Why is my Cat Urinating Outside of the Litter Box?


My female cat, Gracie, had a urinary tract infection about a year ago. Ever since then, she has not been the best about urinating in her litterbox. (She will do #2 in the litterbox, but she is not consistent about urinating in the litterbox.) I am not home during the day during the week, as I work. My daughter says that I should lock her in the laundry room, where the litter box is, during the day to “re-train” her. Her brother, Boxy, has the run of the house during the day, as he has no such problem. I would have to confine him, too. What do you think that I should do? Gracie is spayed, Boxy is neutered. Both cats are a little over 2 years old.

Deerfield, IL

I would recommend that you start by having Gracie undergo blood and urine testing, as well as diagnostic imaging (X-rays or ultrasound) to rule out an ongoing medical problem.

Urinary tract infections in cats can be very severe. Sometimes more than one course of antibiotics is necessary to treat them.

Also, a syndrome known as FLUTD can cause chronic bladder pain and inappropriate urination such as you describe.

Syndromes such as diabetes and kidney disease can cause cats to drink excessive amounts of water. This, in turn, causes excessive urination which can lead to house soiling.

If no medical cause can be found for Gracie’s behavior, then it is appropriate to deal with the matter as a behavioral problem. Your daughter’s suggestion may be appropriate, but you also can find a plethora of advice on this matter on my website:


Finally, note that some cats develop litter box aversions after suffering from urinary tract infections. This happens when cats associate painful urination with the box that was in place during the infection, and it is possible in Gracie’s case. Litter box aversions often respond to the therapies recommended in the link above.

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