Why My Cat Suddenly Started Peeing Outside The Litter Box

Cats urinating outside the litter box seems to be a common issue among cat owners.  As I was reading a fellow blogger's post on reasons why a cat may be toileting outside the litter box, I was reminded of my cat Maggie - and the one and only time her litter box skills experienced an Epic Fail.

John and I had just gotten engaged and we were elated!  It was something we'd been talking about for at least a year, and we had finally sealed the deal.  Everyone was happy for us, and excited for our upcoming wedding the following year!


Shortly after meeting John, I had been so happy - and a little bit relieved, to be honest - when I learned that not only did he love cats, but he quickly fell for my beautiful sweet Calico cat Maggie.    

And Maggie loved him right back!  Or did she??  On the surface, she seemed to adore John.  She loved when he pet her, she rubbed against his legs, and snuggled with him on the couch.  She sometimes even napped on top of his tummy!

When cats toilet outside the litter box, there could be a logical explanation.  Why do Cats urinate outside the litter box?
Tell me this isn't the body language of a cat who loves the owner upon whose tummy she naps peacefully?!

Maggie and I owned the home we lived in while John had been renting his, so it made perfect sense for him to move into our home.  Much of his "guy stuff" had to be moved into the basement because there wasn't enough room to accommodate our combined stuff.  OK, so part of the reason was that some of his guy stuff was just plain UGLY!  Ladies, you know what I'm talkin' about, don't you?

The move went smoothly and we happily settled into our new daily routine.  Nothing was amiss, until John went down to the basement one day to retrieve one of his ugly guy possessions ... and discovered that sweet little Maggie had apparently been peeing and pooping all over his stuff!   Anything that wasn't secured in a plastic container was ruined - YIKES!  

We could not believe our eyes, or the assault on our noses!  Maggie had never soiled outside the litter box before, how could she have done such a thing?! Was Maggie just a two faced feline pretending to love John while deep down resenting his intrusion on our previously perfect little world of two?  Or, was there a logical explanation for her pissy  hissy fit of suddenly urinating and defecating outside her litter box?  Was she trying to TELL us something?

Reasons why cats pee and poop outside the litter box.  Urinating outside the litter box.
If your cat is suddenly urinating and defecating outside the litter box, there's usually a reason!

Hmmmm.  We thought about what might have prompted this bad kitty behavior, and the reason soon became clear.  Prior to John's ugly guy stuff invading a large corner of the basement, that space had belonged to Maggie alone.  It was her own little Fiefdom, her Cat Cave.  Her litter box was down there, along with some toys and a cozy bed.  She loved to creep up inside the rafters of the basement ceiling - I never did understand how the heck she managed to get up there - hiding and observing my laundry and crafting activities from her ceiling perch.

When the ugly guy stuff arrived it must have really cramped her style and stuck in her claw!  So she protested in the only way she knew how - by urinating and pooping all over the offending items!

Fortunately, my husband has a heart of gold and a soft spot for cats.  He didn't get angry or lash out at her (or me!), he simply dealt with it and we moved on having learned a valuable lesson!  You don't mess with the Cat's Crib.


MEDICAL ISSUE: A trip to the Vet can identify, or rule out, a UTI or other medical problem.

UNAPPEALING LITTER BOX: You've gotten a New litter box and she doesn't like it, her litter box isn't Clean enough, or you Moved the box to a location your cat doesn't like.

EMOTIONAL OR BEHAVIORAL ISSUE: Something is upsetting, stressing, or frightening your cat for some reason. It could be furniture being moved or changed, something outside a nearby window such as a scary animal, or as we found out the hard way, someone has moved Ugly Guy Stuff into their coveted space!

So if your cat starts to urinate and defecate outside the litter box don't get mad, do some detective work and Find Out Why it's happening!

Have you ever had to deal with the issue of cats toileting outside their litter box?  How did you handle it?  Please tell us about it in the Comments!  We always appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Have you been longing to add a feline to your family but won't because you're allergic to cats?  Here's How I got Relief From Cat Allergies and Kept My Cats!

I got Maggie as a 9 week old kitten. While I was waiting for her to be ready for adoption I "accidentally" adopted another cat!  Click this link to see how my Accidental Pet Adoption turned out to be a joy and a blessing!

