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How to stop a cat from peeing in the house

white cat in the living room advice
© Shutterstock

The urine from a cat smells quite strongly and the last thing you need is for your house to reek like a litter box. But just how do you stop a cat from peeing in the house?

By Dawn Parrish

A cat urinates, obviously to empty her bladder but also to mark her territory. It’s unfortunate that her pee smells quite strong too and it’s often difficult to eliminate this aroma. First of all, the best way to rid your home of this smell is to somehow stop the cat from peeing in the house in the first place.

Certainly, yelling at the cat or trying to ignore the issue won’t solve the problem. The first thing you need to address is why the cat is doing this inside and not in her litter box? Your cat really isn’t being a “naughty” cat. There could be several probable reasons why your cat is peeing away from her litter box and on your carpet.

The following steps should help in your quest to tackle inappropriate urination in cats

No 1. Clean up after your cat

If you know that your pet has urinated in the house, clean the area thoroughly. This serves two purposes. Firstly it eliminates the terrible odour from the flooring or upholstery and secondly, the cat won’t be drawn back to the same place again. The best way to clean up cat urine is to blot the area with paper towels. Now you can use your chosen, proprietary cleaner, depending on where the wet patch is.


Best practice is to allow one litter tray per cat ©shutterstock

No 2. Outline the problem

The majority of cats pee, either to urinate or to mark their territory by spraying. Different treatment is required for each problem. It’s not too difficult to notice if your pet is spraying as there will most likely be wet splatters on the wall. Likewise, when a cat goes to the toilet to empty her bladder, she will normally squat to pee leaving a horizontal puddle.

No 3. Deal with the problem quickly

It’s best to address the urination or spraying inside problem as soon as you can. You certainly don’t want to let it become the cat’s normal behaviour. For this reason, it’s best to get to the root of the problem. Male cats are the worst pets for spraying. Neutering as a kitten usually prevents this. The issue may be further complicated if you have more than one cat at home. You may have to separate them until you discover which cat is causing the problem.

No 4. Is your litter box in the ideal location?

Because you need to stop your cat from peeing in the house, first consider the location of the cat’s litter box. If you have a second floor in your home, provide a litter box on each level. Even more important is to make sure the cat can easily access her litter tray. Don’t hide them in corners where it’s difficult for the cat to use. Finally, if you find that your cat continues to urinate at the same location, put a litter tray here. Once she realises that she has to use this litter for her toilet duties, you can relocate it elsewhere.

No 5. Do you need more than one litter tray?

If it seems as though the cat is urinating in several places, rather than spraying, you will need more than one box. Initially, until your kitten is house trained, it’s advisable to use one tray for each cat, plus one extra box too. Some cats can be rather choosy when it comes to going to the toilet. They often don’t like doing their business if another cat has been there before them.

No 6. Try a different style of the litter tray

There are several different designs that you can use for cat toileting. Open trays or enclosed boxes that contain the odour and mess. Because your kitten may not be happy being enclosed and unable to turn around easily, an open type is possibly better. Remember too, that an older cat might not be able to step over a high-sided tray.

No 7. Empty and clean the litter tray

One sure fire way to send the cat off to pee elsewhere is a dirty litter box. Almost all feline breeds are very clean pets and are quite choosy about where they do their toilet business. Clean up the faeces at least daily and renew the litter often.

No 8. Is the cat happy with the litter used?

Quite often, cat litter is manufactured with added perfume aromas. However, because a cat’s nose is quite sensitive, the smell can be quite overpowering. Likewise, if you suddenly change to a different brand of kitty litter, your pet may retaliate. The best advice if you want to stop your cat from peeing in the house is to keep to your usual brand.

Because inappropriate urination in felines is a major problem, you need to try these different tactics first of all. Once you have eliminated behaviour issues, you need to consider that the cat peeing in the house may be a health-related problem. Certainly, kidney disease, diabetes and urinary tract inflammation will all cause your kitty problems. If the problem persists, you might need to take further advice from a feline behavioural professional.