If your cat is peeing everywhere but in his litter box, it’s up to you as the cat parent to put a stop to it. Although sometimes a medical condition might be to blame, your cat might also display this smelly behavior, because he’s stressed or dislikes something about the litter box. By closely observing your finicky feline, you might be able to figure out what’s triggering his behavior. Then, there are several things you can do to motivate him to use his litter box.
Tip 1. Keep it Clean
Just how you wouldn’t use a restroom if it was smelly and dirty, your cat won’t use his litter box if it’s filthy. Cat’s can pee up to four times a day and defecate at least once. If you don’t clean the box for several days in a row, the stench and dirt in the box accumulates, making your finicky feline want to do his business elsewhere. To prevent this, clean the box daily, scooping out all the clumps and feces, and wash the box once a week with unscented soap and water. If you don’t want to scoop the box daily, consider using a self-cleaning litter box to spare you the work.
Tip 2. Offer More Options
Having more than one litter box might motivate your cat to start using them, especially if you live in a large house. If you have multiple cats, always have one litter box more than the number of cats. Also, offer another litter alternative if you believe that your cat dislikes the litter in his box. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, most cats prefer a litter box that’s filled with a 1- to 2-inch layer of unscented, clumping litter. Avoid using a box liner, because most cats dislike these too. To find out which type of litter your cat prefers, you might have to get several boxes and fill them with different types of litter to see which one your cat will use.
Tip.3 Change the Location
If the litter box is placed right next to your cat’s food and water bowl or near a washing or drying machine, he might refuse to use it, because he dislikes the location. Move the litter box to a quiet, more private area to see if your cat will use it. Make sure he can still see oncoming foot traffic, so he doesn’t feel cornered or trapped while doing his business. You can also try covering the litter box to offer your feline more privacy, since this might also be a reason for his litter box aversion.
Tip 4. Prevent Inappropriate Soiling
To keep your cat from peeing outside his litter box, block his access to previously soiled areas, because the scent of his urine might make him feel the urge to pee in the same area again. First, use a commercial enzymatic cleanser to get rid of the stain and the smell. Then, place furniture over the soiled area, close the door to the room, or cover the spot with foil or an upside down carpet runner so your cat can’t get to it. You can also try placing a litter box over the area to try to get him to use it. When he starts using the litter box, gradually inch it back to the area where you want it to be, while making sure that your cat continues to use it.
Tip 5. Correct Your Cat
If you catch your cat in the act of eliminating outside the box, make a loud noise or spray water on him from a spray bottle. Make sure you’re out of your cat’s sight, because you don’t want him to associate the unpleasant occurrence with you, you want him to link it to his inappropriate elimination. The noise or water will interrupt and startle him, and with consistency, it might make him think twice about repeating the undesired soiling.
Tip 6. Reward Good Behavior
Reward your pet companion each time he uses the litter box. A treat or a petting session immediately afterward might motivate him to continue the good behavior. Also, avoid harshly punishing your cat by pressing his nose in the mess or hitting him. These tactics only make your cat fear you and might worsen his undesired soiling.
Tip 7. Visit the Vet
If you’ve tried everything, a visit to the vet might be in order. He might recommend trying anti-anxiety medication if the soiling behavior is stress related or triggered by your cat’s urge to spray and mark his territory. A veterinarian can also examine your furry pal to exclude conditions, such as arthritis, urinary tract infections or kidney problems, which can also trigger your cat’s soiling behavior.
Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat; Gary M. Landsberg, et al.
ASPCA: Litter Box Problems