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Inappropriate Urination: Cat Peeing Everywhere In Your House? (Learn Why)

If your cat is peeing everywhere you may be confused and looking for some answers…

Is inappropriate urination a common behavioral problem?

Yes, inappropriate urination is a commonly reported problem, as there are a number of reasons why a cat might be doing this. If you don’t know them, then it can be extremely frustrating, and this is a big reason why a lot of people give up their cats.

It could be something as simple as litter-box placement or insufficient cleaning of that box, territoriality, fear, or even a medical problem, so the first step is identifying the cause so that these behaviors may be dealt with and your cat will stick to using their box ONLY.

How do I get my cat to stop peeing everywhere?

Short-haired gray cat on a round brown table.

Short-haired gray cat on a round brown table.

If this behavior is new, the first step is a trip to the vet. Conditions such as bladder stones, urinary tract infections, or metabolic disease often show frequent urination as one of their first symptoms, so you want to get on top of this just in case it’s a health issue.

If your vet gives your cat a clean bill of health, check the state of the litter box – if it’s dirty, your cat might well go somewhere else.

Also, if it is located somewhere that makes you cat feel vulnerable, like a wide-open area or somewhere with odd smells (like the kitchen if you love garlic or curry) then this can also deter them from using it.

What to do if your cat is peeing around the house?

If your cat is avoiding their litter box, check to see if it’s dirty first, and if so then change it on a more frequent schedule. One simple trick that works is to have more than one litter box, with a spare already prepared underneath your sink for quick-switching.

This gives your cat a backup spot to go to if you don’t have time to change the box as frequently as you’d like.

If your cat is targeting a specific location, clean that spot with enzymatic cleaner so they aren’t tempted to mark it again, and spray some citrus cat repellent nearby or even put out some double-sided tape. Cats don’t like the feel of it on their paws, so this little trick can make a popular ‘pee spot’ into an off-limits area quite easily.

Can elimination problems be caused by conflicts?

Yes. If you’ve just introduced a new kitty, then what you are seeing is territoriality. Cats like to feel that they ‘own’ their turf, like furry little gang members, and a new kitty in the area can cause a dominance competition between the two.

This should eventually die down, so cleaning the areas with enzymatic cleaner or white vinegar can help to get rid of the smell until they decide who is the top cat.

Alternately, if your cats aren’t spayed or neutered, they should be – this helps to prevent certain types of cancers and can reduce or even eliminate marking issues when two cats are fighting for dominance in the household.

Can medical issues cause inappropriate urination?

Yes, medical issues can definitely cause inappropriate urination, so a visit to the vet is a really good idea as your first step in order to rule this out. Diabetes is a common cause in older kitties, for instance, and kidney disease is another possibility.

Urinary tract infection is another culprit, though younger cats rarely develop this. Bacteria in the urinary tract can cause inflammation and uncontrollable urination. Often the urination will be painful and if your kitty is vocal when they pee, then this is the likely cause.

Finally, bladder stones can cause irritation or even blockage, requiring a change in their diet to dissolve these stones in minor cases and surgical removal in more extreme ones.

Can a Urinalysis and bladder radiograph be used to check medical issues?

Yes. A urinalysis will check the gravity, pH, proteins, bilirubin, glucose, and more to get a full-spectrum analysis of your cat’s urinary health, while radiograph imaging helps to give an X-ray view of what is actually going on inside.

The imaging will help to show inflammation and blockage, while the chemical analysis will show the chemical impact of the medical issue. This helps to get a more comprehensive image of what specific medical issue your cat is experiencing.

Is idiopathic stress-induced cystitis a common issue for cats?

FIC, also known as Feline idiopathic cystitis, is a condition that causes inflammation of the bladder and symptoms which are like, but not actually, cystitis. It is the most common form of FLUTD, or ‘feline lower urinary tract disease’ and occurs in approximately 2/3 of all cats affected with FLUTD.

