How Often Do Cats Urinate? - Cat Kingpin
how often do cats urinate

How Often Do Cats Urinate?

So you’ve notice your cat is now urinating outside the litter box? Or perhaps you’re finding your shoes drenched in feline urine. What do you do?  Well, we have all been there. I personally own a rescue cat who urinates a lot and found out that she had been targeting my bed spreads as well.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • How Do Cats Urinate?
  • How Often Do Cats Urinate?
  • Why Do Cats Urinate Outside of the Litter Box?
  • Why Do Cats Urinate on Beds?
  • Why Do Cats Urinate on Shoes?
  • Stopping Inappropriate Urination

How Do Cats Urinate?

Cats have a peculiar way of urinating in that they will often go onto their preferred place and will squat in order to urinate. They will first begin to sniff around their litter, perhaps move it around a little with their paws and then urinate or defecate in their desired spot.

Then after urination, you may notice your cat digging around the litter as they attempt to cover the urine or feces. The reason behind this digging is said to be because of evolutionary and hygiene reasons. All urination occurs from the urethra of the animal.

By covering the excrements the animal is able to “hide” its scent from possible predators or prevent the spread of intestinal parasites (hygiene).

How Often Do Cats Urinate?

It’s actually quite variable to determine what the exact frequency of urination is per day. How often your cat goes to the toilet can depend on various factors such as age, health and diet.

For example, a cat who simply has a lot of wet/canned food will tend to urinate a lot more frequently than cats that have a lot drier food. This is because wet/canned food in general is higher in moister content.

Sometimes, metabolic diseases play a factor as well. For example, polyuria is characterized as an animal passing large amounts of urine, frequently. This can be caused by issues such as kidney failure, uterine infection and diabetes to name a few.

If you notice your cat urinating a lot less than normal then this is referred to as oliguria and again can indicate underlying health problems.

So, how often your cat urinates depends on multiple factors. For a healthy cat on a wet food diet this can be 3-4 times a day. For a healthy cat on a primary dry food diet this can be more like 2-4 times a day.

Frequency of urination per day is really only dependent on your personal knowledge on your own cat, keeping track on how often you see urine each day in your cats litter box can give you an idea.

Why Do Cats Urinate Outside of Litter Box?

There are many reasons your cat may decide to urinate outside the litter box this may be due to:

  • Medical/Health related issues
  • Hygiene
  • Substrate preference
  • Stress
  • Location

Medically and health related issues can include Urinary tract infections, kidney stone blockage, and feline interstitial cystitis. As a general rule of thumb, all these diseases have one thing in common; they affect the urinary system of the animal and may sometimes result in your cat needing to rush to the bathroom urgently or uncontrollably.

Age can play a factor as well. Often older cats tend to have poor motor skills that may be due to blindness, arthritis or vestibular issues and thus this can result in poor aim at the litter box.

Hygiene is another factor that can influence inappropriate urination. For example, cats have a sharp sense of smell and are biologically clean creatures. A dirty litter box is very likely to put them off.

Some cats may just be really picky and prefer the texture and scent of a particular litter to the one they may be currently using. For example, some cats may simply not like clay-based litter and may prefer the recycled paper type.

Stress and location are other important factors to consider if you have a cat urinating outside the litter box. Consider factors such as the introduction of children and other pets into the house or perhaps the litter box being placed in a loud or inaccessible location.  Stress can be influenced by taking Xanax, but here’s our thoughts on that.

All these minor changes may result in cats urinating outside the litter box.

Why Do Cats Urinate on Beds

The reasons your cat may be urinating on your bed may be a result of the same issues discussed above.

First, it is important to cross out any underlying health problems by taking you cat to the veterinarian for an annual check up.

Often however it is suggested that cats may pee on beds due to stress and anxiety.  Now this can range from not having enough litter boxes at home, to simply not feeling safe in the environment in which the litter box is placed.

Another cause of urinating in bed may associated with marking territory, however this is more common in unfixed cats that reside in a house with multiple other cats as they want to mark their territory.

Why Do Cats Urinate on Shoes

Similar to that discussed above, sometimes a cat may have a preference for shoes. They may just like the feeling of textured shoes under their feet as opposed to litter.

All of the same factors above can impact why your cat won’t urinate in their litter box.  Whether it be shoes, beds, or outside the box itself, all of the factors can be suspect.

I’ve found this really nice video summary done by cat trainer Jackson Galaxy (He’s famous on Animal Planet). Here he summarizes the reasons your cat may not be going in their litter box.

Stopping Inappropriate Urination

First things first, take your cat to the vet to eliminate the possibility of any medical issues that may be causing inappropriate urination.

If your cat is considered healthy after the veterinary exam, then follow my list below to help guide you to correct this issue.

  • Buy large opened litter boxes. This is actually how I stopped my cat from urinating outside the litter box. A large opened litter box will allow easy access and more for your cat to do their business. My recommendation can be found here on Amazon.
  • Invest in Unscented Clumping litter. Arm and Hammer is my go-to litter brand. And make sure the litter is cleaned on a regular basis (I normally do this twice a day). Try to put approximately 1-2 inches of litter (not too deep).
  • Try to replace litter once a week and clean out the box with detergent (a gentle detergent with baking soda).
  • Avoid areas that may be scary and stressful for your cat. If your cat is in a stressful situation then Feliway is my best recommendation, especially if you have recently moved homes. Feliway uses a feline pheromone that tends to calm anxious cats. It comes in a diffuser, a spray and a collar.
  • Next, If you have more than one cat in the house. Then make sure cats have their own large litter box along with an extra one kept nearby.
  • With multiple cats, make sure the litter boxes are not kept side-by side and are rather spread across the home.
  • Possibly speak to your veterinarian about fixing your cat (spay/castrate) as urine marking is an issue seeing in unfixed cats which occurs as a result of territorial issues.
  • Clean bed spreads and shoes properly with appropriate cleaners to eliminate the scent of urine. You need to do this because your cat has a sharp sense of smell and may still be able to smell urine. If they do, they’ll likely urinate in the same spot and cause problems all over again.

Jackson Galaxy the cat trainer has another great video about setting up an appropriate litter box for your cats.

So, How Often Do Cats Urinate?

It’s often quite difficult to estimate how many times a cat should urinate per day. But on average cats who have a diet with a higher moister content (wet food) tend to urinate more frequently than those who have a diet lower in moister.

And when it comes to you kitty using other places to urinate then ask yourself, “Am I using the appropriate litter pan size?” “Is my cat healthy?”, “Has there been any household changes that are stressful?” or “ Is the litter always kept clean?”.

Sometimes all its takes is a little assessment and some trial an error to solve the litter box problem. It’s important to remember that even if they have some trouble urinating in the litter box sometimes, there are many reasons cats make good pets.

Have you had issues with your cat urinating a little too much?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Simran M.

I began my studies in zoology and realized I wanted to work more in the medical field and so I applied to the Veterinary program at Massey University in New Zealand and was accepted. Throughout my student life, I've worked as a veterinarian assistant in my hometown pet hospital. At present, I work intensively rotating to and from veterinary hospitals, dairy and sheep farms.

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