If your cat has always been a devoted litter box user but suddenly resorts to queer behavior like peeing on its edge, you need to step in and do something about it. This kind of behavior may imply underlying behavioral or health concerns.
Cat peeing over the edge of the litter box: Common reasons
Here are the common reasons why your cat is peeing over the edge of the litter box:
1. The litter box may be the wrong size for your cat.
Your cat may be peeing over the edge of the box because it is too small or the wrong size for her. Some cat owners purchase smaller sized litter boxes when their cats were younger but forget to upgrade to bigger ones as they grow older. Thus, the space becomes cramped resulting in your cat peeing over its edge. So, make sure that there is enough space for your cat to turn around or dig in and the size of the box should be at least one and a half times the length of your cat.
2. You may be filling the box too high with litter.
Your cat may be peeing over the edge of her box because it has too much litter. Cat manufacturers recommend using at least two to three inches of litter but you may use up to four inches if your cat is a deep scratcher. Try to start with only two inches and observe what is the ideal depth for your cat.
3. The litter box may be too deep for your cat.
Some cats, especially older or senior ones have difficulty getting inside a deep litter box. As a result, they tend to pee on the edges or outside of the box and instead of peeing inside the box they are standing outside and aiming in but missing the spot. If this is so, opt for a shallow litter pan.
4. The litter box may be dirty.
Cats are finicky especially when it comes to toilet habits and an unclean and smelly litter box will easily deter them from using it. Their sense of smell is very sensitive and they can easily detect the slightest odors emanating from the box. If this is so, they may end up on a litter box strike and may pee over the edge or outside of it instead.
To solve the problem, you must clean her litter box and replace the litter regularly. Check out our earlier articles on 13 litter box hacks to prevent unwanted odors and how to clean a litter box with bleach for helpful tips.
5. It may have to do with the type of litter used in the box.
Your cat may be peeing over the edge of the litter box because she does not like the litter you are using on her box. Since cats have unique personalities they may also have different preferences, too, and this includes the type of litter they prefer. Your cat may not like its feel or smell and she is not comfortable peeing or pooping in it. There are various litter options in the market and if your cat is quite choosy, you may have to experiment with several litter types before your cat may eventually settle with a certain type.
Some common types of litter include the following:
- crystal litter- mostly made of silica
- clumping litter – made of bentonite clay
- non-clumping litter – made of non-biodegradable materials
- litter made from natural materials – made of biodegradable materials like pine, corn and wheat
- sand litter – it is economical and used to transition your cat to another litter type
You may also check out our earlier article on cat litter that doesn’t stick to paws for more information.
6. Your cat may have a health issue or territorial problem due to stress.
Your cat may be peeing over the edge of her litter box because of health issues like urinary tract infection. Cats suffering from UTI, feline interstitial cystitis or bladder stones may not be able to make it to their litter box during the urgency to urinate. If this so, take your cat to the vet at once for the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Your cat may also be manifesting weird peeing behavior because of the overindulgent marking of territory. Common reasons may include sudden changes in her environment, a new cat or pet or strangers in the household and other stress-causing events. To solve this, place additional litter boxes for your cat and you may also consult your vet for a thorough evaluation.
What to do if your cat is peeing over the edge of the litter box?
Here are some measures you can take if your cat is peeing over the edge of her litter box:
- Use disposable underpads or pet pads that are similar to puppy pads and put them under the litter box for easier clean-ups.
- If you suspect that your cat does not like the litter type, try to offer a second litter box with a different type of litter and observe if your cat prefers it.
- Consider a top entry litter box for your cat as it prevents over the edge spills, reduces odor and eliminates tracking.
- Place a shower curtain under the litter box for easier clean-ups.
Cats usually do not make a big fuss when it comes to using their litter box but if they are manifesting queer behavior such as peeing over its edge, you should take notice. They may be doing it because the litter box is dirty, it may be the wrong size, there may be too much litter or they do not like the litter at all. However, it may also imply a health or stress-related issue at which point you should bring her to the vet so she may be promptly treated.
Image: istockphoto.com / minoandriani