our cat is peeing all over our furniture AFTER being fixed... what do we do?
October 21, 2007 10:13 AM   Subscribe

our cat is peeing all over our furniture AFTER being fixed... what do we do?

My partner and I have a 10-month old cat that we love to death...

The vet that we took him to originally told us to wait as long as possible before fixing him, so he can "grow properly", failing to mention about the possibility of him starting to spray. We have never had a cat before, so this whole thing is quite new to us.

The cat started to pee on our couches around 6-7 months, and we fixed him as soon as we could. He was 8 months at the time. Now 2 months after he got fixed, he is still peeing on the couches. It does not smell as bad anymore, but our couches are pretty much garbage.

What is strange is that he doesn't pee in a typical spraying fashion (with his back to the object and tail up), instead he squats down and pees on the surface directly below him.

I know it is possible that he just keeps returning to the places that smell like him... The couches are very hard to clean, so we were not able to get rid of the smell completely. However, he also pees on new things - like bags and clothing of guests, for example. If the problem was just replacing the couches, I wouldn't mind. But I don't want to spend another 1.5 thousand dollars on a couch set to have it smell like pee again...

Has anyone heard of or used feline behaviorists? Anything else?

What can we do? Please help!
posted by esolo to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
make sure he's healing properly and that he doesn't have a urinary tract infection (very common in neutered males).
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:36 AM on October 21, 2007

Oh, I am so sorry. I just threw away my couch for this very reason, but the problem seems to be getting better with:

1) Get rid of the furniture they pee on (sorry - but if you don't it's like a constant attraction, you can never get it clean enough)

2) Start feeding wet food if you don't already. Read up on how to introduce it.

3) Get all new litter boxes - dump the old entirely. Get 2 or 3.

4) "Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract" litter in a brand new litter box - this stuff is a miracle - I'm not sure why it works, but my cat went from ONLY peeing on the couch to ONLY peeing in the box with this stuff, immediately after I chucked the couch. It's supposed to help re-train cats to use the box.

Best of luck - this is the WORST.
posted by tristeza at 10:39 AM on October 21, 2007

Definitely make sure he doesn't have a UTI or crystals in his urine first.

Then be sure to clean with an enzymatic cleaner (like Nature's Miracle) and keep the cat away from the furniture for now, you need to both retrain appropriate litter habits and break the existing inappropriate habits.

Assuming a medical reason is ruled out (and this is essential), you can usually retrain a cat by confining the cat to a smallish area with a litterbox (maybe a bathroom, or better yet a large dog crate or x-pen so that the cat is not deprived of company), keep the litterbox SCRUPULOUSLY clean, scoop a couple of times per day, make sure the litter is one the cat likes. Be sure to spend time with the cat, be sure that the food and water are as far away from the litterbox as the space allows. You can gradually start increasing the size of the area the cat is confined to once the cat is reliably using the litterbox, but you must keep the boxes clean, you must have at least one more litterbox than you have cats, and once you find a litter the cat will use, you must not change it (or if you need to, change it gradually by mixing the new litter in with the old in gradually increasing ratios).

You can try to see if the cat prefers a certain brand of litter by changing the litter in one box and seeing if the cat uses one more frequently than another.

And yes, there are feline behaviourists.
posted by biscotti at 10:48 AM on October 21, 2007

Sorry, I kind of forgot that part - YES, make sure its not medical! My cat's issue apparently was not according to the vet, so even harder to deal with. Ug.
posted by tristeza at 11:26 AM on October 21, 2007

Response by poster: well, he is actually peeing in his litter box no problem. But he is ALSO peeing on the couches.
posted by esolo at 11:48 AM on October 21, 2007

Oh, well, that's a new spin. Go to the vet for UTI testing. (And diabetes).
posted by tristeza at 12:00 PM on October 21, 2007

USE NATURE'S MIRACLE. Without special cleaner, your furniture is retaining special "pee here" smells that make it indistinguishable from the litterbox. Get the industrial size. Douse all your upholstered surfaces in it--I mean drown them, saturate them, soak them. Otherwise he'll continue to confuse them with the litterbox, and if you get another cat, that cat will be just as confused.
posted by chelseagirl at 1:05 PM on October 21, 2007

I advocate enzyme cleaners as well. We recently had to put a cat down who was FIV positive and had gone into full-on dementia behaviors including litter box confusion, random bouts of EXTREME aggressiveness (from a cat that was previously the sweetest ever), and completely forgetting who we or the other cats in the house were.

We knew she'd been peeing various places for about 2 weeks before we put her down, and cleaned all of them up so far as we knew -- until we noticed that the other cats had decided those were good places to pee, too. It was a nightmare until we used a ton of enzyme cleaner and soaked the carpet in the various spots where Eris the cat had left her final legacy.
posted by InnocentBystander at 1:41 PM on October 21, 2007

Did the neutering remove both testicles? If the cat has a retained testicle in his abdomen, it could be as simple as some vestigial spraying behavior. I dealt with 6 months of this with an adopted kitty before the vet did a testosterone level which indicated there was probably a second testicle in the cat. Exploratory abdominal surgery located the testicle immediately. He's perfect now.
posted by wildeepdotorg at 5:18 PM on October 21, 2007

Sounds like he isn't spraying, he's just peeing. If you want to check if he's spraying at all, get a UV light and look for pee patches on the walls / doorframe etc at cat bum height.

You honestly just can't get rid of every trace of the smell from something like a couch or armchair. He thinks it's toilet, because it smells like toilet and he's used to using it as toilet. We were in the same situation with one of our cats, and in the end we had to have a scorched earth solution of stripping up all carpets and putting down hard flooring in the parts of the house they are allowed in, and replacing the offending furniture.

You almost certainly have to junk the couch, and it might be worth having a temporary seating solution (wooden or plastic, non-upholstered chairs), until you can retrain him to use a litter box properly.
posted by bifter at 6:42 AM on October 22, 2007

I have a cat who does this from time to time when he's stressed. In order to head it off at the pass I buy No Mark! or Feliway and douse all the upholstery and rugs every couple of days.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:10 PM on October 22, 2007

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