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One of the most frustrating cat behavior problems: "Why does my cat pee outside the litter box?"
Over time, we have had this question come up in variations. On this page you'll read visitor questions relating to cats urinating outside the litter box.
And you'll find lots of tips and advice from experienced cat owners who have dealt with the problem.
Scroll through these cat pee questions, or jump down to:
One of the most frustrating cat behavior problems: "Why does my cat pee outside the litter box?"
Over time, we have had this question come up in variations. On this page you'll read visitor questions relating to cats urinating outside the litter box. And you'll find lots of tips and advice from experienced cat owners who have dealt with the problem.
by: Donna in Australia
My Cat is Urinating in My Room
Hello, my Maine Coon cat, Ferdinand, is a male desexed cat about 10 months old.
He's started to make a habit of peeing everywhere in my room but not the rest of the house.
We don't know if it could be because he’s anxious or if its because he’s asserting his dominance. Please respond with your ideas, it would be greatly appreciated.
He's also pooping on the tiles next to the litter boxes not in either of them.
Love from Donna and Ferdinand.
Cat Urinating Outside Litter Box Reply:
How frustrating! Usually, a cat peeing outside the litter box means something. The puzzle is, what are they trying to tell us?
Some of the things that come to mind you've already mentioned. Although it's quite unlike a Maine Coon to trying to assert dominance, it may look that way if there is a new pet in the house, or even if he's the new pet and growing into an age where he's more of an equal with other pets. Now he has to figure out his place.
Anxiety is a good guess, but again it's a question of what is the cause. He could be anxious about a new pet, a pet who has passed, a new person, or an absent person. He could be anxious about being at home alone more often if that's a change, or of stress in the household.
And, of course, he could very possibly be feeling unwell. I'd recommend a vet check. Any number of medical or physical problems could cause him to do this to ask for attention.
For a cat, urinating outside litter box behavior is usually a call for help. My cats did this on only a few occasions. Once when we had a fleas for a short time (another story!), again when we went on vacation (they were well tended, but missed us and were "off"), and also Alice did this when she was elderly and the litter box was upstairs.
Litter box location and type of litter are important factors, too. If he can't get to the box for a variety of reasons he may go elsewhere.
You mentioned multiple boxes. If there are multiple cats, he may be blocked by another cat when he needs to go, or he may be intimidated by using a box another used - as it's already the other cat's "territory."
Since he urinates in your room, I’d put a box in there right away. Maybe that room is his home base.
Pooping outside but near the litter box makes me wonder if he doesn't like his litter. Have you tried a different litter, such as Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract Litter?
This litter is helpful for attracting cats back to the box. Ultimately, with a cat urinating outside the litter box, it's best to first rule out any medical reasons then do your best to see life from their vantage point, get in their head, and try to find what works for them.
I'm looking forward to what others have to say, and wish you and Ferdinand the best!
My girl started to poo outside her litter box which was out of character. Problem was solved my moving it to another place in her room. I hope it's that simple for you.
Cat Peeing Outside The Litter Box:
My Maine Coon, Stumpy, pees in one area of the house every day.
He won't use the litter box to pee, only to poo and thats it. How can we get him to use the litter box?
You have two things going on. First, Stumpy needs another litter box. The rule of thumb is one per cat, plus one more litter box per house.
Stumpy sounds like one of those cats who wants one box to poo in, and a separate one to pee in. It's very common.
So first, get another box, make sure it is plenty big enough for a Maine Coon. You may want to check out our page on cat litter boxes to see some big ones.
Also, make sure he likes his litter. There are a few different types you could try. Maybe he'd like a change. I would recommend Cat Attract Litter to get started.
This cat litter is formulated to attract cats, and make them feel good about using it. It has a high success rate.
Also, you need to thoroughly clean the spot he's been using. Nature's Miracle is a well known and respected product. Use as much as you need, and repeat until you are sure there is no residual odor to him (cats have a more developed sense of smell than we do).
