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Confused by my kitten

ks_wager
June 19th, 2007, 03:05 PM
I rescued a 5 week kitten, who is now 9 weeks old. A very affectionate and loving kitten. I kept her confined in the beginning due to the size of our home and her not really being litter trained. She is now completely trained however, she pees on our bed almost every night. No where elase in house, just our bed. How can I get this to stop? I am at my end.

krdahmer
June 19th, 2007, 11:26 PM
Ha! :yuck: What a welcome to the world of cats huh?!;)

I had this problem with one of mine a year or so ago, it took a long time to break her of the habit but this is what worked for me.

We had to completely clean the matress (used one of those littlegreen's, they are a cat owners best buddy! especially if you have any carpet- great for hairballs and accidents). Thoroughly febreezed it (I used the allergen reducer one-one of the pet safe odor removers are prob. better though), and invested in a really good matress cover that had a wetness protective layer (about 40-50 $ at wal-mart for a queen or king). And I am now very careful never to leave the bed without the covers on, she will do it if the matress cover is off or she can smell the matress.

I really think it has to do with how well you clean it after it happens the first time, once their scent is there they will continue to go in that spot until its gone. I washed the sheets and comforter a few times and that seems to have done the trick.

Also make sure to consult your vet to make sure nothing is out of whack health wise, some cats pee in inappropriate places when ill.

Being a kitten I imagine it is just behavioural, so good luck to you and kitty!:goodvibes:

CyberKitten
June 20th, 2007, 04:03 AM
This is not so uncommon and I would not be so upset - she is just a kitten after all! First, you need to rule out a health problem because often, that is a kitty's way of letting us know there may be a problem. She may have been sore and associates that with the litter boxes - she is not declawed he is? Declawed kittens often are in so much pain after the procedure (for a very long time - it is outlawed in most countries and I wish it was here but we are yet to be that civilized, sigh!) and sometimes, a declawed cat will also associate the litterbox with pain.

If she is not spayed, that is also an issue, especially in males - he is marking his territory though that usually is elsewhere. I would spay her asap!! She needs to be anyway.

IF it is not medical, there are other alternatives:

She may not like the litter so try different types. She also may not like the placement iof the box - cats are very fickle sometimes,, especially about their litter box and are actually extreme.y clean animals!

So--- some possibilities:

-the box is not clean enough for her.
- She has experienced painful urination or defecation in the box due to a medical problem. (as noted)
- She has been startled by a noise while using the box.
- She has been "ambushed" while in the box by another cat, a child, a dog, or by you, if you were attempting to catch her for some reason.
- She associates the box with punishment. (For example, someone punished her for eliminating outside the box, then placed her in the box.

Make sure the box is away in a private spot and not near her food. Try good litter - not a cheap brand. If she is a feral kitten, you may have to try soil and gradually accustom her to the good" stuff. Also, clean it every day and often - and the rule of thumb is one box per cat plus one. Some cats like to defecate in one and urinate in another - this may be the case here.


As was noted, she may smell the odor since Strong smelling household cleaners will do little to eliminate the odor or deter your pet from re-marking the area. Be sure to clean the area thoroughly before steam cleaning to avoid "locking in" the odor.

Are there other cats that may bother her - either in or in the neighbourhopod? That can also lead to problems. - ie marking territory.

f you catch your cat in the act of eliminating outside the litter box, do something to interrupt her like making a startling noise, but be careful not to scare her. Immediately take her to the litter box and set her on the floor nearby. If she wanders over to the litter box, wait and praise her after she eliminates in the box. If she takes off in another direction, she may want privacy, so watch from afar until she goes back to the litter box and eliminates, then praise her when she does. Cats do not respond at all well to negative behaviour mod- they do well with positive reinforcement!

Don't ever punish your cat for eliminating outside of the litter box. By the time you find the soiled area, it's too late to administer a correction. Do nothing but clean it up. Rubbing your cat's nose in it, taking her to the spot and scolding her, or inflicting any other type of punishment will only make her afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. Animals don't understand punishment after the fact, even if it's only seconds later, and trying to punish them will often make matters worse.

Finally, here are two solutions offered by Betsy Lipscomb in Cats Magazine:

# Have the cat checked by a veterinarian to rule out the possibility that health problems are causing litter box avoidance.
# Make sure the litter box situation is ideal-clean, natural, and convenient.
# Identify possible stressors for the cat.
# Eliminate the stressor, if possible. Otherwise, systematically desensitize the cat to the anxiety-producing stimulus. Drug therapy may be considered.
# Thoroughly clean soiled areas with a strong enzymatic cleaner to remove any lingering odor.
# Place deterrents in the problem areas for at least a month to break the cat's habit of revisiting these spots.
# If possible, place a new litter box in a location that is near the target area and where it can remain indefinitely.
# Give the problem cat extra attention regularly by practicing play therapy (interactive play with a fishing pole-type toy).
# Don't give up! There is always a humane solution for every behavior problem.


I hope this helps!

badger
June 20th, 2007, 04:50 AM
I would definitely have her checked by a vet, although it sounds behavioural.
She only pees at night and only on your bed (while you are in it?). Hmmm. Maybe the bed is her 'safe island' and she doesn't like to get off it while you are there? Is this in the middle of the night when she wants to play - ie attention-getting?
I would keep your bedroom door closed until you figure this out. Clean the bed with one of those special cleaners, the smell must be completely gone.

ks_wager
June 20th, 2007, 09:49 AM
Thanks for the ideas. She is not afraid of her litter and uses it quite regularly. I will try the mattress cover, and extreme cleaning.

