For a cat, urinating is not just a primary bodily function, but can also be a communication tool. If a cat is urinating in the house, instead of using their litter box, it is important to try and understand why this is occurring. The following could be causal, if your cat has started urinating in your home not the litter box :
- Urinary Tract Infection or health issue. A Vet check is important as inappropriate urination maybe caused by your cat having a health problem
- Another cat, either inside (a new addition) or outside. Urinating can be marking territory, and another cat may trigger this, even in a neutered or spayed cat.
- A change in the environment at home. Cats are most comfortable with routine, and some are very intolerant of changes. Urinating in the house can be an expression of stress and discomfort.
- A change in litter can be stressful for a cat, and a cat will let you know if they are not comfortable with the new choice, usually via a protest pee or urination outside of the box.
- An unclean litter box. Regular cleaning of a manual litter box is very important, as cats are generally not very tolerant of dirty toilets. Manual litter boxes need to be scooped frequently, and completely emptied and washed regularly, to ensure they do not smell.
It is very important to act quickly if a cat starts to urinate in the house, not the litter box. The cause needs to be identified and addressed so that the cat does not develop a habit of urinating outside of the litter box. Once the issue is identified, it maybe necessary to retrain the cat to use the litter box again. The following tips may assist.
- Attend to the issue first
- Remove any item the cat is choosing to urinate on if possible.
- Clean any urination thoroughly, with an enzyme based cleaner to remove odour and lingering scent that may attract the cat to repeat toileting in the same location
- If the urination is in a room that you can keep the cat out of, restrict access until the litter tray is being used regularly again
- If necessary, restrict the cat to a room with the litter box in it, to help limit options
- Keep the litter box very clean. If this is not possible, consider investing in an automatic litter box.
A cat that is urinating inside the house is an unpleasant experience, and can be hard to deal with. Its best to try and establish why the behaviour is occurring, as yelling at your cat and getting upset will not improve the behaviour. Understanding why there has been a change, and addressing the actual cause, will provide you and your cat immediate relief, and the chance to get the behaviour back to acceptable litter box use as soon as possible.