I would block the area off if at all possible, so he can't access it for a while, too.
And keep the two boxes extremely clean. If I were you, I would scoop them multiple times per day until his habits improve, then slowly lessen to once daily. (or more if you can)
I hope this helps!
All the Best,
My MCC uses one box to poop in and a different one to pee in. I personally think he doesn't like to get urine odor on his toe tufts when scratching to bury the poop. He never scratches in his pee box.
I would start by putting the second box in the place he has been peeing. If he uses it, then you can s-l-o-w-l-y begin to move it to a different location over the course of a couple of months.
by: Mary in Northampton, MA, USA
My 7 month old Maine Coon occasionally urinates in the bathtub. It was something he started doing almost from day one when we adopted him about 3 months ago.
He also always uses the litter boxes to "do his business" as well, but if allowed access, will pee in the bath tub at least once a day.
The veterinarian checked out all possible bladder/urinary problems, and he was given a clean bill of health - which I guess makes this a behavioral issue.
I need suggestions/ideas on how to dissuade him from using the bath tub, without having to keep the bathroom door closed for the rest of his natural life!
We did try placing aluminum foil on the bottom of the tub, which helped to some extent, but now he chews on the aluminum foil which I don't think is safe for him either!
If anyone has had a similar experience or knows of other ways or methods to prevent him from even wanting to go in the tub, that would be most appreciated!
What a "unique" problem! I personally haven't dealt with this one, so I don't know if I will be able to come up with a solution you haven't thought of already.
Although it's inconvenient, if I were you I would leave the bathroom door closed at all times. I know you don't want him to have restricted access, but I would say he should have his privileges revoked for a while!
Perhaps if enough time goes by before he reenters, he won't remember the old habit.
Alternatively, perhaps there are other home-made contraptions that would dissuade him?
I am very interested to hear any suggestions from others on this one!
All The Best,
Urine is absolutely sterile until it interacts with germs outside the body. In fact it has an aromatic odor. Bacterial growth is what makes urine take on the ammonia smell after it sets a while.
You might try spraying the tub around the outlet with white vinegar. Cats don't like the smell of vinegar. (Vinegar also helps cut soap scum.) I would put another litterbox in the bathroom. Maybe he just wants to pee in the same room the rest of the guys use. :)
Remember, you may dissuade him from using the tub, but he may start somewhere else (like a corner in the living room or bedroom). I'd perfer to rinse the tub than clean up on carpet.
Kitty and the Tub
by: Pat in Florida
You could try leaving water in the tub for a few days to break his habit. I know it's inconvenient for the humans when they want to use the tub, but better than putting up with cat pee in there.
My cooncat, Bezzer Buzzer, did this until I put a second litter box down. He poops in one and pees in the other. If he doesn't think his pee box is clean enough he will sometimes pee on the drain in the tub. Cats tell us exactly what they need if we just have "ears" to hear.
Have you tried Boundary?
Boundary, and I am sure there are similar products, has worked for us discouraging our three coons from using the indoor/outdoor carpet in the mudroom as a scratching post ... they really hate the smell of it. You do have to reapply frequently though.
urinating in the tub
I think it's great - wish my cat would do that. Just rinse it down the drain - no pee smell in the litter box.
Urinating in the Bathtub
Tell him you don't swim in his box. lol
Seriously though, I would just wash it down the drain. It's not hurting anything and think of the money you'll be saving in kitty litter.
by: Cindy Glenik (travel RN)
When Mom was alive Charlie lived with her and every time my younger sister visited, Charlie would urinate in her shoes.
After Mom passed Charlie came to live with my son and me, and would urinate on my son's boots and in an empty food bowl. Is this a normal behavior for Maine Coons? Or did Charlie just not like my sister and son?
Charlie now lives with just me and the only behavior problems I have are Charlie always brings me things (ie. towels, socks, etc.) and he is always "talking" all the time.
No, this is not normal Maine Coon Cat behavior; it's a cat behavior problem. Cats urinating outside the litter box is, unfortunately, not uncommon. And it's one of the reasons they get left at shelters.