FIC affects a cat infrequently, becoming active and dormant at seemingly random times, and we aren’t sure what causes it but abnormal response to stress is believed to be a strong component. If your kitty has FIC, plenty of play, toys, and a quiet environment may help to keep occurrences at a minimum.

Is Bladder stones another common issue that causes inappropriate urination?

Cats are actually quite prone to inflammatory bladder diseases, but a large portion of these are not actually bladder stones, though the symptoms will be the same.

As such, your vet will need to perform X-rays and other tests to determine if bladder stones are actually the issue and if so, whether dietary modification will resolve the issue or if surgery will be required to remove the bladder stones.

Can bladder tumors urinary crystals be an issue?

Yes, urinary crystals are often present in cats that have recurring urinary tract infections. Sometimes referred to as ‘struvite crystals’, these are essentially the base component of urinary or kidney stones, and left unchecked that is exactly what they’ll turn in to.

Thankfully, your vet can detect these quite easily, and a specially formulated diet can typically dissolve these painful urinary crystals in a matter of 1 to 2 months, even if they are already formed into tiny stones. Larger stones, however, will likely require surgical removal.

What causes litter box aversion in cats?

Most commonly, cats that aren’t using their litter box feel that it is dirty, so they go looking for another place to ‘do their business’ that they feel is more sanitary.

They can also develop an aversion, however, by negative associations such as a urinary track infection, diarrhea, or constipation that they associate with being in the litter box. Adding a different box can sometimes help in these cases.

Finally, sometimes it’s about the location. If your cat feels vulnerable using the box, then they might go somewhere more secluded. In cases like this, switching to a covered box can often correct the issue quite nicely.

What are common indications of litter box aversion?

Litter box aversion doesn’t have a large number of signs, just small and very basic ones. For instance, if you catch your cat peeing and put them in the box to finish, a cat that is averse might well bolt and hide to finish somewhere else.

Cats that are averse to their box will also commonly urinate and defecate in bathtubs, behind desks, and in other places where they feel more secure.

Try moving the box somewhere with more cover, switching to a covered box, or if you are using scented litter, then try unscented – sometimes the litter box just smells ‘wrong’ to your cat and then they don’t want to use it.

What type of litter box do cats prefer?

Black cat sitting near Grey Litter-Robot.

Black cat sitting near Grey Litter-Robot.

It depends. If there is a lot of space where the litter box has been placed, then a covered box is preferred, provided that it is cleaned often. Otherwise, cats like an uncovered litter box more, as they smell less and cats have 14 times the olfactory senses that we do.

If your cat will use it, an automatic litter box is a good idea – these boxes clean themselves after use and this makes a potty break a little more pleasant for your kitty.

What type of cat litter do cats prefer?

Fine-grained and soft litter is the litter of choice, with clay and silica litter options being preferred. Cats generally like the unscented kind more as well, as they are quite sensitive to scents and what smells a little nicer to you might be comparable to when a friend of yours puts on too much cologne or perfume.

Can an unstable territory cause a cat to urinate inappropriately?

Yes, territory battles cause a lot of marking behaviors, so urine ends up in all kinds of places around the house as each kitty tries to add their ‘signature scent’ to preferred areas of your home.

A good strategy for this is to get a second litter box and to move each cat’s food bowl far away from the other. By distributing resources effectively on two sides of the house, you can help create defined ‘territories’ and reduce the overall marking behaviors.

Also, spaying or neutering is recommended, as this can reduce or even eliminate marking behaviors in cats.

What locations do cats prefer when they eliminate or urinate?

Cats prefer secluded spots, such as behind the TV or desk, and spots that have interesting textures that your cat finds similar to litter, such as bean bag chairs or even soft recliners. If your cat has a specific spot they like to use, clean the area with enzymatic cleaner so that are less tempted to go there.

You could also try moving a litter box near that area and they might use it instead. Finally, citrus repellant sprays and double-sided tape on the floor can teach a cat that a particular are is off limits.

Lindsey Browlingdon