Natural ways to stop your cat from peeing/spraying outside the litter box

If you are a first-time cat ‘parent’, there is much to learn about cat behavior.  Even if you are an experienced cat parent each cat is different and there is always more to learn.

You may wonder why your cat has started urinating or spraying outside the litter box. And which is it? Urine or spray?

Spraying …

Look at the evidence: If there is a large amount of urine, the cat has probably peed.

If the urine is found in the same place repeatedly or on an upright surface and there isn’t a large quantity present, this is scent marking or spraying. A cat sprays to mark territory, not to empty its bladder.

Male cats living in a home with other cats are likely to spray at a younger age than those living alone, who typically begin spraying at five to 12 months. In addition to being a territorial behavior, spraying can also be stress-related. If the cat’s home has been disrupted, or the cat feels over-crowded, this can upsets your cat and he may resort to spraying.

Spraying is also a mating ritual, a way of communing with other cats by releasing pheromones, showing the cat’s availability for sex.

Females spray as well, but not as vigorously as males. This may take place when the female is in heat or when living in a multi-cat household.

Neutering male cats and spaying female cats helps eliminate this problem, unless there is a medical condition which is causing the spraying.  Because spraying by both genders can result from your cat’s medical condition, if you have eliminated other possible causes, you may want to consult with your vet.

Urinating …

  • cat in a litterboxWhen a cat is peeing and/or defecating outside the litter box it can be the result of pain your cat is experiencing and associates with the box (e.g. blockage leading to painful elimination, constipation, UTI etc.).  If your cat has a urinary blockage, for example, it may urinate somewhere other than the litter box because it is correlating the pain of peeing with the box. If you think your cat may be in pain, it’s time for a trip to the vet.
  • Because cats are very clean animals they detest a dirty litter box and will go elsewhere to do their business unless the box is regularly maintained and cleaned.
  • Cats can also be finicky about all aspects of their lives.  Did you recently switch litter brands? If may be your cat does not like the new brand or is sensitive to its scent. The texture of the litter may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Maybe your cat prefers a sand substrate rather than clay. Some cats favor hay or straw. Getting it right is going to involve some trial and error and investigation on your part.
  • Is your cat peeing in the box but not pooping? You may need to provide your cat with two boxes: One box for #1 and another for #2.
  • Do not place the box close to your cat’s feeding/water bowls. Some cats will not eliminate in a space that smells like their eating spot.
  • Some cats are fussy about their surroundings. Err on the side of caution and place the box in a tranquil yet open area. Felines like their privacy.
  • Some cats like covered litter boxes, while others have a preference for uncovered.
  • Meticulously check your home’s interior for spots where the cat has peed. Look under the carpet. If you use a black light, the pee stains glow, making them easier to find.  Clean these areas thoroughly so your cat will not be tempted to pee in these places. Use a 50% white vinegar and 50% water solution to wet the area. Blot with paper towels. Apply a handful of baking soda over the spot. Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide.  Trickle this mixture over the baking soda (or you can spray it on.) Work the solution into the rug with your fingers (wear gloves) or a brush. Once dry, vacuum. If the baking soda is resistant to removal, use a hard bristle brush to work it loose.



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