Top 5 Reasons Why Cats Pee in the House

Updated on July 7, 2019
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Owner of MommyDaddyKids and mother of two, Meagan is passionate about her family and sharing real-life advice with everyday people.


Owning a cat can be a rewarding experience, but sharing your home with a cat who urinates everywhere can be a nightmare. It's especially frustrating when your furry friend has never displayed that type of behavior before.

Don't put out the free kitten sign just yet. There very well may be a good reason for your pet's newest behavior, and it might be easily remedied. Read on to learn about the five main reasons why your cat might be peeing in the house and what you can do to change it.

1. The Litter Box Location

The first thing you should check is the location of the litter box. Many people prefer to tuck their cat box away in a place that's not right out in the open or visible to guests. While this certainly seems like a good idea to us, it might not be as convenient for our pets.

If a cat has shown an attempt to use their potty but then shows no interest in it, it's possible that location is not suitable. Perhaps they became frightened when the furnace turned on or got trapped inside when a door was left open?

When you bring a cat home for the first time or change the location of their litter box, it's a smart idea to observe your animal friends for a few days. Watch their behavior when they use the box. Do they seem comfortable with the location? Is it easy for them to get in and out of the box? Do they come running out of it like their tails on fire because something spooked them?

Follow the suggestions below to find the ideal spot to put your cat box.

Where Should I Put My Cat's Litter Box?

Good Places
Places To Avoid
Peaceful and quiet, where they can have privacy
Near loud or noisy appliances that turn on and off randomly
It should be easily visible for cats with poor eyesight
Basements that are dark, damp, or cold
On the same floor where your cat spends a lot of time
Far away from where your pet spends the majority of their time
Open enough to easily get in and out without getting trapped
Cramped spaces such as closets or hallways
Somewhere out of the way but still in a common area of the house
High traffic areas where there are always people present
In a room that's door may get closed often
Near other pets the cat does not get along with
Check for obstacles that may scare your cat
Somewhere easy to forget about it

Is the Potty Clean?

If you walked into a public restroom and looked down to see waste floating in the bowl, would you use that toilet? Your cat might be an animal, but they have standards too. When their potty is dirty, they will find another place to do their business. Unfortunately, that place is usually on your carpet.

This problem is easily avoided by scooping the waste out of the box daily. Investing in a cat litter that clumps will make it easier for you to keep the box clean.

2. Health Problems

There are many conditions that could cause our cats to urinate suddenly and without warning, giving them no time to get to the litter-box. It's not always clear if that is what's causing them to pee in unusual places, but if you've never had a problem with your cat before, or don't obverse any other reason for the behavior, you should take them to your vet as soon as possible.

Is Your Cat Getting Enough Water?

Not many people realize this, but cats are not naturally inclined to drink large amounts of water and get most of their fluids from the food they eat. That's not to say that they will not consume water if it's provided. However, if your cat is ingesting primarily dry food and not drinking enough water, this could lead to health problems like UTIs which could cause inappropriate urination.


3. They Never Learned to Use a Litter Box

Cleanliness is important to cats. They groom themselves constantly, avoid anything that would get them dirty, and cover their own waste. This is probably why they catch onto the idea of a litter pan so quickly. They like the idea of a tidy place to keep all of the yucky contained as much as we do, but some cats might not have been taught this important lesson. This is particularly true for cats who are used to going outdoors.

Teaching an older cat how to use a litter box may be difficult, but it is not impossible. With time and love, you can show even the most feral cats where to go potty. If they absolutely refuse to learn, you may have to allow them outdoors.

4. Stress and Anxiety

The idea that an animal could become stressed, anxious, or depressed might seem crazy, but it is a very real possibility. Cats experience many of the same emotions as a human, and much like humans, every cat will respond differently to stress.

Stress in small doses is actually a good thing, and many animals rely on those feelings to survive. When they begin feeling anxious, they know something is not quite right and they react to it. When those triggers are constant, however, it overwhelms them and they may respond to it with behavioral changes.

The most common signs of anxiety and stress in an animal are:

  • Aggression
  • Constant grooming
  • Hair loss
  • Spraying
  • Inappropriate urination

A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

— The definition of stress according to the Oxford Dictionary

5. Other Animals

It's very common for animals to urinate around the home when other animals are present, and it can happen even if those animals no longer live in the house.

Countless pet owners have pulled out their hair in frustration because they could not understand why their animals were peeing on the floor. Many of them discovered the reason was that their previous pets had also urinated around the home and because it was not cleaned properly, their animals felt the need to mark over the scent with their own.

Felines can be particular about their space and if you have more than two cats in the home sharing one litter box, it can cause one or more to ignore the box entirely.

If you have male cats, you may notice they spray when they want to mark their territory. A female cat, especially one in heat, may make this worse. Even if you do not own male cats, you may notice other neighborhood felines spraying around the outside of your home when your female cat is in heat.

There are numerous other reasons why a cat might pee somewhere other than their litter box, but these are the most common causes of this behavior. If you have followed all of the tips above and your animal baby is still urinating on the floor, you may want to talk to your vet. Sometimes cats never do quite get the hang of a litter box, and those animals are better suited outdoors.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • My previous cat had a kidney problem and peed in the house. Is this why my rescue cat is peeing in the same room?

    That is a very big possibility. Sometimes fixing the problem is as easy as cleaning the floors well. Other times — especially if the pee had a chance to soak into the floor — people find they have to replace the entire carpet in that area of the house.

    Some great products on the market can help cover the old scent of cat pee. Maybe try one of those?

    Does the current kitty pee in any of the other rooms or just that one?

© 2018 Meagan Ireland


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