General Question

Supergirl's avatar

Why has my cat stopped using her litterbox?

Asked by Supergirl (1686points) September 2nd, 2008

My 5 yr. old cat has stopped using her litterbox. She now pees on everything—shoes, rugs, carpet, beds. How can I get her to go back to the litterbox?? Side note—no changes to the litterbox have occurred (location, brand, etc), and she has seen a vet to rule out health issues.

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32 Answers

amandaafoote's avatar

Has there been another cat in the house/have you been around more cats than usual?

Supergirl's avatar

Nope, no new cats and haven’t been around any cats

simone54's avatar

They do that when they’re upset at something. If you can figure it out kitty will probably stopping peeing outside the box.

winblowzxp's avatar

It may be emotional stress. Either that, or she can smell a new cat within the neighborhood.

stratman37's avatar

Have you settled up with that $20.00 you owe her after last Saturday’s poker game?

augustlan's avatar

Any changes at all in the house? New friends over, no friends over, new partner, lost a partner (either you or the kitty), new cleaning products or foods?

stratman37's avatar

She’s just thinking outside the BOX! HA HA, sorry, couldn’t pass it up.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

my cat did this too. he just randomly started peeing and pooping in front of the doors in the house. he stopped, though. don’t know why.

RandomMrdan's avatar

have you tried smacking your cat while she is peeing on something other than litter? worked for my cat when he tried climbing my 40in LCD tv…hasn’t tried climbing it since.

stratman37's avatar

high five, Random! I love me some cat smackin’!

McBean's avatar

My older cat started spraying in the house for seemingly no reason at all. I had to get a blacklight to track it all down and clean it up. I then spent some good quality time with him – brushing him, babying him, etc. (even though I felt like smacking him!), and he quit completely. I believe it was just emotional stress and he was feeling somewhat neglected (this was during the holidays). Good luck.

stratman37's avatar

McBean, great strategy! Is it true that a cat’s urine actually GLOWS?

McBean's avatar

It does, stratman! But beware…using a blacklight in your home can be very upsetting. My son ran and put his slippers on. EVERYTHING organic glows. Even though your stove and cabinets look perfectly clean (and you just finished with the Windex 7-minutes ago) you’ll still be able to see enough drips and streaks to make it look like a murder scene. Creepy! It’s a great way to clean the bathrooms. :-)

stratman37's avatar

So…you wouldn’t want your son using it on YOUR bed, right?

McBean's avatar

The blacklight stays OUT of the bedroom.

stratman37's avatar

What, you don’t have any cool posters from the ‘70s in there?

tinyfaery's avatar

I hope every time you do something someone else doesn’t like you get smacked.

Aside from stress, the primary reason cats start urinating in inappropriate ares is due to bladder issues; maybe she has an infection or a stone. It could also be problems with the kidneys. Take kitty to the vet to rule out any physical reason.

stratman37's avatar

Well, I should hope that if I was to take a dump on my wife’s clean floor, she’d certainly smack me! I mean, it’s not like I just go around smackin’ cats! looks over at Random Just kidding! You caught me, I’m a habitual cat smacker!

Cardinal's avatar

Bladder infection. Got rid of the infection, solved that very problem. But, hang on to your pocketbook!!!

hollym's avatar

I third what tinyfaery and cardinal are saying regarding infection or illness. Take her to the vet asap!

tedibear's avatar

The questioner said that the cat had been to the vet to rule out health issues. I would guess emotional stress.

marissa's avatar

I see you have taken her to the vet and that no major changes have taken place, but could their be a subtle change that you haven’t thought of? Your schedule changed (even something as silly as you usually sat and watched tv together and lately you haven’t been). Chemical change (august makes a good point about cleaning products), air freshener, even fragance from a magazine perfume ad (yes, I had a cat take offense to a perfume ad once), new blanket, new alarm clock noise. I definitely agree with those that say give her a little extra tlc.

hollywoodduck's avatar

This is very interesting. My 19year old cat has started not using the litterbox. Sometimes she will use it but other times if the bathroom door is open she’ll use the shower as a litter box the rest of the time she does her business next to the back door. She has had the emotional stress of not having the dog in the house anymore, her chair was moved when we moved the kitchen around. Instead of her sleeping on the chair in the new location, she started sleeping on the floor where the chair used to be (next to the door) so we bought her a kitty bed to sleep on.

We thought her problem was just because of old age but maybe she just wants some more attention.

marissa's avatar

@hollywoodduck, I would take her to the vet to make sure it isn’t an age issue, then I would try giving her extra tlc, especially if she has lost a companion (the dog) and I would put her chair back by the door, if you can, even if it is a bit of a hassle for you all.

syz's avatar

When you say health problems have been ruled out by a vet, what diagnostics did they do? She needs a urinalysis to check for a UTI, bloodwork to check for diabetes and renal function, and she may need radiographs or an ultrasound to check for bladder stones (they won’t necessarily show up on the urinalysis). Without those tests, you cannot be sure that it is not a health related issue.

If all of those possibilities seem to have been eliminated, the it’s time to start looking at behavioral issues.

scamp's avatar

Does she get enough fresh water to drink during the day? If not, her urine would be more concentrated and have a stronger odor, which could make her not want to use the litterbox a second time. Cats can be very finnicky about their litter. One whiff of something “unsavory” can keep them out of the box for a long time. Try getting a new litter box and start over.

Supergirl's avatar

@syz they did an entire panel of bloodwork, extracted a sample from her bladder, did the ultrasound and a full examination. I have been giving her extra attention since seeing peoples’ posts (and encouraging my husband to do the same), and she has used her litterbox for a full 24 hours :) Thanks for all the great advice!

tinyfaery's avatar

Yay. Cats? What are we gonna do? They certainly know the meaning of training.

scamp's avatar

Congrats on your success!!

hjf3173's avatar

HELP Please. My fixed male cat who is 2 has stopped using his litterbox. I ntried evrything, cleaned it thoroughly, nothing has chn aged, same litter as alwyas, same place…Today I caught him perched on the side of the laundry basket peeing, grabbed him and took him to litterbox, mid-pee, he wouldn;t use it. Then about 10 minutes later, he’s perched on a DIFFERENT laundry basket, also peeing. He drinks plen ty of water, his pee doesn;t smell extrem ely strong. I have no idea why this is happening. I love him but man, this is making me nuts!

tinyfaery's avatar

Could be a kidney problem. Take kitty to the vet for some

angelic_fire_hazzard55555's avatar

does your kitty comonly pee in the same place?

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