Please help psychoanalyse my pussy...
June 6, 2005 6:06 PM   Subscribe

...cat i mean. Pussy cat!! He's taken to peeing on my furniture. What should i do?

He's not ill (according to the vet) and he's not experienced any traumatic events. (oh and yes, he's fixed, so he's not spraying).
He peed on the couch several times, and after i finally got the stench out and covered it with a slip cover, he stopped peeing. Then this past weekend i brought a new beanbag and of course he decided to do a weewee on that too. Thing is he uses the litter box just fine, so i dont get why he pees on occasion on my bed, my couch, in my shoe, and now on my brand new bean bag! Help before i commit pussycide!
posted by ramix to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
 
Has your schedule changed? Is there a new SO in the house?
posted by matildaben at 6:58 PM on June 6, 2005


Is the litter box big enough? Changed regularly?
posted by quam at 7:00 PM on June 6, 2005


I've Googled a plenty on this very subject. There are so many ways to combat this very annoying problem...and not a one of them works (as far as I'm concerned). Some real good ideas that I've read: buy a new litter box, put the litter box in a cleaner more organized area (or clean the area in which it resides currently), or buy a Piss Off plant. It seems the general consensus is eliminate the odor then do what ever you can to break the habit. One good thing that's come of my investigation is a wonderful product called Expel. It's unbelievably expensive ($20/qt) but is the best product on the market to eliminate cat urine odor.

I love my dogs.
posted by sublivious at 7:09 PM on June 6, 2005


Has your schedule changed? Is there a new SO in the house? Nope. Nothing's changed. Been the same schedule, same people, same food, same water...ever since i got him!

Is the litter box big enough? Changed regularly? 2 big litter-boxes changed twice a day.

What i dont understand is how come he uses the litter box sometimes, and other times it's my shoe, or the futon mattress, or my new bean bag!!
posted by ramix at 7:10 PM on June 6, 2005


Only thing I can think of is he is marking territory for some reason. Any cats in the neighbourhood wandering around that he can see?
posted by squeak at 7:29 PM on June 6, 2005


Try to remember if you brought any exotic smells into the house when this started. Stuff like: were you at a friend's house who had cats? Did you buy a down comforter or another stinky animal product?

Or, if your schedule hasn't changed, has the amount of attention you give the little guy changed? Have you been particularly stressed or angry or otherwise upset? Cats are really good at sensing this and if he's got a high-strung temperament, he might be acting out because of it. He also might be reacting to things you aren't aware of. My cat behaved like this when a stray started hanging around the house, peeping through windows and literally scaring the piss out of her. Relocating Henry Rollins (as stray cat came to be known, the little bully) and keeping the shades drawn when we weren't home cleared it up.

Speaking of the litter boxes: if they're clean, are they also private and quiet? Again, if he's skittish and has been more stressed than usual, and you've got a washing machine or other loud noise source nearby, he might be overly sensitive to it.

If it's none of those things, even though he's not sick, he might be prone to feline urologic syndrome (FUS), a disorder where high urinary ph causes crystals to form in his urine, making trips to the box painful. Try switching him to a low-ash, low-magnesium feed, and if your vet okays it, give him an herbal supplement (like the Kidney Tablets linked here; scroll down for a description).

Good luck to you and to your poor kitty, and futon cushions, and shoes, and mental health...I certainly know how taxing this is.
posted by melissa may at 7:31 PM on June 6, 2005


i dont get why he pees on occasion on my bed, my couch, in my shoe, and now on my brand new bean bag!

I've been told that upset cats often like to mix their smell with their owners, by peeing on things that are strong with the owner's smell. Your cat is probably peeing on things that smell especially like you (the new beanbag might just be a territorial thing). For example, did he pee by the part of the couch where you normally sit? The cat might just want more attention.
posted by fleacircus at 10:30 PM on June 6, 2005


Pay attention to melissa may's comment.

