7 Reasons Why Cats Miss The Litter Box & How-To Fix It

Cats are generally easy to maintain as pets. However, they do have behavioral problems from time-to-time.

And when they arise, they can be pretty frustrating.

If you’ve started to find cat accidents around the litter box, you’re probably dying to know…

Why is my cat missing the litter box?

Cats generally miss the litter box because they aren’t squatting down in the litter enough. Urinating with their butts elevated can cause pee to spray outside the box. While mostly behavioral, this behaviors can be caused by a urinary tract infection or arthritis so its worth checking with your vet.  

Before you can get to the bottom of this messy situation, you need to uncover the main cause.

Let’s look at some of the most common reasons in detail.

What Does It Mean When a Cat Misses The Litter Box? (7 Reasons Explained)

1. Your Litter Box is Small and Low-Sided

If the litter box is too tiny in comparison to your cat, most likely, they’ll pee outside the box.

Because the space is not big enough for it to squat, automatically, the pee will splash outside.

Cats get picky about how deep or big the litter box is. Therefore, if they don’t like it, they will opt to avoid it altogether.

2. Your Cat Doesn’t Like the Litter

Cats are fairly clean and very choosy creatures. Therefore, the type of litter you use in the box matters a lot.

If the litter is too chunky, they will avoid the box and pee standing, which will mess up your floor or carpet.

3. Your Cat is Stressed

This is one of the top reasons for your cat peeing outside the box.

The stress can result from a change in environment or a new cat or person in the household. In cats, stress is the root cause of feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC).

Cats with this bladder health condition have a hard time urinating, could have blood in the urine, and start frequently urinating out of the litter box.

To manage this problem, you have to handle the issue that’s causing the stress to make them comfortable.

4. Your Cat has Urinary Tract Infections

Similar to FIC, UTIs have the same symptoms. However, UTIs are more common in older cats.

Therefore, once your cat starts missing the litter box, it’s time to visit the vet to rule out whether they have a UTI infection. This condition will require a series of antibiotics and anti-inflammation treatments.

5. Your Cat is Feeling Insecure

In households with many cats, some of your feline friends are highly likely to urinate outside the litter box.

This situation happens when one cat becomes dominant and stops the other cats from using the litter box.

A change in temperature or activity level could also make your cat jumpy.

The same happens if the litter box is placed close to noisy appliances such as water heaters or AC units or near a pathway.

The lack of privacy will drive your cat to pee outside the box.

6. Your Cat has Arthritis

Arthritis commonly affects older cats. The condition makes it painful to squat during urination due to joint pain.

Because of the pain, your cat will associate the discomfort with posturing, therefore avoiding the litter box.

Instead, they will opt to use softer surfaces such as your carpet or rag to stay away from the torture.

7. You Have Poor Litter Box Maintenance

Your cat will avoid the litter box if it’s uncomfortable with the tray itself.

Likewise, an unchanged box that smells or has litter that’s not clean will turn off your pet.

Empty the litter box twice daily and clean thoroughly at least twice weekly.

Cats dislike a dirty litter box and need a clean place to eliminate it.

How to Stop Your Cat from Peeing Out Of the Litter Box

Once you have identified the problem with your cat peeing outside the box, you need to find ways to curb the habit early on. Here are some of the things you should do.

Visit the Vet

When your cat avoids the litter box, they could be sick with urinary tract infections or arthritis.

Make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to get the cat medication and treatment that will help solve the problem.

Move the Litter Box To a Quiet Place

Quiet and secluded spaces give your cat the privacy they need during the elimination of urine.

Therefore, make sure you place it in a space where there is no human movement or a lot of activity.

Have More Litter Boxes

If your household has multiple cats, have more than one litter box to cater to all the cats.

This measure reduces the competition, especially if one of the cats is dominant.

Get a High-Sided Box

A high-sided box helps contain the urine within the litter box.

Then, when your cat gets a sizable space, they can easily squat as they go about their business, and any pee that splashes out can be trapped inside, so you don’t have to clean floors or the carpet.

Keep the Litter Box Well Maintained

A clean litter box will encourage your cat always to use it.

Make sure you empty it frequently and keep it clean to keep your cat comfortable.

Then, if the cat has a clean space to eliminate, it will not be a bother to you.

Clean Up the Space

If your cat pees on the same spot, use products that are pet odor neutralizers, or enzymatic cleaners, and baking soda.

Proper cleaning will stop your cat from returning to the same spot.

Should You Discipline A Cat For Peeing Outside The Litter Box?

Punishing your cat for missing the litter box is not a solution. It can be frustrating when your cat keeps peeing on your carpet or floor, but it’s best to try and identify the underlying issue.

Disciplining or yelling at the cat will not make any difference and may be harmful and confusing to your pet and will only make things worse.

There are several ways you could deal with the issue by seeking professional help from the vet or changing up things on the litter box.

These methods help solve the problem without causing distress to your cat.


Once you resolve why your cat is missing the litter box, you have to retrain your cat on how to use the box once again.

Your vet can guide you on the best tactics to use to get your pet back to normalcy.