Cats have garnered quite a reputation for themselves as being extremely clean creatures, so if your new kitten is peeing outside of the litter box, you are likely wondering to yourself: what gives?
If you find that your cat is peeing in places that are not their litter box, it might be time to investigate why your cat is doing this. It will help you figure out what your next steps are to stop this situation from occurring in the future.
There are plenty of wonderful things about being a new kitten parent, such as learning how to take care of your latest addition and creating new memories with your kitten. There are also some tricky ones and behavioral problems that you are unsure of the root of surely fall into this category.
Luckily, if you tune into your cat’s behaviors and attempt to get inside of their mind, you will likely be able to figure out what is leading your cat to engage in such behaviors.
Today, you are going to learn more about what you should do if your new kitten is peeing — but outside of their litter box. To begin, you will learn more about some possible reasons that kittens forgo their litter box and choose to urinate in other places. After that, you will learn more about how you can help your pet successfully quit this habit.
Once you have a basic understanding of why cats pee outside of their litter box and how to stop your pet from doing this, you will get more information about when to reach out to a vet.
Why isn’t my cat using their litter box?
You brought your new kitten home, and they seem to be doing great. They’re eating, getting along with other animals in the household, and getting acclimated to their surroundings. Things seem to be going fine, so why is your new kitten not using their litter box and instead opting to pee in other places in the home?
There are several potential culprits that could lead your cat to engage in this unsavory behavior. It’s important to remember that you certainly can get your cat to stop participating in this. Getting to the bottom of why your pet is behaving this way will be key to doing so.
Additionally, remember to correct your kitten’s undesirable behavior kindly and gently. Positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative.
It isn’t clean
Cats do not enjoy engaging with things that they have already had a pre-existing negative experience with. Therefore, if the first time they attempted to use their litter box and they found it was not up to their cleanliness standards, you might have a difficult time getting them to use it again.
It’s hard to reach
Another reason that your new kitten might not be using their litter box is that it is in an inopportune place. This makes it inconvenient to use, which means that they will not want to use it — or perhaps even have time to reach the litter box when they feel the urge to urinate.
Alternatively, if your litter box is in a claustrophobic location with plenty of stimuli, your cat will not enjoy using it.
You’re using the wrong litter
Did you know that new kitten owners actually have plenty of options when it comes to litter box substrate? It’s true; you may have to work to select the right litter for your kitten. If you observe that your new addition is not using the litter box, you could consider swapping out the litter substrate.
While research has revealed that most cats would rather have a fine-grained, unscented litter in their box, your cat might have their own preference. Whatever your cat is most comfortable with, you should select.
In addition, you should keep in mind that potentially the scent of the litter is what is putting your cat off from the litter box. Since some litter types are easier to clean than others, take this into account when you are selecting the litter substrate. This is critical because cats are mindful of the cleanliness of their spaces.
Unfortunately, sometimes stressed or anxious kittens have a difficult time urinating in an appropriate location. If you are concerned that stress is to blame for your kitten’s reluctance to use their litter box, you should consider any other symptoms that they are exhibiting.
For instance, other signs that your cat is stressed include scratching that is destructive, urine spraying, compulsive behavior, playing in a rough manner, excessive meowing, and hyperactivity at night.
There’s a medical issue
Unfortunately, if your cat is peeing outside of the litter box, it is possible that there is a medical condition leading them to do so. This is why it is essential that you bring your pet to the vet to check that the condition is not medical.
It is important that you do not take the potential health ailments lightly and instead provide them with the care they require as soon as possible.
Pawp’s trustworthy, experienced vets are available to answer any of your questions 24/7. Pawp’s convenient telehealth appointments mean that there’s never a wait or an appointment necessary. It’s never been quite this easy to get your pet the care they need, the moment they need it and wherever they need it.
How do I stop my kitten from peeing outside the litter box?
Now that you have an idea of why your cat is peeing outside of their litter box, it’s time to discuss what you can do to help them quit this behavior.
Here’s what you need to know about teaching your new kitten to stop engaging in this action — just be sure to do it promptly.
Buy a new litter box
If your kitten is unhappy with the litter box for any reason, you should purchase a new litter box.
Be mindful about the size of the litter box when you are purchasing it; cats do not enjoy using litter boxes that feel claustrophobic, and while your kitten is small now, they won’t be forever. Generally speaking, cats will prefer larger, uncovered litter boxes.
Clean their old litter box
Another option is to clean your old litter box. If you do this, you want to ensure that you are thoroughly cleaning the box and using products that could not potentially harm your kitten. Therefore, some owners might find it easier to simply purchase a new one.
Moving forward, once you complete a deep clean of the litter box, you will want to ensure that your new pet’s poop is scooped on a daily basis and that you are giving their litter box a weekly wash using mild dish detergent.
Use multiple litter boxes
It’s a wise idea to have more than one litter box. Typically it is suggested that you get one litter box per cat you have in your home, plus one. This will ensure that there are sufficient places where your cat can urinate.
In addition, you should make sure that you place these litter boxes in locations that your cat will actually be able to access. If your pet has to take a long trek to reach the litter box or climb over things to reach it, there’s a reduced chance that they will actually do that.
Try a new cat litter
It’s also possible that the cat litter itself is to blame for your pet’s reluctance to urinate in the box. Therefore, switching out the cat litter could be a productive, helpful change.
However, once you find a cat litter that works for your pet, it is essential that you do not change it moving forward. Also, be sure that you’re giving your pet enough litter — usually, two inches deep will be sufficient.
When should I call the vet?
According to Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson, “I would contact your vet right away to determine if it is more of a behavioral problem or medical problem.” You can even talk to a vet on Pawp for free. It’s best to figure out right away if the reason that your pet is participating in this behavior is something connected to their physical health. Then, you can take appropriate actions to help your pet.
Dr. Robinson also adds, “For behavioral problems, some cats prefer certain types of litter boxes (i.e., covered vs. uncovered) and/or certain types of litter, so you could try changing those and seeing if it helps. You can also try changing the location of the litter box. Sometimes adding an additional litter box can help too.”
If your cat is experiencing stress, and that’s why they’re peeing outside of the litter box, you could also use an anti-stress plug-in pheromone, according to Dr. Robinson.
Creating good habits
Pawp’s vets are available 24/7 to help you navigate any questions you might have about your new kitten.
Whether they are urinating outside the litter box, having trouble eating, or you just have questions about what you need to purchase for them, Pawp has you covered.
KITTEN LITTER BOX SOURCES:
Feline Behavior Problems: House Soiling | Cornell
Boxed Out: A Tale of Litterbox Woe - College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences | University of Illinois
How to train your cat to use a litter box | Colorado State Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Kitty Litter Preferences | WSU
Effects of stressors on the behavior and physiology of domestic cats NCBI