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Home > General > Do Cats Pee Out of Spite? Vet Approved Facts & Advice

Do Cats Pee Out of Spite? Vet Approved Facts & Advice

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Finding cat pee around your home can be upsetting and frustrating. After all—you’ve spent time and energy litter training them and fashioning a quiet, comfortable, and clean bathroom area for them. What gives?! It can be easy to wonder whether your cat is doing this out of spite or in some gross act of revenge for, perhaps, leaving to go to work or not letting them share your lunch. Rest assured—your cat doesn’t pee out of spite.

Cats are pretty complex creatures and there could be any number of reasons why they’re not peeing where they’re supposed to, but it’s not a revenge tactic. In this post, we’ll explore why cats pee in inconvenient locations.


The 4 Reasons Why Cats Pee Outside the Litter Box

For some cats, it’s as simple as a dirty litter box or the type of litter you’re using. In some cases, a health issue could be causing your cat to eliminate in inappropriate places. Let’s break this down and look at some of the most common causes of this behavior.

1. Stress

It’s common for anxious or nervous cats to pee outside the litter box, especially if the area around the litter box exacerbates their stress. For example, some cats get stressed out at the prospect of using the same litter box as other cats. Sometimes, the litter box is in a noisy area, like close to the washing machine in the bathroom.

Moving the litter box around frequently breaks routine, and as we know, cats are sensitive to this. Whatever the cause of the stress, it’s one of the most common causes of cats peeing outside the litter box. Keep the litter box and its surrounding area as quiet, private, and stress-free as possible.

2. A Dirty Litter Box

Cleaning litter with cat looking on
Image By: galkova, Shutterstock

Just like humans, cats have their standards. Many would rather not use a litter box at all than use a dirty one. Even if you’re using long-lasting litter designed to be changed only occasionally, it’s a good idea to check it frequently and remove any feces or clumps. Litter needs to be checked and scooped daily to avoid smells and bacteria developing.

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3. The Type of Litter

Yep, it’s true—as well as being particular about using a clean litter box, cats also have their preferences when it comes to the type of litter you’re using. While some may be perfectly happy with inexpensive clay litter, others won’t settle for anything less than silicone or pine. Some cats simply don’t like how certain types of litter feel on their paws. If you’re a new cat parent, it may take some time to find a litter that your cat likes.

4. Health Issues

cat at vet with owner and veternarian
Image By: 4 PM production, Shutterstock

Sometimes, a health issue can cause cats to pee around the home instead of in the litter box. If you suspect your cat has an issue that’s causing them to do this, get them checked out with a vet as soon as possible. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Urinary tract infections: Signs of a UTI include frequent urination and nervousness around the litter box if they associate it with the discomfort of peeing with a UTI.
  • Kidney disease: Signs of kidney disease include drinking excessively, frequent urination, vomiting, and weight loss.
  • Bladder stones: Signs of bladder stones include frequent and painful urination and blood in the urine.
  • Crystalluria: This means that your cat is passing painful crystals in their urine. Signs of Crystalluria include urinating outside of the litter box and passing small amounts of urine frequently.

divider-catFinal Thoughts

The good news—if your cat is peeing around your home, it isn’t to spite you. In the best case, the cause is a change of litter being required or a more thorough cleaning of the litter box. If your cat seems to be in pain, is urinating a lot more or less than usual, or is consistently anxious around the litter box, please do not hesitate to have a chat with your vet to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

Featured Image Credit:  AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

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