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CAT: Male, 3-5 y/o, only cat, indoor only, above average weight, no known issues, 1 litter box.

The last three times that I have done a deep clean on my cat's litter box, he has made it a point to urinate approximately on the spot where the litter box was. The deep clean process (remove all litter, clean with soap and water, dry) takes about 10 minutes. Each time he has urinated, he's done it while he and I can see each other.

Is it just down to some amount of territorial nature? I have no issues cleaning the litter box any other time. I believe by the fact that I've seen him each time, he's trying to make some sort of point; but I'm not sure what.

  • Maybe try closing the door whilst cleaning the box? Or doing whilst he is out. Not an expert on cat psychology, but I wonder if he's worried you are taking his toilet away? – IIM Sep 27 '19 at 21:45
  • How have you cleaned up the area where the litterbox was located after he urinated there? – Allison C Oct 1 '19 at 13:10
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A cat that feels secure in its environment may instinctively use the scent ot its waste to help mark its territory, in contrast to the instinct of an insecure cat to hide its scent. By washing the litter box so thoroughly, you are removing that scent and, by extension, his territorial claim. He needs to refresh his claim and, since the box is missing at the moment, he puts it on the floor in the same spot.

The simple solution is to lock him out of that room (or in another room) while you're cleaning the box. Expect him to use it again as soon as he's discovered what you've done.

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First, you should check to see if the cleaning products you are using contain ammonia. Ammonia is a precursor to mammals' urine. I know with dogs, ammonia can trigger the urge to urinate on the spot. This could be be either by suggestion or desire to cover the foreign “urine” smell.

If you are not using any ammonia-based products, it could be a number of reasons. Cats are very different from dogs when it comes to their waste habits. Dogs want their waste to be found, pee as high as possible and will scent mark it with their paws. Cats, on the other hand, hide their waste because they are not only predator but also prey in the wild--that’s why they bury it. Your cat may be smarter than you think... maybe your cat sees you cleaning and and is thinking... hey, while you're at it... or insecure that their spot is different.

A cat's act of aggression or defiance would be more like scenting you or the area with a quick burst on your couch, rug, or somehow on top of the fridge just after peeing, unlike when cats relieve themselves. Bring a little squirt gun and catch him in the act or have a temporary makeshift litter box to put down while cleaning.

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