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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18280
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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We have a 6 month old kitten who won't wee in her litter tray.

Customer Question

We have a 6 month old kitten who won't wee in her litter tray. She likes the wee over drains, as in the shower, laundry, toilet. She is making a mess everywhere. If she is caught in the act she get told off and taken to the litter tray but I don't know what else to do??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:

How long has Lucy been going out of the box?
Is it just urine or feces too?

Any changes with the box (ie litter, location, etc) prior to this starting?

How often does she urinate daily?
Does she pass a small or large amount? Is her urine strong, dilute, dark, odorous, or have any blood in it?

Any changes at home before this started (ie new pets, people, babies, furniture, house moves, renovations, neighbor cats, etc)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Lucy has been going outside the box for a while now, roughly about 1 months. She use to urinate in door ways when she was a younger kitten. We moved house and she stopped doing that and was using the litter tray as normal. It was about 1 months ago I noticed she was urinating only over the drains in the house, it's a large amount and a strong ( I guess normal ) cat odour. She lives with an older car who prefers to go to the toilet outside, so litter tray in mostly hers, and cleaned everyday. We had two tray but I took one away, as it was in a bathroom and she used all the drains in there instead. I have caught her doing it twice now in the act and once before the act, which I took her to her litter tray ands he proceeded to wee as normal in her tray. It's almost like she is being lazy and doesn't want to go to her litter tray...
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,

Now if this has been occurring for a month already, we do have to be prepared for a challenge. The reason is because while cats often have a reason to avoid the litter box (ie litter box aversion, territorial marking --the reason why she likely went in doorways before, health issues, stress, etc), if allowed to continue for an extended period it can become a habit. Which means that it could continue even if the original trigger is gone. And I would note that habit would be a concern for Lucy, especially if she did concede to using the box when placed there.

In this case, we need to retrain her brain to go where she should. That said, before we do I would advise it ideal to check a urine sample at this stage. This can be submitted to her vet's even without a visit and can just make sure there are no medical/health issues that she is not telling you about. To collect a sample, you may be able to do so by keeping her overnight in a carpet-less room with an empty litter box. Or you may be able to just put a bit of plastic over the drain.

As long as we can rule out health issues (or address any that may be present), we can then focus on breaking this habit. To start, you may need to limit her access to these rooms she has been targeting +/- try putting a litterbox over the drains to remove her excuse of going out of the box. This way we are overcoming any laziness, removing her excuses, and restoring a normal litter using behavior.

Furthermore, we need to discourage her from associating the non litterbox places with being somewhere she can go. Therefore, you will need to make sure the areas are cleaned afterwards. I would advise using an enzymatic odor neutralizing cleaner (LINK1 LINK 2) wherever she has urinated because while normal cleaners will eliminate the smell to us, she may still be able to smell her own scent and thus choose to go there again. Her scent will be the red flag that its 'ok to pee here'. To make sure you get everywhere she has been, you can use a black light to illuminate any areas that she has urinated on.

Finally, while blocking drain access with litter boxes, you can also use a litter attractant in her litterbox to 'remind' her where she should be going (example).

Overall, Lucy's signs do sound more habit then a reaction to anything in her environment at this stage. Therefore, consider the above approach to ensure she has a clean bill of health and then focus on retraining her to use the box. If we can get her back into a proper habit, we should be able to restore her using the box at these sites an over time we should be able to reduce boxes and allow her access to those rooms.


I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Priscilla,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.