Why Does My Cat Pee in the Bathtub?

Finding that your cat has been using the bathtub as a litter box can be perplexing and frustrating. Cats are generally known for their fastidious nature when it comes to bathroom habits. So why does your cat choose the bathtub instead? In this blog post, we will explore 12 possible reasons why your cat may be peeing in the bathtub and provide insights to help you address this behavior.

Why Does My Cat Pee in the Bathtub?

1. Urinary Tract Issues

One of the most common reasons for inappropriate urination is urinary tract issues in cats.

Conditions such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or feline lower urinary tract disease can cause discomfort and lead to your cat seeking alternative places to urinate, including the bathtub.

2. Litter Box Preference

Cats can develop preferences for certain litter box types, locations, or litter substrates.

If your cat finds the litter box unappealing due to the type of litter used, the location of the litter box, or the cleanliness of the box, they may opt to urinate in the bathtub instead. Ensure that the litter box meets your cat’s preferences and maintain proper hygiene to encourage its use.

3. Stress or Anxiety

Cats may exhibit inappropriate urination behaviors as a response to stress or anxiety.

Changes in the household, such as moving to a new home, the addition of new pets, or disruptions to their routine, can trigger stress in cats. In some cases, cats may choose the bathtub as a place to urinate due to the sense of security and familiarity it provides.

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4. Marking Territory

Cats may urinate in the bathtub to mark their territory.

Unneutered male cats and even some spayed or neutered cats may engage in urine marking behaviors to establish their territory. The smooth, easy-to-clean surface of the bathtub can be an attractive target for such behavior.

5. Medical Issues

Underlying medical conditions can also contribute to inappropriate urination in cats.

Diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism can affect a cat’s urinary habits. If your cat is experiencing any of these conditions, they may seek out the bathtub as an alternative place to relieve themselves.

6. Dirty Litter Box

A dirty or unclean litter box can deter cats from using it and prompt them to find alternative places.

Cats are naturally clean animals, and they prefer a litter box that is kept tidy. If the litter box is not cleaned regularly, your cat may opt for the bathtub as a cleaner alternative.

7. Litter Box Size

The size of the litter box may also influence your cat’s choice of urination spot.

If the litter box is too small or confining for your cat, they may find it uncomfortable to use and seek out a more spacious alternative like the bathtub.

8. Litter Substrate Preference

Cats may have specific preferences for the type of litter substrate they prefer.

Some cats may have a preference for certain textures, such as fine-grain or unscented litter. If the litter substrate in the litter box does not meet their preferences, they may choose the bathtub as a more suitable spot.

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9. Location of the Litter Box

The location of the litter box can impact your cat’s willingness to use it.

If the litter box is placed in a noisy or high-traffic area, your cat may feel anxious or uncomfortable using it. They may seek out the bathtub as a more secluded and peaceful spot.

10. Inadequate Number of Litter Boxes

Having an insufficient number of litter boxes in your home can lead to issues.

The general rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat, plus an additional box. If you have multiple cats and there aren’t enough litter boxes available, one of your cats may resort to using the bathtub instead.

11. Changes in the Household

Significant changes in the household can disrupt a cat’s routine and lead to inappropriate urination.

Events such as the arrival of a new baby, renovations, or changes in family dynamics can cause stress or anxiety in cats. This disruption can manifest as urinating in the bathtub as a response to the changes.

12. Encountering Stray Cats or Wildlife

Cats may react to the presence of stray cats or wildlife outside the house.

If your cat sees or smells other animals near the house, they may perceive them as a threat to their territory. This can trigger marking behaviors, including urinating in the bathtub.


Discovering that your cat is peeing in the bathtub can be puzzling, but it’s essential to understand the underlying reasons behind this behavior. From medical issues to litter box preferences and environmental stressors, there are various factors that can contribute to this behavior.

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By identifying the root cause, you can take appropriate steps to address the issue and encourage your cat to use the litter box consistently. If the problem persists or you’re concerned about your cat’s health, consult with your veterinarian for further guidance.

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