Why u p on mah couchz?
May 2, 2009 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Why does my cat keep peeing on the same spot on the couch?

Srsly. Enough is enough. My cat keeps peeing on the same spot on the couch, regardless of whether it has a cushion or not. As of right now her litter box is clean and remains untouched by her kitty urine. Is there a reason she would be avoiding it? Her decision to pee on the couch seems random and confusing. Is there something going here that I'm not getting?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Welcome to the world of owning a pet cat.

Seriously though, at this point that part of the couch probably smells like her urine, and it signals her to go there. You can try an enzyme cleaner. I recommend soaking the couch (cushions, bottom of the couch, sides of the couch, etc) with a product like Nature's Miracle, possibly a few times. If you have a fan, you can aim it at the couch to help dry it out. Honestly though, when my cat started doing this, the only thing that resolved the problem was buying a new couch in the end.

Also, just because the litter box is clean does not mean the cat doesn't have a problem with it. Cats are finnicky creatures. It's possible she doesn't like the litter, doesn't like the box (maybe she would prefer a covered box, or vice-versa), doesn't like the location, etc. You can try experimenting with these conditions. You can also try putting a box next to the couch and seeing if she'll use it then. If she does, move it a foot further away from the couch and back to where you want it every day.
posted by sickinthehead at 11:29 AM on May 2, 2009

Has anything else in her environment changed since she started the peeing? Usually cats only do this sort of thing if they're stressed and trying to get your attention about something; they generally prefer using the litterbox, where they can scratch around and bury their doin's.

As for the "one place", this tends to be pretty normal as well (though for an abnormal activity). I can't explain why, but would guess that it's either a comfort thing (i.e. finding a "new" place), or if they are upset by something, perhaps trying to choose a spot that will be noticed quickly. The scent of the old urine might be an attraction as well.

I've dealt with this in two instances in the past with my kitty here: the first was when she was going into heat, and I assumed she was trying to put traces around so that a male cat would catch the scent. She peed in a few different places then, but still had her favourite spot she'd regularly return to. The second was when I got some new litter which she was displeased with, at which point she'd pee on the bed. And continued to pee on the bed, until I stopped experimenting and went back to the crap clay litter.

(Yes, I have had far more experience with cat urine than I ever hoped I would. If you get to it while it's still wet, water and baking soda are your friends.)

So, short answers: check to see if there's anything in her environment that might be upsetting her (or, has she been spayed? If not, that might be it as well), and while I can't give a rational explanation, it's not uncommon for cats to choose their pee spot in a given area and return to it. (And really, given the alternative, isn't the same spot on the couch sort of an advantage? At least you don't have to come home and feel every fabric-coated surface to see which one is damp and warm ...)
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 11:41 AM on May 2, 2009

I agree with the luke parker fiasco. We had an old cat who used peeing on the couch as a way to tell us she was sick. Hope that's not the case with your cat, but it wouldn't hurt to get her a check-up at the vet.
posted by nadise at 11:48 AM on May 2, 2009

Because your definition of "litter box" differs from hers.

I fostered a feral kitten that did this to my sister's beanbag: she basically "potty trained" herself within a day or so. She was very meticulous about it to the point of scratching the vinyl around to bury it! We ended up having to toss the whole thing, but at least the rest of the house was spotless.

Put the litter box next to the couch with a little pee in it till she gets the idea.
posted by aquafortis at 11:50 AM on May 2, 2009

use nature's miracle on everything that smells like pee, try new litter, get some feliway (happy cat hormone), move the litter box somewhere better, convince your cat to interpret the area differently (ie. put their cat bed over it or play with him/her over it).

then, if all that fails, take your cat to the vet. i assumed my cat's problem was behavioural, but in the end it was medical. i regret not taking my cat sooner.
posted by jennyhead at 12:11 PM on May 2, 2009

I have had this problem. Feliway didn't help. Eventually we took the vet's suggestion of kitty Prozak (Clomicalm), which worked wonders. Don't be afraid of drugging your cat if that's what the vet suggests - we were reluctant to but she is much calmer and less anxious now.
posted by Gortuk at 12:20 PM on May 2, 2009

I had this same problem, except it was a futon, not a couch.

I got the cat and she was fine for about a week and one day I came home to a giant urine stain on the couch. I cleaned it. It reappeared. This dance continued for some time, during which time I became very acquainted with Nature's Miracle and vigorous scrubbing of the futon cover and much rage on my part.

In the end, it turns out that the cat was just a motherfucker who peed everywhere. The carpet (which I had to replace), the upstairs bathroom tile, my bed - the fun never stopped, and by fun I mean urine stench.

However, this initial futon problem was solved by a trip to the vet, wherein it was found she had a bladder infection - something about crystals. I had to give the little fucker pills for two weeks, after which point she stopped peeing on the futon and I thought I solved my problem completely until about a month later, when the peeing on everything else started.
posted by kbanas at 2:16 PM on May 2, 2009

It was a urinary tract infection in my cat's case - we feed him prescription food and that solved it. Get it checked out. If everything's OK medically, then your cat's just an asshole like all the rest of 'em. Sorry.
posted by desjardins at 2:26 PM on May 2, 2009

When you catch your cat pissing in the wrong place, tell her "No!", take her to her box and scratch her front paws in it -- i.e., don't squat her in the box, introduce her to the litter. You can try enzyme cleaner on your couch but the cushion may have to go.
It's easier for a cat to piss on a flat surface than to climb in a litter box. The crystals in the uretha mentioned by other posters might be the problem but check for these other symptoms. Crystals in the uretha are formed from magnesium and ash in dry cat food. It is something that occurs in the majority of cats that are fed only with dry food. Wet food has fat in it and helps prevent the problem -- though it is still possible. This condition is often fatal for male cats who have a smaller uretha opening.
posted by CCBC at 3:35 PM on May 2, 2009

Yes, please look out for other signs of bladder infection or urine crystals. My male cat almost died because of this. He started peeing in strange places, seemed angry, etc. See if your cat will let you press on it's stomach, and if that causes any pain, take it to the vet. If it stops peeing at all, take it to an emergency vet.

Urine crystals are common, possibly lethal, and our vet has lots of anecdotal evidence saying that summer is the season for them. She theorized that warmer weather, and possibly dehydration, caused otherwise small and passable crystals in the bladder to grow larger.

Also feliway is great.
posted by fontophilic at 4:07 PM on May 2, 2009

Short answer: It's fun!

Longer answer: Animals like to mark the same "stinky spot" over and over for a few reasons. It's an instinct.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:03 AM on May 3, 2009

« Older Name that crappy jazz tune   |   Looking for more options in floor-to-ceiling mount... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.