Cats are typically easy to litter train. They prefer to urinate somewhere that they can dig and bury their waste, so they naturally gravitate toward the litter box. If you have a cat who has suddenly stopped using the litter box and is urinating on your bed, carpet, clothes, or floor, then something is amiss.
Your cat may be dealing with a medical issue, or there could be something about the litter box that they find unappealing. Here's a closer look at four common reasons why cats begin urinating outside of the litter box.
Urinary Tract Ailments
If you have ever had a urinary tract infection yourself, then you know how uncomfortable it can be. The condition makes you feel like you need to urinate constantly, even if you don't. Your cat might be experiencing the same thing. Feelings of urgency and pain may make it tough for them to make it to the litter box. Both male and female cats can develop urinary tract infections and other urinary tract ailments at any age.
The symptoms of urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and urinary tract tumors are hard to distinguish in cats. In addition to urinating outside the litter box, your cat may experience blood in their urine, increased water consumption, frequent licking of the genitals, and lethargy.
A visit to the vet is certainly in order to diagnose the treat the problem at hand. Depending on the exact diagnosis, your vet may prescribe antibiotics, recommend a change in diet, or perform surgery to remove a tumor or stone.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body becomes unable to remove sugar from the bloodstream and take it up into the body's cells. The kidneys must then filter all of the excess sugar from the blood, which leads to increased thirst and excessive urination.
A diabetic cat may begin urinating outside of the litter box due to feelings of urgency or because they soak the litter box faster than you can keep it clean.
Other signs of diabetes in cats include:
- A ravenous appetite
- Sudden change in weight
- Reduced activity levels
Diabetes is manageable with daily injections of insulin and a carefully planned, low-carbohydrate diet. Most cats' symptoms, including improper elimination behaviors, clear up once a treatment program is established.
It's possible that digging in the litter box is hurting your cat's paws, causing them to avoid it. This is especially common in declawed cats - their paws can become sore or sensitive. Other signs that your cat's paws hurt include shifting weight from paw to paw while standing, shifting weight backward off the toes, and walking very gingerly.
Your vet can look over your cat's paws to make sure an infection or arthritis is not to blame for the soreness. They may prescribe pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs. Switching to a softer litter may also help.
Unappealing Litter Box
If you've ruled out medical problems, then it's possible there is something about the litter box that your cat finds unappealing. Many cats strongly prefer a clean litter box and will go outside the box if it has soiled or another cat has used it.
Make sure you scoop your boxes daily - if not twice a day - and provide an extra litter box. Also, switch to a softer, less-scented litter in case your cat finds the smell or texture of your litter unappealing. Although covered litter boxes are convenient for cleanliness reasons, some cats do not enjoy going inside them. Try switching to an open litter box to see if that helps.
If your cat has begun urinating outside of the litter box, there is a good chance they are not feeling well. Central Veterinary Hospital to schedule an appointment. We will figure out what is ailing your cat and prescribe the proper treatment to ease the pain and remedy the unwanted behavior.