Cats don’t normally urinate outside the litter box unless something is wrong. If your cat is crying or straining while urinating, squatting repeatedly as if he can sit still, has blood in his urine, making frequent trips to the litter box, repeatedly cleaning himself as if he is uncomfortable, take your cat to your veterinarian immediately. Do not assume it is behavioral. While the cause may be, trying to figure it out during a health crisis is not the appropriate time. Life threatening medical factors must be ruled out first. Urinating outside the litter box can be a sign of illnesses such as feline urologic syndrome, bladder inflammation, bowel disorders, kidney stones, epilepsy, and more.
However, once any medical disorder has been ruled out or an acute problem is under control, it’s time to assess your cat’s total health care from a holistic perspective. Cat consultant Annie Bruce figures more than half the calls she receives are about cat urination problems. She contributes stress as the leading cause of litter box problems, which can be brought on by emotional, environmental, as well as physical problems.
Preventing Indiscriminate Elimination Problems
Make sure your cat is eating a quality diet with vitamins and supplements and a wide variety of foods, plus spending daily time with you that includes playtime and your undivided attention. If your veterinarian is concerned that your cat is at risk for FUS, discuss preventative natural remedies that address urinary tract crystals, infection and irritation.
Improve the litter box experience by offering enough litter boxes: one box per cat, plus one, and cleaning at least once a day. Don’t forget to make sure the area around the litter box is clear for easy access. Try different litters and box sizes, and allow your cat to choose his preference. Remember cats may not find scented litter as appealing as you do, and that east-to-use scoopable litters have been associated with health problems. And, if your cat is older or arthritic, make sure the sides of the box aren’t too high.
If your cat is urinating in potted plants or on personal items, take precautions. Cover the dirt with pinecones or decorative rocks and don’t leave dirty clothes or bad-smelling articles out. Some cats will urinate on items they find offensive. Neutralize offending urine odor so as not to attract a cat to urinate there again.
Recognize that if your cat has had a bout of FUS, he may view the litter box as the cause of the pain. You may need to change the box, litter or location before he’s “comfortable” again.
If your cat is spraying:
From Cats Be Good, A Common Sense Approach to Training Your Cat , Copyright © 2000 Annie Bruce, with references from Inappropriate Elimination by Yody Blass of Companion Animal Behavior and Twisted Whiskers © Pam Johnson Bennett.
Improve the litter box experience by offering enough litter boxes: one box per cat, plus one, and cleaning at least once a day. Don’t forget to make sure the area around the litter box is clear for easy access.