It's stinky and frustrating to us humans, but when we look at the situation, there is usually a reason and a remedy.
The really interesting part of this is, by having Charlie come and live with you alone, you've stumbled on his personal solution!
Urinating on your sisters shoes doesn't mean he didn't like her. In fact, he might have quite liked her and your son! It's a sign of "marking their territory."
Could your sisters shoes have smelled of another animal? What about your son's? It's an insecure cat that does this. What about the empty food bowl? Again, he was marking it as his. Maybe he was not secure in your home yet.
Did your son move out and take another animal with him? If so, there's your answer. If not, it was just a matter of time and circumstance to make Charlie relax and secure in your home.
One more thing: Bringing you trophies is very sweet! Not a behavior problem at all. There is a chance he wants to play fetch, or he's just providing for you. (He's the hunter & you're his family.) Also, 'talking' and 'chirping' are very much Maine Coon cat traits. A beloved quirk of the breed, even. Some are extremely vocal.
Regardless, it's wonderful to know he's adjusted well (not urinating in shoes any more!), and that you were able to take him in. Many cats aren't so lucky when they lose their owner.
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Maine Coon Cats bond strongly to their owners so he must have missed your Mom quite a bit, too.
All The Best,
Urinating in shoes
The only time I ever had behavior such as urinating on shoes, etc, from any of the many cats I have owned in my life was because they had an occult urinary tract infection.
Once the infection was cleared with antibiotics the unpleasant behavior ceased. My vet says this is the cat's way of getting your attention and saying, "I've got a problem."
by: Catriona in South Lanarkshire
We have 4 cats our last cat is a Maine coon and she is about 1 year old now. We had her neutered about 6 weeks ago.
She is peeing everywhere at least 5 times a week. we have tried a plug in (on vets advice) didn't work and we have now had to resort to placing boxes shoes and other items in the areas she is prone to going.
We are getting really frustrated as we are unsure why she is doing this. She does not have a UTI and is healthy.
Does anyone think it may be that because she is in a house that has already established cats? She gets on well with our oldest cat (male 4 years) but the other two females not so much. All our cats have been 'done' and so we are at a loss to why she is doing this and the other 3 aren't??
We were going to let her out but the neighbour said she would be stolen as she is too pretty? Also we were told it might be her manner and that maybe being in a house on her own would be better for her.
We just want the best for our cat and if that means she has to go then sobeit, but we'd much rather keep her and try to fix the problem.
Any suggestions or advice greatly appreciated
You must be so frustrated. It sounds like you've thought of everything and consulted your vet.
I only have a couple of small thoughts to add. Based on what you've said, I think she started this recently, just after being spayed?
If so, there is your link. If that's the case, it's not part of her manner at all. She's either emotionally or physically distressed and you may want to get a second veterinary opinion. She may be having trouble healing.
Also, sometimes cats do this when their owner is 110% sure there could not be any fleas on the cat. But later they find one hiding under all that fur. So this is something to think about. It's that time of year for many of us, and fleas do cause cats to act out like this.
I wish I had a solution for you! Let see what other Maine Coon owners have to say, too...
All The Best,
Your Cat is Peeing in the house
I would say instead of letting her out alone just get a leash and see if she'll walk for you, if not put her out in a kitty playpen. You can find it online.
I know my cat wouldn't share her kitty box with anyone and tells me when she's gone. They're really private like that.
Good luck, hope I helped!
RE:maine coon is peeing everywhere...
Our cat did start peeing everywhere before we got her spayed too, we only got her spayed because the vets suggested that it may stop the problem but we decided to let her out as i said, weve come to the conclusion that the problem was that she didnt like sharing the litter tray with her brother
Its been going on before she was spayed, thats why we got her spayed under vets advice to try and stop it. Shes quite a funny cat, keeps herself to herself and although she doesnt hide away, i genuinely think it may be because of the other cats in the house. Just wanted to see what other owners had to say and see if there was anything we could do to make her stop. All comments greatly appreciated. Thank you to those who already have :)
RE: Maine Coon is peeing everywhere...