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Join Us on the Flashback Friday blog hop, hosted by Dorothy Wills-Rafftery of  FIVE SIBES.  This is one of my favorite photos of Icy when she was about a year and a half old.  She had these beautiful, dark markings around the eyes which disappeared as she got older.  She's going on 9 now.  Our favorite activities with our dogs is Hiking!

Flashback Friday Blog Hop!  Photo of my Siberian Husky Icy hiking at Phoenix North Mountain
Flashback of Icy hiking at Phoenix North Mountain. Join the Blog Hop!


  1. It's too bad Maggie didn't appreciate all that new stuff to climb all over!
    We've only ever had this issue with senior cats. And more than once, we ruled out absolutely everything. I think sometimes when they're seniors they just get lazy!

    1. Yeah, she really should have appreciated all that fun stuff my husband left for her LOL! We were able to stop it, thankfully.

  2. Our male cat decided to start marking and it made me crazy. When he started urinating outside his litter box, it was a huge problem. I sympathize with anyone dealing with the problem.

    1. Oh no! It really was a shock to us and not fun to eradicate the stench! We had to throw lots of his stuff away but thankfully we had a lot of it in plastic bins. We cleaned them off w/ enzymatic cleaner and moved them out of her space - that solved the issue.

  3. Wow! Maggie wasn't messing around with her territory eh?! I was nervous as I was reading that she may have had a condition. Nope. Just territorial I see. So sorry that happened to your husband but God bless him for taking it all in stride. I guess it was a good time and reason to get some new fashionable clothes! :)

    1. He was so good about, I'm really lucky that way. Good think much of his stuff was in plastic bins so we could clean them off w/ enzymatic cleanser and move them out of her space!

  4. When living in Israel I had a cat that peed outside the box and whatever I did she carried on and in those days the vets just would say some cats do, so I lived with it by making sure there was kitty litter on a garbage bag on the floor next to the box, it was the only solution I had.

  5. I remember years ago our cat at the time - who had always used the box without missing - started to potty outside the litter box. I couldn't understand what was going on, why he was doing this after so many years? After a vet visit, we learned he had some medical issues and that was the underlying cause. There is always some reason cats will do this!

  6. Maggie is beautiful! My family had a cat growing up that would pee outside of her litter box any time she got stressed, and she unfortunately was an anxious cat. Giving her her own safe quite place seemed to help a lot, it sounds like maybe your basement was that type of space for Maggie?

  7. How lucky your future husband was such a doll he was cool with the situation, and even luckier you figured out the problem!! Years ago I took in a stray cat when I was living in Israel, and for some reason she always pooped outside the litter box, but peed in it. I couldn't find one reason for that, probably something that happened in her past on the street, but luckily she only pooped right beside it, so it was easy enough to put something down or clean it up.

  8. Cat pee is the worst! I've learned to keep the litter box very clean so my cat doesn't pee outside of it. He has me trained!

  9. Fortunately my cat was very good about using his litter box. I'm glad that you were able to figure out what was bothering Maggie and make the changes she needed.

  10. I LOVE your telling people to DO SOME DETECTIVE WORK! Why is this happening? People are so willing to dump a cat at a shelter for this kind of issue (horrible people!!!) Your guy is a total amazing rockstar!!

  11. Always got to think outside the box ;-) Meaning looking for a cause. Medical issues are so often behind such behavior.

  12. A family member had to rehome their cat because he was peeing outside of the box. He had moved to another living situation, which involved big dogs, and his cat wasn't happy. Long story short, Boomer now lives with my boyfriend and has not had an incident out of the box since he's been with him.

  13. Jackson Galaxy gets called in all the time about cats peeing outside the litter box. The first thing he always looks for is if there are any health issues. If there aren’t any health issues, the next thing he looks for is what is happening in the environment that causes the cat to do this. Many times, there are feral cats outside the house and the cats inside the house or marking their territory. Other times cats feel threatened when things take over what is familiar to them. Which is probably what happen with your husband’s things.

  14. Unfortunately, I have experience with litter box issues. Our cat Elsie who passed away in 2016 had this problem. We never really solved the problem but just learned to deal with it - had to replace several couches. LOL.