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Cats/Cat urinating outside litter box


Hi Kate,
We have a 5 year old female cat which we keep indoors all the time.  She was neutered at six months, after she first came into heat.  She has always been good about urinating and defecating in her litter box until recently.  We moved house nearly two years ago and positioned her cat condo about 3 feet away from the litter box - which she had no problem with.  The only thing she would do is if the litter got too smelly, she would urinate outside the box - which was to tell us to change it!!  However, a couple of months ago, my husband decided to move the litter box to the downstairs toilet, so that it would be away from the kitchen area and I think this is when the problems started!  She used it initially in the new position but then started urinating outside the box, even when the litter had been changed.  Then she urinated and defecated on a mat inside the hall door.  We put the litter box back in the original position but she again urinated and defecated on the mat - after we had washed and dried it!  So, we took the mat away for a few weeks and after we put it back she urinated on it again.  We sprayed it with vinegar, as they say that cats hate the smell of it, but she urinated on it again, despite the smell!!  We took up the mat yesterday and put it outside again, to wash it and this morning when we got up, she had urinated in the area where the mat had been.........  We are trying to work out why she is doing all this now, after so many years being so house trained, but fail to see why!  Can you help at all??  Would be most grateful for any advice!

As to why she started to urinate in this area, you are probably right in suggesting it was caused by the moving of her litter box. This probably made her feel insecure, cats don't like change much and if their litter box isn't in a place they feel secure, they will react to it.

as to why she chose this particular mat to use as her new loo who can say. It may simply be that she feels safe in this area.

she now sees that mat and that area as her new loo. My advice would be to remove the mat completely from the house, replace it with a new one. Also was the floor, and walls etc in that area with a solution of bicarbonate of soda. this will eliminate any traces of her own scent. Sometimes a tiny spot of urine may remain and this is what is causing her to return to this area. So you want to completely get rid of any smells in that area.

I would also at the same time if you have the space in your home to keep her in one room for a couple of days with her litter tray so that she can 1. feel less anxious about things and 2. become re-acquainted with her litter box.

Hopefully all things together will break the current habit she has formed and help her to feel settled again.

Hope this helps

best wishes Kate
Don't forget you can visit my cat information site at  


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Kate Tilmouth


I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.


I run my own cat website at and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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