I can has halp with kitteh peepee?
September 25, 2009 9:06 AM   Subscribe

The new kitten keeps peeing on our bed.

Four weeks ago, we adopted a (then) five-month-old spayed female kitten from the SPCA. It really is a sweet, fun affectionate cat who has twice now peed all over our bed.

Kitteh has also peed all over my laundry and the carpet.

I switched to Cat Attract Litter and the absolutely amazing Omega Paw Rolling Litter Box, and make a point to keep the litter box clean, to the point of getting all the clumps out three to four times a day.

We steam cleaned the carpet, and then kept the cat in the room with the litter box for about four days. We still played with her, loved on her, etc., but kept her in the room where the box was. We had read in several places that this is a good method for helping a cat start using the litter box exclusively.

Things could not be more perfect. She is using the box, the house is clean, the cat is purring and playful and all the things you would expect a happy, healthy cat to do. She is eating and drinking fine.

Then last night, she pees on the bed again, and probably some other places as well.

Here is the thing: my wife never smells cat pee like I can. She usually accuses me of blowing things out of proportion when it comes to cat odor, but she told me this morning that "it is really bad." I'm out of town, so I'm sure that if it is "really bad" to her, when I get home, it's going to be like being waterboarded with cat pee for me.

The only other detail I can think to mention is that the litter box is downstairs, and we haven't tried bringing it upstairs, because we have an 11 month old child, and we are afraid of catching the infant partaking of crunchy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside cat leavings.

What are we missing here? The litter box is kept very clean, it is in a safe, quiet, private place, the cat is happy and affectionate, and the cat did great for about a week, and then regressed.

posted by 4ster to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cat behavior is pretty mysterious to me, but I would like to recommend a waterproof mattress cover for your bed. You may get this thing solved all fine and dandy, but then one day you lay down in cat pee again out of nowhere.
posted by orme at 9:10 AM on September 25, 2009

A five-month-old cat may not have the sort of awareness or bladder control to make it all the way downstairs to the box if she's sleeping upstairs and wakes up with the need to pee.

...Do babies really eat poop? I know dogs will, but they have a very different sense of taste/smell than we do...
posted by restless_nomad at 9:21 AM on September 25, 2009

You need more and closer to your bed litter boxes at this point. It depends a bit on the layout, but really, this is an easy first step. You can try a covered one, or put it up higher to avoid the baby getting at it.

Your cat has no trouble walking or with stairs, does she? That could be an issue -- if she's small or the stairs are steep? (Fat cats also have major trouble with this, but few 6 month old cats are that fat.) Does she do this after something weird happens? Eg, she did it when you were away -- are you rarely away? Cats pee sometimes when things change.
posted by jeather at 9:27 AM on September 25, 2009

...Do babies really eat poop? I know dogs will, but they have a very different sense of taste/smell than we do...

Babies can and will put anything in their mouths. Seriously.

Could the kitten be trying to mark her territory because she smells the baby on the bed? Not sure what the solution is other than what we do whenever one of our cats pees somewhere they shouldn't which is keep them out of that room. We have a lot of closed doors at this point.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:33 AM on September 25, 2009

Have you had her checked out for UTIs? That would be my first step. If you rule out medical causes, I dunno, cats are weird. You say "the new kitten" - does that imply that there is an "old kitten"? Could she be trying to mark her territory, even if old cat is no longer there?
posted by desjardins at 9:54 AM on September 25, 2009

Does she pee there only at night? Maybe you could try locking her in with the litter box at night for a few days. Or just lock her downstairs and don't allow her on the upper floor overnight.

Otherwise, I think it would be a good idea to move the box upstairs and just keep a close eye on the kid.
posted by caveat at 10:00 AM on September 25, 2009

I sympathize with you. We have a cat who used to pee on the bed too so I know how stressful it can be. You definitely want to have her checked out for UTI issues, but our cat did not have a health problem. We think that the person we rescued her from got her in the habit of peeing on blankets somehow.

She has grown out of it for the most part. Here's what we did:

I highly recommend getting waterproof mattress pad. It doesn't solve the problem, but it makes dealing with it much less stressful. That said, Nature's Miracle has a cat pee formula that not only gets rid of the pee smell, but also gets rid of any cat pee stains. Before we got the mattress pad, we soaked the spots on the mattress with this stuff and it really does work.

We also close off the bedroom when we're not in there. This usually lasts for a couple of weeks after a pee episode. If the temptation is too much for your kitty, you might just want to keep the door closed when you're not in it.

When we caught her in the act, we would squirt her with a squirt bottle a few times.
posted by Kimberly at 10:02 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

You'll need to remove all traces of the cat pee since they use the scent in their urine to know where its ok to go. I'd get an enzyme based cleaner, mix it 50/50 with water, douse the area liberally then cover with plastic which will help the enzymes to do their work. You may need to do it more than once if the urine soaked into carpet under padding &c.
posted by squeak at 10:07 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could try putting a litter box in the upstairs bathroom and installing a child gate in the doorway - but raise it up 6 or 8 inches so kitty can walk underneath but baby can't access the poo.
posted by jvilter at 10:09 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Good luck. I posted a similar question recently and have yet to find a solution to the problem. Nothing has worked, so far. Thankfully, we're just dealing with cat poop. Cat pee is an entirely higher plane of bad news.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:11 AM on September 25, 2009

Definitely get the UTI thing checked out at the vet. This is the first thing that needs to be done whenever a cat starts peeing inappropriately.

If that all checks out, you may need another litter box upstairs. I really love the omega rolling litter box as well, but to keep your kid out, you might need to get another covered litter box with a door-flap. But seriously -- I can't see a kid getting into the omega unless they're really motivated. The opening isn't really that big; a kid would almost have to crawl into the thing to be able to get anything worth chewing on out. I can't see you leaving your child unattended on the floor next to the litter box for long enough to actually get in there. I can barely get in there to manually scoop (sometimes necessary, even with this great box), and I have adult-sized arms.
posted by cgg at 10:18 AM on September 25, 2009

My little baby Zuzu was a horrid bed-pisser when I brought her home early this year. Look! I'll show you her picture because she's adorable! And that's why we put up with the bed pissing!

You do need to rule out the UTIs first off. With Zuzu, it wasn't anything medical -- she just really, really thought that the down comforter was the bestest, cushiest litterbox ever. She'd jump up there innocently enough and would squat within two seconds.

We finally nixed it by doing two things. First, when we were away from home, we covered the bed with a plastic dropcloth -- the kind you get in the paint section of the hardware store. And when I was home, I'd keep an eye on her any time she got near the bed. When I caught her peeing, I'd grab her (mid-stream, as it were) and carry her to the litter box. Did this a few times. It resulted in my being drenched with kitten pee more than once, but it taught her.

Either that or she just grew out of it. But in any case, that phase only lasted a month or so.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:29 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would second the notion of a 2nd litterbox. When I introduced the worst-kitten-ever Bentley (to be a friend for the orange-disaster-cat Max) into my house there was a lot of inappropriate peeing until there was another box. That pretty much solved it for us.

Good luck!
posted by machine at 12:45 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

My sister ultimately solved this problem with kitty Prozac, after ruling out UTI etc.
posted by Maias at 6:13 PM on September 25, 2009

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