We didn’t do much to prepare my cat Smokey for Charlie’s birth because she had been through so many moves in the past and handled it fine (including a cross country flight), she had a lot of child-free space and plenty of hiding places, her litterbox was inaccessible to Charlie, and she was never allowed in his room from the get go. She was nonchalant about Charlie when he was an immobile infant, but once he started crawling she was scared of this small, loud human and avoided him. Now that the kids are older she’s not as scared of them, and she is much less scared of Olive, but for the most part she only interacts with me and Mr. Bee. She would definitely be happier without the kids, but overall I think she’s pretty happy because the kids are gone during the day and sleeping at night, she can safely hide in our bedroom, and she’s 14 years old so she sleeps almost all day anyway.
Over the years I’ve had my cats (her sister died of cancer shortly after Olive was born) they’ve occasionally peed outside of the litterbox. I’ve cleaned up more than enough cat pee to last me a lifetime and unfortunately I’m a cat pee removal expert. The problem became worse once kids came into the picture, and usually when it happened it was behavioral; they were mad about a change in routine or I forgot to clean their litterbox. Recently I’ve learned so much more about litter and litter boxes, and switching out what we use seems to have eliminated accidents, and the litter box smells much better too. I’ve seen this problem come up on the boards regularly so if your cat is peeing outside of the litterbox, here are 10 things to try. I’ve tried them all!
1) Rule out a medical reason. Sometimes a painful urinary tract infection or kidney problem can cause cats to pee outside of the litterbox. I’ve had both cats tested several times and a medical cause was never the case for them, but it is good to rule that out.
2) Try Feliway. Feliway is a plug-in diffuser that releases a cat pheromone that is supposed to calm cats, and curb behavior like peeing outside of the litterbox. I couldn’t tell if the diffuser made a difference, but I’ve used the spray before vet visits and that did seem to help.
3) Keep their litterbox meticulously clean. Scoop it at least once a day, more if you can. Cats are very clean animals and they do not like dirty litterboxes. I would also wash the litterbox and completely change out the litter every week or two.
4) Try a different brand of litter. There is actually special litter that attracts cats. For many years I’ve been using natural litters like World’s Best Cat Litter which is made of corn and Swheat Scoop which is made of ground wheat. Lately I’ve been mixing crystal litter with World’s Best because crystal litter is definitely the best at absorbing smells. I also sprinkle baking soda (the ones specifically for pets are very heavily scented) on top of the litter and that helps with the odor as well.
5) Get a stainless steel litterbox. I don’t know why all litterboxes are made of plastic, but stainless steel just makes so much sense. Plastic absorbs smells and cat owners know how horrible cat pee smells! I’ve tried many different litterboxes over the years including the Litter Robot (which was awesome), the Tidy Cats Litter Breeze System (smelled so bad), and many different kinds of plastic litter boxes. Now I use a stainless steel steam pan. It’s the perfect size for a litterbox and it doesn’t absorb smells so I can use it forever! And my cat seriously loves it!
6) Plastic litterboxes should be tossed once a year. File that under I had no idea. I had been using one that was 5 years old. As soon as I switched to the stainless steel one, my cat was so much happier.
7) Get an uncovered litterbox. Cats generally prefer uncovered litterboxes so that they can see around themselves when using the box. Uncovered boxes, as unattractive as they may be, actually do a better job of getting rid of odors since enclosed litterboxes trap odors. No wonder my cat was displeased with her 5-year-old plastic, covered litterbox!
8) Have one litterbox per cat, plus one extra. A lot of cats do not like to share, which is understandable to me! So if you have two cats, you should have three litterboxes. If your cat keeps peeing in one particular spot, try putting an extra box there.
9) Use an enzyme-based cleaner to completely remove cat pee smells. If they can smell it, they will pee there again. I’ve used Nature’s Miracle for years, but there are many other comparable products out there. Regular soap definitely will not cut it even if you can’t smell it… your cat still can and will continue to pee in the same spot!
10) Cat prozac. When I flew with Smokey cross country, my vet gave me some antidepressants that I gave her before we got on the plane. I gave her another dose once we arrived home, and it was amazing. She made herself right at home as if she’d lived there all along! I’ve heard that longer term usage can greatly impact animal behavior if your cat is particularly skittish.
. . . . .
Have you had any problems with your cat going outside of the litterbox? How did you solve it?