ;)

Reason 4:
Medical issues

icon showing a sick cat

At worst your cat might have a serious medical problem. If it pees very little to none it might just drink to little (always offer your cat fresh water!), but it might also be a urinary tract obstruction. Especially if the cat is trying to pee in multiple places but only getting out some drops a medical issue is at cause! Ultimately only a veterinarian can tell, so don't be cheap, take your cat to the vet if everything else fails. To help preventing these problems in the first place you can use dietary supplements like Uro-Pet Paste. It helps supporting and maintaning a healthy urinary tract. You just mix it with the food!

If your cat is not castrated we're having a strong reason for the uncleanliness. Do not hesitate neutering your cat, because it might even get used to peeing everywhere it wants and continue so after the neutering. If your cat is allowed roaming outside the house it should be castrated anyway to prevent it from breeding, as stray cats are becoming a problem in many parts of the country.

How to get your cat to become house broken

to come

Tracing and removing the urine

icon showing a magnifier pointed toward cat trace marks

Unfortunately the cats like to do their business where it's already smelly, like your shoes, your laundry or even your bed. Don't be offended, they quite like your smell. However even the wrong washing agent can be a trigger, so try using a different one. In most cases the smell will easily lead you to the "crime scene". If you're having trouble finding it, then using an Ultraviolet flash light can help. It is important that you use it in absolute darkness! The urine will show as bright spots under the UV light. If it's still wet, dab paper towels in it to remove the liquid. The smell of ammonia however is quite a challenge, that is because cat urine is very concentrated compared to that of humans. However there is an easy way to tackle this by using this special cleaner that is using enzymes, which are biological catalysts that help break down the nasty odor! The best: it is 100% sustainable and contains ZERO harmful chemicals.