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HELP! Cat urinating on everything!!

May 6th, 2008, 07:31 AM
Hi! I'm new here. I ran across this message board when I did a google search on how to stop my cat from urinating on everything. We have 3 cats - an 18 yr old, a 3 yr old (both females) and a 1 yr old boy. The boy is our problem right now. He pees on everything!! It started with clothing/coats that might have been left on the floor (husband is very bad about picking up after himself). When we made sure there were no coats on the floor, it stopped for a little bit. Then he started peeing on anything cloth that might be on the floor - we have had to throw away 2 sleeping bags now!! Then he started peeing on plastic bags - and whatever happened to be in them. This morning he peed on my bed - while my husband was still laying in it asleep!!!!!! This has got to stop. My very last option is to find him a new home, but this is going to be a bigger problem soon than it is now because I am expecting another baby. So far, the cat has not peed in my son's room, but I cannot guarantee that he won't since he peed on my bed this morning. I definitely do not want to worry about him peeing in the crib! I DO NOT want to get rid of this cat - it is mainly my son's and I don't want his life changing so dramatically especially with a baby on the way. (My son is 11 1/12.) Someone PLEASE help me!!!

May 6th, 2008, 08:14 AM
Has this male cat been neutered. If not, do it now, that will help stop him from spraying inside, although it's easier if they've been neutered before they start spraying.
Keep the door to the baby's room closed until you're sure you've got this problem under control.
No more clothing or cloth items or plastic bags on the floor. We had a female cat who we could not break from that habit (she reserved it only for clothes on the basement floor where the laundry facilities were), so we all learned to keep clothing and bags off the floor.
Has he been checked by a vet to make sure it's not something medical.
How many litter boxes do you have. Each cat should have their own in an ideal world. With 3 cats I would have at least 2.


May 6th, 2008, 08:50 AM
Plastic has become a big magnet in my household as well. It started out of the blue (all my cats are neutered) and I think it has to do with overcrowding. What is the dynamic between the three cats? Has anything changed? Anyone been to the vet lately (this gives them a certain smell, which other cats may react to)?
If this is a new behaviour, have the boy checked for a urinary infection, just in case.
If there is no infection and no obvious trigger, in addition to keeping him out of certain rooms, you could try Feliway spray in areas he seems to favour for marking. Feliway is also available in a plug-in but I don't know how you would spray-proof an entire house without going bankrupt.
Good luck with the little devil.

May 6th, 2008, 09:06 AM
Thanks for the replies so far!! Yes, he is neutered. The two older cats had gone to the vet a few weeks ago, but the peeing on everything started before that. The dynamic between the cats is normal, I guess. The 18 yr old keeps to herself (we have seperate problems with her using the bathroom in the kitchen, but that's about old age!), and the 3 yr old is a playmate. The cat is the funniest acting thing around my son. He's almost more like a puppy or something - he will sit in my son's lap and the cat will rub his face all over my son's face!! They are so cute together - that's why I really have a problem with facing the prospect of having to give him away. (BTW, I would NEVER give him to a facility that would end up euthanizing him!) Anyway, my husband is calling the vet today to get him checked out. If anyone else has any advice, please let me know!

May 6th, 2008, 09:10 AM
You didn't mention the litter box situation: how many, where are they, what kind of litter, how often are they cleaned? I'm glad he's going for a vet check - that's definitely one of the first things to rule out. But cats can be very territorial without humans ever noticing it, so you might need to re-evaluate how and where the litter boxes are set up. Here's a good overview of all things litter related:

May 6th, 2008, 09:18 AM
The cat is the funniest acting thing around my son. He's almost more like a puppy or something - he will sit in my son's lap and the cat will rub his face all over my son's face!!

Sounds like this cat has become very attached to your son, the rubbing on the face is marking territory, which is what urnine marking is about. He may be very territorial.

First step of course is bloodwork/urninalysis at the vet. If all is OK, then an additional litter box in the room where he unrinates the most.

May 6th, 2008, 10:55 AM
Sorry, forgot to put about the litter box situation. When we first got him, we had 2 litter boxes and realized right away that all 3 cats were using the same box. So, we invested in a huge litter box (it is the roll-over kind for easy cleaning) and they were using that without a problem for several months. My husband and I had already wondered last night if we should get another litter box after all. The son is the one who cleans the litter box and misses a time here and there, but it does not always coincide with the times that the cat pees somewhere else. I am not able to clean the litter box myself right now, of course, because of the pregnancy. My husband generally takes care of cleaning it when my son forgets.

