Cat peeing on floor right next to litter box

by Danielle
(Ohio, US)

Our cat, about 8 years of age, started peeing on the floor next to her litter box about a year ago.

She will still use it for other reasons, but it seems she will pee on the floor more often than in the litter box.

We have been cleaning out the litter box daily, we even have two litter boxes.

We are at a loss and know longer know what to do. Is there anything you may suggest?

Thank you!

My Thoughts: When I hear about these problems, my first thought is usually, "what's wrong?" What went wrong to make her start doing this?

Pain due to a urinary tract infection? Perhaps a recurring infection that caused pain and taught her to associate pain with the litter box?

Then, once the area was soiled, the smell made her return to it? It then became an acceptable spot to pee in?

I can see how that could happen. So, the drive to use the box is there, but when she gets near, uh oh... thoughts of pain. "Hmmm... this spot is familiar, smells right... let's do it."

The longer these problems go on, the harder they are to fix. We don't even know what caused the problem in the first place. My UTI assumption is just a guess of course.

So, all we can do at this point is try our best to remedy the situation, keeping in mind that habits don't change overnight.

What can we do? Assuming it's the same general spot she's using every time...

Remove the urine odor.
Clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner so even a cat's nose can't detect any trace of urine odor.

Some people have claimed that vinegar works, but your mileage may vary. Don't use ammonia or an ammonia based cleaner.

2. Restrict access. After cleaning, place items on top of the area so she can't get to it. Or, cover it with something your cat won't walk on.

Create a path to the box that she won't deviate from. Use double sided tape on cardboard sheets, aluminum foil, or some other surface she won't like.

3. Keep the box squeaky clean like you have been. It's good too, that you have more than one box.

4. Praise her when she uses the box. Give her treats if she's used to that as a reward.

If you don't see any progress, you may need to use isolation retraining to get her back on track. See this page for information on litter box training and information on using isolation.

If there's a recurring physical problem, she may very well repeat this behavior again. It's always best to bring these issues up as soon as possible with your vet so that physical problems can be tested for and resolved before the behavior gets ingrained.

I hope that helps. Please let us know how she does.

P.S. One additional thing I'd do is look into reducing stress on your cat by upping exercise levels, and using calming agents like a Feliway diffuser, Rescue Remedy, and/or Jackson Galaxy Solutions Stress Stopper.

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Aug 29, 2018
Try isolation and calming products
by: Kurt (Admin)


It sounds like you're doing some of the right things. See my links above to information on isolation retraining, and also the links to Feliway and other calming products in the P.S.

I always try to keep in mind that if there's a physical/medical problem involved, things won't get solved until that is addressed. For example, if there's a recurring urinary tract problem, your cat is probably going to continue to urinate outside the box.

In addition, if your cat has developed a preference to urinate in one box and defecate in another, the solution for that is to add another box (which is never a bad idea, anyway).

Aug 29, 2018
Same issue, much younger cat
by: Mike

1 year old cat is doing about the same, literally peeing inches from the entrance to the litter box...but she poops in it just fine. No clue what to do. Tried cleaning the litter box more often, cleaning the floor with different cleaning!

Aug 15, 2018
Sandy texture
by: Kurt (Admin)


I would normally not want to change litter on a cat having problems, if that same litter was working well in the past. That being said, cats typically like a sandy texture to the litter, and most of the clumping clay litters provide this type of texture.

My guess is that he's either still associating pain with the litter box, or he's having intermittent pain and that is causing him to shun the box.

Aug 14, 2018
My cat has same problem
by: Lori

My male cat is 17 years old and over the past 2 months or so does the same thing. He has seen the vet many times for this issue. He's had a urinalysis, blood work, x-rays and an ultrasound which showed small kidney stones. The vet doesn't recommend any intervention now other than some pain medication and medication for inflammation for blood in his urine, because he is in no obvious discomfort and his tummy is soft and he is having no problem urinating. I have 3 litter boxes, two on the first floor and one on the second. I have cut out a low opening to the boxes in case he has trouble getting in (although I don't think that's the issue). I have resorted to putting heavy gauge plastic sheets in the entire area adjacent and under the litter boxes. He urinates on the plastic next to the litter boxes. Then I bought puppy pads and put them on the plastic all around each litter box area. He will pee right next to each litter box on the puppy pads now. The vet did recommend changing his diet, which I have done, to Royal Canin Urinary SO. He's been eating that exclusively and where his urine was red, it's now back to yellow. Hopefully, it stays that way. The vet thinks he may associate the litter box with some past painful urination, but I don't know how to change that. I keep his boxes extremely clean. It's like a full-time job. I'm thinking of changing the litter in the litter boxes. Is there a type of litter that is recommended?

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