My Cat Avoids the Litter Box
If Your Cat Pees on Everything, You’ve Come to the Right Place
When Your Cat Avoids the Litter Box, knowing what is triggering this behavior is the key to achieving litter box success.
At the end of a long hard day, there are two things most of us look forward to: a good meal, and getting a good night’s sleep in our comfy beds, while our feline purr-y ones slumber next to us.
But wait, what is that smell! And what is this in my bed!
Nothing could me more distressing than discovering that your has peed in your bed. especially if your kitty seems to be a happy well-adjusted cat . This behavior can cause you to wonder what the heck could be going on, and how to fix it.
The Case of the Bed Pee’er
Such was the case with a couple who contacted me for help. They sent me photos and videos of two very happy rag doll siblings, playing and grooming each other, seeming to not have a care in the world.
Except, suddenly, one of the cats decided to pee on the human’s bed! It wasn’t happening everyday, but it was happening enough to cause stress in the household.
After meeting the family, and the kitties, in person, and asking a lot of probing questions, I began to understand just was going on. I will talk about that below as I describe some reasons your cat may decide that your bed is the ideal litter box.
Why Your Cat Avoids the Litter Box
Knowing what is triggering this behavior in your cat is the key to correcting this conduct.
In my opinion, there are just a few things that would motivate the usually fastidiously clean feline to do such a nasty thing.
A clean bill of health from your veterinarian is the very first step on the road to behavior correction. Diseases such as IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), Cancer, or even intestinal parasites can lead to a cat find a new place to poop. Often the pain associated with these illnesses cause cats to associate the litter box with pain, so they will avoid going there. Also, when a cat has an illness, he will instinctively eliminate elsewhere to keep the illness away from the other members of his cat clowder.
This is a tricky one to detect. Cats are very sensitive to environmental changes, and sometimes act out their unhappiness in some very odd and unpleasant ways. In questioning the couple I met with this past weekend, it was discovered that often when their cat poops on their bed, it happens after one of them has returned from a business trip. Their cat is letting them know that the absence was keenly felt and not at all appreciated.
Stress or Insecurity
It sounds like this is the same as situational unhappiness, and often the two do go together. However, this one is slightly different. Again referring to the same couple I met with this weekend; it was further discovered through my questioning that these cats had only recently joined their household. The kitties came from a reputable breeder and have only been in this household about two months.
While the couple didn’t think this was significant information, I sure did. These cats are still getting to know their new home and their humans, having been removed from the only home they had known. They had a person, a cat mommy, and kitty siblings to whom they were emotionally attached. The separation anxiety, stress, and insecurity they were already feeling was further fueled when one of their humans was absent from the home
And the big reason cats pee on everything else? Litter Box Dislike
Litter and litter boxes can be a separate topic unto it’s own. Cats can be very finicky about where they will “go” so often it takes trial and error before finding just what appeals to your cat. Some cats aren’t as choosy as long as you keep consistent, but others can really put you through your paces!
The Litter and Litter Box Set Up
Litter box unhappiness is such a common reason why a cat avoids the litter box. Here are some reasons for their box dislike:
What is the cure for a cat who pees everywhere?
- Type of Litter – this can be a huge issue for your cat. Soft sandy litter is usually preferred over big chunky pieces that can have sharp edges, which may hurt tender toes.
- Type of Litter Box – Some cats like a lidded box, while others prefer the wide open spaces of the non-lidded box. Also choose a box that is appropriate for the size of your cat. A tiny Munchkin or Singapura may do well with a small box. A Rag Doll or Bengal might need much more room to maneuver inside. If his rear end hangs over the side when he is standing in it, the box needs to be larger.
- Box Placement – Placement of the box can be almost as important as the box and litter itself. Putting the boxes in highly trafficked areas with no privacy will almost guarantee a problem. A nice quiet corner that is easily accessible to your cat with no obstacles preventing easy access (and escape) is best.
- Cleanliness of Litter – Perhaps the most significant of all, a cat box must be scooped and cleaned daily. I once owned a cat sitting company, and have seen many people who do not even own a scooper! Letting the debris build up for days before tossing it all does NOT make for a clean box. Think of it this way: how do you feel when you use an outhouse? ‘Nuff said!
How Do You Correct Bad Cat Peeing Behaviors?
Now you have (hopefully) pinpointed your cat’s specific problem and know why he avoids the litter box. The next step is not only to correct the problem, but to also break your cat’s habit of not using his box.
Here are some simple steps to help break the cycle:
- Go to the Vet – Get that clean bill of health from your veterinarian. Make sure there is no underlying medical reason for his pooping behavior. And if there is, you and your vet can work together to correct it.
- Resolving the Anxiety Issue – If there are no medical issues, resolving the issue triggering your cat’s pooping behavior is the next step. If it’s litter box related, make whatever changes are necessary. Placement, box type, litter substance, cleanliness… Make those essential changes to create a litter box your cat will find appealing. If it’s stress related, pinpoint the sources of stress. Does your cat need more playtime and one on one time with you? Do you need to add more cat trees and places for him to act like a cat? Or if he is new to your household, perhaps he just needs more time to settle into your home.
- Make the No-No Place Unappealing – Make the place where kitty has been pooping unpleasant for him. You can place scents such as peppermint or orange peels. If scents don’t help, use of a sound-producing scat mat or an air blaster. That will have your cat avoiding the area at all costs!
- Rewards – Whenever you see your cat using his litter box, give him lots of praise and a yummy goodie. He will get the message that he has done something to please you, and that he gets a reward for it, too!
Now You Have Litter Box Success!
Follow these simple steps, and it won’t be long before you and your cat can again snuggle together in the bed. And without finding any unpleasant surprises under the covers!
Cat Pees on Everything? Not Anymore!!