Help! Cat Peeing Outside of Litterbox

Sun1211

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My cat is about 4 years old and for about 2 years he has been peeing outside his litterbox on and off again. When we brought him to the Vet and they said he probably has territorial anxiety, so we had to give him Prozac. After a couple months of weening him off of that everything was fine until recently. When we brought him to the Vet they examined his urine and found urinary crystals and he is now on special cat food. Even after that he is still peeing outside of his litterbox. We have tried changing the litterbox, changing the litter, changing the location of the litterbox and all sorts of cat anxiety remedies, but nothing is working.
My parents are now threatening to give him away. Is there anything else we can do?
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. Did the vet prescribe anything thing for him when they found crystals - besides the urinary care food? No infection? If there is any inflammation in his bladder and/or urinary tract - even without an infection - it can't still hurt to pee, causing him to continue to avoid the litter box. So, you might want to discuss that aspect with the vet - and, perhaps they would be willing to try giving him an anti-inflammatory for a while? Also, if the crystals were struvite, the urinary care food should help to dissolve them, but it might take some time to see results. How long has it been?

He could be somewhat in a 'habit mode' now too, so make sure you clean where ever he is peeing outside the box with enzymatic cleaners to try to remove the smell. If he can smell his own urine, it acts as an 'invitation' for him to continue to use those same spots over and over. I would also, at least temporarily, add some more litter boxes for him to use - maybe place them on top of some of his most common spots for peeing.

If this peeing issue is related to general stress/anxiety - cat calming products might be something else to consider - there are many of them on the market, but not all work on all cats, so you may need to experiment some. Just do an internet search on 'cat calming products' to see which ones you might want to try. Cat music might also be an option, as well as ensuring he has cat trees/perches - preferably by windows for him to look out an entertain himself a bit. Extra play time wouldn't hurt either.

What was the territorial anxiety about? Other cats, either yours or ones hanging around outside? Does that type of environment still exist - or, perhaps a new but similar situation has arisen?

Your parents need to know that if he has peeing issues, giving him away could very well mean he might be put to sleep if he is considered unadoptable. So, if you do something like that it had better be with a no-kill shelter or rescue center. Worse case scenario, I would put him back on the Prozac before abandoning him.
 
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Sun1211

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The vet did not prescribe anything else but the food. It has been a couple of weeks since then. We have cleaned the areas he has peed at and have tried moving the litterbox over those spots, but he usually just pees somewhere else close by. We have even tried moving the litterbox to a completely different spot and blocking off the old area.
We have tried cat calming products, scents, music, toys, but nothing has seemed to work. We believe the territorial anxiety was caused by a neighbor's outdoor cat, but he stopped peeing around the time that cat was killed by a coyote. I have not seen any other cats around the house as of late.
 

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See if the vet is willing to consider the inflammation aspect, and try an anti-inflammatory. I think they can identify that with an abdominal x-ray or ultrasound should the vet want to confirm it first.
 
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Sun1211

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I talked with my parents and they said they'd contact his Vet and ask. However, they raised concerns that it doesn't seem like he is uncomfortable and holding it in because it hurts. It's not like he will randomly go around the house, it is always right next to his litterbox, which is also a departure from his previous behavior. When we had to put him on Prozac, he was peeing on the edges of the house near windows or corners, now it is always right next to his litterbox.
 

FeebysOwner

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However, they raised concerns that it doesn't seem like he is uncomfortable and holding it in because it hurts. It's not like he will randomly go around the house, it is always right next to his litterbox, which is also a departure from his previous behavior.
Surprisingly enough, a cat can endure a lot of pain before anyone realizes that is what is going on. But, it is interesting that he is mostly going immediately outside the litter box, as opposed to what he was doing before. To me, that sounds even more like it could be inflammation as opposed to anxiety. The anxiety lead to peeing other places around the house. Now, because he is doing it close to the box would seem like he wants to use the box, but knows it hurts. As smart as cats are, they still associate the pain with the box even if they still feel it when they go outside the box.
 

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How big are the litterboxes? uncovered and unlined? have you tried cat attract litter?
 
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Sun1211

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We used to have a small litterbox. It was one that had the pellets instead of normal litter, so that the urine would go through and into a pad. He had been using it fine until this all started. After he started going outside of it we got an extra large version. It has walls on the sides of it. We tried it with and without the walls. We then tried switching back to regular litter, with and without walls. This worked for a while, but he eventually started going outside of it again. None of them have been completely covered.
We haven't tried cat attract litter, but I will look into it.
 
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