male cat overspray

by Linda
(Long Island, NY)

My large male cat is very fussy and the litter box must be cleaned often or he will not use the box.

He has started to over spray the box even when the box is clean.

He urinates toward the side of his deep covered litter box and the urine goes out through the area where top and bottom meet and down the sides.

What can be done for this?

My Thoughts:

Hmmm... that's a tough one simply because unless he's using this as marking behavior, or has a medical problem, you're really talking about fine tuning how your cat uses the box.

I have nothing in my literature (or that I have found on the web... yet) that addresses behavior modification at this level. There are numerous notations about cats changing litter box behavior, as well as general changes in personality and so forth due to medical issues, but I assume you've ruled that out.

Several other thoughts come to mind, however, so I'll spit them out. First, if he's a big cat, and it's a covered box, this may be an issue for him. Even if it wasn't an issue at one point, it may be now.

So, you could try two things. One, remove the cover (thoroughly cleaning everything obviously, with fresh litter, etc.) and see if his behavior changes. Two, get a larger (if they make one larger than the one you have now) litter box and try it both covered and uncovered.

They do make "litter box furniture" that will house a box for you. It takes up space, and this may not help but I thought I'd mention it since it would keep the box out of sight at least and you could keep a pan underneath the box if needed.

Also, since these pieces house the box, they have a ramp up to them for the cat, and that means that you might be able to have a much deeper box. I haven't looked at the dimensions on any of them, but a deep plastic container could, in theory, be used here and that would keep everything inside the box. Just a thought.

If he's using this as marking behavior, then that's a bit different. This is something cats do to feel more secure. If he's stressed by other animals or something in the neighborhood or house, that might be the reason.

If that's the case, then reducing the stress and making him feel more comfortable is the way to go. Perhaps some Feliway spray or a diffuser might help. I know there have been some reports of it helping with marking behavior.

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Apr 21, 2012
Thank you!
by: Kurt (Admin)

Hi Christine,

Thank you for posting your detailed account of your situation. Yes, stress is often a major factor. I really like your idea of using a child's pool to catch the overspray. Best of luck to you and I hope you can get some breathing room soon.

Apr 21, 2012
by: christinewaterlily

One of our rescue cats does this and I have assumed it is a response to stress caused by space issues. He used to be partly outdoors during the day and when I came home he would be indoors or on weekends.

He enjoyed the space as he didn't have to share outside with the other shelter cats as we don't as a rule let them out except in exceptional cases when we can't stop the spraying or an animal has other stress problems from over crowding.

This changed when we moved to the city and had to stay with family, and still had 5 of the rescue cats with us. So now this particular cat has to be caged when I can't see him 100% of the time or in an outdoor kennel run. Because he can't really socialize with the other cats, this stresses him more. So the first chance he gets he will spray.

He would even hang on till he thinks I'm not looking and sneak over to a wall and spray. But because I'm on to that now and he knows it, he will now go and spray at the trays because he is allowed to go there. So now I have to put water proofing under the trays!!

Really the only solution for this cat is more space and until we have our own place and it's safer for him to go outdoors during the day, we are all stuck in a situation that doesn't really please any of us.

At night he is in a large zip up hutch which is waterproofed and he can see out of it and talk to the other cats. If I am around I let him out of his cage and if I have to leave the room I put him back in.

I cant have the hutch up 24/7 because the room I live in is really a cupboard. I can't put him in the kennel run 24/7 or it would be cruel because he can't be social. So actually the juggling back and forth is the best I can do for him at the moment.

I would like to suggest something that I would do if I had the space...

Buy a child's paddling pool and place his trays in the middle of it to prevent the sprays going over on the floor...

Also I put a single sheet of newspaper on the bottom of the tray and a small sprinkling of litter. The tray is emptied each time it's used, sprayed with white vinegar to clean it first, and then rinsed off and lined with paper again.

I find that the clean trays please the cats and all but this one pesky cat are very good. I suppose considering I have house trained tons of feral cats, this is just one failure and it's not really his fault. All the best with your kitty!

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