Hi, i have two maine coon cats one male and one female, we had exactly the same problem with our female, we had her spayed and had her checked by the vets but we were told she had no health issues, she would refuse to use the litter trays and it was becoming a huge problem ...
we were also worried about letting her out as we also were worried that she would get stolen, but eventually we had had enough and decided to let her outside and so we had a catflap fitted to our door.
Since then she hasnt peed in the house again and the problem is solved so maybe you should try letting her outside in a garden if there is no other solution and if she has no health problems, hope this helped.
Sounds Like a Territorial Thing
Sometimes one more cat is one cat too much. Their need for space is much greater than most people imagine. See Konrad Lorenz on the subject (in a book called MAN MEETS DOG).
OTOH, I think Carrie's right that the spaying just beforehand plays a role, though I can't imagine what exactly.
by: Brenda in Sevierville, TN, USA
My Cat Urinates All Over The House
This is one of the most frustrating cat behavior problems. First, yes, it is quite possible that getting him neutered will help. Un-neutered boy cats are notorious for "marking their territory."
At this point, it's also possible that it's become habit. So having him neutered is no guarantee. But, even without the urinating it still must be done.
I don't have much more insight on why your boy is doing what he's doing, since nailing down the problem relies on understanding him, and which of his quirks fit in with common triggers.
I would recommend really reading up on the subject. Maybe others who've helped their cat "kick the habit" of peeing in the house will chime in with their advice, too!
All The Best,
by: Hema in Qatar
Peeing Outside The Litter Box - A Big Problem:
My Maine Coon is a male and was very much good in using the litter box when he came to me first, during his child hood.
Now he is 2 and half years and for the past 1 year he is urinating always outside the litter box.
He cries before urination and wants to go out. If I do not allow him, he urinates anywhere in the house. Actually, I tried a lot to make him use the litter box for the purpose, but he uses it only on rare occasions. But he uses it for passing stools, anyway. But from his behavior, I understand that he prefers to go outside for urination and defecation.
Can I have a solution to this problem? How can I make my cat use the litter box again..
It is very hard for me to leave him. I am fed up of cleaning his urine from my valuables.
Please help me to find a solution..
I hear your frustration. In general, the Maine Coon Cat breed is very well behaved when it comes to litter box habits.
They come home from the breeder's house fully litter box trained by their mama. But, occasionally, in some cases that behavior goes downhill and the owner has to figure out what went wrong.
It could be that he dislikes his litter box. Maybe it's covered & he hates the smell, maybe he doesn't like the litter of choice.
Declawed cats are known for developing an aversion to the litter box. After the procedure the litter hurts and they continue to make a connection between pain and cat litter.
Also, some cats will only use a box of their own, or will only urinate in one and defecate in the other. Once you figure out the issue, then there is the problem that he's already started his bad habits.
It's hard to get a cat to not return to pee again in a "naughty" place.
I find it very interesting that he cries to go out, and when you don't let him that is when he goes in an inappropriate place.
It is possible that this is a behavior problem, and he is acting out because he wants to go outside and play, but can't.
Also, we must consider a medial issue. Anytime a cat stops using the litter box you must have him checked by the vet.
There are a number of health related reasons a cat stops using the litter box, from pain to fleas, to urinary tract infections. So make sure your vet rules out any medical causes.
Peeing outside the litter box is such a big problem that there are a lot of resources available.
There is one e-book in particular that helps owners with cat behavior problems, especially this one. You can visit the link above your question to read more about it.
I hope you can get this sorted out for your boy.
All The Best,
Vet stop - pronto!
by: Gail (Boston, MA, USA)
Your cat does sound like there's a urinary tract infection, which could become fatal if not treated promptly! Please get to the vet fast!
As for declawing cats, this is a BARBARIC practice! It is illegal in most civilized countries - too bad the USA and Canada are not among them.
