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Home > Cats > Why Does My Cat Pee On the Floor? 5 Causes & Prevention

Why Does My Cat Pee On the Floor? 5 Causes & Prevention

cat peeing on concrete ground

Cats are many people’s favorite domestic pets because, aside from feeding them, they are pretty self-sufficient animal companions. One of the biggest reasons for this is that they don’t require trips outside to relieve themselves; that’s what a litter box is for.

That’s why it can be confusing and concerning when your once litter box-trained cat is suddenly peeing all over the floor instead of in the box itself. But don’t worry, as there’s almost always a reason for this, whether it be due to a problem with the litter box itself or something going on in your cat’s life.

In this article, we’ll explore the potential reasons why your cat is peeing on the floor. We’ll also explain what to do about it by giving you some different things to try and when you should be truly concerned.


The 5 Reasons Why Your Cat Pees On the Floor

1. Litter Box Problems

two cats sniffing the litter box
Image By: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock

Before you start worrying about whether something is seriously wrong with your cat, the problem may be something as simple as your cat not being pleased with the state of their litter box. One of the most common reasons why cats pee on the floor is that the litter box is too dirty.

Think about it, we humans don’t like to use toilets that are too dirty. Well, neither does your cat, so he is peeing on the floor because he can’t just hold it in and feels he has nowhere else to go. Dirty litter boxes can also be a health hazard, so your cat may be trying to tell you that it’s time to clean the box out.

If you regularly clean your litter box and don’t think that’s the problem, then consider whether you’ve recently switched litter or gotten a completely new litter box. Your cat may not like the new litter, especially if it has a different scent or texture than what he’s used to. He may also feel too exposed or uncomfortable if the litter box is in a place with lots of foot traffic or is too small.

Your cat may not like the location of the litter box. It may not be private enough or it could be too close to his food or water. Again, as humans, we don’t cook in the bathroom or vice versa, and your cat may not like it either.

Having said all that, making adjustments to the litter box based on your cat’s preferences, whether they be cleaning it, changing litter again, or moving the location, is the first thing you should try if your cat is peeing on the floor. If none of those things help, then it could be a sign of a more serious problem.

2. Spraying

It could also be possible that your cat isn’t actually peeing on the floor but is spraying instead. Spraying usually occurs on vertical surfaces, but your cat may spray on horizontal surfaces as well or the urine may run down a vertical surface and form a puddle on the floor. This problem isn’t super serious, but it is something that you want to put a stop to so that you don’t have to continue to clean up messes.

One of the most common reasons that cats spray is to attract a mate. It’s more common in male cats than females, but both male and female cats are more likely to spray if they aren’t spayed or neutered. If this applies to your cat, then spaying or neutering your cat might solve the problem.

If your cat is spayed or neutered and is still spraying, then he could be feeling territorial or threatened. Territorial feelings may occur if you’ve recently gotten another cat or there’s a cat that’s been hanging around outside.

But your cat could also be feeling threatened or scared if there’s been a change in your cat’s normal routine, you’ve recently had a baby, or moved houses, for example. Consider if any changes have happened in your or your cat’s life recently that could be causing the spraying behavior.

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3. Stress/Emotional Behaviors

Cat peed in shoes
Image By: AJSTUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

Although stress is one of the causes of spraying, your cat may also urinate instead of spraying if he is feeling stressed. Common stressors for cats include a change in routine, changing houses, a new pet or baby, or even a visitor to your house. Stress can also be caused by other cats in the neighborhood that seem threatening, especially if your cat is allowed outside.

In addition to stress, fear and anxiety can also cause your cat to pee on the floor. Maybe you’ve been away on vacation or you travel a lot and leave your cat alone or in the company of others. And depending on your cat’s individual temperament, things such as storms or loud noises in the neighborhood (i.e., construction) could cause your cat to feel anxious and urinate.

Perhaps your cat is allowed outside and does his business out there a lot. Suddenly, your cat doesn’t want to go outside due to one of the above reasons (other cats, dogs, construction, etc.), so he’s peeing on the floor instead. Whatever the case, once the stressor is pinpointed and removed, the problem should be solved if stress, fear, or anxiety is indeed the cause.

