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August 4, 2023 |0 min read

5 Reasons Why Your Cat is Peeing Outside the Litter Box

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America’s favorite and toughest family court judge, Judge Judy Scheindlin, famously once said, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” Maybe your cat isn’t necessarily peeing on your leg, but they sure aren’t peeing in their box. So before the smell of cat pee gets any worse, here’s a quick guide to find out why your cat is exhibiting the strange behavior of sitting in the litter box and the best ways to help them use their litter box once again. 

Reason 1: A Paws-ible Medical Issue

When you first notice your cat peeing outside of litter box, one of the first things you should do is take them to the vet. Medical reasons, like a urinary tract infection, can provoke serious health risks in cats. Your cat could be avoiding their litter box because of the pain caused by the potential infection. Other possible medical causes could be idiopathic cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), bladder stones in cats, or a metabolic disease such as chronic kidney disease.

Since cats are notoriously good at hiding their underlying health problems from their cat owner, taking them to the vet will help you rule whether or not the reason behind their litter box avoidance is medical or something else entirely.

Because they’re so good at concealing their medical issues from us, PrettyLitter’s color-changing cat litter is unlike any other litter you’ve seen before. Our PrettyLitter changes color when your cat is displaying a potential medical problem. This color-changing silica litter (crystal litter) can be the first sign something is wrong with your cat and why they’ve decided to pee on your pretty rug instead of their PrettyLitter.

Reason 2: Something Is Stressing Them Out

Our furry friends are very sensitive animals. Any small, trivial change could actually be a stress trigger for them. These little things can totally throw off their emotional balance. Sometimes this emotional distress is the reason your cat can’t seem to pee inside their litter box anymore. What are some potential triggers that may cause stress for your cat?

  • Moving to a new home
  • A new furniture addition
  • Someone new is visiting your home for the first time
  • There’s a new addition to the family: a baby or a new pet
  • Scents like deodorants or perfume-scented litter (PrettyLitter is odorless!)
  • They may be prone to separation anxiety 

It is important to pay attention to whatever the cause of your cat’s stress may be and to take them to the vet regularly to make sure it’s not a form of anxiety.

Reason 3: Wrong Location

Stress can come in all shapes and sizes and the location of your cat’s litter box can really influence how they feel about peeing there. If your cat’s litter box is placed in the part of the house that has heavy foot traffic, it’s likely that your cat is not comfortable peeing there. Find a place in your home that’s nice and quiet and put their litter box there. Before you know it, they’ll go back to peeing in their box if it’s in a calmer location.

Reason 4: Maybe It's Too Small

Another possible reason why your cat is peeing outside of their litter box is that it could be too small for them. Over time, cats can outgrow certain spaces they’ve once felt comfortable in (ie: their box). It’s quite possible that their litter box is too small for them and the reason why you’re dealing with this litter box problem in the first place. 

Reason 5: Maybe It's Too Dirty

*Phoebe Buffay voice*: “Smelly cat, smelly cat, why are you peeing there? Smelly cat, smelly cat, please use your box.” 

Have you considered the reason they’re a smelly cat is that they were using a smelly litter box? Litter box hygiene is incredibly important, not only to your cat’s comfort level and hygiene but also to your own personal hygiene at home. No one likes the strong smell of cat pee… not even your cat. As a cat parent, it is your responsibility to clean out your cat’s litter box regularly (1-2 times a day) to make sure they’re comfortable going whenever nature calls. 

How to Help Your Cat Use Their Litter Box Again

  1. Don’t get angry, they’re not doing it out of spite.
  2. Take them to a vet to eliminate any paws-ible medical conditions.
  3. Is something or someone stressing them out?
  4. Find a nice and quiet spot in the house for the litter box.
  5. Create a stress-free environment to pee.
  6. Clean their litter box frequently.
  7. Avoid strange scents and use odorless PrettyLitter.
  8. Once they start using their box again, monitor their health with PrettyLitter’s color-changing litter technology.

No one likes the smell of cat pee, not me, not you, not your cat, and definitely not Judge Judy. So next time your cat starts peeing outside of the box follow these steps to get them from using your home as their own personal litter box and get back to using their own.



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Christina Scamporrino

Christina Scamporrino is a lifelong animal lover and began working in the petcare space in 2019. Christina’s passion for the community of feline owners and enthusiasts have led her to designing premium packaging for PrettyLitter cat litter, PrettyPlease dry food, wet food, and treats, and a litter box designed to solve common litter box issues.

Outside of her professional work in the petcare space, Christina is a longtime kitten foster and has worked with several cat rescues throughout Southern California. When given the option, she favors orange cats, but loves all cats equally.