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Why Does My Elderly Cat Pee on the Floor?

If you have an elderly cat that has started peeing on the floor, you may be wondering why and what to do about it.

Why Does My Elderly Cat Pee On The Floor?

Elderly cats can pee on the floor for a variety of reasons including difficulty getting into the litter box, having a dirty litter box, extreme stress, and suffering from medical issues that make using the litter box more of a task than it used to be.

So, now you know. But, how can I prevent this from happening? How often should you expect an elderly cat to pee? Can crystals in its pee cause this behavior? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

4 top reasons why an elderly cat may pee on the floor

A cat hiding its face.

A cat hiding its face.

01. Difficulty Getting Into The Litter Box

As the human body ages, it starts to lose flexibility and mobility — this happens with cats, too. Like when an elderly human stops having showers because they are unable to step up and into a bath tub, elderly cats might stop using the litter box because they struggle to pull their bodies over the lip and into the box.

This can result in a cat who urinates beside the litter box, in piles of clothes, in potted plants, and wherever else they see fit.

02. Dirty Litter Box

A dirty litter box can be reason enough for cats of any age to urinate outside of their box and with elderly cats often being more finicky than juveniles and adults, it makes sense that this could cause them to reject using their box.

If you’re having a hard time understanding why your cat might not want to use a box that hasn’t been scooped in a few days, just consider whether you’d want to use a toilet that hadn’t been flushed in a few days. Yuck!

03. Stress

When a cat is under extreme or prolonged stress, he or she can become prone to urinating outside of the litter box. This can be said for cats of any age but older cats who have less tolerance for stress are more likely to show this stress-induced symptom.

04. Medical Issues

Medical issues, especially in older cats, is a common reason for out-of-box urination. Unfortunately, medical issues as a general term encompasses an entire range of problems that can be overwhelming to think about.

Most commonly, inappropriate urination is caused by problems with the kidney, bladder stones or crystals, UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections), and FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease), which is a diagnosis that’s given when a cat suffers from two or more urinary-system related issues.

In addition, pain or discomfort from elsewhere in the body can also be a cause for your cat’s inappropriate urination. In other words, a broken leg or dental issues could be the cause of your cat peeing (click here if you can smell it, but have no cat) on your bed.

How Can I Prevent My Elderly Cat From Peeing On The Floor?

To prevent your elderly cat from peeing on the floor you can make modifications to their litter box, get them checked out by a vet, place doggy training pads in areas that they like to urinate on, stay on top of their litter box cleanliness, and do what you can to reduce their stress levels.

When making litter box modifications to accommodate a cat that can’t climb into the box anymore, the best idea is to make the entrance of the litter box lower and/or non-existent altogether. This will make more of a mess when your cat uses the box, but should do wonders from preventing puddles of urine from appearing on the floor.

How Often Do Elderly Cats Pee?

Typically, elderly cats will pee anywhere from 2 to 6 times a day.

This depends on the individual cat, their health needs and status, and how much water they drink.

Can Crystals In Your Elderly Cat’s Urine Cause It To Pee On The Floor?

Urinary crystals can cause cats to urinate on the floor. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons for out-of-box urination in cats of all ages including the elderly.

Urinary crystals develop due to the urine in your cat’s bladder being too concentrated, which is caused by a lack of moisture in your cat’s diet. The lack of moisture issue is generally caused by dry, commercial pet foods which have very a lower moisture content. 

How Can A Plastic Tote Lid Help Your Elderly Cat Pee Easier?

Banana peels.

Banana peels.

Surprisingly, plastic tote lids are excellent aids for helping elderly cats pee easier. They can be used as makeshift litter boxes since they have very shallow sides and are longer and wider than most litter boxes, giving your cat more room to enter the box.

Why Is My Elderly Cat Still Peeing On My Carpet After A UTI Treatment?

After a UTI treatment, a cat may continue to urinate on the floor (Click here if its avoiding it) – especially carpet – because he or she can still smell their urine from before, which makes them want to re-urinate in that location.

To combat this, clean any area that has been soiled with an enzyme cleaner that breaks up the enzymes in the urine and removes the smell. Keep in mind that cats can still smell the urine even when us humans can’t.

Why Has My Elderly Cat Started Peeing Down Vents?

There are a ton of reasons why an elderly cat might start peeing in the house, but when it comes to vents specifically there is no set-in-stone reason for the urination. This being said, if your cat pees in the vents exclusively, it’s likely an emotional issue such as stress that’s causing the problem.

Be sure to double check your cat’s surroundings if you suspect that stress is the problem. Anything from moving the litter box to a new spot or switching the litter used to bringing a new pet home can be a stressor for your cat.

Why Did My Blind and Elderly Cat Start To Pee On The Floor?

A blind and elderly cat has a lot of factors working against it. This being said, it’s possible that a cat that is both blind and old is suffering from a medical condition that causes inappropriate urination. The cat might also be accidentally “missing” the litter box.

Unfortunately, being blind is related to diabetes, which is a popular ailment among older animals and those who are overweight. When a cat goes blind, he or she must adjust to the loss of sight and, as a result, might accidentally overshoot when urinating and miss the litter box or puppy training pad.

Should I Get Rid Of My Cat For Peeing On The Floor?

No, you should not get rid of your cat for peeing on the floor.

In most cases, it’s a problem that has a relatively simply remedy and as such, you should try to fix it before resorting to rehoming. To get help with the problem, talk to your veterinarian and conduct online research.

Will A Vet Euthanize A Cat For Peeing?

Generally, veterinarians will not euthanize a cat because he or she pees whether it be on the floor, on the bed, or on the clean laundry. The only time euthanasia is considered is when the urination is related to an issue that is significantly reducing the quality of your cat’s life and is considered untreatable.

Since veterinarians want to help pets, it makes sense that they would not want to end the life of an innocent cat for a problem that has various different solutions — one of which is very likely to fix the issue.

Because of this, vets will recommend a host of treatments and do a ton of tests to determine the cause of the urination and the best course of action for treatment.

Lindsey Browlingdon