My cat pees right in front of her litter box!

by Meg
(North Dakota)

For the last year our cat has occasionally (once every few months) urinated right in front of her litter box.

Now that it is winter, and a very cold and snowy one at that, she is in the house 24/7 and it is a daily occurrence.

We are sure to keep her litter box clean and it is in the same quiet, private location as always with the same litter as always. Any suggestions?

My Thoughts:

Maybe she has arthritis or other joint or muscle problems? It's a lot easier to pee outside than it is to climb into the litter box. The cold weather is hard on arthritic joints too.

Maybe the combination of the feeling of having to go combined with some pain just doesn't allow her to make it all the way into the box.

Do you notice any other signs of pain in the joints or legs? Any trouble jumping up or down? Even young cats can get arthritis, but the older they get, the more likely they'll have it in some way.

If this is the case, they make pet stairs for getting up onto beds and other areas. You could start by putting a box or two next to the litter box to act as a stairs and make it easier to climb into.

Clean the floor area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleanser so she's not attracted back to it. Then place some sturdy boxes in a stair step fashion leading up to the litter box, right on the spot where she
usually goes.

Cover the boxes with folded towels, a blanket, or a rug so the surface is soft and inviting. See how she reacts.

If it's arthritis, there are some treatments that I've read about, mostly involving pain management, as well as some dietary supplements that are being recommended by some holistic vets.

Usually, warmth is good, so heated cat beds and the like are recommended.

Be careful about using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with cats as they can be dangerous. Tylenol and aspirin can kill, and this Metacam warning is enough to make me want to stay away from all of them if possible.

She may also have developed a painful association with the litter box due to chronic urinary tract infections, or perhaps mild stones or crystals. This would make sense with a problem that was periodic, but has now gotten worse and is very noticeable since she's indoors for the winter.

So, the litter box + urination = pain. She goes for the box and remembers, uh oh, that's gonna hurt, and goes right there in what is now a familiar spot.

If it is a urinary tract problem, such as infection or crystals, then treatment may involve medication and/or a change in diet. This would be in addition to some possible litter box retraining that may be needed to get her back on track.

I hope those ideas help some and best of luck with her. Please let us know how it goes, so when you do fix the problem, others can benefit from your experience.

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