Cat Peeing Over Edge of Litter Box

cat out of its litter box
(Last Updated On: December 1, 2023)

One reason why cats can be easier to care for than dogs is the fact that cats can go to the bathroom themselves. As long as a litter box is available to them, you wouldn’t need to take them on a walk.

However, as most cat owners are familiar with, cats can be odd sometimes. Even with their litter boxes available, cats can sometimes miss by peeing over the edges. If your cat is doing this, here are some of the most common reasons.

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Why Is My Cat Peeing Over the Edge of the Litter Box?

1. Your Cat is Being Fussy About the Litter

cat looking outside

There are things about cats that practically everyone knows about, and one of those things is that cats are incredibly fussy creatures. Just like how cats can be extremely picky about the food they eat, or the toys they play with, they too can be picky about the litter in their box. 

Fortunately, there are different kinds of cat litter that can be used. Typical types of cat litter include wooden pellets, recycled paper, silica crystals, clay clumping litter, and so on. If you suspect fussiness to be the culprit, then the solution is as easy as trying out different types of litter and seeing if anything changes. 

2. Your Litter Box is Not Big Enough

orange cat looking straight

While it is possible your cat does not like the type of litter, the problem can also be a logistical one. Another common reason why cats tend to pee over the edge is having litter boxes that are too small for your cat. Understandably, a cat can have difficulty getting it all in the litter box if it is indeed too small for them. 

At the very least, you know your cat knows where to pee – it would simply be a matter of getting a larger litter box. While most cats are relatively medium-sized, this can be a problem for owners of bigger cat breeds, such as Maine Coons or Persians. Aside from the breed, a cat can also become too big for their litter box if they are on the heavier side. 

3. They are Marking Their Territory

kitty lying on the carpet

It can be difficult at times to believe that adorable house cats are, in fact, closely related to large cats, such as tigers and lions. However, their ancestry becomes much more apparent when you begin to observe your cat exhibiting behaviors similar to wild cats. 

These behaviors can range from how they sneak up on you, how they play, and even when it comes to being territorial. The primary way cats mark their territory is by leaving their scent on things – essentially by peeing on things. 

Consequently, it is possible that your cat is not “missing” the litter box but instead purposely urinating over the edge to mark the area as its own.

Additionally, you should also consider if your cat is stressed. A stressed cat is more likely to mark territory because they need an area where they can feel comfortable and safe. Thus, them peeing over the edge of the litter box may simply be a reaction to a stressful event at home. 

4. Your Cat is Being Fussy About the Box

Aside from being fussy over the type of litter material used, your cat can also be acting up if they don’t like the box itself. There are also different kinds of boxes that you can get your kitty, so the solution is relatively straightforward. 

Another issue that your cat may be having with the box is that the box is too dirty. Cats are incredibly hygienic creatures, and it can be well within reason that your cat won’t want to use the litter box that they do not deem to be clean enough. 

How Do I Stop My Cat Peeing Over the Edge of the Litter Box?

While there are a variety of reasons why your cat is peeing over the edge of the litter box and missing it entirely, it is important to familiarize yourself with the several ways you can nip this in the bud. 

  1. Change the Cat Litter

As mentioned above, there are different kinds of cat litter that you can explore. Having a fussy cat can often mean having to try out different things before finally settling on what your cat likes. Fortunately, fussiness can be easily mitigated by simply trying out new things. 

Different types of cat litter can include clay litter, silica gel litter, wheat litter, pine litter, corn litter, grass litter, walnut shell litter, and paper litter. All these different types of cat litter have different qualities and traits that make them stand out from one another. 

  1. Get a Larger Litter Box

Another easy solution for your cat missing the litter box is to simply get a larger litter box. While most cats are indeed medium-sized, a bigger litter box will be easier for bigger cats to aim. 

If your cat is missing the edge because of the size, make sure to be understanding, as your cat might not even be aware that they are not hitting the mark properly. 

A larger litter box should also help remediate the problem when your cat prefers having a larger area to dig around and do its business.

  1. Clean the Litter Box

Cats are incredibly hygienic animals. The fact that they spend a large amount of time grooming and cleaning themselves is a testament to how clean they want to be. Thus, peeing over the edge of the litter box should be considered outside of the norm. 

One way many cat owners have found to correct their cats from missing the litter box is to actually clean the litter box. Being the hygienic creatures they are, it is possible that they are purposely avoiding the litter box if they find the litter boxes too dirty for them. 

Ideally, litter boxes should be cleaned about every 2-3 weeks. However, you might have to monitor your cat’s litter box if it needs to be cleaned more than that. 

  1. Get Your Cat Castrated

Since one of the reasons why your cat may be peeing over the edge is that they are marking their territory, a possible solution would be to have your cat neutered. Territory marking is a behavior often found in sexually active males. This is a way for them to show their dominance over other cats in the area. Getting your cat neutered might be a way to mellow that behavior down. 

  1. Change Your Litter Box

Just like humans, every cat is built differently. It’s possible that your cat may simply be spraying their pee a little too high, thereby ending up outside the vicinity of the litter box. Fortunately, there are litter boxes specifically designed to deal with this problem. There are litter boxes that intentionally have high walls that should be enough to keep the pee from getting over the edge. 

Another kind of litter box that may be able to solve your issue is one with a low entry point. Cats with arthritis or other forms of joint pain might find the litter box too difficult to use. Make sure you get a litter box that your cat can easily get into, avoiding them from having to pee elsewhere.

  1. Take Your Cat to the Vet

If all else fails, make sure to monitor your cat intently. Have they been peeing normally inside the litter box until recently? Have they been acting strange (e.g., licking their genitals constantly, having blood in their urine, etc.)? If so, peeing over the edge of the litter box might simply be a symptom of something more serious.

You should be familiar with how your cat normally behaves. If your cat acts strangely coupled with other odd flags, then you might want to consider taking your cat to the vet for a professional checkup.

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7. Handling Cat Pee Smell

Managing cat pee smell is a common challenge for pet owners. Cleaning alone may not fully resolve the issue. Enzymatic cleaners break down urine molecules, effectively eliminating the intense odor. Prompt cleanup and use of these cleaners help maintain a fresh indoor environment. Vinegar mixed with water is a home remedy but should be tested cautiously due to varying cat preferences. It’s crucial to prevent inappropriate peeing and effectively manage the associated odor. Prioritize quick cleanup and use appropriate cleaning agents for optimal results.


While there are different reasons why your cat is peeing over the edge of the litter box, understanding the root cause is the first step in figuring out a solution for the problem. Peeing outside the litter box’s edge should not be tolerated in your home. For one, it is not sanitary to have your cat pee outside the litter box. Secondly, you’d be saving yourself the time and energy of cleaning up after your cat. 

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