Inappropriate Urination –
Why is My Cat Peeing Outside the Box?

Sarah Bird, DVM

There can be several reasons your kitty may be urinating outside his or her litter box.  This can be a serious problem with our feline patients.  It is the number one reason cats end up back in the shelter to find a new home.  The good news is, if addressed early, during the first few weeks, there is usually a good outcome.

Medical Reasons:

  • Cystitis due to inflammation, crystals, bladder stones
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis

Behavioral Reasons

  • Litter box management
  • Change in the environment
  • Boredom – not enough stimulation
  • Stress
  • Territorial marking

There are some simple things that you can do at home to help avoid the problem of inappropriate urination in a healthy cat:

  • Have enough litter boxes – the general rule is one litter box per cat plus one extra box.
  • Clean litter box once per day and add fresh litter as needed. Wash the box with soap andwater at least once a month.  Washing the box once a week is preferable.  Do not use other chemicals such as bleach or ammonia to clean the box.
  • Make sure the litter box is large enough. It should be 1.5 times the length of your cat.
  • Most cats prefer a box that does not have a lid. Lids can hold in odors, which cats do not prefer, plus an open box allows a nice full view of their surroundings.  Some cats feel trapped in a closed litter box because there is only one way out.
  • Litter boxes should be located in quiet, private places that are not heavily trafficked areas. But avoid closed in corners or closets, as they may make your cat feel trapped or cornered.
  • Most cats prefer non-deodorized, clay, clumping litter.
  • Avoid placing your cat’s food or water bowls close to the litter box because most cats don’t like to eat and drink near the area where they urinate and defecate.

If your cat is urinating out of the box please don’t wait to call our office to make an appointment with one of our veterinarians.  Even if the problem started as a medical issue, it can become a behavioral problem.  The longer your cat urinates outside the box, the less likely we can successfully treat the problem.

Here are some helpful online resources for cat owners:

http://catfriendly.com/
https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats
http://catinfo.org/
http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_information/felinebehavior.cfm
http://binkyspage.tripod.com

Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic’s OPEN HOUSE will be September 16.

Our remodel is finally complete and as promised, we would like to share it with our clients.  Come see what the hammering, noise and general disruption in the clinic was all about.  Our Open House will be Saturday, September 16 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  All our clients are invited and refreshments will be served.

Quick Bites

  • We are pleased to welcome our new veterinary assistant, Sabrina Buckhaults, who joined our staff in April 2017. Sabrina grew up in John Day, attended Oregon State University, and graduated in 2015 with a BS in Animal Science.  She and her husband live in Terrebonne, and at Cinder Rock we are keeping Sabrina on the go as she learns her way around our busy practice.
  • In September, Dr. Keith, Dr. Holly and Dena will be headed to St. Louis for an annual meeting of their Well-Managed Practice management group. These are extremely useful and informative get-togethers with a number of other veterinary clinics around the country to discuss common challenges and share news about veterinary trends with a variety of guest speakers.
  • Here’s an update on our Sonny’s Sunshine Fund: As of the beginning of June, our second fundraiser to benefit Three Rivers Humane Society in Madras, OR has accumulated $1,800 in donations.  The Humane Society has begun construction on their brand new indoor kennel and contributions to support their effort will conclude at our Open House on Saturday, September 16. We are planning a silent auction at the open house, and we are already collecting an exciting group of items guaranteed to appeal to all animal lovers. The funds raised at the silent auction will be added to the donations for Three Rivers Humane Society.