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Why is My Cat Peeing Everywhere All of a Sudden? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 11, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat with pee stain on the carpet

Why is My Cat Peeing Everywhere All of a Sudden? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

VET APPROVED

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cat owners can agree that the smell of cat urine is overwhelming. It’s a difficult odor to remove from furniture, carpeting, and other fabrics. Your home quickly becomes unpleasant if your kitty isn’t using their litter box. There are several reasons your cat is peeing everywhere, but we can categorize them as either medical or behavioral. Let’s explore why kitties stop using their litter box and start peeing all over the house.

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The 7 Reasons Your Cat Is Peeing Everywhere

We’ll first examine the behavioral reasons behind your cat’s sudden dislike for their litter box. Then, we’ll cover some of the medical reasons why cats urinate everywhere. If any of these reasons apply to your pet, you must take your cat to the vet immediately for treatment.

1. Dirty Litter box

person changing cat litter
Image Credit by: Africa-Studio, Shutterstock

Cats are often fussy and tidy creatures. They are constantly grooming themselves. You can hardly expect them to step into urine-soaked litter or poop, can you? If your kitty starts peeing outside the box, litter box cleanliness should be the first thing you consider.

How to Remedy the Behavior
  • Clean the litterbox throughout the day
  • Invest in a self-cleaning litter box
  • Place multiple litter boxes throughout the house


2. Scented Litter

Sure, you may like the smell of lilacs or a tropical paradise, but did you ask your kitty before switching to that fancy scented litter? Cats have an enhanced sense of smell compared to humans. Odors that are pleasant to your nose will be overpowering to your cat. Skip the flowery scents and fill your cat’s box with unscented litter.

The best way to avoid a dirty litter box smell is to clean it frequently. Your cat may be agreeable to scoopable litter, which can help decrease cat urine smells. You can also try a litter box with flap doors or carbon air filters.

How to Remedy the Behavior
  • Use only scent-free cat litter

3. Unfamiliar Litter Texture

paper cat litter
Image Credit by: Douglas Cliff, Shutterstock

Cat litter brands used to be made with only one material: clay. Today, kitty litter comes in various ingredients and textures, from corn to synthetic pellets. These new-fangled ingredients have a lot to offer, but your cat may not like how they feel on their paws.

If you need to switch litter types, do so slowly. Add just a handful or two of the new litter to the existing brand. Gradually increase the ratio over several days or even weeks. The pickiest cats may never adjust, so you may be resigned to whatever brand they prefer.

How to Remedy the Behavior
  • Stick with what your cat is familiar with
  • Slowly introduce a new litter type

4. A New Cat

No one asked your cat if they wanted a feline roommate, but suddenly, they have to share their water bowl, napping spaces, and litter box. Your beloved cat may stop using their litter box if a new cat is pooping and peeing in it. There’s only one solution: add another litter box.

You may have to experiment with the placement of the boxes. Start by putting two litter boxes near each other. If that doesn’t work, place them in different rooms. Ideally, the “plus one” rule works best, which requires having one more litter box than the number of cats sharing a home.

How to Remedy the Behavior
  • Multi-cat households need more than one litter box.

5. Arthritis

sick cat lying on blanket
Image credit: one photo, Shutterstock

Joint problems can make it difficult for humans to get around. The same is true for our pets. It might be painful for your elderly cat to step in and out of its current litter box, and the animal may have no choice but to urinate on your carpet. Some cats may need medication for arthritis, but you can also purchase a cat box with a lower entry point.

How to Remedy the Behavior
  • Explore pain medication
  • Purchase a litter box designed for cats with mobility issues

6. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Some cats with a urinary tract infection will pee more frequently and in lesser amounts, strain to urinate, and have blood in their urine. But sometimes, the only sign is that they go to the bathroom outside their box. If the behavioral reasons listed above do not apply to the situation, take your cat to the vet.

The doctor may suggest urinalysis and culture testing to rule out UTI, make dietary recommendations (such as diets with a low struvite/oxalate index), prescribe antibiotics, or use other treatments to get your cat back to feeling their best.

In some instances, especially in male cats, a partial urethral obstruction (“blocked cat”) can lead to attempting to urinate small amounts very frequently or being unable to void urine. This represents a life-threatening emergency and necessitates an immediate trip to the vet.

How to Remedy the Behavior
  • Make a vet appointment to rule out UTI, bladder stones, crystals, cancer, urethral obstruction, or idiopathic cystitis

7. Diabetes

tired sick cat lying on bed
Image Credit by: Natata, Shutterstock

Cats with uncontrolled blood sugar levels drink more water and urinate more often. Some numbers estimate that 1% of all cats will develop diabetes during their lives. Your kitty is more likely to contract the disease if they’re overweight.

In addition to increased thirst and urination, cats with undiagnosed diabetes may lose weight despite eating the same amounts. If your cat doesn’t have a UTI, ask your vet about diabetes testing.

How to Remedy the Behavior
  • Ask your vet about diabetes testing

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Do Cats Pee Outside Their Litter Box Out of Spite?

Your cat does not consciously pee in random locations to spite you. Cats that do not have a medical issue may be stressed out or overwhelmed, but they’re not mad at you or seeking revenge.

How Do You Stop a Cat From Peeing in the Same Spot?

Many household cleaners are harsh or will only cover the smell of cat urine. Your kitty will continue to pee in the same spot if they can smell the lingering odor. You’ll need an enzyme-based cat urine remover to get the job done.

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Final Thoughts

Cat urine has a strong and distinctive odor. It can be challenging to remove this smell from your home, but if your cat starts peeing everywhere, don’t take it personally. Your cat isn’t using the litter box for a reason, and it may be a behavioral or medical condition. Start by ruling out possible behavioral issues like a new cat or difficulty accessing the box. If you can’t troubleshoot on your own or your cat has other signs, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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