Our cat box sits on top of a big shallow tray. We put that there to catch loose litter.

Our 12 year old cat now pees outside of the box (on the tray) 95% of the time. The other times she’ll pee in the box. I would have to clean up the tray with paper towels, which is pretty annoying.

She’s taking antibiotics to treat a UTI.

Is there anything we can do to encourage peeing in the box?

Should I get a shallower box so that she can easily go in it to pee? The current tray that the box sits on is too shallow to hold litter. Otherwise, I would just put litter in the shallow tray, because she pees in the tray anyway.

I’m basically trying to change her behavior...and if I can't, I'm trying out Ng to find a way to make it easier to clean up.

2 Answers 2


It's certainly possible a shorter lip could help, but it's also possible the UTI is just making it harder for your cat; cats can be finicky about peeing in good situations, and this situation is harder with the UTI.

If it were me, I'd try a shorter box, and see if that works; but I'd also get some puppy pads and put them where the cat is actually peeing. That should make it much easier to clean up.

  • +1 for the puppy pads. They would have the advantage of being a soft surface; often when cats are suffering UTIs, they prefer to urinate on soft surfaces, rather than hard litter, so they can acceptably redirect her until the infection clears.
    – Allison C
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 14:43

One of the problems with a UTI is that it makes peeing painful, and cats generally associate pain with places or things, not with actions. If it's painful to pee in the litter box, they will think the litter box is the problem and try peeing in other places until they find one where it doesn't hurt.

Assuming the UTI treatment is working, then he's going to want to stick to whatever place he thinks caused the pain to go away, which is apparently the pan around your litter box. That's not ideal, but be thankful it's not your bed or laundry basket!

Puppy pads (as suggested by @Joe) would be a good short-term solution to minimize the smell/mess. However, they will frustrate his instinct to bury his waste, so hopefully after the memory of the pain fades, he'll give peeing in the litter box another try and discover that's pain-free now too.

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