Why is My Cat Urinating Outside the Litter Box?

Schedule your cat’s behavior phone or video Skype consultation with Harvard-trained, certified cat behavior counselor, Mieshelle Nagelschneider to stop your cat’s urinating issue and join our list of 200 client testimonials. 


The urination program starts with a one-hour phone or video consult and 30 minute follow-up consult with behavior author, lecturer, and Harvard-trained cat behaviorist, Mieshelle Nagelschneider Certified C.A.T. Counselor, to solve the infamous and frustrating urination issue.  See why we have hundreds of client phone defecation testimonials.

During a urination consultation, she goes beyond the obvious facts and gives intelligent solutions to solve the most “perplexing” of all cat behavior issues. By scheduling a consultation, you will learn why your cat is urinating, but also help cats everywhere by taking part in our behavior studies at the clinic.

STUDY ALERT!!  THROUGH March 31st receive the $200.00 study discount for our urination or defecation consultation program: Normally $450.00 ($250.00 with study participation discount). If you have at least a two-cat household, you can take part in our social facilitation study consultation program.  Please call the clinic for more details:  503-267-8888.

February 2017:  After trying literally everything I could find (internet, books, even a local vet behaviorist, which, by the way, knows close to zero about cat behavior), I contacted Mieshelle at The Cat Behavior Clinic.  I learned I was not even close to solving this issue as it was more complex than I understood.  I’m happy to report we now have our urination issues solve and a normal household once again and I’m forever grateful to Mieshelle and her precious knowledge she has given to us. Best Regards,  Sue R.  Chicago, Illinois

November 2016 — 2 days after phone consultation:  “I (behavior advice removed) and we (behavior advice removed), and used same litter and SUCCESS! No poops or urine on the floor.  Thank you for the advice!  Martin R.  Morristown, New Jersey.  See 200+ phone consultation testimonials

Recipient of the Golden Purr Award, begin your urination consultation program for the most common cat issue with Author, Harvard-trained, Certified C.A.T. Counselor, Mieshelle Nagelschneider, “The Cat Whisperer®” and get the urine back in the box by the end of 2016.

A litter box issue is rarely just a litter box issue. It can begin as a simple issue, but then manifest into several issues rolled into one with many interdependent variables (anyone for a game of chess?). Let our behaviorist help you and your cat(s) with an issue that you probably didn’t realize had turned into a complex one where cookie cutter advice isn’t appropriate.

 2016 Today’s Client Testimonial:  “To date we have NOT had any incidents of Brutus urinating outside of the litter box. Amazing results. We are thrilled”.  Lisa D. Burlington, Ontario Canada


OSPCA The Cat Whisperer Humane Society Education Convention Toronto 2014

Harvard-trained cat behaviorist, author, and lecturer, Mieshelle Nagelschneider C.A.T. Counselor, speaking at the International Humane Society and SPCA Education Convention, Toronto, Canada (keynote speaker) 2014 “In the Business of Saving Lives”).  165 cat behavior testimonials


Just in 2016:  Dear Cat Behavior Clinic,  Since moving into our new house we have not found ANY urine spots. The cats seem less stressed. In particular Merlin and Amber, the two who were aggressive towards each other, don’t swat and hiss at each as much any more. I count one instance in the past two weeks where Amber has swatted or hissed at Merlin. Within the litter box the cat messes are covered up most of the time. Thank you! Chris D. Bothell, Washington

More testimonials since 1999:  July 20th urine testimonial: “Mieshelle, It’s a miracle.  From the second I (advice removed) there has not been one drop of urine in my house.  This was so worth every penny and I’m not longer spending money on paper towels to clean urine. My life is much better and balanced and the cats are happier too.  I’m so happy and thankful.   Thank you so very much”.  Shane L. Magnolia, Texas

June 1st Testimonial: After speaking with Mieshelle, I immediately went out and (advice removed). Alex pooped and urinated 2 more days after (advice removed), then all of a sudden it stopped. It’s been 10 days and there is no more urine or poop anywhere outside the box. Last night I went into the kitchen, and I actually found Alex in the litter box, I’m beyond thrilled!!!!! Hoping this behavior continues!!!! Thanks so much Mieshelle, you are the best!!!!! Rosemary C.  Brick, New Jersey

May 11th Testimonial:  Shmendrick stopped marking outside the box immediately, and all four cats took to the (advice removed) and the (advice removed) immediately. The combination of (advice removed) made the difference.  Thanks for all your help. It is such a relief and pleasure to come home in the evening and NOT smell urine!  Best Wishes, Steve G. Plymouth, Maine

2015 April Testimonial Razberry (Bear-Bear):  She is SUPER content and no more pee issues for 9 months now! And now doesn’t even get real upset at nail trimmings (that was a whole different problem) Just a HAPPY kitty now!  Karen T.  New York, NY

May 5th – Testimonial Just in: I had my phone consult 3 weeks ago and no urination anywhere since I began the behavior plan for Peaches.  So far I have only (advice removed) and (advice removed) and that made all the difference.  Thank you!  I can’t tell you how relieved I am to not clean up urine every night when I get home from work!  I’ll send another update next week!  Best, Stephanie R. New York, NY

2015 Testimonial: My cat Ivory has not urinated outside the box for two weeks. Not since I spoke with Mieshelle on 1/23 and made some changes accordingly.  Marta L. Portland, Oregon

Testimonial just in:  I have used the Cat Behavior Clinic on 2 separate occasions for my cat Doodles.  The first time was for an issue where he was eliminating outside of his litter box.  Yes, there is nothing worse than cat pee in the house!  I was literally at wits end.  I had tried everything to stop the problem behavior, but to no avail.  I was so frustrated, I even started to think about getting rid of my cat, which now pains me to even consider!  After an hour long phone consultation with Mieshelle, I made the suggested changes and ‘Voila’, no more accidents!  It was literally THAT simple.  It was almost like she was living in the house with me and knew exactly what to do!  The second time I contacted her was when my cat was spraying in the house.  This was a much more difficult nut to crack, but by following the advice Mieshelle tailored for my cat and perseverance on my part, I was able to lick the problem.  I can’t even begin to tell you my relief. I am still in awe of how comprehensive her knowledge is and how professional the consults were.  It is comforting to know I always have an option out there when I need help with cat behavior.  She has even offered me her advice on how to integrate a new cat into my household!  Take it from me, I was considering putting my beloved cat down because of the urination in the house.  After my consult, I realized that will never be an option.  If you are in my position (at wit’s end and desperate), PLEASE give the Cat Behavior Clinic a call!  It will give you PEACE OF MIND and make your cat’s life more enriched (as well as yours).  No need to EVER euthanize another cat for indoor urination/spraying issues again!  Thank you Mieshelle and the Cat Behavior Clinic Team!  You are TRULY life savers!  Jared N. West Haven, Connecticut


Testimonial 2015:  We started implementing most of the above the following day after our Skype consultation. The changes in both cats behavior was immediate and so encouraging. The most amazing part is, we were scheduled to go out of the country for 2 weeks starting July 29th- only a few weeks after implementing the changes above- AND we interviewed & hired a new cat sitter- and I am thrilled to report: the cats did GREAT! The sitter came to the house 2 x’s a day to feed and play with them…she sent us video, pics & an update with each visit- we were so pleasantly surprised there was not one incident of urination/defecation outside the litter boxes. The cats actually interacted with her (they have never done that with anyone other than us before) and they seemed in a really good, stable, happy mood while we were gone.  When we returned home last week, they were happy to see us, and welcomed us home (in the past they would ignore us for a few days, clearly not happy with the fact we were away, so this was such a nice change). There have been no urine or stool incidents, I am happy to say! 🙂 We attribute their behavior changes to the techniques we implemented at your suggestion, and are so happy with the results. We are enjoying Kashi & Buca, and we believe they are finally comfortable and happy in their home- and with each other! (we actually caught them sleeping and playing together!)  Stacy D.  Lighthouse Point, Florida


Cats urinating outside the litter box is the most common and preventable behavior problem, but can also be one of the most complex.

Since 1999, Mieshelle has performed the litter box consultation by phone more than 7,000 times and with great success.  We have hundreds of testimonials.  See cat behavior testimonials

Greater Seriousness of Behavior Problems. On average, cat behavior issues – spraying and inappropriate urination – are more pernicious and destructive than the behavior problems of their canine counterparts. These behavior issues are the number-one reasons millions of cats are surrendered to cat shelters each year and even euthanized.

