Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > Why Does My Cat Pee in the Bathtub? 8 Possible Causes

Why Does My Cat Pee in the Bathtub? 8 Possible Causes

Cute cat in the bathtub

Sometimes, cats’ behavior is a huge mystery to us humans. They do strange things, and one strange thing that many people catch their cats doing is peeing in the bathtub. Why would they even want to do that, though? Bathtubs are cold and don’t provide a way for your cat to cover their waste like they would in the litter box. So, what gives?

Read on to learn more about why your cat is peeing in the bathtub!


Something to Consider

If your cat has suddenly decided to start peeing in your bathtub and this behavior is new, it’s a good idea to get your cat checked over by the vet. There are multiple reasons cats do this behavior, which we’ll discuss below, but ruling out a medical problem before you start looking into more simple answers can ensure your cat isn’t waiting for medical care while you try other things.

The 8 Possible Reasons Your Cat Pees in the Bathtub

1. Urinary Tract Infection

tired sick cat
Image Credit: natata, Shutterstock
Vet Visit? Yes
Easy to Remedy? Variable
Environmental? No

Some cats are more prone to UTIs than others, but any cat can be susceptible to these infections. A UTI in a cat is likely to produce inappropriate urination due to discomfort, pain, or an overall sensation of needing to potty all the time. The urine may smell strong, especially if the UTI has advanced.

UTIs are generally very treatable with veterinary intervention, but some can be more difficult to treat than others. Some cats may require permanent diet changes to help maintain the health of the urinary tract, while others may need special diagnostics to get them on the right medications to treat the bacteria causing the infection.

2. Kidney Disease

Vet looking for swelling in cat paws
Image Credit: Motortion-Films, Shutterstock
Vet Visit? Yes
Easy to Remedy? No
Environmental? No

Kidney disease is common in cats, especially older cats. It is a manageable disease, but like in people, kidney disease in cats comes in various severity levels as the kidneys continue to worsen and shut down. Eventually, kidney disease will become deadly for your cat.

Management options for kidney disease can help enhance longevity and maintain health, especially if the disease is caught early. If your cat suddenly starts peeing in the bathtub, it’s a good idea to rule out kidney disease as a cause.

3. Dirty Litter Box

Cleaning cat litter box
Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock
Vet Visit? No
Easy to Remedy? Yes
Environmental? Yes

Some cats will absolutely refuse to use a dirty litter box, which leaves them finding other places to go potty. If your cat’s litter box isn’t up to their cleanliness preferences, then it’s possible that your cat will start going in the bathtub or other inappropriate places in the home.

Make sure you are performing daily litter box upkeep and routine cleanings. Your cat’s litter box should be emptied every day. It would help if you also were dumping the old litter and wiping down the box at least every two weeks, but weekly is better. Maintaining the cleanliness of the litter box will not just keep your cat happy, but it will also keep your home smelling fresh and decrease the bacteria being tracked from the box.

Even if you keep a clean and tidy litterbox, you probably still find yourself with cat odors and stains around the house – but with the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray, you can permanently remove even the very worst pet stains and smells! Click here to learn more and get yourself a bottle.

Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray
  • ADVANCED ENZYMATIC CLEANER - Penetrates the most stubborn smells and stains at the deepest molecular...
  • FOR ANY MESS, ON ANY SURFACE - This pet odor eliminator cleans your carpets, floors, furniture,...
  • FRESH, NATURAL ODOR - Our unique formulation doesn't rely on dangerous or unpleasant chemical...

At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool cat company!

4. Litter Box Location

cat leaving litter box
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock
Vet Visit? No
Easy to Remedy? Yes
Environmental? Yes

Cats are very picky about where they use the bathroom, so if their litter box isn’t located in prime real estate (in your kitty’s mind), then they may refuse to use it and start going in the bathtub. If your cat’s litter box is located somewhere like a garage, they may not like dealing with uncomfortable temperatures in the litter box area. If it’s in a laundry room, your cat may be upset by the loud sounds. Litter boxes in busy parts of the home may have too much foot traffic for your cat’s preference.

5. Type of Cat Litter

Pine cat litter in litter box
Image Credit: Alla_vector, Shutterstock
Vet Visit? No
Easy to Remedy? Variable
Environmental? Yes

Some cats are extremely picky about the litter they potty in. Maybe you’ve recently switched to a different litter brand, or you’re trying a scented litter when your cat is used to unscented. Not all cats will take to all types of cat litter, unfortunately. This problem isn’t always an easy fix because it may take trial and error to determine what your cat likes and doesn’t like.

Your cat is likely to let you know just how much or how little they enjoy the litter you bought for them. This can be a frustrating fix due to the time and effort it might take to find the perfect litter for your cat.

6. Stress

sick cat
Image By: one photo, Shutterstock
Vet Visit? Variable
Easy to Remedy? Variable
Environmental? Variable

There are multiple things that could be stressing your cat and causing them to potty in the bathtub. Cats are extremely sensitive animals, so it can be difficult to identify the cause of the stress since it might be caused by something you hadn’t considered particularly stressful, like a new piece of furniture or rearrangement of items in your home.

Sometimes, medical conditions can cause stress that you can’t see, which is likely to warrant a vet visit. If there have been no notable changes in your home that you feel might cause stress to your cat, then it’s a good idea to start off with a visit to the vet to rule out medical causes.

7. Not Enough Litter Boxes

two cats sniffing the litter box
Image By: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock
Vet Visit? No
Easy to Remedy? Yes
Environmental? Yes

Once again, the litter boxes in your home may be the culprit. The general rule of thumb for litter boxes is one litter box per cat plus one extra. If there aren’t enough litter boxes in your home, your cat may start peeing in the bathtub to show you how upset they are about the lack of litter boxes.

Also, make sure there is a litter box on each level of your home. Some cats may not be interested in transitioning between levels of the home every time they need to pee, which can lead to them going in inappropriate places, like the bathtub. Finding homes for multiple litter boxes can be frustrating, so get creative with it if you need to. Some people even add kitty doors to help their cat get to hidden litter boxes.

8. Kitties Behaving Badly

white and red cats fighting
Image By: RJ22, Shutterstock
Vet Visit? Variable
Easy to Remedy? Variable
Environmental? No

Sometimes, the cause for your cat peeing in the bathtub may be behavioral. These behavioral issues are often related to other factors, like stress and medical conditions. However, some cats just decide to start peeing wherever they want to. There are some training techniques and medications that can help with behavioral urination issues.

If you’ve ruled all other causes out and you’ve landed on the possibility that your cat is just acting out, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet about the available options.



If your cat has suddenly started peeing in the bathtub, it can be an annoying inconvenience that is time-consuming to remedy. However, there are multiple things that can cause your cat to start doing this behavior, so take a serious look at the options. The starting point to determining why your cat is doing this and remedying the behavior will vary for each situation because sometimes the answer is more obvious than others.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets