As much as we love our cat, choosing a spot outside their litter box can be frustrating. However, this is actually a sign that something might not be right. They may be having litter box issues, are experiencing stress, or have a health condition that’s making them miss their mark.

Try resolving litter box issues first and observe whether the change in their behavior is due to environmental factors. If the problem becomes persistent, take your cat to the vet who can help identify what can be the cause of the problem, as this may be a sign of a serious medical condition.

 

Litter box issues:

1. Their litter box might not be clean and are waiting for you to clean it up. Cats are clean creatures and would want their litter box clean as well. Some cats will urinate in other places if they find their litter too dirty.

Solution: Scoop their litter at least every other day to maintain the cleanliness.

 

2. Depth and height of their litter box is not correct. They may find their litter box either too small or too deep, which can be difficult for them to access. Your cat should be able to climb in, sniff around, and crouch inside the box. Some cats might be inside the box but it is too small for them and their rear end is hanging over the edge, thus, the stool or urine ends up on the floor next to the box.

Solution: Try getting a bigger litter box where your cat will have a good enough space. If the current litter box has an enclosure on top, you can also purchase a simple open-top litter box and see if your cat prefers that.

 

3. They do not like their litter or their litter might be too few or too many. Cats prefer about 2 inches of litter. They might not like their actual litter which may be due to the type of litter (clay vs. non-clay), deodorizers, or scents.

Solution: Experiment with the litter. You may go for finer particles or choose unscented types of litter.

 

Environmental factors:

1. Your cat doesn’t feel safe inside the litter box. Temperature, noise level, and the activity where the litter box is placed might be making them nervous about their litter box.

Solution: Place the litter box away from appliances (especially those that make noise) and high activity areas. A quiet place that’s accessible to your cat can help solve the problem. Keep food bowls away from their litter box.

 

2. For those with multiple cats in the household, another cat might have dominated the litter box which prohibits them from using it.

Solution: Add extra litter boxes around the house for them to use. There should be one for each cat in the household plus one extra. For those who live in multi-level houses, be sure to place a box on each floor.

 

3. Household changes can also impact your cat. Cats are highly sensitive and changes in their environment can impact their behavior. Moving to a new home, remodeling, having new pets or members of the family can be the reason why they are missing their mark.

Solution: This should be temporary until they get used to the new situation. However, this is telling you that they are experiencing stress and stress can also lead to more serious medical conditions.

 

Health issues:

1. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a variety of conditions that affect the bladder and urethra of cats. Some conditions under FLUTD are Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), Uroliths (Urinary Stones), and Urethral Obstruction. Cats experiencing FLUTD can have difficulty or pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, crying out while urinating, or even blood in the urine.

Solution: FLUTD can be difficult to diagnose. Your vet will do a physical examination and will run tests assessing urine pH level. Additional tests may be recommended if the cause is still not identified.

 

2. Arthritis, especially for older cats, makes posturing to eliminate painful and difficult. Cats can then associate pain when eliminating in the litter box and ends up urinating outside the box.

Solution: Make their litter box more accessible. Try a box with lower side where they can easily enter. Consult your vet should your cat need pain medication, joint supplements, or other prescription diets to soothe your cat’s pain.

 

3. Kidney disease or diabetes can make a cat drink excessively, which can lead to increased urinary output. They can end up urinating in other places if they cannot keep up with increased urine production.

Solution: Medication and diet can help manage this. Your vet will perform a physical examination to diagnose the correct type of condition and will prescribe accordingly. Depending on the findings, your cat might require insulin injections, prescription diet, and a weight-loss program to treat the condition.

These are just some possible health conditions but there can be other reasons why your cat is missing the litter box. If you have questions about your cat’s health or behavior, consult your veterinarian. She can help you check and diagnose what might be causing this and what you can do to get your furry feline back in the box.

 

References:

https://justcatsclinic.com/when-your-cat-misses-the-litter-box/

https://www.thesprucepets.com/cat-pooping-outside-box-554017

https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-behavior/does-your-cat-miss-litter-box

https://pawhavenvet.com/is-your-cat-missing-the-litter-box/

https://www.litter-robot.com/blog/2016/09/26/litter-box-problems-why-your-cat-is-missing-the-mark/