Zuzu + pee pee = Grrrrrrr
January 12, 2009 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Kitten uses her litterbox just fine. She uses the couch and the bed equally well. What to do?

We got a couple of little furballs this weekend. They stay in my office for most of the day so we can slowly introduce them to my 14-year-old grouch of a tabby. At night, I've been letting them run around (supervised) in the living room or bedroom so's they can stretch their little legs.

Each time now, little Zuzu has peed on the couch or the bed.

She knows to use the litterbox when she's in the office. After the first time she peed on the bed, I've watched her very carefully. When she jumps on the bed or the couch, I immediately put her into the litterbox. This worked once -- she peed, yay. Other times, she squats but doesn't pee. Then, two minutes later, she manages to pee on the couch/bed before I can get to her. I grab her as soon as I can and put her in the box, but this usually means that she ends up peeing on me.

Other than putting her in the litterbox and scratching her paw in it, I'm not really sure what to do. I could keep her out of the living room or bedroom, obviously, but I'd rather solve the problem sooner rather than later.

Stats: She's 14 - 16 weeks old and was fixed last week. Her littermate is an angel and shows no problems, so I suspect they were taught well enough initially.

Any ideas?
posted by mudpuppie to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
My friend had the same problem and apparently Cat Attract Litter completely solved the problem (to the extent that her cat actually went to pee in the litter box while she was dumping the litter in it).
posted by Kimberly at 9:07 AM on January 12, 2009

Make sure her stitches from being spayed aren't bothering her and that she's also UTI free. After you've made sure it's not medical - try a different litter.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:15 AM on January 12, 2009

Other times, she squats but doesn't pee.

Straining to pee suggests a medical issue. Vet?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:31 AM on January 12, 2009

1. She might have a medical problem, making it painful to pee. She then associates the pain with the litterbox and stops peeing there. Especially since she was just fixed, phone the vet.
1.1 Also, after getting the cat fixed, you're supposed to use special litter. Are you?
2. She might not like all the litter sharing. For n cats, you're supposed to have n+1 litter boxes; you should have at least n, especially when introducing new cats. (Seems unlikely, from your story, but this can't really hurt.)
posted by jeather at 9:43 AM on January 12, 2009

In addition to the above, get some Nature's Miracle spray, which breaks up the (enzymes?) and discourages them from using that spot again. She's female, but I wonder if it's territorial at all - certainly she can smell the older cat.

Thanks for following the rules of cat posts and linking to pictures! She's a cutie.
posted by desjardins at 10:55 AM on January 12, 2009

My cat crapped on my bed weekly until I finally found something that worked. I put double-sided tape all over the bed and when she jumped up she freaked out and ran away. I left it on the bed for a few days (sleeping on the couch) so that she could verify that it wasn't a one-shot problem and then took it off and used the bed normally. She still won't go up there.

Maybe try that on your furniture? Note: My cat is high-strung and very slow in the head, so if yours is laid back and/or intelligent this may not work for you.

Also, I agree that the squatting-but-not-peeing likely means that she needs a trip to the vet.
posted by hayvac at 11:26 AM on January 12, 2009

OMG, I so feel your pain. We have just spent oodles of money replacing carpet recently due to our pusscats. Both have been to the vet and they ruled out any infection but the vet did say that they both needed to drink more water because one had crystals in his urine and they both had blood in their urine. They are on a med now to help heal the lining of their bladder, other than that, totally healthy. Yay.

But in this process, we found out that a lot of their behavior seems to be anxiety based, and that one of them has a text-book case of separation anxiety. We used to work from our house (both telecommuted since we got the little buggers 5 years ago) and started working in outside offices just in the last year, so we are now gone 10+ hours a day. Plus, they used to be outdoor cats, but due to coyotes, they are now indoor cats and hate that they can't chase after every bunny or squirrel that happens to taunt them.

This is a great website for general assistance. I would agree that you need to take them to the vet. Best of luck to you.
posted by inquisitrix at 1:58 PM on January 12, 2009

Thanks for the advice. She's scheduled for a vet trip this week anyway, so I'll ask then.

My old guy is a spite pisser, so my house already has that Eau de Urine. The smell, I know how to deal with. I was mostly concerned that she hadn't been trained well, and I wanted to nip that in the bud. From her nonproductive squats, I didn't get the impression that she was unable to go -- but rather that she was trying to get me off her back by squatting, then continuing on with her playtime. It looked like the couch/bed were more appealing places for some reason, and I was mostly concerned about breaking that habit. I think I will try a new litter, just in case she wants something softer.

But we'll ask the vet, just in case.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:22 PM on January 12, 2009

Late as usual..

Zuzu is a little corker and she loves the lens as much as the lens loves her.

As she was only spayed last week - and in general non productive squats mean a UTI - get the vet to check her out sooner rather than later.

Being spayed and rehomed is a big deal and stress is likely to be an issue.

Seconding fluffy battle kitten rule out the physical first, then start looking at it as a behavioural issue.

As per usual, a Feliway diffuser in the living room and bedroom will make her feel as if she owns the space she lives in. She might be peeing on the bed or sofa due to the smell of your old guy's pee. Even if you have done the stench-be-gone thing, just a few molecules of pee smell can fire up some anxiety piddling.

Even so, vet soonest - UTI's in small animals can escalate very quickly and blockages can be very serious if not attended to quickly.

Best of luck!
posted by Arqa at 4:25 PM on January 12, 2009

nthing the check with vet thing.
My cat pees outside of box for various reasons - when he shared with his bro it was often simply beacuse his brother just went and he hates sharing box. Now he might do it when he thinks the litter isn't good enough for him, but in these cases he chooses a nearby spot (like bathroom towelcarpet) to 'say' "change litter plz".

But bed/couch or any place that I use often is always a "my pee burns help me!" cat cry for help in his case.
posted by dabitch at 9:16 AM on January 15, 2009

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