First, we need to know for sure that the problem is urinating rather than spraying. If the cat is standing and the urine shoots straight back so that he/she is aiming high on the wall or side of the couch, it is spraying. If the cat squats while urinating, it is normal urination. This hand-out is for urination problems rather than for spraying.
The first and most important thing to do is to take the cat to the vet! You need to specify that the cat is urinating outside the box so that the vet knows what to look for. Urinating outside the litter box is the #1 symptom of urinary tract problems! A urinary blockage can quickly kill a cat!
If the vet says she is okay, then consider making a few changes:
â€¢ If you use a covered litter box, take off the lid. Many cats refuse to use covered boxes.
â€¢ Most cats prefer fine-grained unscented litter. So, try changing litter even if she liked this litter in the past.
â€¢ Most cats prefer to poop in a different box than the one in which they pee. So have at least two boxes for one cat.
â€¢ If you have more than one cat, make sure you have at least one litter box per cat PLUS one extra box. So, if you have two cats, three litter boxes is ideal. Do not place the boxes right next to each other. Two boxes that are together is the same as just one box in the catâ€™s mind!
â€¢ Make sure you scoop the litter box daily, and with multiple cats, scoop twice daily. Cats often refuse to use dirty boxes. Most of us avoid toilets that are full of pee and poop. Cats are even more fastidious than us humans and certainly have more delicate senses of smell, so of course they do not want to step in a box full of old feces and urine! A clean rug is much more attractive than a dirty box!
â€¢ If your litter boxes are old, they may have absorbed odors even if you regularly clean them. So, try buying new boxes.
â€¢ Make sure your litter boxes are in a place where the cat feels safe while going potty. If she is disturbed by you or your kids or another cat or dog while she is trying to potty, she will choose to use a safer location. So, move the litter box to a location where she can see the comings and goings of the other people and animals in the house. You can set up the box in the corner of a room, then surround the box with nice house plants. It will be attractive and open enough for the cat to feel safe!
â€¢ Put a litter box on each level (floor) of the house.
â€¢ Make sure you thoroughly clean all old urine spots on the rug and elsewhere. If she can smell the old urine she will think that place is a good place to potty. Use a flourescent black light to find old urine and treat all old spots with an enzymatic cleanser.
â€¢ Try putting a plastic carpet runner upside down on the places she likes to urinate....most cats don't like to walk on the "spikes" so they will avoid the covered spots.
â€¢ Put something real smelly where she likes to urinate...most cats hate the smell of citrus, so try putting citrus scented air freshener or orange peels or citrus potpourri where she urinates.
â€¢ According to Cat Behaviorist Amy Shojai- if your cat is peeing on personal items the cat is probably stressed out over something. Urinating on some object that holds your scent is calming to him. If you can eliminate the stressor, chances are good that the potty problem will end.
â€¢ If your cat is standing inside the litter box and aiming outside the box, you simply need a larger box! Try a Rubbermaid under-bed storage container as a litter box instead of the typical small box.