Cats are digigrade animals - they walk on their toes. Declawing a cat is amputating their toes at the 1st knuckle! It's like lopping your toes off and, yes, they do become little box-aversive.
It's no wonder...they really are in pain! No furniture or any other 'thing' is worth the pain and suffering these declawed animals go through.
I see it every day at the animal shelter. So sad.
You cat is displaying the symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection. Get him to the vet, immediately!
Cat Urinates Outside The Litter Box
My rescued female Coon, Abby, used a jumbo litter box for 6 months. She was about 1-1/2 years old. Last month, she only urinated in the litter box and pooped on my bathroom rug.
I eventually thought like a cat and decided the litter box was too small even thought it was a jumbo box. I bought an inexpensive "under the bed" storage box, removed the lids, filled it with good cat litter and problem was solved.
She didn't want to get her feet in the soiled litter and she was too large to turn around comfortably in the jumbo box. We are both happy now.
Have him checked by a vet asap
by: ELY M.
It is important to have him looked at a vet. I think it is likely medical problem. Best to take him to a vet. Crying can be a sign that he is in pain.
by: Mary in Northampton, MA
I have a 5 1/2 month old male Maine Coon who is not yet neutered.
I have had him for a little over a month, and within the past few days, he has urinated on an overstuffed chair and ottoman that used to be the domain of my former cat, who passed away suddenly in June.
I'm sure my former cat's scent is still all over that chair. My deceased cat and my Maine Coon have never met, and the Maine Coon had not had any issues with the chair previous to this weekend.
My question is, 1) how do I stop him/discipline him to not continue to urinate on the chair, and 2) is this at all related to the fact that he is not yet neutered? I am waiting to neuter him until he is 6 mos old, per suggestion of the breeder I bought him from.
Thanks for your help
I'm sorry about the loss of your older cat.
Well, as you know, he is marking his territory. He is starting the reach "that age." First, I would immediately remove the chair.
Put it in a bedroom, basement, even garage until the scent has time to wear off. You could consider having it professionally cleaned (especially now that the kitten has marked on it) and that should help. I wouldn't let the kitten near it for quite a while.
I don't know if I'd say he's doing it because he's un-neutered, but having him neutered soon would definitely be advisable! Hopefully it will curb this behavior.
If he's 5 1/2 months old now, then he'll be 6 months in about 2 weeks, right? If you haven't already, go ahead and make the appointment. Vets usually book out about that far anyway.
I hope this helps! And, congratulations on your new little boy. Although he's being naughty now, this should change and then he'll bring you nothing but pleasure!
All The Best,
by: Tatjana in Merstham, Surrey, UK
She urinates everywhere, even in her bed and uses the carpet as a scratching post where the real one collects dust! Help!!!
Ola is just over a year old and spayed. She is a very shy girl even towards me who had her since she was 8 weeks old.
Lately she started urinating everywhere, even her own bed. I just can't follow with the washing.....
Another problem I have with her behaviour is that she uses the carpet to sharpen her claws....she's got scratching posts and even the scratching mats for the floor.
I sit there with her and show her how to use them and nothing.....I just cant do with this anymore....
Anybody has any ideas of what I could try to stop all this???
It sounds like this is a new development. I would recommend a trip to the vet very soon. It could be a Urinary Tract Infection or other medical issue.
If she has a problem that is untreated, she is experiencing discomfort. The scratching would be an attempt at getting your attention.
Any time a cat goes from using the litter box to not using it, medical/physical problems are the first thing to rule out.
All The Best,
by: Sarah in Plano, TX
My Maine Coon came into my home as a baby. She used her box for a year, no misses.
Right after I put the flea preventative on her neck she started peeing and pooping on the carpet. I had kept the box clean.
Someone told me to change the litter. No luck. After a few weeks she started going in the back yard as I have doggie doors. Fine with me. Now she has started peeing behind the recliner on the carpet. HELP!!
She is so strong I can't cut her nails or put her into the carrier to take her to the vet.
