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Inappropriate Peeing Problems Answered  

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
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There have been so many recent inquiries about this problem that I went through and did a search and consolidated some of the answers given to help remedy the problem. This way, it will only be one url needed to hopefully solve the problem. Most of the answers copied each other, as the primary reason for inappropriate elimination is the cat's health is suffering and this is the way a cat lets their human know they are off a bit.

Here it is- hope it helps people and more importantly their cats

Contributed by lotsocats:

Please take the cat to the vet and tell the vet what she is doing. You need to specify that the cat is urinating outside the box so that the vet knows what to look for. Peeing outside the litter box is the #1 symptom of urinary tract problems!

If the vet says she is okay, then consider making a few changes.

If you use a covered litter box, take off the lid. Many cats refuse to use covered boxes.

Cats prefer fine grained unscented litter. So, you might try changing litter.

Make sure you have at least one litter box per cat.

Do not place litter boxes right next to each other because they cat might interpret the two boxes as one and then refuse to use the second box if the first box has any old urine or feces in it.

Make sure you scoop the litter box daily, and with multiple cats, scoop twice daily. Cats often refuse to use dirty boxes.

If your litter boxes are real old, they may have absorbed odors even if you regularly clean them. So, try buying new boxes.

Make sure your litter boxes are in a place where the cat feels safe while going potty. If she is disturbed by you or your kids(?) or the other cat while she is trying to potty, she will choose to
use a safer location. So, move the litter box to a location where she can see the comings and goings of the other people & animals in the house.

Put a litter box on each level (floor) of the house.

Make sure you thoroughly clean all old urine spots on the rug and elsewhere. If she can smell the old urine she will think that place is a good place to pee. Use a flourescent black light to find old urine and treat all old spots with an enzymatic cleanser.

Try putting a plastic carpet runner upside down on the places they like to pee....most cats don't like to walk on the "spikes" so they will avoid the covered spots.

Put something real smelly where she likes to pee...most cats hate the smell of citrus, so try
putting citrus scented air freshener or orange peels or citrus potpourri where she pees.

Contributed by hissy:

Once a cat starts peeing out of the box

and you have cleared him of UTI's or other medical problems, then you have to remember that peeing outside is his way of marking his territory. Can he possibly see other outside cats from this location he has chosen? Even if they are outside, he will consider them a threat and spray his marking to warn them to stay away. Perhaps you can block his view of this world temp. until he stops doing it. Also, once he has marked a spot he will return to it time and time again because he is following the scent he left, and when it starts to recede, he will want to "reinforce" it again. Use a good strong cleaner like Simple Solution, or call your vet so that he can recommend a good cleaner that clears up ALL the odor. Cat pee is very strong, and the carpet is probably saturated with it at this point. You can also try throwing a good thick throw rug over the spot, spray the throw rug with a good citrus scented room deodarizer as well.

He is a cat, and they have specific rules of behaviour handed down through the generations of his wild ancestors. You can not always make them conform to what you want them to do, you have to think like them and try to figure out what is causing this. As I do rescue work, I see all the time the after-effects of cats whose people have given up on them because of behaviour issues. Try all the suggestions that have been offered, do an internet search for more answers if you need to, and then, I guess, if it doesn't work to your satisfaction then take him back. But it could be just one minor change in his enviornment that is setting him off, you just have to try and find out what that is.

Contributed by lotsocats:

First, we need to know for sure that the problem is spraying rather than urinating. If the cat is standing and the pee shoots straight back so that he/she is aiming high on the wall or side of the couch, it is spraying. If the cat squats while peeing, it is normal urination.

If the cat is peeing (not spraying) inappropriately, you need to get him or her to the vet ASAP. The #1 cause of inappropriate urination is urinary tract infections or blockages. Given the stress your female is under, that may be what is going on. You can also read some of the other posts on this forum for other great ideas for stopping inappropriate urination.

If the cat is spraying...he is marking his territory. Basically, he's saying this is my place, not yours! This can be a difficult habit to break but it is absolutely possible to do so.

Try the following ideas and also do a search for spraying on this forum for excellent ideas on other threads.

1. Use Feliway to help him not want to spray. Feliway mimics the friendly marking that cats do when they rub their faces on things. When a cat smells a friendly scent, they are unlikely to mark with urine. The Feliway box will give detailed instructions on how to use it....follow the instructions carefully.

2. Hang aluminum foil on the places the cat likes to spray. Cats usually will not spray on foil because it makes an unpleasant sound when hit with the urine and it makes the urine splash back on the cat. Each day that the cat does not spray a strip of foil, tear about an inch off the bottom of the foil until the foil is completely gone. Don't remove the whole strip all at once because the cat may interpret this as you saying it is okay to spray here again.

3. If you see the cat getting into the spray position, yell "No!" and then grab him and put him in time-out (in the bathroom for example) for only 2-3 minutes. Do the same if you caught him in the act.

4. Check to see if there are stray cats hanging out outside your house. A cat will often spray in response to strange cats around the house. Make sure you don't walk through outside cat spray and track that smell into the house.

5. Be patient and persistent. Breaking the spraying habit han take a while, but it should work.

Good luck!

Contributed by Sandie:

If they aren't spayed or neutered I would start there as well. With the neutralizers, I have found the only thing to work is NOK-OUT. You can even put it in a cool mist humidifier for a whole room. Breeders I have talked to use it on whole males. You can read up on it at Just click on the word NOK-OUT.

Also if you cat is peeing on a pile of clothes or other objects, some cats are drawn to the smell of bleach, so if you leave a laundry bag of bleached whites within reach, the problem kitty will pee on them. You can take an old sheet that you care nothing about and soak it in a bucket of lemon juice and water- making the lemon juice stronger by adding less water. Once the sheet has soaked for a few hours, take it out and line dry it, and use this to cover anything the cat is peeing on. They will avoid citrus smelling items at all costs.

Along the lines of peeing on clothes: According to Cat Behaviorist Amy Shojai- if your cat is peeing on personal items and has been checked out medically as ok. The cat could be stressed out over something. Urinating on some object that holds your scent is calming to him. You can read more about Amy on her website

Here's a clever way to deter a cat from a place where the cat previously peed, contributed by Kev:

Take a Tea bag, then once used and its cooled, pour a few drops of OLBAS OIL on it. Olbas oil is a herbal remedy ideal for colds and completely natural. Health food shops as well as pharmacies sell it here and its cheap enough.
Then place the Tea bag with this smelling stuff on a small food bag and place it in the vicinity of where the cat has been urinating.
They hate the smell and he's given it a wide berth ever since - gone back to the litter tray which is great.

Its solved my problem without the need for chemicals etc which I am all for. The even better part is that the house smells of olbas oil and I am breathing a lot easier too.

post #2 of 82

Thanks Hissy!

Here are couple of relevant links as well:

Litter Box Location Secrets

Spraying - When Your Cat Uses Urine To Mark Territory

Here's more good information as well from Dr Patricia Simonet of the Best Friends forum:

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!”

Regarding plastics, I suggest that plastics have odors like ammonia. They are made from processed petroleum products. In the manufacturing process many chemicals are used that produce ammonia-like odors. I am certain that many of these odors are causing the same responses in cats, as would another cat marking in their territory.

Whoever said “better living through chemistry” probably didn’t have cats.

post #3 of 82
THERE IS HOPE! Three months of this problem and we may have an end. I followed the advice given here and also found the source of the stress that I believe led to the innappropriate u
Unfortunately, it has not been a totally pleasing solution. #2, Annie, is now in "foster care". She will stay there or go to a new home. #1, Tumbalina, was breeder reccomended as an only cat. The breeder later asked me take Annie, because she had $ problems. It did not work out.
I followed the advice here, spoke to my vet, the Humane Society (no, Annie is not there), and a book, Think Like A Cat. We are at the supervised reintroduction to a room at a time. No accidents. I used a cat playpen for the confinement stage. She will still be there when I cannot supervise. I also had to do alot of carpet cleaning with the enzyme cleaners.
Since I was at the end of my wits, this is a satisfactory solution for me. I miss Annie so much as she is a very affectionate cat,but I felt I owed Tumbalina a chance to change.
Thanks to all who helped us. Keep us in your prayers. I would really like Annie to have a home where she is the only cat, but no one has offered yet.
GOOD NEWS! Annie will be in her new home soon. and Tumbalina is using the litter box faithfully and now has the run of thehouse.
post #4 of 82
OK, here's a question, to follow-up on all the great pee-ing advice... my friend has just recently banished her seven year old indoor female cat outdoors due to peeing on rugs, rather than in the litter box. I have not thought to ask her if it is peeing vs. spraying (do female cats spray???), but I will check. Anyway, she took Big Kitty (that's the cat's name) to the vet, and they said they found bacteria in her urine, which they suspected could be caused by her bad gums, and therefore recommended a teeth cleaning, which my friend did. Unfortunately, the peeing problems did not subside, so now Big Kitty is in the garage/outside. My friend said she did think it was strange that when they got home from the initial appointment, her cat pee-ed blood, but she just assumed that was due to them manually drawing her urine. I told her I didn't think so, and it sounds like she could have an infection after all that is going untreated. I should mention that they just moved, so my friend has been assuming she's either suffered emotional trauma from the move and/or she's smelling the pee of the previous owner's animals. I feel so sorry for Big Kitty, I'm trying my best to get her back inside! Sounds like my friend is either going to call her vet back or get a second opinion. Any thoughts and/or advice on what might really be going on with her? Could the blood in her urine that day actually have been caused by her day at the vet rather than a UT infection? Thanks for any help in getting Big Kitty back indoors!!!
post #5 of 82
The advice doesn't really change. She must be sure there are no urinary tract problems. The rugs must be THOROUGHLY cleaned using an enzyme cleaner such as NOK OUT or throw them away. If we are talking about throw rugs, get new ones without rubber backing. Then the retraining begins. I like the book, Think Like a Cat. has it. I actually ordered it with my NOK OUT and Feliway( good kitty smell). One must be dedicated to make this work. If she doesn't want to get the book, then, read the links at this site. Good Luck.
post #6 of 82
Thread Starter 
Big Kitty needs to go back to the vet, and maybe not even the initial vet but another one if nothing is found. Blood in urine is not normal and is a cause for concern. Cats act out sometimes because they are trying to get our attention the only way they know how. It is up to us to listen to them and act accordingly. Please tell your friend to get kitty into the vet for bloodwork and work-up.
post #7 of 82
thepugs... why is getting non-rubber backing rugs important?

post #8 of 82
Some cats do not like the rubber smell and they pee on it. I confess that it may not matter. I would first be sure to clean the rugs I have following the enzyme cleaner directions and then spray the rugs with a citrus smell. If that doesn't help then buy one, cheap rug without rubber to test the theory.
post #9 of 82
Cooper will pee right outside the litter box when she's pissed off.

If Nick and I haven't been home all day (usually on the weekends) she gets very upset, as soon as we walk in the door she pees.

Silly cat! We don't leave her alone often, but she lets us know when we have!
post #10 of 82
My cat is really clean and knows how to use the litter box, but sometimes if I put fresh laundry on the sofa for a while he'll pee on it. he also goes upstairs to the landlords bedroom and pees on the bed too. It seems like whenever there's something around he's not familiar with he pees on it :/
post #11 of 82
I thought my kitty was crazy because she liked the smell(and taste, unfortunately!)of bleach. I am so glad to know that this is somewhat common...

charlottiek, Ninikitty, Lila
post #12 of 82
We have two indoor cats (6 years old) who started spraying after seeing feral cats wandering around the outside of the house. Lots of windows so we had an animal control person trap the cats and take them to the Humane Society for adoption. However, the cats continue to spray. Have tried all the enzymatic sprays, washes, changed litter boxes, litter, hung aluminum foil. At wits' end? Any other suggestions????
post #13 of 82
Thread Starter 
Are the cats neutered? If not, getting them neutered will help but not stop the behavior as it is a normal marking behavior cats do to declare their territory boundaries.

Invest in a good black light- this will show you all the urine that you have probably missed. They can spray great distances. If they have soaked the carpet, the whole carpet will have to be removed.

Block the area where they are spraying by setting out plates of food. A cat will not pee where they eat.

I would also buy Feliway spray and use that regularly until they stop the behavior.

Good luck!
post #14 of 82
Hi everybody, I was just reading some of the posts about how to resolve inappropriate urination and spraying. Several times Feliway spray was mentioned. Just another idea,Feliway is now available in a unit you plug into an electrical outlet (same theory as the scented oils and plug in devices like glades or renuzit) any way these are only recently becoming available and they release a measured amount of the feliway into the room they last about as long as the Glade or renuzit types mentioned-depending on size of the room.I have purchased one of these and used it for about 3 weeks now with excellent results.Marcus hasn't once peed out of the litterbox,the smell is not perceptable to humans (not to me anyway!)but appears to work extremely well for the cats.Not only have there been no more episodes the unit apparently makes the cat not want to scratch to leave scent in this way!For us it has been a win-win situation.The only drawback is that the initial unit is pricey-I have seen them for 25 dollars at a local feed supply dealer up to $35.00 at a pet supply store.Refill units are about 16.00 to 20.00 but considering the work, aggravation and cost of other cleaning supplies it is well worth it to me and so easy to use-just plug it in and refill when empty-about a month or so for average size rooms.I would definately recommend this product.Anyone else used it?
post #15 of 82
You may not think it's that funny, but there are some of us older folks in the same boat (catbox?).

No seriously, females can exhibit uncontrollable urination due to cysts and bladder infections. All the new catboxes in the world won't do a thing.

Please, a visit to the vet is mandatory!

post #16 of 82
i feel so sick. i just found your wonderful site and forums. about 6 months ago i had to take my kitty of 5 years to the humane society because he was constantly peeing on our carpet. i replaced the carpet with new carpet. he pee'd again so it was replaced with new again. my wife couldnt take it anymore. we didnt know what to do short of put in hardwood floors everywhere. none of our friends had any ideas.

i sure wish i had found this site sooner. it would have saved me alotta heartache

fortunatly for my kitty, he was adopted by another loving family. i hope they dont betray his trust as i did.

good work your doing here. keep it up.
post #17 of 82
Thread Starter 
Thank you, we do try to do a good job here. I am sorry you found us to late, but at least your kitty found another home.
post #18 of 82
On Saturday as I was getting ready for bed, I went to the kitchen and found PEE ON MY KITCHEN COUNTER! Holy cow! But, I know that this is a clear sign that something is really wrong, so I took who I thought was the perpetrator to the vet this morning and lo-and-behold, she has a bad urinary tract infection.

Tonight I will get out the black light to see whether she has peed on the rugs and I will treat any stains with enzymatic cleanser.

I am posting this just to emphasize that we are not going overboard when we suggest taking your cat to the vet. If URI's happen in the households of the cat experts, they can happen to every one else as well!
post #19 of 82
In the last couple of months, our 8-year-old spayed female, Morgan, has begun peeing (and sometimes defecating) on the couch. The cause of this problem is our youngest cat, a one-year old neutered male, Jasper. He is highly rambunctious, and has decided that it's fun to torment Morgan by chasing her around the house (especially away from the litterbox). Morgan has always been highly strung, and now she is absolutely terrorized by him. We call him down whenever we catch him, but it's not enough.

We live in a small apartment. Moving the litterbox or adding another is not an option; there's just nowhere else to put one aside from where we have it, and I'm not sure adding another would help. Morgan has managed to ruin the couch, and my father has had about enough. He's ready to put her outside for good. He knows it's not really her fault, but doesn't see what other choice he has.

We play with Jasper as much as we can, in hopes of exhausting him so he won't pick on her, but we can't watch him at night. There is no place to confine either one for the night. We've tried everything we can think of, and I'm afraid that at this rate she's going to end up outside (where there's no real shelter, and she's so neurotic she might not use a shelter anyway). If anyone here has suggestions for handling this problem, please let me know!
post #20 of 82
If you have your own bedroom, you can confine Morgan to your room. Just make sure she has food, water and a litter box. She will probably be happy that she has safe time away from Jasper. Try keeping her in your room when no one is home and at night and letting her out at times when you can keep an eye on things. Being confined to your bedroom will not be a bad thing for her at all AND chances are that Jasper will mellow out once he gets a little older, so you will not have to keep them separated forever.
post #21 of 82
Thread Starter 
I would suggest a Feliway plug in to start, as well as interactive play time with Jasper every day for about 10 minutes at a time. And although you believe you know the cause, I would still schedule a vet check for Morgan. It could be health related, and down the road develop into something quite serious.

Try the tin foil trick of covering the couch, or feed the cats on the couch-cats will not do their business right where they eat. It is unfortunate that you will not even try a second litterbox, even if you have to empty out a cupboard in the bathroom and put it there, it really does help to have more than one litterbox for two cats.
post #22 of 82
Thanks for the suggestions! I'll be sure to try them out.
post #23 of 82
Well, as some of you may know, when I came here I was lookin for some help on my kitties potty problem. I took her to the vet on your advice and it turned out to be a UTI. I'm just glad that she is getting her meds and will soon be better. Plus, she got a new litter box out of the deal.
post #24 of 82
I have the same sort of problem. I took in a cat about six months ago and if it sees a stray cat or dog outside it sprays from one window to the next in my living room. I have followed the advice here and used the enzyme cleaners, neutralizers, citrus sprays and the black lights and nothing seems to be enough. She is still spraying. I leave the blinds closed almost all the time to help discourage her from sitting on the window ledge or seeing outside. She still continues to spray. I'm about at my wits end. My son is just so attatched to this cat I hate to get rid of her but I can't even stand to sit in my living room because it smells of cat spray. I have used several products and gotten rid of old carpet, couch, and cleaned the walls with enzyme cleaners but she still continues to spray. I usually get one or two days spray-free before she starts it all over again. I have never actually seen her do it. I do have two other cats but she has a particular scent to her and I'm sure it is her. When she was in to be spayed and was isolated for 10 days, the smell in my living room was gone She was out and about for two days my living room didn't stink to high heaven. Please help us find a way to reclaim our livingroom and keep our cat.
post #25 of 82
Click here for a lengthy thread on stopping spraying. It is very long, but you will see many suggestions and what worked and didn't work for this member. For some reason the initial post on that thread is not there, but you will soon see that it was written by someone in a similar situation as yourself.
post #26 of 82
Well, I came to this site seeking advice for my female cat unappropriately peeing on our furniture items and after reading this thread I am now releived that this could all be because of a urinary tract infection. But her peeing has been going on for a couple years already on and off but now it's getting really bad. I will definently take her to the vet as soon as I can to get this checked out as I don't want to loose my baby because of this This site has helped me loads already and I just got here! Thanks in advance for probably saving my cat!

post #27 of 82
My cat Mozart seems to pee on things that are out of place. For example, if we leave a gym bag or coat on the floor he will pee on it. This doesn't happen all of the time. We have had him checked by the vet and while he has had urinary health problems in the past, he is on Rx food and has been cleared by the vet as healthy. He may go 6 months without an incident but then he does it again. When people visit we have to tell them to keep the guest room door closed at all times or keep their suitcases off the floor or he is likely to pee on them. My parents are visiting now and they kept the door shut for 5 days but forgot once, and he peed in there suitcase and then did it on a deflated air mattress that was folded up on the floor in another room.

How can we stop him from peeing on things that are left on the floor. Keep in mind that he never pees on rugs or bath mats or anything that is "permanent" in the house. Only things that are left out of place. And not only when we have company.

post #28 of 82
Yipes!! Simba just peed in my dining room. He is a 14 week old male. We have one other 1.5 year old cat. They both share (to date, I thought happily) a Littermaid cat box.

He peed (not sprayed) on a computer printed picture that happened to be lying on the floor. The carpet in that room also happens to covered in a drop cloth that is kind of a muslin fabric (we are getting ready to do some work).

The litterbox resides in the laundry room.

I have read the info here and understand he may need to be seen by a vet to rule out a UTI.

However, I wonder

a) could the computer printout have some kind of smell that attracted him?

b) might he be scared to go in his box because the washer and dryer were both running?

c) might the 'rough' muslin drop cloth feel like 'sand'?

post #29 of 82
Thread Starter 
Most of the time when a cat is peeing on personal items it is in response to stress. Have you thought about purchasing the Comfort Zone Feliway Room Plug In? That may help to calm your cat as would Aspen or Beech one of the many flower remedies available.

Here are two links:Farnum Pet

Spirit Essence
post #30 of 82

I have the Feliway spray that I had been using but I had quit. I will go spritz up the house now!!

It wasn't really a personal item, but a piece of paper that had a printout of a picture on it, that was done by our printer. I wondered if the computer ink had a scent.

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