When my previous kitty, Amoeba, started peeing everywhere, we took him to the vet. Turns out he had a horrible urinary tract infection that made it hard for him to control his bladder. We switched cat foods and gave him pills for a while, and the peeing stopped.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:34 PM on June 6, 2005


Our female decides to go on a peeing-anywhere bender once or twice a year. What seems to work, to break the habit, is to lock her in the litterbox room overnight for a few nights, and don't let her out in the morning until it's been used. You have our deep sympathies.
posted by Aknaton at 11:10 PM on June 6, 2005


Excuse this absolutely off-the-wall idea, but are you in good health yourself? My wacky cat used to get sick/display strange behavior if I was sick, specifically with something chronic.
posted by taz at 1:20 AM on June 7, 2005


One of my cats is "educationally subnormal", and has had this problem on and off since birth - usually triggered by periods when she is feeling slightly confused or unloved (we've just had another bout shortly after having our first child).

A useful thing to do first is to ascertain whether they are "spraying" or simply urinating. They spray to mark territory, and urinate for the same reasons as you and I. If the problem is spraying then there are almost certainly psychological reasons - you might be able to fix them by a thorough purge of pissy house contents, some vigorous training and intensive TLC. If the cat is not spraying though, then there could be medical reasons (my experience of vets is not good), or the cat might not be happy with the toilet arrangements that you have made for it. In which case, some practical advice follows.

The first thing to note is that once the piss is down, they will continue to go in the same place again and again. My experience is no matter how great those enzyme cleaner products are purported to be, the cat will still smell piss and go in the same place. YOU might not be able to smell it after using the cleaner, but that's hardly the problem. If your cat goes on the couch or carpet, then I hate to say it but in extreme cases you may well have to rip them out and replace them. This is what we had to do in our house: took all the carpets out from downstairs and fitted wooden floors, which the cat doesn't generally want to go on.

A really good practical thing to do is to physically (gently!) place your problem cat in it's litter tray a few times each day. Our cat "holds on" for large parts of the day, and will often say "what the hell" and just go with the flow in this case.

If your cat isn't spraying (ie they're not going up against door frames, furniture, walls etc), then you might try some tweaking of its toilet arrangements. Make sure the box is a long way from its food. If it seems to have a favourite (non-box) place to pee, then thoroughly clean that spot, move the box there, and gradually move it back towards your preferred position over the course of a week or two if your cat seems willing to use it. Make sure the litter is very clean (full change at least weekly), and experiment with different litter types - cats can be very fussy about what they crap in. I believe sand is supposed to be their absolute favourite, but ours prefer the gravelly white stuff.

You might find it useful (but extreme) to clear your cat's living space to minimise the possibility of pissy accidents. The problem you face is that if they have found little nooks or crannies that you haven't noticed yet to go in, then they start to think that going there is normal and the problem is compounded. If possible confine the cats to a few rooms full-time, clear this area of rugs etc. if possible and clutter, make a thorough nightly sweep for wet patches, and clean any you find as thoroughly as possible. You may if you are lucky be able to get your cat back in the habit of using the tray full-time.

Whatever you do, DON'T punish your cat by shouting at it, rubbing its nose in its mess or anything like that. If you do this and the problem is psychological, then it will only get worse - cats don't learn positive behavioural traits in this way.

If your case is truly extreme, and the vet finds a psychological problem, then I believe there are hormone treatments that are very effective, but have serious, negative health effects on the cat.
posted by bifter at 2:50 AM on June 7, 2005


Sorry - should have added - just because he's been spayed doesn't necessarily mean he isn't spraying. Check for the locations of piss patches if possible to be sure.
posted by bifter at 2:54 AM on June 7, 2005


Thank you all for your help. I got home last night and whaddya know, he'd peed on the dining table. Arrgh!
posted by ramix at 10:54 AM on June 7, 2005


I feel your pain, ramix, one of my cats is doing the same thing. Having exhausted the medical options, our vet has prescribed kitty prozak. We haven't started treatment yet, but it's looking like we might have to.
posted by me3dia at 1:24 PM on June 7, 2005


Incidentally, we tried the kitty Prozac. (Or rather, made the cat try it.) It was really impressive how much more difficult she made the process each time. First time trivial. Second time, clamped mouth. Third time, spit it out. Fourth time, wandered away innocently, then spat it out.

I really do recommend the "lock up at night in litterbox room" thing. Our cat is too shy to let flow while we're watching, and this method has been very simple and effective.
posted by Aknaton at 2:39 PM on June 7, 2005


« Older Help me choose a career!   |   Spilled primer on dark carpet. Am I SOL? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.