When you bring home a cat, or even kitten, one of the most important things you’ll teach them is how to use the litter box so that they aren’t peeing all over your house.
If you’ve successfully taught your cat to use the litter box, and there haven’t been any issues with them using it then it may come as a surprise when your cat suddenly starts peeing in other places in the house.
Having your cat pee all over the house is both frustrating and puzzling. Cleaning up after a house trained pet can be really time consuming and you want it to stop just as quick as it started.
If it’s just a one time event you may disregard it as just an accident, but if your cat is continually peeing everywhere then there could be a reason it’s happening. It can mean something is medically wrong with your cat and you need to see a vet, but that may not always be the case.
Here is what it could mean if your cat suddenly starts peeing everywhere – when they previously always used the litter box – and how you may be able to fix it.
Reasons why your cat isn’t using the litter box
If your cat has previously used the litter box without issue, but suddenly doesn’t seem to want to it could be caused by one of these four things
An underlying medical condition
If this isn’t normal behaviour for your cat then your cat is likely trying to tell you that something is wrong with them.
Cats are really great at hiding pain from their humans, but peeing outside the litter box is really difficult to hide from you so it’s easy for humans to pick up on the fact that something is wrong.
Your vet will check your cat out for a number of possible causes for the peeing. They will check for urinary tract infections, bladder infections, kidney issues or even diabetes.
Only your vet can actually diagnose medical issues with your cat so it’s important that you make an appointment when you notice it happening.
The good news is that, in most cases, medical issues causing your cat to pee everywhere are treatable. It may involve changing up their diet or potentially a medication for a little while but it can likely be taken care of without long term issues.
Problems with the Litter Box
If there’s an issue with the litter box, and that’s why your cat is suddenly peeing everywhere, then this is one of the easiest things to fix.
There could be one small thing that’s changed about the litter box that makes it unappealing to your cat and they won’t want to use it anymore.
Cats can be a little picky about their litter box area so it’s important to make sure it’s attractive for them to us.
If you aren’t sure whether the litter box is the issue here are a few ways to check it out.
- Does the litter box need to be scooped out or even change out all the litter? Cats don’t like to use a dirty litter box so if it hasn’t been changed in a while they may choose to go elsewhere.
- Have you changed the kind of litter you’re using? Some cats are fairly accommodating in what kind of litter they will use, but other cats are really particular. If you have changed up the kind of litter you’re using and your cat is suddenly peeing everywhere they may not like the new litter.
- Can your cat get to the litter box? If there is something preventing your cat from physically getting to the litter box then they might be going elsewhere out of pure convenience. Additionally, if your cat is aging or has gained a lot of weight and your litter box is placed up high where they need to jump up then this might also be preventing them from getting to it.
- Have you moved the litter box? If your cat doesn’t like where you’ve moved it to then this may be their way of protesting it.
- Has something happened that scared your cat away from using the litter box? If there was an incident that potentially spooked your cat while they were going to use the litter box it may make them shy away from using it in the future. Your cat may now associate that area with being frightened and won’t want to go in there.
Addressing these issues may be the easiest way to rule out the problem causing your cat to pee all over your house.
Stress or anxiety in the environment
A cat who is stressed out or anxious – for any reason – may pee all over the house. While some humans might think that this is “revenge peeing” or your cat holding a grudge, but it actually isn’t anything like that.
A cat that is stressed out, perhaps due to changes in the home environment, can forget the routine of doing their business in the litter box or legitimately have troubles holding their bladder until they can get there.
There are several reasons your cat may be feeling stressed or anxious in your home, including
- Getting a new pet
- Losing a pet they’re used to having around
- Having a baby
- A change in your routine – are you suddenly working from home more or out of the house at different times?
- New, frequent visitors to your home
Having a new pet or baby come into the home can make your cat feel like their territory is being invaded. Additionally new pets or babies can make a lot of unexpected noises, and that may stress out your cat if he is used to having a quiet home.
Further, a change in routine can make cats nervous. Cats like structure and routine, so they may pee all over the house until they are comfortable with their home structure again.
If this is the reason your cat is peeing everywhere in your home, your vet can help with behavioural modifications or even a medication to help your cat relax a little bit.
If your cat had an accident once in an area of the house then they may associate that area with peeing all the time. If this is the case, then you will want to make sure you clean up any accidents completely to discourage them from continuing to do so.
Even if you steam clean your rugs to get the urine smell and stains out, your cat can still smell where they peed previously. There are some cleaning products you can purchase that are specifically designed to remove pet odour to neutralize the smell. This can help retrain your cat to make sure they are using the litter box instead of peeing around the house.
If you’re looking for a product to use to get the urine smell and stain out of your carpet, you can try something like Arm & Hammer Pet Stain and Odor Eliminator Plus OxiClean.
How to deter your cat from peeing in areas
There are certain scents you can place in areas of your home that help deter your cat from peeing there.
Some of these scents include
- Lavendar oil
- Citronella oil
- Orange oil (or even orange juice)
- Lemon oil (or juice)
- Peppermint oil
You can mix 20 drops of these essential oils with water and spray them in the area including furniture, walls, or even the floor. These oils are not harmful to your cat so you can use them to deter your cat from peeing there.
We love having our pets in our lives, but it is important they are house trained so that we can keep our homes clean and free of urine and feces. Training your cat to use the litter box means you know they’re going to be going to the bathroom in one spot and your house won’t smell.
If your cat is peeing around the house instead of in the litter box due to a change in the home environment or a change in your schedule then the good news is that it can be fixed.
It will take patience and some time to help determine exactly what is going to work for your cat: whether you change the litter back to the old brand, place the box in a place that’s easier for them to get to or maybe move it to an area of the house that they feel more comfortable in.
Once you figure out what it is that’s causing your cat to not use the litter box, you can work through it and make changes until you notice your cat is back to using the litter box.
It might take some time, and a few more accidents, until your cat is back to normal but you will get there.
If you know that nothing in your routine or home environment has changed and you’re completely cleaning up after your cat every time he pees elsewhere in the house then it’s important you make a vet appointment as soon as you can.