Once upon a time we were happy people, a family that lived harmoniously with a cat. Then we discovered hidden caches of pee: in the hamper, in trash cans, on quilts. Some members of the family wanted to banish said cat from the house, we refused and dedicated ourselves to solving the problem.
Our kitty is a female so she wasn't spraying the walls to mark her territory, she was just unloading her bladder on, normally, piles of soft things. We've had her since she was a wee thing and she had always used her litter box. In fact, this was our first experience with a female cat not using a litter box. We started to problem solve: Her litter box was clean, we had her checked for a UTI, there were no major changes in the household (i.e. going out of town, guests, moves, etc.). It's been a struggle with ups and downs, but here's what we've done to get to the bottom of it:
• Eliminate the possibility of a health related issue: Many times cats will pee in weird places when they have a urinary tract infection or something else going on with them physically. We had our little one checked at the vet. Nothing was wrong with her, physically, so that meant it was behavioral.
• Restrict access to pee spots: She was peeing in a particular closet, a bathroom and the laundry room so we closed the doors to as many of those as we could. In the bathroom, we picked up the bathmats that she had been peeing on (this led to her peeing in the trash can and the bathtub, so nothing's foolproof). If you can't close a door, lay down aluminum foil, cats hate the sound and the crinkle underfoot.
• Feliway and Enzymes: We cleaned all the spots she peed on with Nature's Miracle and any of the laundry she peed on we used a cup of vinegar in the wash to neutralize the odor. This way she can't track her own scent and keep building the habit of her pee spots. We also bought Feliway, a plug in pheromone that is supposed to give cats a sense of well being. We haven't actually had much luck with Feliway but plenty of people we know have so it was worth a shot.
• A Second Litter Box: Since the peeing continued even with everything above we moved on to installing a second litter box downstairs in the bathroom she kept peeing in. We scoop religiously (and also have made a point of scooping more often in her original box since it might be the smell of a dirty one that deters her).
• Cat Attract Litter: She seemed to be making progress with the second litter box and we haven't found any errant pee, but just to be safe we bought some Cat Attract Litter at the urging of our cousin who's cat had been peeing in the bathroom sink. Since we put in the new litter we've been pee free (though it's only been a couple of days).
Some other tips we'd like to share: if the issue is behavioral, it could be territorial. There are a couple of stray cats that taunt our cat out the window, so her peeing might be in reaction to that. We plan to board up a vent we know those cats go into to get under the house. Putting a cat's food where they have started peeing can deter them from peeing there.
What have you done to manage your cat's inappropriate peeing?
(Image: Laure Joliet)