I have a 3 year old female cat whom I have to put in a crate (a large dog crate) at night or when I leave the house, because otherwise she'll tear up cords and get on the counters inside the house.

This peeing in crate started about a year and a half ago. We started to put puppy training pads in her kennel to help with the mess, and we still have to.

We learned that she had a Urinary Tract Infection after taking her to the vet, but since it's been treated. Yet she continues to do this!

I'm afraid that the use of the puppy pads in her kennel (we've tried unscented and scented ones) has trained her to think that it's okay for her to pee there. As soon as I put her in her kennel to go to bed or out, she's urinated on the pad within 5 minutes. I don't know if this is a training issue or if I need to take her to the vet again, but it's getting quite frustrating.

I know its unsanitary for her, even though her bed is raised and we keep the pads in a large litter pan to contain the mess. Not only that, it often leaves a smell in the kennel and I don't exactly enjoy cleaning it out twice a day.

If anyone can offer any advice on what to do, I'd greatly appreciate it. I don't know what else to do.

  • do you keep any litter box outside? And immediately stop putting puppy training pads.
    – Sonevol
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 5:46
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    do you have a litter box and is this placed in a quiet place in your house.and please remove the crate(get it out of the house).you have a cat and cats need to be at elevated places a crate will not change this need.it is way better if you give the cat areas where it can relax like a cat tree or shelves. Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 6:29
  • 3
    Did you originally have a litter box in the crate, or did you leave her with no water and no way to eliminate cleanly? Have you offered proper stimulation options for her (raised areas, toys, etc) and eliminated problematic elements (tidy up and protect cords, etc), or did you just expect that she'd conform to your wishes without compromise? There's a lot of missing information here.
    – Allison C
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 15:33

4 Answers 4


You shouldn't keep your cat any place for many hour periods without at minimum access to water and the litterbox. One of the ways UTIs can develop is by holding in urine rather than eliminating it, or not drinking enough water. Therefore, your cat may have developed the UTI due to you keeping it in a crate overnight. Cats in particular are prone to UTIs, and so you must be careful to prevent them.

Additionally, UTIs increase the urge to urinate, which may have led to the first incident. Once that happens, the cat may start thinking it's another spot where it can eliminate. It can help to thoroughly clean the crate with cleaners designed to remove pet smell, but unfortunately, the association is there now, so that may not be effective, and retraining may be necessary.

Instead of a crate, if you really must keep your cat contained overnight, I suggest shutting it in a room that has all the things the cat needs to be comfortable: water, a litterbox, toys, and a place to sleep.

I would also take the cat to the vet again to make absolutely sure it does not have a UTI again. As I said, cats are prone to it, and it actually can be quite serious for them.


A cat is not a crate animal. (I also don't believe dogs are crate animals, but that's a different issue.) Yes, it's true cats sleep all the time, but they still have frequent periods of activity, especially at night. Cats are independent creatures and trying to contain them for long periods of time is going to make them upset.

Additionally, cats don't like to pee where they eat, and often are even picky to drink where they eat. (Instinct tells cats that food and water are in different places, so some will not drink from a water bowl near their food.) You need to give her space, things to climb on, activities to hold her interest. I agree with Kai's suggestion of keeping the cat in a safe room at night, like a bathroom, if absolutely necessary (though you can train her to stop the bad habits which make you crate her to begin with). Cats require elevation and multiple options of places to sleep, play, etc.

Many suggest she may have another UTI (do take her to the vet again, to be safe), no water, or no access to litter. I would suggest she is urinating because she is unhappy. It is common for a stressed and/or upset cat to urinate, and since your cat is in a crate, that is the only place she can do so to express her frustration. I've seen it before, and it can be a hard thing to destress a cat. It will take time and patience, but it can be done.

  • Your first step is to get rid of the crate. Crates are for taking a cat to the vet.

  • Make sure her litter, food, and water are separate and easily accessed. (Consider putting her litter where her crate was kept, since she is used to urinating right there.)

  • Give her plenty to climb on so she has options besides your counters (make sure they are higher than counters, like a 3-4 story cat tree).

  • Give her things to scratch (cardboard scratch boards are amazing!) and things to chew and play with, to train her to stop destroying cords. (A suggestion, because my cats used to do the same - don't yell or physically punish the cat, they don't understand that. Instead, if you catch her being naughty, give her a toy to draw her attention away. Wiggle a string toy, for instance. She will begin to understand that it is more fun than your headphones.)

When you own an animal, you are agreeing to invest your time to their happiness, livelihood, and habits. Picture this: you could survive in a box, if someone fed you and gave you water... but would you be happy? Take the time to provide the best living situation for you cat while keeping your living situation ideal, too, through training.


Maybe try alternate ways to fix the other issues instead of kenneling her?

Scratching: Get a bunch of cardboard scratch pads. I have them in every room. One of my cats loves these. I also have tall scratching trees around the house with sisal. My other cat prefers this. They also act as scent soakers so they feel they own territory and don't feel the need to pee to mark. My 2 cats have not touched my furniture.

Getting on the counter: When you're not home, or at night time, get the scccat spray. All it does is spray a bit of air when the cat walks in front of it. Doesn't harm the cat in any way. Cat will quickly learn to stay off the counter without needing to be kenneled :)


Some people actually have to put there pets up in crates at night because they are just to rowdy dog or cat. In fact I have to do the same with my cats and alternate letting them out. My female since a kitten has always refused to go to the bathroom since she was a kitten before i even crated her at night i actually have to force her to go to the bathroom everyday. She doesnt even cover up always done this. Where the poster I suggest you try getting her animal diapers they do make them also for cats which is what im getting ready to do for my female cat.

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    People are pointing out that the approach taken is bad for the mental health of the animal, causing immense stress and likely leading to more unwanted behavior down the line, and depending on the root cause of the unwanted behavior a severe medical condition is going undetected. They are not judging the guardian, nobody is all-knowing and many pet guardians go for poor solutions in good faith, but they need to be made aware.
    – bgse
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 11:49
  • If your cat has litterbox issues, you need to take her to a vet.
    – Allison C
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 14:50
  • This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post; instead, provide answers that don't require clarification from the asker. - From Review
    – Allison C
    Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 14:51

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