When cat urinates all over the apartment

Kot obsikuje mieszkanie, kot sika poza kuwetą. Kot obsikuje dywan i łóżko

Recently many people have turned to me because their beloved cat started suddenly peeing everywhere in the apartment except in the litter box. The previous sentence includes two erroneous phrases: “started suddenly peeing” and “everywhere in the apartment except in the litter box”.
Let me explain. Cats do not just suddenly start peeing around. In 99% of cases this behavior is a result of something: either of a disease like for example issues with kidneys of which I cannot say much as I am not a doctor or of a behavioral problem which in 99% of cases has a solution.
Cats are very clean animals and everybody knows that. What we should remember is that cat never urinates where the food is. So if recently you realized how small your apartment is and that you want the cat space to take smaller part of that space and moved litter box close to food bowls you made a mistake. Just like people do not eat in the bathroom cats cannot have their food close to their “toilet”. If the food is placed in the proximity of the litter box cat will start urinating somewhere else because the food is necessary to live and there is only one place where food is available whereas peeing on a soft couch does not seem like a bad idea.
Rule number one: Litter box has to be far away from the food!
If you have a cat that is not very social or you noticed that he/she feels embarrassed to urinate in others’ presence you need to move the litter box out of the way to give your cat some privacy. This move will also limit the amount of litter spread around the house and will save you some cleaning time.
Also you need to clean the litter box regularly. I do not clean the box too often (I mean 4 times a day) because it can lead to other problems. Cats like consistency so if you clean the box 4 times a day but then you go on vacation and your friend can come by only once a day to clean the box your cat is not only dealing with your absence but also with a dirty box. Obviously cat is not royalty and once a day is enough but … it is not enough if he/she is used to having the box cleaned 4 times a day…sudden reduction in cleanliness lowers the cat’s comfort and pushes him/her to look for a clean and comfortable place to pee…usually a bed or a couch. To sum up you can clean the box as often as you like but you need to be consistent and always keep it at the same level of cleanliness (I clean the box 3 times a day but now I have 3 cats).
There is a lot to write about litter boxes. It is very important to keep them clean and apart from changing the litter (here I mean the change of all the litter and not just daily removal of droppings) we need to wash the box. Many pathogenic bacteria and microbes gather there so it is crucial that the box is washed regularly to protect your cat’s as well as your health.
Integral part of the litter box is litter which can be a reason for your cat to pee somewhere else. Let’s remember that in order to pee cats need to dig in litter so its pieces cannot be too big or too small or they will hurt your cat’s paws. Cat’s pads are very delicate so if the litter is too small with sharp edges it will get in between the pads and hurt our pet. If this is the case cat will not use the litter box and will pee somewhere else. Apart from the size and sharpness of the litter pieces also its smell is important. Cats have good sense of smell so if the litter smells too strongly they will avoid the box. Also if the store ran out of our usual lavender silicone litter and we bought citrus instead it might not be to our cat’s liking making him/her urinate somewhere else although technically we did stick to the silicone litter. To sum up, if your cat starts peeing outside of the litter box answer three questions: have you cleaned the box recently, have you changed the type of litter and ….have you introduced a covered litter box.
A covered litter box has become quite a problem recently. Majority of the cats I give up for adoption starts urinating outside of the litter box if lid is introduced. It is usually a confusing situation because most cats do not change their behavior right after the change of the litter box. Some cats have issues with the flap and once it is removed they will have no problem using the litter box. This is where the problem is tough… namely, our cat was using the box and suddenly one day stopped so we think it couldn’t be the litter box that is to be blamed….

Just recently my friend used a nice metaphor to explain this behavior. So imagine you are going camping to the woods for the weekend and the only toilet available is the portable ToiToi. You use it although it is small, uncomfortable and stinks but you figure you can do it for 3 days… but then your weekend getaway becomes a month long vacation in the woods. That is when you say no to the stinky ToiToi and start relieving yourself in the woods. It is not an ideal solution because somebody might see you but at least the air is fresh and view better. Cats face exactly the same difficulties – some try and manage to adjust but majority cannot stand it for longer periods of time and that is when a covered litter box becomes a nuisance rather than improvement. What is confusing and makes people think that their cats are simply spiteful is the fact that cats might still use the covered litter box once in a while and urinate on the bed other times. Let me use the camping in the woods metaphor again: although we generally prefer to pee in the woods sometimes it is cold, it is raining, it is a middle of the night and we are afraid of wolves or there are many mushroom pickers around so we just use ToiToi but when the sun comes out, rain stops and people leave we will go back to the bad habits. Same principle applies to cats: sometimes they just happen to be close to the litter box when they need to go and they forget how much they hate it in there so they use it…but in general they will pass on the litter box and proceed to your favorite couch or armchair.
Let’s remember that covered litter boxes are more convenient to us than to our pets so if you have one and your cat does not use it take the lid off. Also don’t be fooled if the cat seems to accept it at the beginning and do not panic if you took the lid off and the cat still urinates somewhere else… give him/her time to get used to new situation.
The above mentioned situations are the most common but there are many more. So if your cats urinate around the house think of recent changes in their life: have you stopped them from going into one of the rooms where they used to nap, have there been any stressful situations and peeing around is simply a reaction to stress, have you gotten a new pet or maybe your cats are bored, want to play and simply try to attract your attention. If the latter is the case, mission accomplished…you are running behind them screaming. Just remember that since it worked this time they will do it again to get your attention. What should you do then? It is always better to prevent than cure so play with your cats, make them tired and if they still pee around do not run behind them screaming it will only aggravate the problem. If you witness your cats peeing somewhere around the apartment put them in the litter box even if they already finished urinating. Let’s remember that we should point our cat to the litter box within 3 seconds before or after the situation as their learning process has to do with connecting action with sound. Make sure you do not scream at your cats when you catch them pee in an inappropriate place and instead draw their attention to something else so they do not connect the bad behavior with all the attention they receive.
Although I haven’t mentioned all the factors here, I hope that the post helped you understand your pet better. Cats are not mean or vicious by nature they are simply all different and like different things and we just need to learn their preferences and habits. They are really not pleased when they pee all over the apartment although you might be prone to think so. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.
Below are pics of my beloved cats – they also started by peeing everywhere but now they know where to go and everything is perfect.

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