4. Old Age

Your cat starting to pee on the floor could be a sign that he is getting older. As cats age, their brain function starts to slow down which could cause confusion about where to go or there could start to be a disconnect between the brain and your cat’s kidneys and urinary system about when and where to go.

It’s also possible that your cat could be experiencing some mobility issues as other parts of his body start to slow down. Maybe it’s becoming harder for your cat to get into and use the litter box or he is having problems controlling his bladder. There are numerous medical issues that can start to affect older cats and cause urinary problems as well.

5. Health Problems

cat pee on the carpet
Image By: Pixel Shot, Shutterstock

If you’ve ruled out all of the causes above, your cat could be suffering from a medical condition or health problem even if he isn’t old. There are numerous medical conditions that can cause urinary problems in cats that may cause them to pee on the floor. If your cat is suffering from a health problem, there will usually be other signs in addition to not using the litter box.

Some of the most common diseases and conditions that can cause urinary problems in cats include urinary tract infections, kidney disease and failure (which has many potential causes), and feline diabetes. The exact symptoms of each disease vary, and these aren’t the only diseases that can cause urination problems.

But, if you notice blood or discoloration in the urine, funky or particularly strong smells, your cat is urinating more or less, or any other changes to his normal behavior, you should take your cat to a vet for diagnosis and treatment. Any of those symptoms accompanied by your cat peeing on the floor is a sure sign that something is going on that is more serious.


How Can You Prevent Your Cat from Peeing On the Floor?

The first step for preventing your cat from peeing on the floor is to determine what the specific cause is. If you suspect your cat has a medical condition or you can’t figure out what the cause is, see a vet to diagnose or rule out anything. Once you or your vet has determined a cause, here are a few things you can try.

Adjust the Litter Box/Clean It Regularly

british shorthair cat in litter box
Image By: Nils Jacobi, Sutterstock

Although problems with the litter box are one of the most common causes of cats peeing on the floor, figuring out what the exact problem is can be time-consuming and frustrating. For starters, make sure you clean the litter box out regularly so that it stays appealing to your cat. If you have multiple cats, you may need multiple litter boxes. The recommendation is to have one extra litter box for the number of cats you have in order to prevent any problems.

If the litter box is cleaned regularly, you may be facing trial-and-error as you figure out whether it’s the litter your cat doesn’t like, the location of the box, or the type of box. If you suspect it’s the litter, try sticking with an unscented litter in case it’s the smell of fragranced litter that your cat doesn’t like. However, you may have to try out different litter textures and different styles of litter boxes as well as several different litter box locations until you find something your cat is happy with.

Set Routines

Establishing good routines can prevent your cat from becoming stressed. There’s not a lot you can do when you go on vacation to help your cat stick to a routine other than having a house sitter. But as long as you’re at home, try feeding your cat at the same time every day and having time set aside for playing with your cat and time for him to go outside, if applicable. Routines will help your cat become more comfortable and reduce stress caused by frequent changes.

Help Your Cat Feel Safe

Again, there are going to be some things that you just can’t prevent. But there are other things that you can do to help your cat feel safe. For example, make sure your cat has his own private place to go when he feels scared. Try to ward off any cats or dogs that may make your cat feel threatened by using motion-detector sprinklers, repellents, or even just your general presence.

If you have multiple cats, make sure that they are properly introduced to prevent one cat from bullying and attacking the others. Make sure that your cats don’t have to compete for resources as well by providing plenty of food, water, toys, beds, and litter boxes so that they don’t have to share.

Clean Up Messes

Finally, make sure that you clean any areas on the floor or around the house where your cat has urinated thoroughly. Otherwise, he’ll continue to pee in those areas since they now have his smell on them. Clean any areas that you don’t want your cat to return to with an enzyme-based cleaner designed for cleaning pet stains, as these cleaners will help remove the smell and discourage your cat from returning to the area to pee.



If your cat is peeing on the floor, it can be messy and frustrating especially if he’s always used the litter box with no problems. Fortunately, there is always a root cause, although some may be easier to pinpoint than others. When in doubt, always take your cat to the vet if you can’t figure out a cause or suspect your cat may have a medical condition. Your vet can help you come up with treatments or solutions that fit your situation.

Featured Image Credit: nanniezwawa, Shutterstock

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