an orange and white cat with green eyes taken by surprise in a kitchen sink

Why Is My Cat Peeing In The Sink?

Is your cat peeing in the sink? This can be a puzzling development if this has come from nowhere. Things could be worse, a cat peeing in the laundry basket, on furniture, or spraying walls can be far worse! At least your cat has taken the time to pee somewhere that is relatively easy to clean up! Want to know why your cat is peeing in the sink or bathtub? Want to know what you can do to put an end to this annoying issue? Read on to find out why this problem occurs and how to remedy the problem quickly.

Why Is My Cat Peeing In The Sink Or Bathtub?

If you have found your cat peeing in the sink there is usually a straightforward reason for the behavior. There can be many different reasons for inappropriate urination but through a process of elimination identifying the real cause should be easy. Check out this list of probable reasons why your cat is peeing in the sink :

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infection is common in both male and female cats but especially so in male cats. My sister had a young male cat who suddenly began peeing in the shower tray for no apparent reason. We all thought this behavior was a little bizarre given that it came out of nowhere. Over several days the behavior continued until the pee began to take on a pinkish hue. At this point, we put two and two together and realized he was trying to tell us something. That something was that he had an infection giving him a burning pain.

In his case, being on a dry diet and not drinking enough water, he had developed crystals in his urine that had grown too large to escape his bladder via his urethra. This is fairly common in male cats and required minor surgery to resolve the issue – but it only became apparent because the crystals gave him a UTI. 

The same situation can occur with female cats – but UTI in cats can have various causes other than stones. Bladder inflammation, cancer, and stress are just a few of the other reasons. If your cat is peeing in the sink, shower, or bath it is probably a polite way of saying they are in pain whilst creating the least amount of inconvenient mess possible – they seem to be clever like that! 


close up of a tabby cat aggressively gnawing at owners hand

When cats get stressed they do weird stuff! They keep weird hours, change their eating habits, become needier or hideaway, and sometimes avoid the litter box! Cats are also really good at hiding their issues so you may not get the whole menu of issues if your cat is stressed – they may just exhibit the odd issue which makes it really difficult for you to spot what is going on!

What types of things can make a cat stressed and bring these behaviors on? Seriously it can be something as mundane as a change in your daily timekeeping to something as serious as territory invasion by neighborhood cats. The puzzle here is working out what is creating the stress that leads to the behavior.

Now, peeing in the sink is not likely caused by territory invasion as in this instance your cat is more likely to mark territory boundaries rather than politely use the sink or bath! So consider what might be causing stress for your cat. Are you working different shifts? Has your weekly routine shifted? Has your household changed – more or fewer people about? Furniture re-arranged? Any minor change in the environment could give your cat stress causing it to act weird.

Litter Box Issues 

Some cats are downright picky – and we are not just talking food here. Issues with the litter box can lead to a cat just avoiding the box altogether. 

We are talking about placement, number, cleanliness, bad experience, and litter type. All these factors can lead to your cat turning their nose up and going elsewhere – and usually elsewhere is exactly where you don’t want them to go! 

a close up overhead shot of clumping cat litter being picked with a plastic spade

I know I sometimes feel the same about using public toilets – we all have some very peculiar standards and requirements that we don’t really think about much other than in the actual moment and your cat is probably similar!

Have a good old think about the litter box situation. Is the litter box in the middle of a household freeway or tucked away in a quiet spot where kitty can do the business without fear of being disturbed or jumped? 

Is your cat simply getting caught short because you only have one litter tray at the end of the house? Maybe they are simply too far away to use the box when nature calls? The general rule is that a single cat house should have two litter trays minimum and multi-cat households one per cat plus a spare for every two cats. Have you provided the right facilities?

What about cleanliness? How often is the tray or box itself cleaned? A clean of the box on each litter change would be fairly acceptable and normal but it is not unheard of for some cats to be so picky that they need the tray cleaned every day! OMG!

an orange tabby cat standing in a pink litter tray with granules of clay cat litter

Has your cat had a bad experience in the litter tray? Have they been attacked by another cat whilst going about their business? Have they had pain that they then associate with the litter box? Perhaps the pain is a result of a UTI or a joint injury. Has some other off-putting event happened whilst they were in the litter box that has put them off using the box and potentially going through the negative experience again? 

And then it could all be down to litter type – the litter could feel strange to your cat, could make the wrong noise, or have an odd odor. A change of litter may be a straightforward solution to your problem. 

Old Age

Old age can be one of those factors that just creeps upon us. Our once cute kitten becomes a geriatric cat in barely any time at all and we just don’t recognize or want to recognize the signs of change. 

Does your cat suffer from dementia and literally forgets where the litter box is so uses the next nearest and best place? Or maybe a touch of arthritis in the hips makes using the tray too painful so they change habits and use a sink that is easy to access and exit? Perhaps muscles aren’t as toned as in the past and they just can’t hold things in like before so suddenly get caught short? 

How To Stop Cat From Peeing In The Sink Or Bathtub?

Stopping your cat from using the sink to pee in is going to mean going through all the potential causes and eliminating them.

First off, make sure there is nothing wrong with your cat’s waterworks. Monitor them for frequency and volume of pee and whether they appear comfortable whilst peeing as these can be some of the early indicators of a UTI. 

cat having heart listened to by a vet with a stethascope

If they don’t appear routine or something is amiss like they howl when they pee, only pee in small volume but more frequently than usual or you see blood in the pee a trip to the vet is in order to fix the problem – that may end up completely fixing the issue.

If everything seems fine with your cat – it is just a question of the location of peeing action, consider their age, and whether this might be a factor. You might need more litter trays or low-level litter trays that are easy to access.

If age is not a serious issue, what is going on with the litter tray situation – have enough? Need to change out litter to softer or quieter litter? Cleaning the tray with bleach regularly? Is the tray or box just in the wrong place in the house? Through a process of elimination, you might be able to fix the problem with a litter box fix

What about bad experiences or trauma near/in the box? If they have had a bad experience in the box you might need to overcome this although if you can eliminate the cause of the bad experience like moving the box, changing the litter, making the box less painful to negotiate you may be able to fix the problem without too much trouble.