Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside of the Litter Box in Searcy, AR?

Has your cat stopped using the litter box? Are they using it less? Have you noticed the smell of cat urine in areas it shouldn’t be? If you answered yes to any of these, you are probably wondering why your cat isn’t using the litter box.

Read our Searcy, AR, veterinarian‘s article to find out why your cat is peeing outside of the litter box.

Why Doesn’t My Cat Use the Litter Box All the Time?

There are many reasons why cats stop using the litter box. The obvious first one to consider is age. A new kitten may not know where the litter box is. They may not know how to use a litter box.

You may also be dealing with an older cat refusing to let a new kitten use the litter box. As cats age, different medical reasons can be the cause of their change in behavior. Older cats may find it hard to get to the litter box. They may even struggle to get into it.

Anxiety or emotional issues might also be causing the lack of litter box use. Your cat may be stress urinating or they may be trying to mark their territory. Cats might also have problems with the litter box itself or the litter inside of the box.

Cat Outside Litter Box

Medical Reasons

Medical reasons are some of the more serious reasons but also some of the most treatable. If you suspect your cat may be peeing outside of the litter box for medical reasons, call your veterinarian. A urine test can easily determine some of the obvious causes.

UTI or Urinary Tract Infection

Symptoms to look out for are a frequent need to urinate, straining to urinate, and blood in the urine. Your veterinarian can test for a UTI and, once diagnosed, can prescribe an antibiotic.

Urinary Crystals or Crystalluria

These can be caused by a cat having urine that is too acidic or too alkaline. If the pH is off, whether due to a medical condition or diet, crystals can form in the urine. These crystals will cause inflammation and can lead to a UTI.

Your veterinarian can prescribe an antibiotic to deal with the inflammation. They can also prescribe a special diet to help prevent your cat from getting urinary crystals in the future.

Bladder Stones or Cystic Calculi

Bladder stones can also cause inflammation in the bladder and a UTI. They can also cause blockages if not treated. A blockage is a medical emergency and will require immediate removal.

Your veterinarian can help prescribe an antibiotic for the inflammation and a special diet to help prevent bladder stones.


Hyperthyroidism is when your cat has a hyperactive thyroid gland. While this can happen to younger cats, it is more common amongst older cats. It can lead to frequent urination. Your cat may be unable to get to the litter box in time.

Our Searcy, AR, veterinarian can prescribe medications to help treat hyperthyroidism. You can also help your cat by placing more litter boxes around the house. This will give them more options on where to go potty when they need to.


While arthritis does not affect your cat’s ability to urinate, it can affect your cat’s ability to get to the litter box. It can also affect your cat’s ability to use the litter box properly. Luckily, there are litter boxes out there that have steps or ramps that your cat can use to get in and out of the litter box.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is most prevalent with older cats. It is progressive and gets worse as a cat ages. You may notice your cat has to go to the bathroom a lot more frequently. Other symptoms include: excessive thirst, decreased appetite, picky appetite, vomiting, and weight loss.

Your veterinarian can help you treat kidney disease. A special diet with supplements can help. In advanced stages, veterinarians will recommend fluid therapy for your cat.

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

This particular medical problem is caused by stress, especially stress due to changes. It can be anything from adding a new cat to the household to changing the type of litter. Cats tend to urinate as a response to stress. If there is enough stress they will urinate in odd places.

Problems with the Litter Box

Before your run to your animal clinic, if you are not noticing any other symptoms, try to determine if the cause might be something easily fixed. Your cat may be angry or upset about something or they may be struggling to use the litter box.

Dirty Litter Box

Cats hate a dirty litter box. You need to clean the box at least once a day or once every two days if you have multiple boxes. The rule of thumb is that you should always have one extra litter box. If you have 2 cats, you need 3 litter boxes. If you have 4 cats, you need 5 litter boxes.

Uncomfortable Litter Box

Your cat may find the litter box to be uncomfortable. Maybe it is too small or too big. Maybe they don’t like where the litter box is in the house. Maybe they would prefer a litter box with a cover or maybe they hate the cover and want it gone.

Litter Box Hard to Get Into

As cats get older, it can get harder for them to get into a litter box. Try to find a litter box that is easy to get in and out of.

Loud Litter Box (Electric)

This last one is specific to electric litter boxes. Cats don’t like loud noises. Some cats associate the sound of the litter box cleaning itself with other sounds like the vacuum cleaner. They may not want to use the litter box because of the sound it makes.

Alternatively, cats may not like the sounds they hear while in the litter box. Whether your cat’s litter box is electric or not, think about where you have placed it. Loud sounds in the room or near the box could also cause problems.

Cat Laying By Litter BoxProblems with the Litter

Some cats are very picky about their cat litter. If you recently switched litter brand or type and your cat is now refusing to use the litter box, then the litter might be the problem. You may need to go back to the old litter. If going back to the old litter isn’t an option, you may need to try out new types of litter until you find one your cat likes.

Problems with Other Pets

Other pets, specifically other cats, can also be a problem. Sometimes one cat will try to prevent another from using the litter box. This can be a fight over territory or it can be a fight over dominance. In either case, you can help resolve the problem by giving each cat their own litter box.

If a litter box for each cat doesn’t work, you may need to consult a cat behaviorist to see if you can help your cats figure out how to get along.

Anxiety or Emotional Problems

As mentioned earlier, cats can urinate for emotional reasons. The most common reasons are stress and anxiety. While cats don’t usually urinate in the moment of stress, they may run off and pee somewhere they shouldn’t.

The best way to deal with this is to determine what is causing anxiety or stress. Remove it if possible. If you cannot remove it, try to mitigate it. A cat behaviorist may be able to help you desensitize your cat to the thing that is upsetting them.

Let Our Searcy, AR, Animal Clinic Know If Your Cat is Peeing Outside of the Litter Box During Your Next Visit

Whatever the reason, know that your cat is not peeing around the house to annoy you. That isn’t their intention, and getting mad won’t help.

Our Searcy, AR, veterinarian can help your cat with whatever problem they are having. Please let us know when you schedule their next exam by calling (501) 268-5381

About Us

Thank you for choosing Liles Animal Clinic as your pet's veterinarian in Searcy, AR. We are committed to providing exceptional veterinary care from your pet’s first days to their final moments. Our veterinary clinic facilities have been designed to assist us in providing routine preventive care for healthy pets, early detection diagnostics for aging pets, and complete medical and surgical care for pets at all life stages.