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Why Does My Cat Pee In Empty Boxes? (5 Top Reasons)

If your cat is peeing in empty boxes you may be left shocked and wondering why this happeing…

Why does my cat pee in empty boxes?

The most common reason why a cat will pee outside of its litter box is due to a medical condition – most frequently a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, there are other reasons such as a dirty litter tray, litter tray in a bad location, territory marking, etc.

So, now you know. But, what can you do about this? Is disciplining your cat the best answer? Do cats like the smell of cardboard? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

5 Top reasons why cats pee in boxes instead of their litter box:

Why does my cat pee in empty boxes?

An empty cardboard box.

As discussed there are several reasons for your cat peeing in the empty box. But, here are the top reasons:

  1. Medical condition, especially a UTI
  2. The litter box is dirty
  3. The litter box is inaccessible
  4. The cat is feeling stressed
  5. Marking their territory

UTI Issues

Regarding UTI issues, this can lead to your cat needing to pee more frequently, and it can cause a lot of pain. Your cat may feel the need to pee urgently and may go anywhere that is available.

Litter Box Issues

Otherwise, your cat may have a problem with the litter box. If the cat finds that the litter box is not clean, they may decide to pee outside of their litter box (click here if it’s peed on your bag).

If your cat is feeling stressed, they may pee outside of the box as well. Some sources of stress could be getting a new pet, moving to a new place, or loud noises in the home.

Could a UTI cause a cat to pee in an empty box?

The most common reason for a cat peeing in places other than their litter box is that they may have a UTI. Having a UTI will make them feel that they need to pee more often, and it can be very painful.

The cat may also associate the pain of urination with the litter box, as symptoms may have begun while the cat was using the litter box as normal.

Places that it may pee because of this…

This may cause the cat to pee in an empty box, or on the floor, your bed, on a plastic bag…really anywhere that they can access.

If you suspect that your cat may have a UTI, the best course of action is to visit the vet immediately. The vet will be able to diagnose the issue and provide a course of antibiotics.

In most cases, once the UTI clears up, your cat will go back to using the litter box as usual and won’t have any more issues with peeing in empty boxes or in other places that are not their litter box.

What can you do if your cat is peeing in an empty box?

If you are finding that your cat is peeing in empty boxes, or any other location that is not their litter box, you will have to observe how your cat is acting.

If they seem to be randomly peeing anywhere they can, then you may want to take them to the vet as it may be a medical issue.

If you notice that your cat is peeing in boxes or other places in the house but a medical condition has been ruled out, you may need to look to other triggers.

Check the liter box next

The first thing you can do is look at their litter box. If the cat’s litter box is dirty, and the litter needs to be changed, they may not want to use it. Try changing the litter completely and filling the litter box with all-new, clean litter. This may alleviate the cat’s desire to pee elsewhere.

Also, make sure that the litter box is easily accessible. If you keep the litter box in another room, make sure that the door is always propped open so that the cat can easily access it. If the cat cannot access the litter box at all times, they are more likely to pee in another location.

Your cat may also be peeing outside of their litter box due to stress in the home. If you got a new pet recently, or moved to a new place, or have construction in your home, all of these things could cause your cat to be stressed and pee around the home.

Should you put your cat down for urination?

If you are having issues with your cat peeing outside of the box, putting the cat to sleep is not a good option. Though it may be frustrating to have to deal with cleaning up after the cat, you will have to find the root cause of the problem and treat the problem to alleviate the problem.

In general, your cat peeing outside of the litter box is not a reason to put the cat to sleep.

Rehoming is better than putting it down

If you have tried everything to alleviate the peeing problem, and you really cannot cope with the cat peeing in other places in the house, your best option may be to rehome your cat.

This might be the best choice especially if you have other pets that the cat does not get along with – because this may be causing them to pee outside the litter box.

How do you discipline a cat for peeing outside the litter box?

Is my cat being too rough with my kitten?

A sad-looking cat.

If your cat is peeing outside of their litter box avoid disciplining them, instead the first thing you have to do is uncover the reason. Some solutions:

  • Treating the UTI or medical condition, which should alleviate the issue of peeing outside the box
  • Managing the cat’s stress: reducing loud noises in the house, trying to keep them separate from other pets if they don’t get along
  • Cleaning the litter box more often
  • Having a separate litter box for each cat if you have multiple cats
  • Don’t move the litter box often – if you have moved the box recently, try moving it back to its previous location and see if it helps the issue

What can you do if your cat just missed the litter tray with the pee?

If your cat is missing their litter box when they pee, you may want to see about getting a bigger litter box (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) or buying a plastic tray that can sit underneath the litter box to protect your floor.

If your cat is on the larger side, it may not fit in their litter box if it is a small box.

There are many plastic trays you can get, and even a rubber car floor mat would be perfect if you have an extra one laying around. This will be easy to clean and will protect your floor from being damaged by pee.

Do cats like the smell of cardboard?

Cats seem to be very drawn to cardboard boxes. This may be because a cardboard box provides a nice hiding spot for cats, and may make them feel safe.

They also enjoy scratching cardboard because of the hard texture of the box. Cats also enjoy chewing on cardboard and seem to enjoy the smell of cardboard.

Cats are so naturally curious that they seem to enjoy investigating anything new in the house – so if you have a cardboard box just hanging around (click here if its damaging it), the cat will probably want to investigate it.

Should you rub a cat’s nose in its pee?

You should definitely not rub your cat’s nose (should you wipe it clean? click here) in its pee if it is peeing around the house. This will not help to alleviate the peeing problem and may actually result in the cat peeing around the house more, because it may further upset the cat or cause the cat to be stressed.

The best way to ensure that they stop peeing outside of their litter box is to find the root of the problem, such as medical issues, a dirty or hard to get to litter box or stress.

Lindsey Browlingdon