Accidents Outside The Litter box; Spiteful?

One of the most frequently heard complaints from cat owners is “Why does my precious kitty cat go outside of the litterbox? Is she mad at me?”

There are many reasons pets can have accidents around the house. But spitefulness is not one of them. Pets do not hold grudges or try to get back at their owners. People, on the other hand…,but that would be a different article. Usually when a cat goes outside of the box, she is trying to tell you something. She is trying to communicate that something is wrong. You should not punish your pet for what you feel is spiteful behavior. Stress and fear only exacerbate the issue. Having accidents can start out as indicators of medical problems and then become behavioral problems. The following are possible issues that can lead to outside of the box elimination:

– anything causing pain that is then associated with the litter box such as;

*pain upon urination or bowel movement


*urinary tract infection or disease or bladder infection

*pelvic fractures


*obesity making movement difficult

-diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, diarrhea, parasites

-changes in the environment including new people, routines, new pets, moving, renovations, etc.

-dirty litter boxes

-change in litter box style, size, type of litter, pan liner, location of litter box
It is important to rule out medical problems first then to make behavioral management changes. Once the medical aspect is fine, the following suggestions may be helpful:

-have a litter box for each cat you own in all levels of your home

-don’t put the box in a corner where your cat might feel too closed in

-scoop out the litter daily and regularly clean with warm water and soap

-avoid permeable plastic boxes which absorb odor or use a plastic liner

-if your cat has an accident, clean the area with enzymatic cleaner and cover the site for a few days to avoid recurrence

-use unscented, clumping sand type litter in a large low box. A liner makes for easier cleanup.


We love our cats and want to understand when they are trying to tell us something. At least we know they are not trying to get back at us for not remembering a card on their birthday!

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