Two Days Without Pee: The Litter Box Saga

Content warning: As you can tell in the title of this post, I’m going to talk about cat pee and poop today.

Biddy is the eldest of my two cats. He’s diabetic, but he’s doing pretty well for a 15-year-old feline. He’s a smart boy, to the point that one of the ways that he has retaliated when I leave home for a day or so is to poop in the wrong place–it’s his signal that he’s upset. He also had bladder/kidney crystals 3 years ago that resulted in surgery and a new diet. This is him:

Earlier this month, I started waking up every morning to a fresh Biddy poop just outside of the litter box. There usually was both poop and pee in both litter boxes, but Biddy was upset about something, and I was increasingly frustrated by starting every day with pooper scooper duty.

Figuring that he’s getting older and has mild arthritis, I bought him a litter box that’s very low to the ground, opposed to the current litter boxes, which have a hole in the top. Both cats took immediately to the new litter box, almost completely ignoring the other two boxes after that. The poop problem stopped, which the vet (who made an unrelated visit soon afterwards) was happy to hear.

However, a new problem began: Despite the width of the new litter box, Biddy started sticking his butt over the edge (mostly at night) and peeing outside of it. This is less than ideal for hardwood floors.

So I made another purchase: I bought a kiddie pool and put both litter boxes inside of it:

The kiddie pool solution helped keep the pee off the floors, but it didn’t stop Biddy from peeing off the edge of the litter box. In fact, the quantity of pee seemed to increase. This was not a kid-friendly pool.

At this point, I started to get ads on Instagram for various litter boxes, and one stood out to me as an interesting option: The Modkat Flip Litter Box. I bought one, and it arrived in this box a few days later:

In a brilliant touch, inside the box (in addition to the litter box) was a branded ping pong ball, which served to completely distract the cats while we assembled the litter box.
The Modkat litter box includes a liner, a clever addition for refreshing the litter box every few months. The problem is, Biddy continued to sometimes stick his butt out of the litter box, with pee ending up in the kiddie pool and in between the liner and the litter box.

Finally, though, I found a solution that has resulted in two days without extraneous pee. You can see it below. I’ve positioned the Modkat box’s entrance next to one of the original litter boxes, giving Biddy a way to enter and exit the high-walled Modkat without giving him much of an option to pee outside the box. He still sticks his butt precariously close to the edge, but I’ve made the edge higher with some plastic to-go lids. I also borrowed a Feliway cat-calming dispenser and am plugging it in near the litter boxes at night.

I think the finishing touch will be getting a stepstool for Biddy to get in and out of the top-loading litter box. I may also remove the liner. It’s handy, but it makes the Modkat feel more confined than it actually is.

I’m also taking Biddy to the vet next week, so they can see if there’s something non-behavioral going on.

What’s your take on all this? Have you had similar issues with your cat, and how did you solve it?

7 thoughts on “Two Days Without Pee: The Litter Box Saga”

  1. I’ve recently read in a book about cat behavior that you could try a Litter box cafeteria, if you like i could also send you the article per DM. Maybe its helpful.

    • Also I am hoping the title doesnt mean that biddy didnt pee for two days. Only that he didn’t pee on the floor. Because if he didn’t pee at all I would strongly recommend going to the vet way earlier than next week. Urinary retention can become quite dangerous.

      • Oh yes, Biddy has peed plenty over the last few days, just only in the litter box. Feel free to post the article link here if you have it handy!

  2. I have had 6 cats and my mother has had six of her own that I have taken to the vet regularly.

    A sudden change in bathroom behavior often indicates that something else is wrong, not that the litter box conditions were unacceptable.

    To be sure, cats can be finicky, but if you maintained regularly cleaning, then a shift of this type can often be attributed to some kind of discomfort in the animal that is manifesting externally.

    A mistake here and there is one thing. Consistently defeating your efforts is something else.

    Has something else changed in the house that might upset him? New Diet, new people, new pets? Extended visitors, or were you absent for extended periods? Rule out environmental factors, but then consider medical if the behavior persists.

    Cat’s don’t suddenly learn a new way to urinate ten years later, ya know?

    • As a caveat, felines suffering from extreme arthritis may make changes that limit their movement and negatively impact their owners. But you should see symptoms of that in other areas, like a reluctance to jump onto things they previously had no problem reaching, changes in their gait or sitting positions, or seeking out sources of heat more frequently.

  3. I think arthritis is a good explanation for the pooping. It seems like Biddy just doesn’t go very far into the box to pee so it goes everywhere. The way the top entrance box is designed keeps that from being an issue. Sometimes it helps to take the top off completely if a cat is doing that. They don’t feel so contained and will walk into the box more before going. If you want to definitely have a lid I’d look into getting an oversized box if they make such a thing. But the way it’s described doesn’t sound like Biddy is doing it on purpose. Just where he’s comfortable standing happens to be at the edge of the box.

    Basically I don’t think the pee and poop are related. Solved the poop issue which happened to lead to the pee issue which is just because of how Biddy likes to stand in the box.


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