She is so sweet and stays right with me.
Please I need suggestions.
Fellow cat lover,
I hear your frustration. It sounds like you've been dealing with this for some time, have tried different things, and are looking for some deeper insight on the issue.
It does sound like the flea treatment was the trigger. I personally think it stings them when it goes on, just judging from my cat's reactions.
One particular brand gives them upset stomachs and they tend to vomit after. If your girl is stressed by the application this might be how she acts out.
As for the nail clipping, it's too bad she won't cooperate. You can try using a helper, and/or wrapping her in a towel. To get her in her carrier, always push her in rear end first.
Carry her over to it nonchalantly and don't let her see it until she's in. Put your palm on her face and slide her in. It's underhanded, but it works!
All The Best,
by: Marcy in Enfield CT
My almost 5 month old Maine Coon mix, has pee-pee'd in 2 corners of our basement.
It is damp down there, I cleaned with bleach then white vinegar. He will be neutered on Monday. He uses the litter box.
I wonder why? Marking already? Will this stop after? Or does he smell our old kitty?
It's probably a combination of both things. He's at that age where he may start marking, and it's much more likely to happen if there is a spot that has been used by another cat, ever.
I would recommend, after the thorough cleaning, either putting a box right on that spot or keeping him quarantined from that area for a long time.
You may want to pour some straight bleach on it and let it sit and soak into the concrete (make sure the area is well ventilated), as cats can smell when another cat has used to spot in the past.
I hope all goes smoothly with his neutering and he's feeling great soon!
All The Best,
I have two Maine Coon sisters aged 3. One is bossy and assured and the other one is shy and nervous.
The shy nervous one pees on beds, in suitcases, on bathmats, on loo pedestal mats, and I don't know what to do.
I clean and wash with biological powder, then wipe with surgical spirit, but still it continues.
Is it because she isn't top cat and maybe is unhappy, or is she just plain neurotic?
I am seriously considering re-homing her as it is like living in a prison in our house now as we have to keep all the doors shut in case she pees on beds etc, and all the washing is getting me down.
The vet has offered to put her on sedatives but perhaps its kinder just to move her on. Anyone else experienced this?
I'm sorry to hear your girl is not using the litter box. I can only imagine the frustration of a cat who uses family and sleeping areas.
We've had a number of nearly identical questions, and my advice would be the same, so you may want to browse the questions above.
I do wonder about one thing: When there are multiple cats, one is usually the "Alpha," or boss. This seems to be your girl who uses the box just fine.
It is very, very common for the non-Alpha cat to not use the same box(es) as the Alpha. There could be two reasons:
Simply not wanting to share, due to smells, respect for Alpha status, etc.
Or, the Alpha cat will frequently block the other cat. Even doing this once can send the message to your timid girl that this is not her box.
Additionally, if your problem girl wants only to pee in one and poop in another, then she surely will not use a box that her sister has done both in.
At this point some retraining is in order. I would recommend getting two new boxes, one for upstairs and one for down. Make sure your Alpha kitty doesn't take ownership of either.
At night or when you are not around, try keeping your girl in a room with the new box, perhaps a bathroom. (Don't have any rugs, towels, or bathmats on the floor at all.) She should have just her bed, food & water, and her nice inviting box.
To make it most inviting and get her started using it again, I highly recommend Cat Attract Problem Cat Training Litter. It has a high success rate in helping cats return to their boxes.
I hope some of this helps, and as always we welcome the advice of any pet parents who read this!
All The Best,
Female cats seem to to worse than males when it comes to sharing territory. My vetrinarian formulated Prozac with a chicken flavored base for a problem cat I had.
Prozac is a mood stabilizing drug. (The pediatric form of the drug from the pharmacy won't work because it is peppermint flavored.)
If there is nothing physically wrong with her the best solution for you and the cat too might be to re-home her to a single cat home, or give her a room of her own that the alpha cat is not allowed to go into ever. That way she would feel safer.
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