Male cat pees half in litter, finishes on carpet

by Dana

4 year old male pees half in the litter, gets out and then finishes on carpet.

Every once in a while our four year old male cat will use his litter box but not finish and then either finish peeing on our bedroom carpet or the bathroom rug, in the same locations each time.

We have no idea why, his mood has not changed at all, although we have had visitors on and off for the last month everything has been chill and we give him the most attention possible and play with him.

He has also done this when we haven't had months of visitors also. I don't understand why he could be doing this.

My Thoughts:

I'm sorry to hear that your kitty is having issues, Dana.

He may be having any one of a number of urinary tract problems, from cystitis, to a urinary tract infection (UTI), to stones or crystals in the bladder. He may also be experiencing some sort of pain for some other reason and that is throwing him off his game.

He may be experiencing an intermittent infection, which is causing pain or he may be having flow problems along with pain, so he goes here and there. In male cats, blockage is highly dangerous, so I'd be watching him.

Many of these problems may not be easily detected or may not be present during a routine physical exam.

That's one reason why it's so important to involve your veterinarian early on in the process when problems develop.

Let's say your cat gets a UTI and that throws him off the box. He starts urinating elsewhere, and develops a location preference for the living room and a texture preference for carpet.

If you get him to the vet and the vet says "yes, he has an infection," then you can treat it and reasonably assume that's what started it. Otherwise, you're down to guessing and lots of detective work.

You can then take steps immediately so that his behavior doesn't get ingrained and become habit, making it harder to solve the problem.

Other than getting him to the vet for a diagnosis with this problem in mind, here are some things you can try...

Place a litter box right on top of where he goes on the carpet.
First, clean the carpet with an enzymatic or bacterial based cleaner and be sure to remove all traces of the cat urine.

Remember, on carpeting the urine spreads out like a puddle in the padding underneath the carpet, so the area you see on top is much smaller than the actual area you need to treat.

If you don't remove all traces of cat urine, he will keep returning to the spot. In a house with a cat, I would not use ammonia based cleaners at all.

If you catch the "accident" immediately, you can pour distilled white vinegar on it to help neutralize the urine.

Before you use any products on your carpet, test an inconspicuous area to make sure no discoloration or bleaching occurs.

Even if you remove all traces of cat urine odor, he may have developed a location preference and keep returning to the spot anyway. So, drop another litter box right on top of that spot with his favorite type of litter in it.

If his location preference is stronger than his surface preference and he is physically healthy, he'll likely use that box.

Once he starts using that box regularly, slowly move it (inch by inch daily) to the location you prefer. If he reverts to that spot again, start over.

After you have that new box in the location you want, it may be possible to remove it after a while, but don't count on it. Cats hate change.

An interesting test would be to get another litter box and place it near the current box with no litter in it. Instead, place a section of carpet with the same type of cut in the bottom of the box and nothing else.

If he uses that, then he's likely developed a texture preference and prefers carpet or soft surfaces over litter.

To get him off of that, isolation/confinement retraining on a hard surface with a squeaky clean litter box and lots of attention might do it. Or, simply block all access to carpeted areas if that's possible.

Just as a reminder, praise him profusely when he uses the box, and never punish him, yell at him, or even look sideways at him when he doesn't. Just clean it up.

Please let us know how he gets on with this.

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