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A person with long hair, showing a tattoo on their forearm, sits on a couch petting a tabby cat with white markings. Another tabby cat sits to the right, facing away. The background features a wooden door and a wall.
Pet Blog

Why Is My Cat Urine Marking?

This post is written by our holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT.

Cat urine anywhere outside of the box can be stressful! It’s hard to remove the smell from carpet and furniture, and if it’s happening everyday, it can feel overwhelming to keep up with. In this article, I am going to outline why cats pee outside the box and what you can do to stop it.

Reasons for Cat Urine Marking

For simplicity’s sake, I am going to divide the reasons cats pee outside the box into medical and behavioral causes.

Medical Reasons

If your cat is peeing anywhere outside the box, the first stop should be to your veterinarian’s office. Even if the cause is behavioral, your vet can help with that too. The first step is to rule out common medical reasons your cat may be urinating in strange places.

Here are few conditions your veterinarian will test for:

  • Urinary Tract Infection: Your cat might have an infection that can be cleared up with antibiotics. This is quite common in older cats with kidney disease.
  • Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC): This common disease causes kitties to feel so uncomfortable that they pee small amounts everywhere. They may even do it right in front of you. This can be treated with pain control, fluids, and a diet change.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): This can cause kitties to feel uncomfortable when they eliminate (AKA pee and poop!), making them avoid the litter box. This can be diagnosed and treated with the help of your veterinarian.
  • Arthritis: Kitties with body pain may avoid their litter box because it hurts to step in and out of the box. Lowering the sides of the box and treating body pain with therapies such as acupuncture, CBD, and medications can help painful kitties keep using the box.
  • Metabolic Diseases: Other conditions like hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney disease can cause kitties to urinate outside the box. These can all be diagnosed with blood tests.

Behavioral Reasons

Once your kitty has been medically cleared, it’s time to look at behavioral reasons for urine marking. This part can be a little trickier, but there is so much you can do to help your kitty (and yourself).

Here are several behavior reasons that may be contributing to your kitty peeing outside the box, as well as tips on how you can help.

  • Dirty Litter Box: Some kitties are really sensitive to the cleanliness of their litter and need their box scooped twice daily. At minimum, always scoop their box once daily.
  • Litter Type: Your kitty may be objecting to the type of litter, or the fragrance of the litter. I recommend using this special litter that attracts cats.
  • Not enough litter boxes: As a rule, you should have at least one litter box more than you have cats. If you have two cats, you should have three litter boxes. It’s also ideal to have litter boxes on every floor of your home.
  • Type of litter box: Many kitties don’t like to have covered litter boxes andome litter box shapes are too small, making it difficult to posture in. I have used under the bed storage containers in the past for this reason.
  • Stress: Living with other cats or animals can be very stressful for kitties. Even kitties that live by themselves can suffer from stress and anxiety. You can help your kitty by using CBD and speaking with your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications. Getting enough play and environmental stimulation, along with synthetic pheromones like Feliaway, can make a big difference.

If you would like personalized help from a professional, sign up for a consultation with Mieshelle, the ultimate cat whisperer. She has helped with my own kitty and many of my patients. She is amazing!

Sending you and your kitty so much love,

Dr. Angie