Cat Very Occassionally urinates outside of box?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2007
Cat Very Occassionally urinates outside of box?
Mon, 07-30-2012 - 1:22pm


So my cat has recently started urinating outside the litter box. I don't think its a medical issue since she just had follow up bloodwork after thyroid treatment and everything came back normal. They did a geriatric screening and checked for urine concentration and everythig.She only does it once a week or once every few weeks. And its on our personal items. Once in the laundry basket on our clothes while we were away on vacation, in my bf's shoes and in our room mates duffle bag. The duffle bag just happened last night. My bf was cleaning her litter, she was sitting there watching him, then out of no where jumped in our room mates bag and peed. It was so strange, especially since she saw my bf cleaning her box. I feel like she may be rebelling. I am 8 weeks pregnant and she has been super clingy and needy the last number of weeks and I feel that may have something to do with this. Either that or maybe she doesn't like her box anymore for some reason. Its mysterious to me since she is such a well behaved cat. Especially since she only does it occassionally, I really don't think its a medical thing or she can't hold it. If that were the case Id expect her to pee in her bed, or just on the floor or something. Not search out our personal items like its deliberate.

Community Leader
Registered: 03-24-2000
Mon, 07-30-2012 - 3:41pm

Most of the time cats pee outside the litter box because it is a medical problem.  You might take a urine sample into the vet to have it tested just in case if this stared after her last vet visit.  Make sure her litter box is clean as possible and maybe even add a second one in another location of your house.  There is a litter called Cat Attract and it's supposed to attract cats that have had litter box problems.  I haven't tried it, but others here have and said it works really good.

It could have been that she was upset from you being on vacation and that started this all.  Some cats are really sensitive to change.  Maybe her litter box wasn't as clean as she liked or just the change in her life.

Good luck and I hope you can get her back to using her litter box again.


Avatar for tiggs_mom
Community Leader
Registered: 07-02-1999
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 10:39am

I agree with Liz - it doesn't take much change for some cats to decide to let their people know they aren't happy. I have had really good luck with Cat Attract. And short term, I would just make sure everything it just up off the floor to discourage the behavior.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-2000
Sun, 08-12-2012 - 12:50pm

There are many reasons why a cat stops using the litter box and medical reasons are the number one issues.  If they didn't test specifically for a urinary tract infection and crystals then she needs to have that done as well. 

Cat's are not spiteful and don't pee on certain items to retaliate against you.  Those are human emotions not cats.  They do it because it's one of their methods of communication and she's letting you know that something is going on and it's associated for her with the litter box. 

Other than medical there are a host of other reasons that cats stop using their litter boxes. Here are just a few:

Dirty litter box(es):  Boxes should be scooped at least daily.  I do mine several times a day but I have three cats.  The boxes should routinely be scrubbed with a dilute bleach solution or litter box cleaner(NOT anything like Pine Sol or Lysol both toxic to cats) when you dump the box entirely.  Make sure that you use the proper amount of litter and refill as needed after the daily scooping.  You should maintain about a level of about 2 inchs of litter typically.  Also, plastic litter boxes need to be replaced at least yearly as the plastic just eventually starts retaining odors no matter how clean you keep them.  

Poor choice of litter type: You should use a good unscented scoopable hard clumping litter. Don't fall for all the scented litters and additives as the scent is too strong for many cats.  If your scooping twice a day you shouldn't need scented litters anyway.  It's also possible for a cat to have used a litter for years and then decide that they no longer like it.  Mine used to use Worlds Best Cat Litter and absolutely refuse to use it now and like Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat.  So some owners offer a different litter in each box to see which the cat prefers. Additionally if you use a non clumping clay or pine or those wierd crystal balls that urine just gets mixed through the box and is gross.  It's akin to using a toilet that is never flushed.  Have you tried Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter?  It's designed specifically to attract cats who have litter box avoidance back to the litter box and works pretty well so you might want to give it a try. 

 Poor location of litter box(es) or too few boxes: Very important the boxes should be in a quiet secure place. Not by the back door or in a laundry room where the hustle and bustle and noise may deter them. Ideally, you should have a litter box for each cat plus one and if you have a multi level home there should be a box on every floor.  Don't just shove the boxes in the basement and expect the kitty to run down several stories to go potty.  If she's on one level sunning herself and napping and then wakes up and has to run down or upstairs to the box, she may just decide to relieve herself right there. They should always be easy access.

Box size is too small: Frankly most litter boxes are just too darned small.  I make my own litter boxes using large Rubbermaid storage boxes. Rubbermaid also came out with higher sided boxes but they are still too small for my boys.  It works out around here much better than even the largest Rubbermaid high sided boxes cause they didn't make them tall enough.  And cost wise it's much cheaper as I get the boxes at Lowes or Target for around $7 to $10 depending on sale prices.   You'll never find a litter box as big as these and if you did you'd never get it for that price.

Declawing:  If this is a declawed cat they frequently have issues with litter box avoidance(and other behaviorial issues like biting at times) and are frequently surrendered to shelters because of this.  I don't know if this is an issue or not, but if the cat has been declawed then her paws should be checked by the vet as well.  She may have loose bone fragments or other issues that are causing her pain.  Often declawed cats will use the bathtub or the floor next to the box as they like a softer surface and don't like the litter offered.  If she is declawed have you tried offering a box with no litter or one just lined with newspaper?  Still others like a softer litter like Swheat Scoop, Worlds Best Cat Litter, Feline Pine Scoopable.

Changes in household and/or routine:  Cat's are creatures of habit and routine and any change can rock their world.  If there are new family members, new additions to the pet family, changes to the families work schedules, undue stress in the house this can all upset them greatly.  They are like emotional sponges and soak up everything that is going on around them so you need to evaluate if anything like this could be an issue for him.  Stress can actually raise the ph level of their urine and bring on a urinary tract infection or blockage in male cats.  The stress could be from stray cats in the neighborhood that she can see and hear.  I had strays at my last house and my kitties started spraying over the top of the boxes. This is quite common for cats to react to outside cats in an attempt to mark their territory.  If you have any stress going on inside the home I suggest getting Feliway diffusers and plugging them in around the house. 

You can get Feliway at good prices are


Good luck and best wishes on the baby on the way!