We are always in the bed, but it is not always while we are sleeping. I have made an appoitment with the vet. Thanks so much everyone.

I'm feeling hopeful!

CyberKitten
June 20th, 2007, 11:56 AM
My female Siamese did this twice in my bed - when she was a kitten of about 4 months and I thought maybe it was that she just did not get to the litter box but it was certainly within her reach. I suspect she wanted to play and I was awake (could not sleep) and was ignoring her by trying to sleep so she certainly got my attention - tho cats think like cats, not humans and I do not believe for a minute she was angry with me or trying to get back at me for trying to sleep and not playing with her. Once she became adjusted to my schedule, it never happened again.

The two times it did, I washed the bedding completely and cleaned the area and smell was gone altogether and the problem - tho I never actually saw it as a serious problem - was gone. It is possible once she was spayed, it disappeared. I really do not know. The vet looked at her and found no probs and she is always a happy alpha cat.

ks_wager
June 28th, 2007, 01:54 PM
I took Ruby to the vet and he pronounced her completely healthy, which was a relief. The peeing on our mattress however has yet to stop, I am beginning to think that my kitten has some behavioural issues. My husband is at his end and wants us to find a new home for Ruby. I am not willing to do this yet. Any tips on behaviour modification would be gratefully accepted.

cooperme114
June 28th, 2007, 02:30 PM
I had this same problem when my female cat was about four months old. I asked my vet about it and he said that it was probably her way of telling me that something had changed in her enviroment and she didn't like it. Sure enough, I figured out something had changed. My brother had moved her litter box to a place she didn't like. I moved it back and she stopped.

So make sure everything that belongs to your cat is to your cat's liking.

rainbow
June 28th, 2007, 06:30 PM
Have you tried putting a second litter box in your bedroom for Ruby to use? She is still very young and, perhaps, she is afraid to go to her litterbox at night especially if it is in the basement. :shrug:

badger
June 28th, 2007, 09:26 PM
I'm glad she has been declared healthy, but I don't understand why you keep allowing her on the bed or even in the bedroom. In an upside-down way, letting her repeat the behaviour only reinforces it.

This is a very young cat who probably could have used a few more weeks with her mother, but never mind. The point is, she is still learning. There may be other accidents, a scratch or two on the furniture, tummy upsets and its consequences, and so on. If this is such a huge deal for your husband, then - hate to say it - maybe you should rehome.

CyberKitten
June 28th, 2007, 11:33 PM
I have to concur with Badger - it does sound behavioral since she is healthy physically. Yo are reinforcing the behaviour- making it acceptable for her to urinate in your bed by having her there. She may think that is what she is supposed to do.While all my cats sleep with me- with only a few incidents that I can enumerate on one hand - I hate to see a small kitten sleeping alone but since this is such a problem, maybe you should get her a cat bed or set something up for her away from the bedroom - and also look at what has changed in her life when she began the behaviour? The litter box? A new person in the home? A new animal? A move? A new outdoor cat near windows in the bedroom? She may have begun it for one of those reasons but now that it is reinforced, she thinks it is the norm. I think you almost have to start over with the training - and it is sad that she lost her feline mom at such a young age (she was pretty much an orphan kitty when you adopted her, too young to be away from her mama who she still needed much to learn from (esp litter habits!) but that is too late to undo now. (Ideal age is 12 mos tho 8 wks is sometimes OK in cases where say a rescue group has no choice).

I would look at all the things you can do to change it = positively - and if your husband is that unhappy, it might be best for her to be in a home where she feels happier. She no doubt senses his animosity and that doe snot at all help! Even if he does not DO anything to her, kitties are so sensitive that they pick this up and she will know what he feels - ie feel his displeasure with her.

Good luck!!

ks_wager
June 29th, 2007, 08:35 AM
Thanks for the ideas!! She is not allowed in the bedroom at night, she has her own bed in the living room which she is great with, however we have two young children that still wake in the night and slip into our bedroom, which opens the door. No excuses though, I will try anything. I have purchased a second litter box and will put it upstairs. I am wondering if our children's play with the kitten could be her trigger. They can be rough sometime, they arel earning.

Thanks everyone

rainbow
June 29th, 2007, 06:31 PM
I would not allow your children to play rough with the kitten. She is, after all, still just a baby at 9 weeks old. I hope the second litter box in your bedroom works. Good luck and keep us posted. :fingerscr

dudabug
July 9th, 2007, 12:42 AM
:cat: CATS and WOMEN do as they want.........us DOGS and MEN may as well get used to it. :cat:

ks_wager
July 9th, 2007, 07:43 AM
Well, so far so good. I am crossing my fingers that it lasts. The litter box upstairs seems to be working. Ruby seems happier with it there. I am still closing the bedroom door at night and when we are not home, but if the kids open the door, we have no accidents.

Thanks for all of the great advise, I really appreciate it.

krdahmer
July 9th, 2007, 01:53 PM
Glad to see your bed is sleepable again and that Ruby is happier too! See sometimes it is an easy fix!:goodvibes: