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at my wits end

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I got my kitten in Aug of 05 and he was about 3 months old. He had a cold and worms, but has since gotten over those. He was checked out by the Vet numerous times and said to be healthy.

When he first got to my semi-small studio he didn't have a problem peeing in the box, he was really good about it. A week into being there he went on my cyan feather comforter. At that time I thought it was because he was excited due to the visitors. But the behavior continued. It got so bad that I would put the comforter down and within 5 minutes of being there he would pee on it again.

The behavior stopped because I began putting him in a hallway/bathroom during the day while I was gone and letting him out at night when I was home. I also removed the comforter for a while and then put a cover over it. After a while confining him got to be a problem due to my depressingly small studio and his ability to get out of anything.

I bought the highly expensive Feliway and that seemed to help out a lot. The peeing on the comforter stopped for a while, but after about 3 to 4 weeks of no problems out of the blue he starts again, 3 times this week. He never goes anywhere else but the box and my bed. Sometimes I'm sitting right there when it happens.

I've red everything from notes from the vet to things online. I've even talked to people who train animals and they've told me the same things but nothing seems to work.

If anyone has ever had this problem or has any suggestions, or can help in any way please let me know. I'm desperate! All of this was so upsetting I was even debating taking him back to the humane society, but I could never just get rid of him.

Please please please... anyone!

Thanks _-_Trina_-_
post #2 of 19
Assuming you've already checked with the Vet and gotten a clean bill of health, I keep telling people to try Cat Attract. It's a kitty litter that got a friend of mines kitten to stop doing almost the exact same thing.

Other ideas include changing litters, changing litter boxes, and adding another litter box.
post #3 of 19
Is it the same comforter that he is peeing on? If so even if you wash it.. Your kitty can still smell the urine smell on it. And that might be why hes peeing on it. Start using a new comforter and see if that helps.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yes its the same comforter... and I've used lots of stuff that says it will get rid of the smell. It every well could be that he can smell it, but its almost like he doesn't have to pee until he knows its on the bed. Plus, when the cover was over the comforter for a week or more he didn't have a problem with it. Thanks for your idea though.

Originally Posted by gardenandcats
Is it the same comforter that he is peeing on? If so even if you wash it.. Your kitty can still smell the urine smell on it. And that might be why hes peeing on it. Start using a new comforter and see if that helps.
post #5 of 19
Perhaps I missed it in your post, but did the vet do a urinalysis on your cat? If the vet did not test the urine for signs of infection or blockage, then you need to take the cat in right away to have these tests done. Although young cats usually do not have urinary tract problems, it does happen on occasion, and when they have these problems, they tend to urinate outside the litterbox.

Regarding the comforter....I would have it drycleaned and then put a plastic tarp over it when you are not around to monitor the cat.

Have you read the thread at the top of the Behavior Forum on how to stop inappropriate urination? If not...give it a read, you might find something helpful in there!

Please let us know what the vet finds.
post #6 of 19
Here is some interesting information about the type of potty problem you describe (shared with us from Best Friends).
Question from Alma:

What is it about fresh laundry and plastic bags that entices cats to pee on them? I don't dare set a plastic grocery bag on the floor and take my eyes off it. A couple of my cats think that's far better than the litter! It's the same with freshly dried laundry. They normally won't pee on the bed or sofa, but if I drop laundry there, before I can get back to fold it, chances are good that it will have been peed on. What gives?

Response from Dr Patricia Simonet:

I find that cats are most mysterious when it comes to substrate preference. That is the fancy way of saying what cats pee on. Some cats that have lived outside and then are made into inside cats, will seek out potted plants. Some cats that have had urinary tract infections (UTI), will seek out substrates that are soft (and warm). Even when the cat no longer has an UTI, s/he will return to and potty on the substrate that was most comfortable.

Here is how it works: Cat has an UTI. It is painful to urinate (anywhere). It is less painful to urinate in a soft, WARM pile of laundry. Cat potties in the fresh warm pile of clothes. Cat does this for some time before human figures out that cat has UTI. Cat either battles UTI or human figures it out and takes cat to vet. Cat is better. Cat continues to urinate on fresh pile of laundry. Aargh! Why? Because the cat has developed a substrate preference based on conditioning. The cat is avoiding painful elimination, even when the cat no longer has the UTI. The cat has developed an association with the old litter box and pain. To fix this problem, take a small, freshly laundered rag and place it in the cat’s box. Encourage the cat to use her box again by limiting her access to anywhere away from her box. A laundry room – keeping all fresh laundry away from the cat – or low traffic bathroom is good for this training). She can only come out of her training room when she is being supervised. Do this for about 3 or 4 days. She will be retrained to use her box. Of course you will be cleaning her box frequently (at LEAST once a day) as cats hate messy boxes.

With all of the above being said (and true for many cats), some cats will just decide that the fresh laundry has odors that need to be modified. There are mixed theories that try to explain this behavior. Here is the one I most agree is correct. We humans secrete ammonias through our sweat. We also try to modify these odors in our garments with detergents and perfumes. These detergents and perfumes mask the odors effectively for our mere human noses.

However, the perfumed detergents do NOT mask the ammonias from our cats. As a matter of fact, these odors need further modification by the cat, because we have been ineffectual at modifying it ourselves. Cats are so helpful. I wish they could modify used car salespeople. Could you imagine shopping for a car armed with your cat? “Could you knock a couple thousand off that price, I have a cat!â€
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
I took him to the vet and they tested him. Althought the Vet spoke in holier-than-thaou Dr. language I got out of him that his peeing problem was not because he was sick, it was because I wasn't addressing the problem correctly.

I tried the tarp thing as well. He urinated on that once.
post #8 of 19
A friend of mine at works kitten was doing this, except he was doing it on her clothes, and the vet suggested neutering him, he had the operation and since then there have been no accidents what so ever!
post #9 of 19
Originally Posted by Pombina
A friend of mine at works kitten was doing this, except he was doing it on her clothes, and the vet suggested neutering him, he had the operation and since then there have been no accidents what so ever!
I couldn't think of one bit of advice until I read this one, then remembered Nash's problem which was similar (only it was my school books and papers! and shoes *sigh*)
It could most definately be a territorial thing. Unneutered males are definately more territorial. YOU belong to your kitty not vice versa, and think how much your bed smells like you LOL. If he is not already, definately try neutering him...
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yup, thats been done. Neutering is done no matter what at the humane society.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
When I took him to the vet the ruled out all medical problems.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Pombina
A friend of mine at works kitten was doing this, except he was doing it on her clothes, and the vet suggested neutering him, he had the operation and since then there have been no accidents what so ever!

I sorta feel like this isn't an accident any more. This has been going on for 3 months now and it almost seems intentional. I've got a open door policy for when ever anyone coms over... you either take the cat into the bathroom with you while you go, or you leave the door open. For a while I thought it had to do with the fact he couldn't get to the box for a min or 2 when someone was using the bathroom... but I'm beginning to think it might be not be the case, and hes just trying to tick me off.
post #13 of 19
I think it is that particular comforter. It prob smells like this is where he went before so of course he thinks it is OK to go again - he has marked it and it's his. The only way is to get the smell out of it. You can wash many times and the smell can still be there. Never use Javex or bleach - that smells too much like urine to a cat. Give it a good washing again and maybe even cover it with plastic and see if that works. If not, I am assuming you did all the other things - litterbox plus one and they are clean (some cats like one for poo and another for urinating but the rule of thumb is one litter box per cat plus one.), litter box is far from his food, he likes the litter, some cats do not like closed boxes and I cannot say I blame them - think of the smell. What about behaviour perobs that may contribute -have you tried say Rescue Remedy or Feliway?

Wish I could think of more but I do hope you fgure out what it is.
post #14 of 19
I don`t know about the plastic on top of the comforter tho...have`nt I read something on a post here somewhere about some cats being attracted to plastic to pee on it???
Maybe the thick softness of the comforter reminds your kitty of the soft, deepness of litter. (Just an idea)
Why not put the comfoter up in a high closet for awhile and use a different kind of blankets(s) just to test and see what happens (or hopefully what DOES`NT happen) I`d be sure to not use any bedding that has been bleached that kitty is not attracted to it.
This is by no means "tested" advise....just an idea to try, because I know you seem to be running out of them yourself.
I hope you can find an answer that helps. I know you must be totally flustered!
post #15 of 19
Since you said that you still are using the same comforter, even though u used products that say it will remove the smell, they usually mean so you can't smell it, the cat can still smell it though. I bet that is what is happening, yes it is intentional, he is remarking his scent on that comforter. Put that one away, or better yet to test the theory, put the comforter on the ground next to the bed or ina different room and see what happens. I bet you he will go again on the comforter and leave your bed alone. That is assuming none of the pee leaked through the comforter onto the bed.

You can also get a black light and skim it over the bed to see if there are any spots that you didn't know about.
post #16 of 19
Good ideas there Jen....I hope some answers will come up soon for her and she lets us know so that we will all learn something.....ya never know when it might be another one of US with the same prob!
post #17 of 19
This happened to us! Our little kitten Kuri was peeing on the comforter. Try as I might, I couldn't get the pee out, so after he peed on it three times, I decided to just throw it out. And believe me, it was sad because it was a beautiful white comforter with pink embroidered flowers on it (wedding gift for us from my mom)!

After I threw out the comforter, I bought a Feliway diffuser for the bedroom, plugged it in to let it fill the room, locked the kitties out of the room for 3 days, and in the meantime soaked the mattress with Nature's Miracle and let it dry (even though I didn't see any pee stains on the mattress, I wanted to be 100% sure), and then covered the mattress with two yoga mats (in case it happened again!), and put new blankets on the bed (BRAND new).

I let them back in the room and they've been sleeping with me every night, with no more of Kuri peeing on the bed!!! It's been about 2 months now! Once the Feliway runs out, I plan to get a refill, however, maybe two more max. I just want to be completely sure that Kuri keeps up with the good habits into adulthood (he's six months now).
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Those are all really good ideas! I've tried putting a yard tarp over my bed when I wasn't home but found that he went on that too. He also LOVED to play with it and crawl under it. So the plastic thing hasn't worked yet. I got a Feliway diffuser a while ago and have been using it. That sorta works. And I've tried putting the comforter up for a month or so and that worked a bit, but when it came back down with a cover over it the same thing happened again.

The other night while I was sleeping Sonny went on the bed towards my feet. The comforter wasn't on the bed at all and the only thing I could think of was that I wouldn't let him bite my eyelids so he got upset and took it out of the bed. I think he knows it makes me mad so he does it just to spite me. He hasn't gone on the bed much when the comforter hasn't been there, which is a good thing.

The other day I tried putting the comforter on the floor and let him walk on it, he didn't do anything. I put it on half of the bed and he purposely walked around it, almost like he didn't want to get near it. I then moved it to cover the entire bed and he was totally fine with it for the entire night. The next day after work he was running around after nothing and out of no where he went on it again, I turned my back for 2 seconds!

I'm a little reluctant to get an entire new comforter and mattress since I'm working 2 jobs and hardly supporting myself. Some times I feel like getting a cat was a bad idea and it's only cost me... but then I just look at him and get over it! He's just that cuite.

Since my studio is so small there really isn't a way for me to seperate him from the bed 24/7. I guess I've come to the point in time where I'll just have to deal with sleeping without a comforter until I can afford a 1 bed room place.

Thank you all so much for your ideas... and if anyone else has any let me know!
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
I wanted to thank you all so much for helping me get this figured out. I finally had an emotional breakdown the other day because he just wouldn't stop! I called the Oregon Humane Society and they gave me the information below. They made a few suggestions and so far they've worked.

I got a plastic tablecloth with a fabric back and put it on my bed. Then I got some citrus smelling spray stuff and put it all over the tablecloth. He won't get on the bed anymore... its so wonderful!

Territorial Marking Behavior In Dogs And Cats

Dogs and cats are territorial animals. This means that they “stake out a claim†to a particular space, area or object. They let other people and animals know about their claim by marking it with a variety of methods and at many levels of intensity. For example, a dog may bark to drive away what he perceives as intruders to his territory. A cat may mark a valued object by rubbing it with her face.

Some pets may go to the extreme of urinating or defecating to mark a particular area as their own. Urine marking is not a house-soiling problem, but is a territorial behavior. Therefore, to resolve the problem, you need to address the underlying reason for your pet’s need to mark his territory in this way.

House Soiling Or Urine Marking? How To Tell The Difference!
Your pet may be urine-marking if:
The problem is primarily urination. Dogs and cats rarely mark with feces.
The amount of urine is small and is found primarily on vertical surfaces. Dogs and cats do sometimes mark on horizontal surfaces. Leg lifting and spraying are dominant versions of urine marking, but even if your pet doesn’t assume these postures, he may still be urine-marking.
Any pet in your home is not spayed or neutered. Both intact males and females are more likely to urine mark than are spayed or neutered animals. However, even spayed or neutered animals may mark in response to other intact animals in the home.

Your pet urinates on new objects in the environment (a shopping bag, a visitor's purse), on objects that have unfamiliar smells, or on objects that have another animal’s scent.
Your pet has conflicts with other animals in your home. When there’s instability in the pack hierarchy, a dog may feel a need to establish his dominance by urine-marking his territory. If one cat is intimidating another cat, the bullied cat may express his anxiety by urine marking.
Your pet has contact with other animals outside your home. A cat that’s allowed outdoors may come home and mark after having an encounter with another cat outside. If your pet sees another animal through a door or window, he may feel a need to mark his territory.
Your dog marks frequently on neighborhood walks.

What You Can Do:
Spay or neuter your pet as soon as possible. Spaying or neutering your pet may stop urine marking altogether, however, if he has been urine marking over a long period of time, a pattern may already be established.
Resolve conflicts between animals in your home (see our handouts: “Canine Rivalry†and “Feline Social Behavior and Aggression Between Family Cats.â€)
Restrict your pet’s access to doors and windows through which they can observe animals outside. If this isn’t possible, discourage the presence of other animals near your house (see. our handout: “Discouraging Roaming Cats.â€)

Keep your cat indoors. He’ll be safer, will live longer, and will feel less need to mark his territory.
Clean soiled areas thoroughly (see our handout: “Successful Cleaning to Remove Pet Odors and Stains.â€) Don’t use strong smelling cleaners as these may cause your pet to over-mark the spot.
Make previously soiled areas inaccessible or unattractive (see our handouts: “Aversives For Dogs†and “Aversives For Cats.â€)
If making soiled areas inaccessible or unattractive isn’t possible, try to change the significance of those areas. Feed, treat and play with your pet in the areas he is inclined to mark.
Keep objects likely to cause marking out of reach. Guests’ belongings, new purchases and so forth, should be placed in a closet or cabinet.
If your pet is marking in response to a new resident in your home (a new baby, roommate or spouse), have the new resident make friends with your pet by feeding, grooming and playing with your pet. Make sure good things happen to your pet when the new baby is around (see our handout: “Preparing Your Pet for Baby’s Arrival.â€)

For dogs: watch your dog at all times when he is indoors for signs that he is thinking about urinating. When he begins to urinate, interrupt him with a loud noise and take him outside, then praise him and give him a treat if he urinates outside. When you’re unable to watch him, put your dog in confinement (a crate or small room where he has never marked) or tether him to you with a leash.

For cats: try to monitor your cat’s movements. If he even sniffs in an area he has previously marked, make a loud noise or squirt him with water. It’s best if you can do this without him seeing you, because then he’ll associate the unpleasantness with his intent to mark, rather than with you.

Practice “nothing in life is free†with your dog (see our handout: “Nothing In Life Is Free.â€) This is a safe, nonconfrontational way to establish your leadership and requires your dog to work for everything he wants from you. Have your dog obey at least one command (such as “sitâ€) before you pet him, give him dinner, put on his leash or throw a toy for him. Establishing yourself as a strong leader can help stabilize the hierarchy and thus diminish your dog’s need to mark his territory.

What Not To Do:
Don’t punish your pet after the fact. Punishment administered even a minute after the event is ineffective because your pet won't understand why he is being punished.

Pets Aren't People:
Dogs and cats don’t urinate or defecate out of spite or jealousy. If your dog urinates on your baby’s diaper bag, it’s not because he is jealous of, or dislikes your baby. The unfamiliar scents and sounds of a new baby in the house are simply causing him to reaffirm his claim on his territory. Likewise, if your cat urinates on your new boyfriend’s backpack, this is not his opinion of your taste in men. Instead, he has perceived the presence of an “intruder†and is letting the intruder know that this territory belongs to him.

Dominance Or Anxiety?
Urine marking is usually associated with dominance behavior. While this is often the case, some pets may mark when they feel anxious or upset. For example, a new baby in the home brings new sounds, smells and people, as well as changes in routine. Your dog or cat probably isn’t getting as much attention as he was used to getting. All of these changes cause him to feel anxious, which may cause him to mark. Likewise, a pet that is generally anxious may become more so by the presence of roaming neighborhood animals in your yard, or by the introduction of a new cat or dog into your household. If your pet is feeling anxious, you might consider talking to your veterinarian about medications to reduce his anxiety while you work on behavior modification.

Aversives For Cats

Determining an effective aversive reaction for your cat is definitely a case of trial-and-error, as individual preferences will vary with each cat. This is often the best method to discourage a cat from a particular action or place, but will seldom work effectively without offering an alternative that is both convenient and rewarding.

You may need to weight the “material†firmly or tape it in order for it to stay put. To protect furniture or floor finish from sticky substances, attach them to a piece of foil or heavy plastic and secure that with weights or light tape.

Shelf paper (sticky side up)
Double-sided carpet tape
Heavy foil

Irregular or sharp rocks, firmly set into dirt
Chicken wire, firmly set into dirt (sharp edges rolled under)

Heavy plastic carpet runner (pointed side up)
Soak cotton balls, rags or washcloths in the “stinky†substance. To help protect carpets, upholstery, floors or furniture, place the saturated object on a piece of weighted foil or heavy plastic. To prevent the substance from seeping into the ground, use the same precautions. Outdoor substances need to be reapplied daily, due to quicker dissipation into the air.

Indoors & Outdoors:
Insect repellent, especially those containing citronella and/or citrus odors (check for toxicity - if safe for young children, it's generally safe for pets)
Citric odors - colognes, concentrated juices or fresh peels
Annoying colognes
Some muscle rubs (NOTE: some cats react to menthol as they do to catnip - beware!)
Aloe gel

Some of these substances may damage furniture or floor finishes, so be sure to test them in a hidden location before wide-spread use. Except for hot sauce and cayenne pepper, these substances should be safe to apply to most people’s skin; however, some individuals may be sensitive to them.
Bitter Apple or similar sprays and gels marketed specifically for taste aversion

Insect repellents, especially those containing citronella or citrus odors (check for toxicity, if it's safe for young children, it's generally safe for pets)
Some hot sauces
Cayenne pepper
Some muscle rubs
Citric odors (colognes, concentrated juices or fresh peels)
Aloe gel
Remote Controlled Aversives:
Motion detector that reacts with a startling sound
Snappy Trainer (upside-down mouse trap that’s securely taped under paper to avoid contact)
Aluminum pie plate containing water, beans or pebbles -- preferably balanced precariously on a counter or other undesirable “jumping†surface
Scat Mat (very slight electrical shock)

Human Controlled Aversives:
Use these to get your cat's attention, and thereby offer an appropriate alternative.
Spray bottle or squirt gun filled with water or a combination of water and vinegar (NOTE: avoid the super-duper water guns that have a very forceful spray)
Loud air horn
Shaker can (soda can containing nails, pennies, beans or pebbles - securely taped shut)

WARNING: For fearful cats, try everything else before trying surprise techniques, especially those using noises!
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