Sadder Consequences of Low Awareness. The sheer number of cats in the English-speaking world, combined with the average owner’s low level of awareness of cat behavior and frustration with the destructiveness of cat behavior problems, makes it no surprise that cats are sent to shelters or even thrown out of homes at a far higher rate than are dogs – and far more often for behavioral problems than are dogs.

Litter box issues can also be the most expensive to deal with.  We’ve known clients whose cats had ruined two homes before they came to us.

How, you ask? The urine had gotten onto the  floors by the cats urinating there and even on the walls (this is a marking behavior that can actually be caused by litter box territory issues with your multi-cat household), and then the urine cleaner did too, so that the sheet rock was ruined and they had to replace the paint. The urine that dripped down the wall went behind the baseboards, so that they too had to be peeled away and replaced. Urine got under the sub-flooring, so that they had to remove the carpet, pad, and sub-flooring. There was urine in light sockets and in floor heater vents! Of course, after our consultation, none of this ever happened again.

Litter box issues are often more than something just about the litter box.  Your cat could also have developed a habituated behavior and preference for certain locations.  There may also be a territorial time-sharing issue with your multi-cat household which is why your average cat consultant will have no idea how to solve your cat’s “litter box” issue.    This is where formal education in animal behavior is important, because it’s not just about the litter box.  A skilled behaviorist  knows how to undo habituated and rehearsed behavior in a science-based and humane way.  Your average cat consultant usually gives you litter box tips and tricks only, and not address the other important factors at play.  An effective behavior plan is like an orchestra with many pieces working together simultaneously.  Mieshelle solves “unfixable” issues by going beyond the obvious facts and offers a creative and intelligent behavior plan for your cat(s)

If only more cat owners knew what the Cat Behavior Clinic teaches its clients every day, far fewer cats would be given up to shelters or even euthanized (currently millions each year). It’s a tragedy that so many cat owners are at a loss about how to stop the very preventable behavior of cats urinating outside their box.

Using a version of our three-part C.A.T. Plan customized just for you and your cat, in your feline behavior consultation with the Clinic we’ll show you:

  • how your own behavior is probably contributing to the unwanted urination problem (learn all about what you didn’t know)
  • how your cat’s innate instincts directly affect his litter box needs and how you can make simple changes to meet these needs as part of an all-encompassing behavior plan.  It’s not all about adding boxes either…
  • the retraining process to ensure your cat deposits all his urine in the litter box — every time
  • the latest behavior modification techniques to undo the habituated behavior in soiled areas to prevent future urination.  This is what most behaviorists and vets leave out and why you will fail every time and your cat will unfortunately move on to new urination locations.
  • why social tension between cats is often an instigating factor for litter box issues — and what to do about it (and not just for litter box solutions, but also because your cats deserve to be happy and coexisting peacefully)
  • learn why litter box issues can lead to urine spraying (and urine spraying can lead to upright urination)
  • learn why cats urinate on the bed and how to solve the issue.
  • more advice that you will not easily find anywhere on the internet or from other cat behavior “experts” or authors because, unfortunately, most are lacking science-based formal education in animal behavior.  We will not be re-inventing the wheel for you, in other words.
  • work with Mieshelle Nagelschneider C.A.T. Counselor or Dr. Shultz (cat behaviorist and licensed vet).
  • our clients have the chance to be part of our behavior studies to not only help their cat(s), but cats everywhere with litter box issues.


Again, a litter box issue is rarely just a litter box issue! It can begin as a simple issue, but then manifest into several issues rolled into one with many interdependent variables (anyone for a game of chess?). Let our behaviorists help you and your cat with an issue that you probably didn’t realize had turned into a complex one where cookie cutter advice isn’t appropriate.

Note: If your cat is defecating outside of the box (not urinating), this is a unique problem.  Please visit our defecation page.

