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Cat Peeing High In Litter Box [Why & What To Do]

Are you tired of cleaning up the mess your cat makes by peeing high in the litter box? 

I know I was. 

It was a daily hassle, and I couldn’t figure out why my cat kept doing it. 

That was then. This is now.

Since I reached that point where enough was enough, I spent a lot of time researching the issue and discussing it with various experts in the field (including pet behaviouralists and vets).

I put in place a few changes.

The result – well, I am no longer cleaning up the mess every single day.

So below, I’ll be sharing the reasons why cats might pee high in their litter box, to begin with, what you can do about it, and other tips and recommendations to manage this undesirable behavior.

Why Does My Cat Pee Up High?

Cas typically pee up high as a result of vertical peeing or spraying, both of which can have underlying causes.

As A Result of Vertical Peeing

Vertical peeing occurs when your cat is standing in their litter box and, instead of squatting to urinate, they raise their tail and direct their urine at the side or back of the box. 

This behavior can result from several factors, including medical issues, the size of the litter box, stress, or anxiety:

Medical Causes

Cats can suffer from various health problems that can make peeing in the usual way uncomfortable or painful.

Conditions like urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or arthritis could be the culprit.

Always consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your cat is experiencing any discomfort.

Insufficient Litter Box

Sometimes the issue can be as simple as the litter box you are using is insufficient.

As your cat grows, it might struggle to find a comfortable position in the litter box, causing it to pee up high.

You might be dealing with a size issue if you notice your cat’s back or tail touching the sides of the litter box while using it.

In this case, upgrading to a litter box like this will make all the difference.

Learn more: Best Litter Box For High Peeing Cat [& Why You Need It]

Stress and Anxiety

Cats are sensitive creatures, and changes in their environment can lead to stress and anxiety.

If your cat is stressed, they might start peeing high in the litter box as a way of coping.

Identifying the source of your cat’s stress and addressing it could help resolve the issue.

As A Result of Spraying

Spraying is a form of territorial marking and communication between cats. 

When a cat sprays, they typically stand upright, quiver their tail, and release a small amount of urine on a vertical surface, like a wall or piece of furniture. 

The sprayed urine has a strong odor that is distinct from regular cat urine.

Spraying is more common in unneutered males and unspayed females, but neutered and spayed cats can also exhibit this behavior. 

Spraying can be triggered by various factors, such as:

  • Feeling threatened or insecure
  • Competition for resources in multi-cat households
  • Changes in the environment or routine
  • The presence of outdoor cats near your home

How To Manage Vertical Peeing 

Monitor Your Cat Closely

Keep an eye on your cat’s behavior and make a note of any changes.

If you notice any signs of discomfort or distress, consult your veterinarian.

It’s essential to address any medical issues promptly to prevent them from worsening.

Address Stress and Anxiety

If your cat’s high-peeing behavior is stress-related, it’s crucial to identify and eliminate the source of stress.

Common stressors include moving to a new home, changes in the household, and the addition of new pets.

Consider providing your cat with a calming environment by offering hiding spots, vertical spaces, and interactive toys to keep them occupied and reduce anxiety.

Positive Reinforcement

When your cat uses the litter box correctly, reward them with praise, treats, or their favorite toy.

Encouraging good behavior can help reinforce the desired action and deter them from peeing high in the litter box.

Clean the Litter Box Regularly

Cats are fastidious creatures, and a dirty litter box can discourage them from using it.

Scoop out waste daily and replace the litter entirely at least once a week.

Keeping the litter box clean can help prevent unwanted peeing behavior.

Be Patient

Changing your cat’s behavior might take time, so be patient and persistent.

It’s important to remember that every cat is unique, and what works for one might not work for another.

Try different strategies to find the best solution for your cat.

How To Manage Spraying

To manage spraying, it’s essential to address the underlying factors contributing to the behavior.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce spraying:

Neuter Or Spay Your Cat

Spaying or neutering your cat can significantly reduce or eliminate spraying behavior.

If your cat is not yet spayed or neutered, consult with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for the procedure.

Reduce Competition

Identify and eliminate any competitive stressors that could be causing your cat to spray.

Provide a calm, stable environment with ample resources (food, water, litter boxes) for each cat in your home.

Clean Sprayed Areas

Thoroughly clean any areas that your cat has sprayed using an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed to neutralize cat urine odor.

This will help discourage your cat from re-marking the area.

Use Synthetic Pheromones

Synthetic pheromone products, such as Feliway, can help reduce stress and create a more relaxed environment for your cat, potentially reducing the urge to spray.

Consult Your Vet

If spraying continues despite your efforts, consult with your veterinarian or a certified cat behaviorist for further guidance.


Dealing with a cat that pees high in their litter box can be a frustrating experience. 

By understanding and identifying whether your cat is vertical peeing or spraying, and then working from there, you should find that your efforts to resolve it are much more successful.

In the meantime, a cat litter box with high sides like this one right here will go a long way in preventing mess and keeping your home more hygienic and clean.