Help! Recently My Cat Has Been Peeing Around The House

Behavior, Cats

Although cats are known as being highly clean animals, one of the most common reasons they are brought to the vet is for urinating outside of the litter box (known as ‘’house soiling’’ or ‘’inappropriate urination’’). This is a frustrating issue, so the sooner you identify the underlying cause, the better the outcome for all involved. There are numerous reasons why this may occur, but it is commonly broken down between medical causes and behavioral causes.

If Your Cat is Peeing Outside the Box It Could Have a Bladder Infection

It is thought that if a cat is urinating outside of the box, it must have developed a urinary tract infection. However, urinary tract infections are actually fairly rare in cats, though we can see them in senior cats, or secondary to another health condition. What we more commonly diagnose is cystitis, an inflammatory condition of the bladder.

Blood In the Urine Indicates Kidney Trouble

Along with urinating in abnormal locations, we might see straining when urinating, blood in the urine, or frequent small urinations. Bladder stones are another medical reason for house soiling and will present similarly to cystitis. Obtaining a urine sample to perform a urinalysis is the first step in diagnosis. From there, imaging (ultrasound or x-rays) is needed to rule out stones. Male cats are at risk for a urethral obstruction in both of these conditions (becoming ‘’blocked’’), so a correct diagnosis and initiating treatment is important to prevent a more severe scenario.

Other Possible Causes of Cats Peeing Outside the Box

  • We also see something called polyuria, which is urinating large quantities. Because of the volume of urine being produced, it may stimulate a cat to urinate in other locations. We see this secondary to diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and several other diseases. Blood work (along with a urinalysis) is necessary to identify the cause in these cases.
  • A medical cause that is often overlooked is pain or arthritis. Cats will hide signs of pain, so we can miss it when it is present. If it is too uncomfortable for a cat to move to where the box is located, or to climb inside of the box, they will choose a different location.
  • Behavioral house soiling can be a sign of stress to something in a cat’s environment. Triggers can include a new home, new pet, new roommates, construction nearby, and stray cats in the neighborhood. An aversion to the litter box itself is also possible. The cat may find fault with the location of the box, the type of litter substrate, the cleanliness of the box, or the size or shape of it.

In all of these cases, there are treatment options available. The best way to handle this problem is to have your cat examined. From there, it can be determined what diagnostics should be performed and which treatments are likely to help. Please call us at 410-687-1111 to schedule an appointment for your feline family member.

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

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