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At my wits end with the peeing

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
You may have read my other thread: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=178204

Here's a quick recap:
I have 3 cats - Nala (Female, 13 years old), Arwin (Female, 4 years old) and Thumper (Male, 4 years old). Arwin and Thumper are brother and sister. All have been spayed/neutered.

I know Arwin is one of the cats that is peeing outside of the litterbox. We've caught her in the act. $400 worth of vet bills determined there was nothing physiologically wrong with her. I now believe that at least one, possibly both, of the other cats is peeing outside the litter box.

A couple of days ago, I found that our couch and love seat had been peed on - a lot. I know it was recent, because the couch and love seat get daily use. I spent the last 2 days hitting hit hard with Nature's Miracle and the peroxide/baking soda solution. Last night, I locked Arwin up in the basement, figuring that she was the guilty party. This morning, both of my kids' beds had been peed on (the kids were overnight by their grandparents), so it wasn't Arwin. When I went to pick up the kids, one of the cats peed on the love seat again -- and it could have been any of the 3 this time.

I've tried Feliway diffusers, I've tried different litterboxes, I've tried different litters, I've tried different cat food. I just don't know what to do anymore. We're not talking about isolated incidents here, this is a peeing epidemic -- they are soaking my house with pee. My wife has absolutely had it (she's not a big cat person to begin with). I literally feel nauseous. We give all of our cats a ton of love and attention.

I need help and I need help fast!
post #2 of 14
How many boxes do you have now? At least one more than number of cats, spread out throughout the house (especially where they've been peeing?). I've had the best luck with plain old uncovered, large boxes.

Have all the cats gotten a clean bill of health? And, have you tried Cat Attract litter? And, I know you've cleaned, but I've been through this myself - I had to clean and clean again - if there's the slighest scent, they'll tend to go back to that spot. I've had luck with enzyme cleaners, and even doing the carpet with a carpet cleaner and just plain old cool water, as recommended by my shelter. Honestly, I know it's not great to have a box in every single room in the house, but it's worth a shot to see if there's a resistance to where the boxes are currently.

Also, at this point, I'd be looking up a certified cat behaviorist for help - your vet should be able to point you in the right direction, at least for a search to find someone reputable. And, I know you're stressed, as is your wife - believe me, the kitties are picking that up and are probably not at all sure what they're doing wrong, but they're stressed as well. They are not doing this to be bad, or to get back at you - I know it's hard to keep calm and stay optimistic and loving, but I truly believe our kitties will pick up on all our emotions, and know when we're blaming them for something.
post #3 of 14
Well, with 3 cats you need 4 boxes. How many do you have and where are they located in the house? The general rule is 1 box per cat + 1 extra. This is because cats can sometimes get in each other's way, or they are behavioral about who the box 'belongs' to. Some cats even only pee in one box and poop in a different box. If you can, start with 4 to see if that solves the problem. You might be able to get away with 3 or even 2 in the future, but start with 4.

How clean are the boxes? Some cats are super picky about using a clean litter box. If all those cats are using 1 box, you should be scooping it 2-3 times a day. Make sure the litter is deep. I've been to friend's houses and seen their litter boxes...it's disgusting, I wouldn't want to use them if I was their cat.

Uncovered boxes are best because covered boxes are like kitty out-houses. We have a covered box only because of the dog. Covered boxes are nice if the cat is just too big for the box, and is peeing over the side of the box and missing the litter.

Do any of the cats have urinary tract infections (UTIs)?

Are any of them de-clawed?

What type of litter are you using now and how long have you been using it?

You said you've tried different litters, but sometimes changing the litter too quickly doesn't work for picky cats. They like consistency. Try Cat Attract Litter or the Cat Attract litter additive. They sell this at PetSmart and maybe also Petco. I've heard a lot of great things about these products.

I wonder if the cats are peeing on places they associate with someone they don't like (kids?). How old are the kids and how do they treat the cats? I once had a roommate with a cat that just hated me and peed on my chair and my clothes. The cat sensed that it wasn't my favorite thing in the world (constantly acting like she was in heat and it drove me nuts sometimes).

White vinegar before the enzyme cleaner is supposed to help. Buy a black light thing to make sure that ALL traces of the cat pee are gone, otherwise it's like an invitation to the cat to pee there again.

Solving Litter Box Problems Info from Humane Society:
http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/ou..._problems.html
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'll try to answer all of your questions...

# of litter boxes: Had 3, just added a 4th. Two are on the ground floor, 2 are in the basement. All boxes had been covered until yesterday, when I read that they don't like that. The problem with uncovered is that when Thumper uses the box, it's like he sets off a grenade. He can throw litter a couple feet outside of the box.

