7 Ways to Stop Your Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box

How to stop your cat peeing outside the litter box

If you’re sick and tired of washing bed sheets, covering the sofa with plastic, and mopping the floor, I feel your pain. Improper use of the litter box is one of the top reasons that cats are surrendered to shelters. If you’re struggling with this problem, I encourage you to try all of the steps in this article before considering giving up your kitty. Rest assured that in most cases, cats CAN learn to properly use the litter box!

1. First things first. Have your kitty checked by the vet to eliminate the possibility of underlying medical issues. This is especially important if your cat was good with the litter box and then suddenly started urinating in other places. Some medical conditions can cause a cat to feel pain while using the litter box—including urinary crystals, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or others.

2. Check the type of litter you’re using. Not all litters are created equal. Most cats hate dusty or scented litter, so it’s better to keep things simple. We recommend unscented Yesterday’s News or Swheat Scoop. If you want to switch litter brands, make sure it’s a gradual shift—slowly add the new litter to the old litter over the span of 1-2 weeks. This should prevent your cat from protesting the change by leaving a present on your bed.

3. Make sure the litter box is clean enough. Nobody likes a dirty toilet, especially your cat! Cats have a very keen sense of smell, which makes it even more important to get ALL the clumps when you scoop. Make sure to scoop your litter boxes twice a day.

4. Make sure there’s enough room in the litter box. It may seem obvious, but check the size of your litter box, compared to the size of your cat. Your cat should be able to step in and turn around with a comfortable amount of room. If you’re noticing your cat standing inside the litter box, but urinating just outside the edge, that’s usually a sign you need a larger litter box. Can’t don’t like to feel confined while using the bathroom, so we also recommend against closed / dome litter boxes.

5. Make sure there are enough litter boxes. This is especially important if you have multiple kitties! The rule of thumb is: the number of cats + 1 = the number of litter boxes you need. If you have a single kitty with a pee problem, try 2 or even 3 litter boxes and see if that helps.

6. Consider having your cat treated for anxiety. This ties in to #1. If your vet has eliminated any physical ailments, your cat might be simply anxious. Your veterinarian might prescribe anxiety pills—I have personally seen this work wonders with some of our cat sitting clients. Another good tool to use in conjunction with vet treatment is Feliway spray or diffusers—this is a feline pheromone that naturally calms kitties and helps stop unwanted behaviour.

7. Clean messes with enzyme cleaner. The last point is to ensure you’re cleaning those messes in a way that won’t encourage kitty to re-offend. It’s important to use an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle, because it uses bacterial enzymes to entirely remove the urine, not just cover up the smell. Never use ammonia-based cleaners because ammonia is contained in cat urine, and kitties might become confused about where they should be urinating!


I know it can be extremely frustrating to come home and have to clean up a mess. We can’t read our kitty’s mind–Often the messes are a sign that something’s wrong. Be patient with your cat and try to understand what he needs. A little bit of understanding can go a long way to help a kitty improve his habits.

Check out our other cat articles here.


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