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Why is my cat peeing in the corner of the litter box?

Noticed your cat peeing in the corner of the litter box lately? You may be wondering what causes a cat to do this. Is it normal?

Sudden changes in cat litter behaviors can be a sign of a medical issue. Stress and issues with the litter box can also cause your cat to pee in the corner. 

Besides being a mess to clean up, your cat could be trying to tell you something isn’t right. Below, we will discuss the causes of this behavior and some ways to prevent it. 

Medical issues

Sometimes your cat begins to pee in the corner of her litter box because she is having medical issues. These are usually related to her urinary tract. Cats hide illnesses well, so it can be hard to tell if something is wrong with your feline friend. 

You likely don’t follow your cat to the litter box each time she relieves herself, so it is important to note any changes you see in her litter habits. These can be the first signs of illness.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Your cat could be urinating in the corner of her litter box because urinating has become painful for her. Cats don’t get urinary tract infections often, but they can still get them. Bacteria from the gastrointestinal or reproductive tracts usually cause UTIs in cats. 

Symptoms of UTI in cats include:

This condition can be temporary or ongoing. Some cats develop chronic UTIs. Older cats or cats with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop these issues than younger cats.

Kidney Disease

Another reason your cat could be peeing in the corner of the litter box is kidney disease. The kidneys filter waste from your cat’s body and regulate many of your cat’s bodily liquids. Cats who develop kidney disease either experience acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) problems.

Symptoms of kidney disease in cats include:

  • Urinating in usual spots, accidents, or incontinence
  • Fever
  • Decreased activity
  • Dehydration
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath
  • Sores in mouth
  • Intermittent vomiting
  • Lymph swelling
  • Decreased appetite

Kidney disease can be caused by trauma to the kidney, genetic disposition, and immune disorders. Some kidney disease is unexplained.

When to go to the vet

If your cat has any of the above symptoms paired with peeing in the corner of the litter box, this may be a sign of something going on. It never hurts to get your cat checked out by the vet. Only a vet can properly diagnose an illness and treat it effectively.

Stress

Cats sometimes react to stress by changing their litter box habits. Stress can even cause your cat to pee in the corner of her litter box. 

This is usually due to some change in the dynamics at home, which cause your cat to feel insecure. 

Changes in the household

Cats are sensitive to changes in a home. A new family member or a move could cause your cat stress.

If the litter box is in an unfamiliar area, your cat could be peeing in the corner because they are not used to the placement of the litter box. This can be especially confusing if you have a small kitten who is still litter training.

Additionally, if someone new is scooping the litter, this could confuse the cat. If they clean the box out less frequently than you used to, that may also cause them to look for an area to pee that isn’t already dirty. 

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These stresses lead to your cat peeing in the corner of the litter box.

New Pet

A new pet is a common reason for cats to miss the litter box. If your cat is not used to another cat or a new animal coming around the corner as they do their business, it can startle them. This could cause them to pee in the corner of the litter box.

If your dog or another cat follows your pet to the litter box, this could intimidate your cat and cause her to pee in the corner. 

Also, sometimes another pet will bully the other. This could result in your cat getting to the litter box, where she is vulnerable, and the other pet tries to attack her. She could pee in the corner because she lost control of her urine during the fight. 

All of these scenarios cause your cat stress and make it hard for her to go to the litter in the same way she used to.

Tips for reducing stress

If you think your cat may be stressed, there are some ways you can try to calm her down.

A new member of the family or a new pet may mean that your attention is a little more divided these days. Make sure to set aside time each day to play with your cat. Give her plenty of affection to show her that she is still an important part of the family.

Another way you can help to reduce stress in your cat is to provide her with a calm environment. A new pet may cause your cat to feel like her territory is being invaded. She needs a space in the home that is just hers. This place needs to have a bed where she can rest and not be disturbed by the other pet. 

You could also provide your cat with a cat tree. This way, she can get up high away from the other pet. 

Also, make sure to introduce your cat gently and slowly to any new family members. They may hide at first, but eventually, they will come around to the new person. Make sure the new family member doesn’t try to force your kitty to interact with them. This could cause your cat more stress.

Litter box issues

Sometimes, your cat peeing in the corner of the litter box may be more about the litter box itself than anything going on with your feline.

Litter boxes that are dirty, too small,  or contain the wrong type of litter can all cause your cat to change bathroom behaviors.

Dirty litter box

Some cats tolerate dirty litter better than others. For example, I have a cat that lets me know I have forgotten to scoop the box by peeing on the bathroom rug. 

But, you can’t blame your cat. You probably avoid dirty public bathrooms the same way your cat avoids a dirty litter box. However, if your cat has to go, she has to go. She may try to do her business in the dirty litter pan anyhow.

 If it is dirty, she may have trouble finding a clean spot to stand on, and as a result, she may end up in the corner to do her business. 

Small litter box

Another common issue that may have your cat peeing in the corner is a too-small litter box. A litter box can be hard to find a good spot for in your home. You may have tried to fit it into a small bathroom by getting a small litter pan.

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In theory, this is a good move. In practice, it often is not. Cats can be particular. They need plenty of space to move around and do their business. If the box is too small, your cat may not be able to fit properly in it, which could lead to them peeing in the corner on accident. 

Wrong type of litter

If you have recently changed litter, your cat could be peeing in the corner because she doesn’t care for the texture. Cats can have a sensitivity to the type of litter in their box. If your cat is rolling in the litter, as well, this is another sign you have the wrong litter.

There are innumerable litter options on the market today. They each have different textures, absorbency, and odor control.

You can try different types of litter to see if your cat’s litter box behaviors improve. She may simply not care for this particular type.

Tips to prevent your cat from peeing in the corner of the litter box

Keep the litter box clean

Build a routine where you or a family member scoops the litter either daily or every other day. Also, it is important to completely change the litter out and replace it with new after about a week or so. This not only keeps odors down but also keeps your cat happy and healthy.

Don’t forget in ideal circumstances, you should have one more litter box than the number of cats in your home. For example, if you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes. This gives them plenty of space to do their business. 

Buy a larger litter box

You may have to buy a larger litter box to solve this problem. There are plenty of large ones on the market to choose from. Some have high sides that help prevent stray pee from going over the top of the pan. Others have domes that give your kitty a little privacy. You may have to try out a few different ones before you find the right fit.

Experiment with different litter box styles

Even if you get a large litter box, some cats are particular about style. Some litter boxes fit into corners. Others have lids on them. Some are self-scooping. There are some with sifters in the bottom.

You may have to try out a few different kinds before you find the right one for your feline. 

Monitor your cat’s stress levels

If you suspect your cat may be peeing in the corner of the litter box due to stress, make sure to provide stress-free spaces where your cat can relax. 

Other than peeing outside the box, the signs of stress in your kitty include:

  • Excessive grooming, scratching, or vocalization
  • Decreased appetite
  • Isolation
  • Aggression
  • Lethargy

Try to eliminate the source of the stress, if possible.

Take your cat to regular vet visits

Since some of the issues can be medical, it is important to take your cat to the vet regularly. A regular check-up is a great preventative for long-term illnesses. Also, don’t be afraid to call your vet or make an appointment about any concerns you may have. It is better to be extra vigilant than to let a problem go for a long time. 

Conclusion

There are many reasons a cat may be peeing in the corner of the litter box. These could be a medical issues, stress, or incorrect litter box conditions. Evaluate your cat’s unique situation and try to decide which possibility is most plausible. When in doubt, call your vet and schedule an appointment.