How clean do we keep them? We scoop them at least twice a day. If we smell poop, we'll clean that out too.

UTIs? Arwin, who I know is peeing outside of the box, definitely does not. I haven't had the other two into be checked, since Arwin is the only culprit we've "caught in the act".

Declawed? You're not going to like my answer. I hope that you'll forgive the fact that I was less educated when I made the decision to have them all declawed.

Litter? We had been using Scoop Away. We recently switched to the Nature's Miracle brand that is like sawdust. I haven't been able to find Cat Attract at any local pet stores. Petco doesn't haven't here. I just called PetSmart and they have Cat Attract, so I will go get some of that this morning.

Kids? The kids are 7 and 8. They play with the cats regularly. Everyone seems to get along well.

As for a list of the peeing behavior, here are the locations: Bottom of the stairs to the basement, on a tent we had laying on the floor in the basement that we hadn't put away yet, on my bed (including once while I was sleeping in it), on my sweater that I had set on my bed, on my daughter's bed, on my son's bed, on a pile of laundry that was on the floor, on the love seat, and on the couch.
post #5 of 14
Does she poop in the litter box and only pee outside of it??

In the other thread you said she used the box consistently for a month before she went back to not using it. Was there anything different during that month other than closing her in at night for a week?

Could it be that she doesn't like to share a box and that is why she used it when you closed her up at night? Maybe during that week she got used to using the box and after you stopped closing her up it just took her a couple of weeks to go back to her old habit of going outside the box.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthClem View Post
Litter? We had been using Scoop Away. We recently switched to the Nature's Miracle brand that is like sawdust.
Did they start to pee outside the litter box about the time you switched litters? Maybe they don't like the new litter?

If you can't find Cat Attract, you can buy Cat Attract litter additive online. You sprinkle it into your regular litter and it draws them in.

Get large, high sided Sterilite or Rubbermaid bins for litter boxes. For one they are cheaper, and it's a lot harder to fling litter over the sides.

I would have a full geriatric profile work up on Nala. Often when one cat in the house gets ill, the entire household will respond adversely to it. Nala would be the top suspect because of her age. But don't rule out Thumper because male cats tend to have more urinary problems than females.

And in the mean time while you get to the root cause, get plastic liners for all your beds so that the mattresses aren't ruined. You can find them (cheap) in most bedding departments.

Nature's Miracle is good, but also try the cat version - it's citrus scented which cats don't like. It discourages from returning to the same area. There are stronger solutions like Nokout that you can find online.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Did they start to pee outside the litter box about the time you switched litters? Maybe they don't like the new litter?

If you can't find Cat Attract, you can buy Cat Attract litter additive online. You sprinkle it into your regular litter and it draws them in.

Get large, high sided Sterilite or Rubbermaid bins for litter boxes. For one they are cheaper, and it's a lot harder to fling litter over the sides.

I would have a full geriatric profile work up on Nala.
I actually swithed to the Nature's Miracle litter from Scoop Away after the peeing problems began. I just got back from PetSmart and I've put the additive in 2 litter boxes, the Cat Attract litter in 1 box, and have kept one box hooded with the Nature's Miracle litter (which I consider my "control" as part of this experiment). For whatever reason, Nala likes to poop in the Booda Box (the hooded one).

And to answer mschauer, yes -- only peeing outside of the box, not pooping.

Good call on the Rubbermaid bins, Momofmany. I didn't even think of that. I'm sure they are a heck of a lot cheaper.
post #8 of 14
My two are declawed - they came that way from the shelter. My girl has never had an accident, my boy is the one with the 'issues'. I really don't think every declawed cat has litter box issues, but it can be a consideration, especially with litter type, so that it's more comfortable for them to use.

Is there any similar, texture wise, in the areas they've peed in? I've read, for example, some cats just can't resist throw rugs, due to the rubber backing, and some just love a nice smooth surface (my vet has one who loves peeing on plastic bags).

Sometimes it is a bit of an experiment with boxes, locations, and types of litter. And, since they tend to be creatures of habit, switching anything too fast sometimes backfires. My girl apparently has never met a litter, or box type, she won't use, but I've got to say both of them really liked the Cat Attract litter from the start.

Bless you for all of your patience and efforts, and a special thank you to your wife for her patience and good heart as well. I know it's not easy for either of you, or your kids, but I'm sure heaven is blessing you for trying to help your babies.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
My two are declawed - they came that way from the shelter. My girl has never had an accident, my boy is the one with the 'issues'. I really don't think every declawed cat has litter box issues, but it can be a consideration, especially with litter type, so that it's more comfortable for them to use.

