It’s no fun thing for a kitty parent when your cat suddenly decides to start urinating outside the box. Not only does the stench travel throughout the house, but we are left wondering what went wrong and if our cat is okay. There are several reasons that this may happen and you will want to rule out any medical problems first. You definitely want to tackle this problem quickly – so it doesn’t become normal behavior. If this is an issue you and your feline friend are dealing with, check out these top 5 reasons why your cat is peeing outside the litter box.
UTIs in cats are the number one cause of vet visits for cats in America. We stand firm in our belief that the leading cause of UTIs in cats is due to a water depleted diet. Urinating outside the litter box is a common sign for your cat to tell you that he is in pain and needs help when battling this horrible infection. It’s important to take care of this problem quickly and be sure that your kitty gets wet food (not kibble) at least twice per day.
2. Bladder Inflammation (feline interstitial cystitis)
This is an inflammation of the bladder that can cause the same symptoms of a urinary disease – like peeing outside the litter box, straining to go, crying out loud, etc. The diagnosis of this problem is usually made by the process of elimination (aka – no other urinary issues like stones, crystals, UTIs). While the root cause has still not been defined, high stress and/or dehydration have both been linked to bladder inflammation and, again, you will want to address this quickly with anti-inflammatory supplements or medications.
3. Bladder Stones / Crystals
When urine sits in the bladder for a prolonged period of time, it can begin to develop crystals. These can remain small in size or can grow and begin to block the urethra, causing them to strain to urinate. Often this problem is a results of frequent urinary tract infections and the symptoms are very similar. Again, a well-balanced, water enriched diet is so important for your feline friend. Depending on the severity of the bladder stones, your cat may need surgery to remove them – so be as proactive as possible to avoid urinary problems and stop the urinating outside the box.
4. Litter Box Issues
Once you’ve eliminated any health issues, take a look at the litter box. Cats can be funny creatures sometimes and there are many reasons that a cat can start disliking his restroom. For instance, my sister’s cat simply will not use the litter box unless it is clean. At first I thought this was crazy – but the more I thought about it, it kind of makes sense. When I go into a public restroom, if a toilet isn’t flushed I will not use that stall. It grosses me out too much to even flush it myself and I will wait for the next available stall to open before doing my business. You may think that this makes me a little crazy too – but hey, we’re all a little crazy about things (cats included)! Sometimes they don’t like the litter or location of the box too. Try making some litter box changes and see if that helps.
5. Change of Environment (aka stress)
Another reason cats pee outside the litter box is because of stress or fear. Cats like routine so if something has changed in the home, it can make them fearful and they will act out by urinating elsewhere. If you’ve moved, made an addition to the family (pet or person), started a new job or even went on a vacation this can throw your cat for a loop and he will need extra love, support and attention – plus a new routine – to settle down and get back to normal.
Remember to always eliminate the health issues first. A urinalysis is very important if your kitty has started peeing outside the litter box. A happy and healthy cat will normally have no problem using his litter box appropriately.
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