One of the most common reasons cats are relinquished to shelters or visit a veterinarian’s office is problematic urination or defecation. Cats can start urinating or defecating outside their litter boxes for numerous reasons that fall into three main categories; medical, environmental or behavioral.
The most common reason cats change where they urinate or defecate is a medical condition. Cats can have urinary tract issues such as bladder stones, bladder infections, loss of kidney function and urethral obstruction that can lead to urinating frequently and all over the house. Cats are also prone to diabetes, overactive thyroid function, arthritis, stomach and intestinal infections, and other conditions that lead to urinating and/or defecating outside the litter box.
Environmental changes such as new pets in the house, changes in their routines, new people within the house and any addition of stress to your cat’s environment can lead to changes in how comfortable your cat feels. For example, packing for a move or the addition of a new puppy can leave your cat feeling uneasy in their current litter box and looking for a safer location to do their business.
Cats who are marking in the house for behavioral reasons are unusual. Rarely cats are being territorial or aggressive towards other animals and will “spray” urine or defecate in key areas to be the top cat in the house.
Check out the chart below to see if your cat is being territorial or possibly struggling with an environmental or medical condition.
|Your cat tends to do their business as privately as possible in hidden places around the house.||Your cat urinates or defecates in public locations such as doorways, common area walls and drapes or windowsills.|
|Your cat makes an effort to cover their tracks and choose soft, absorbable surfaces||Your cat urinates or defecates in the open on any surface with no effort to hide it|
In the end, cats very rarely just begin urinating or defecating outside the litter box for no reason or out of spite. Most often, cats have a medical condition or are experiencing some serious stress to make such a mess. Before you get mad at your cat, consult your veterinarian for help to determine why your cat is making your life more difficult.