Is there any similar, texture wise, in the areas they've peed in? I've read, for example, some cats just can't resist throw rugs, due to the rubber backing, and some just love a nice smooth surface (my vet has one who loves peeing on plastic bags).

Sometimes it is a bit of an experiment with boxes, locations, and types of litter. And, since they tend to be creatures of habit, switching anything too fast sometimes backfires. My girl apparently has never met a litter, or box type, she won't use, but I've got to say both of them really liked the Cat Attract litter from the start.

Bless you for all of your patience and efforts, and a special thank you to your wife for her patience and good heart as well. I know it's not easy for either of you, or your kids, but I'm sure heaven is blessing you for trying to help your babies.
Yup I only asked because if it was a recent surgery, that might have explained it. One of my two cats is de-clawed and she's never had litter box issues.

I hope the uncovered box helps a little, ya' just never know. Cats are so finnicky It sounds like you keep the covered boxes clean enough and since they've used them until now without any problem, it might not be the issue. We have to have a covered box because of our labrador retriever. They are nice for the mess, especially because one of our cats loves to get litter everywhere. They make cute litter box mats that are designed for the cat to wipe their paws off on and trap excess litter.

I hope the Cat Attract works! Again, I've heard wonderful things about this.

Definitely get the other 2 cats checked out by the vet, just to be safe.

I'm so glad that there are people like you who are patient enough to try different things to get to the bottom of an issue like this. I know it is frustrating, but hopefully the issue will be resolved soon!
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sakura View Post
I'm so glad that there are people like you who are patient enough to try different things to get to the bottom of an issue like this. I know it is frustrating, but hopefully the issue will be resolved soon!
I really appreciate all of the kind and thoughtful advice I've received from folks on this site. As costly, time consuming, and frustrating as this process has been, I need to know in my heart that I've done everything possible to address this problem before I would re-home them.
post #11 of 14
Hi,

I have 7 cats, and from time to time, they drive me nuts with peeing.
What has helped w/2 males is Prozac; they were reacting to strays outside.
I tried taking them off it last week, and now am paying for it.

One female does it: she had blood in her urine, taken care of, but she is the pariah, and the others chase her from the litter boxes.
[
With persistence, it can be done. ONe way is to confine them to a small room with food, water, toys, and a litter box. They will not soil their living environs, and will learn to use the box. I've been told this, but found it impossible to do because of the noise (upstairs neighbors).

Maybe try the Prozac? It has worked marvelously for me. Otherwise, I'd have had to re-home at least 3 of mine.
post #12 of 14
I would add an extra box or two, if your wife will allow it. Also, you might get a cheap copy of "Cat Confidential" & do your own investigative work.
Last year I had a similar problem. It turned out that my husband was being pressured by my brother-in-law to either make me get rid of my cats or divorce me. My husband became critical of the cats & they definitely sensed it. I did leave for awhile - the cats were fine at my mom's & when I returned, were fine again.
There was a relapse this summer when my grandsons were up for vacation & the house was full of very active kids. When I made a point of keeping loudness & rambunctious behavior strictly outside, the peeing stopped.
My grandson had the same problem with his cats when his stepmom first moved in. She's definitely a dog-person. She was also resentful of my grandson. After she was in late pregnancy, she became more secure & less resentful of my gs & the cats and their behavior has improved greatly. The new baby is here & the cats have not resumed peeing.
Sending prayers and vibes that your situation improves soon
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'd like to take a moment and give a quick update. Hopefully it will be encouraging to others who have had peeing problems.

We have not had any issues with pee outside of the litterboxes for almost three months. We hit every couch, cushion, carpet, etc. that we thought might have been peed on with enzymatic cleaner. We went with Petzyme -- I think it's around $13/gallon at PetSmart. We replaced all of the litterboxes with very large, high-edged, uncovered Rubbermaid boxes. We replaced all of our litter with Cat Attract litter. We clean all litterboxes at least twice per day.

For the first week, we isolated Thumber and Arwin to the basement bathroom (where two of the litterboxes are) at night. After that, we expanded their territory to the rest of the basement at night. We did that for most of December. For the past 8 weeks, we've given them the run of the house 24/7 and have not had any problems.

Thanks to all on this site who provided advice. And to those of you who are experiencing peeing problems, just know that through commitment and dedication, you should be able to solve your problems as well.
post #14 of 14
Wonderful news......I used to have problems as well with 2 outta my 5 cats peeing outside the box....adding one more box and keeping all boxes super clean solved their issues as well...
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