“We have 3 cats. My female cat Violet had been urinating all over my home everyday for 9 years. I had my furniture, even my bed, covered in plastic. Mieshelle asked me a lot of questions and told me why my cat was urinating everywhere (it was my other cat’s fault!) and also how to deal with the problem. I can’t believe she is using the litter box again after all these years! I no longer have everything covered in plastic! I only regret not getting help from Mieshelle sooner! My cat is also more confident and content around the other two cats.”– Vicki L. Vancouver, WA“Woohoo! My cat peed in her box immediately after I (behavior advice removed) and she hasn’t peed elsewhere since. I’m shocked – out of all the Google searches and people I asked about litterbox issues, no one mentioned (behavior advice removed), which I obviously would have tried if I’d known about it before.”Thanks so much for everything!”–Eliza R., Pasadena, CAOur vet enjoyed working with you and the entire staff is so thankful you helped us with our cat’s issues. I think they were really getting tired of seeing this cat week after week! If only this knowledge was more readily available to cat owners, there would be less of them in the shelters! I will follow-up with you after our vacation. Thank you!!”S. Berger, New York, NYChardonnay is no longer urinating on our couch and bed. It has been 3 weeks and no accidents! Thanks you! I really think it was the (behavior advice removed). Our vet wants to take you out to lunch! I think they’re just happy not to see us in the clinic anymore for this urinating issue! Your knowledge has saved our household!”— Marci and Sigmund W., New York, NY


Ready to join the many clients whose peeing issues we’ve solved? Get advice that will last you the rest of your cat-owning life. Book your cat behavior consultation with the world’s best-known cat behavior clinic today.  If you have a multi-cat household, you have the option of taking part in our feline social facilitation study.


Excerpt from Mieshelle’s Cat Behavior book, The Cat Whisperer, on Litter Box Issues

 We’re all mad here.

—Alice in Wonderland

Thinking outside the box is an admired trait, or at least

so people claim. But the last thing we want to see is our cats getting

creative with what Parisians, faced with very public human unzipping,

call urine sauvage, or wild urine. (Lovers of the city of light will

be happy to know that Paris now boasts, in response, a crack 88-

member Brigade des Incivilités, or Bad Behavior Brigade.) I knew of

a Siamese who urinated in anything with an opening: an empty laundry

hamper, the kitchen sink, the recessed area of a stove top, the basket

with the dog toys, the woodbox next to the fireplace—and finally,

the owner’s purse. I’ve heard of cat owners finding unwelcome gifts

from their cats inside shoes and coffee mugs. I once solved the curi-

ous case of a smelly toaster.

The feline instinct to dig into a substrate (which we humans hope

will be the substrate in the litter box) and eliminate is so strong that

kittens do it instinctively, without training. It’s been suggested the instinct

comes from our cats’ wildcat ancestors, Felis silvestris, who have

lived in the semi-deserts of North Africa for thousands of years. The

sand-rich soil conditions there made it easy to bury feces and urine.

Okay, you say, but why did they bother to do that? They probably did

so both for reasons of hygiene and because reducing their scent

around their resting and sleeping places made them less conspicuous

to predators. Contrary to popular belief, though, cats do not always

cover their feces; they rarely bother at all when their territory is

large enough—witness feral cats—that their scats lay far from their

sleeping and resting areas.

Some domestic cats should open housekeeping businesses: They

will cover not only their own feces but any other feces they find in the

box. It makes sense that this is a behavior that we would see in domestic

cats, since cats that through the ages covered up were probably

the ones more likely to be taken in by humans, who would have

preferred having the more hygienic cats around and in their homes.

An Unnecessary Tragedy

Unwanted elimination is a serious but preventable problem. Experts

estimate that between 40 and 75 percent of all cats with behavioral

problems have an elimination problem. It is the number one complaint

of cat owners and the number one reason millions of cats are

surrendered to shelters each year, and even killed. It’s crucial that

owners get help for this unwanted behavior, because it is—believe it

or not—not just one of the most distressing but one of the most easily


Most of the circumstances that contribute to this problem are obvious

enough that, with the advice in this chapter, you should be able

to make the necessary changes to fix it yourself. I have helped thousands

of cats over the years with their out-of-the-box issues. In the early

days of my work as a behaviorist, I felt that in order to offer help I had

to see the cat, the owner, where the litter boxes were kept, and the locations

of the inappropriate urination or defecation. But over time I

fine-tuned the forensic questions I asked my clients and perfected my

behavior modification techniques to the point that I could almost always

get cats using the box again without an on-site visit.