Help! My cat is peeing outside the litter box. What should I do?
If your cat has suddenly stopped using the litter box and is now peeing on the bed, carpet, or other objects, they may be trying to tell you something. Inappropriate urination is a relatively common issue in cats but can be a difficult problem to solve.Continue reading to learn more about common causes of inappropriate urination in cats and what you can do to help your furry friend.
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
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Reasons your cat may not be using the litter box
Despite how it may seem, your cat isn’t peeing on your favorite shoes to get revenge. However, you should take this as a signal that something isn’t right. Never scold or punish your cat for inappropriate urination - this will only add to her stress and possibly worsen her condition.
Causes of inappropriate urination in cats can usually be divided into two categories: underlying disease or behavioral.
Sometimes, a cat will urinate outside of the litter box because he is sick or in pain. Almost any illness or injury may cause a cat to pee on your furniture; however, here are some of the more common culprits:
- Urinary tract disease - infection, crystals or stones in the bladder, cystitis
- Gastrointestinal disease - stomach pain, diarrhea, or other intestinal issues
- Thyroid problems
- Pain or injury
Behavioral Causes of Inappropriate Urination
Your cat may start peeing outside of the litter box because she is stressed or upset about changes in her environment or routine. These problems can be very difficult to identify, but typically include things like:
- Routine changes in the home - new work or travel schedules
- New or rearranged furniture
- Guests or new family members in the home
- Loud noises outside such as construction or other animals
- New cats or other pets in the home
- Fighting or bullying from other cats in the home
- New litter in the litter box or change in location of the litter box
- Change in diet or feeding routine
How to Help Your Cat
To get your cat back to using his litter box, you must first determine why he started this behavior in the first place. This might require a little (or a lot) of detective work!
Start by scheduling an exam with your vet or consulting FirstVet. A full physical exam and diagnostics such as a urinalysis and blood work may be necessary to rule out underlying disease.
If you suspect that your cat is stressed about her environment or is upset about other pets in the house, try to address these problems as soon as possible. Ensure that the litter box is clean, and your cat can easily get in and out. Be sure there are plenty of litter boxes throughout the house if you have more than one cat. Consult a vet or a behavioral specialist for additional pointers. FirstVet can provide you with ways to help your cat at home or refer you to a veterinary behaviorist if necessary.
For more ways to help your cat check out the Indoor Pet Initiative website here.
Looking for a veterinary behaviorist? Find one near you by checking out the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists website here.
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