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Why Does My Cat Pee Outside The Litter Box?

Many owners ask me this question. It's a very common behavior ... instead of digging a hole and squatting to urinate, some cats will sometimes back up to the side of their litter box and pee against the side, usually splashing urine over the side, onto the wall behind the litter box, etc.

These Cats Are Marking Their Territory

Be glad in fact that they are doing it only in the litter box. Some things can help, such as making sure you have plenty of boxes if you have multiple cats (the standard advice is one for each cat plus one more) but even that may not help if your cats REALLY don't want to share. Feline calming pheromones like Feliway may help if the cat is feeling a bit stressed and is territorial for that reason.

But you need something to keep your home clean in the meantime, and in case these measures don't work. The best solution we have found in this case is to make the sides of the litter box higher so the cat CAN'T pee over them. This can be done by giving the can an enclosed litter pan with a lid, or by giving her a much larger box. Many of our clients have found large Rubbermaid type containers to be helpful in this, and a very economical solution (they are generally cheaper than litter pans of a smaller size).

What should I do?

As long as your cat is able to jump into the box, all you have to do is give her an open container with litter in the bottom in place of her other box. If you prefer an enclosed pan, or your cat can't jump that high or is too nervous to do so, you can cut an opening in one side for her to crawl through. Just make sure it's as high up as is practical for the cat.

These containers make well-covered litter boxes too by cutting a hole in the side for the cat and putting the lid back on. Some cats prefer closed boxes, but a few are nervous about them. If your cat is reluctant, try giving it to her as an open box at first, then putting the lid over only part of the top (securing it with heavy tape so that it does NOT fall on her and frighten her while she is using the litter box, or you can end up with more difficult litter box avoidance problems!). 

You can move it a bit at a time until it is snapped in place and the box is fully covered. Does your cat use this sort of litter pan, or have you found something else that works? Let us know in the comments below!

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