May 6th, 2008, 12:04 PM
I would absolutely get another litter box or 2 or 3 and put them in different areas of the house. I'm not familiar with the "roll-over" kind, is it covered? If so, I'd also suggest that at least one of the new boxes be un-covered. And get your hubby on regular (as in daily) litter box duty, it really shouldn't be the responsibility of an 11 yr old. Good luck, and let us know how the vet-visit goes!

May 6th, 2008, 12:44 PM
I understand that you don't think an 11 yr old should be responsible for the litter box, but that is one of his chores, and he is responsible for it. This is a decision that my husband and I made to teach my son responsibility since the cats are his. I was responsible for my cat's litter box at age 8, so I think that having waited until my son is 11 is more than reasonable. I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the advice, it's just that it is our decision and what works best for our family and what we know our son can handle. I do appreciate any and all advice.

I followed that link to the Litter Box page, and my husband and I are now considering using the idea of the large rubbermaid container. The roll-over box is covered. Two of the cats stand to urinate, so a covered box has been a neccessity. (We have tried uncovered boxes before, unsuccessfully.)

Has anyone else used the container idea with success?

May 6th, 2008, 01:08 PM
I have 3 large litter boxes in my house and all are uncovered. I've never tried a covered one, but I can't see my cats wanting to go into one. If you don't make the boxes an inviting place for them to go, then they will go somewhere else:shrug: One large box for 3 cats is not enough IMO. I have one in the basement and 2 on the second floor and have never had an issue with them not using the boxes. They may miss once in a while, but the boxes are set on large boot trays which makes cleaning up any misses easy. The boxes are scooped daily and the litter is completely replaced once a week. Yes it's a big chore, but I like a clean bathroom....I'm sure my cats do too. I understand your wanting to teach your son the responsibility of owning and looking after a cat, but I would would be checking every day to make sure it is done. Especially when you're having issues.


May 6th, 2008, 01:10 PM
I understand that you don't think an 11 yr old should be responsible for the litter box, but that is one of his chores, and he is responsible for it. This is a decision that my husband and I made to teach my son responsibility since the cats are his.

But if he isn't doing it religously, then I'm not so sure he IS responsible enough. Perhaps he just needs to be made more aware of how fastidious cats are and how it isn't fair to expect them to walk in their own urine or feces if he's too tired or busy to clean it some days. From my previous link:


Please do not force your cat to suffer with a dirty litter box because you’ve designated cleaning it as your child’s responsibility. Children often cannot be trusted to maintain a litter box properly and your cat will suffer for it and, in turn, so will you when you are faced with an inappropriate elimination problem.

(Sorry, I'm not meaning to harp on you about it, I just want to help your cat :))

May 6th, 2008, 01:23 PM
Forgot, here's another very thorough discussion on innapropriate elimination:

And if all else fails, you might want to try Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract ( litter or litter additive.

May 6th, 2008, 01:26 PM
I believe in giving children responsibility, at 11 I was babysitting other people's children.

Perhaps if mom or dad checks on a daily basis to ensure it is done, and still gives the child a chore. This will ensure kitties have a clean place to go. (Well, more dad while mom is pregnant);)

May 7th, 2008, 06:15 AM
Love4himies - thank you for coming to my defense on the children/responsibility issue. I was letting myself in the house by myself by 4th grade AND caring for my brother (who is 4 1/2 yrs younger than me) at the same time. I was being paid to babysit by age 11, which is how old my son is now. Actually, he's 11 1/2 and he's going into the 6th grade. I think every person has messed up before in their lives and forgotten to do something a few times, so if my son forgot the litter box a few times as he was first learning what to do and when to do it, then I can certainly forgive that. He is doing much better now, which is part of the confusion of why the cat is still peeing on everything.

Anyway, if this is going to become a discussion about my mothering skills, then I see no reason to continue this. However, if you have some additional advice about the situation I am facing with my cat, I would truly appreciate it.

May 7th, 2008, 06:19 AM
I was also going to ask if he is declawed. Some cats who can't mark their territory by scratching their claws, will do so by urinating.

May 7th, 2008, 06:41 AM
Anyway, if this is going to become a discussion about my mothering skills, then I see no reason to continue this.

Relax. We're just trying to help you with your situation, which is a cat that's under threat of being rehomed because he's "peeing everywhere". One of the first things to look at, after a medical issue, is how clean the box is. That may not be the source of issue anymore, but it might have been the impetus for your kitty deciding he didn't have to use it in the first place and it set the precedent. I really hope you solve this and that everyone lives happily ever after. :)

May 7th, 2008, 08:17 AM
I'm not mad, just trying to steer the discussion back to the original topic. As far as the litter box and being clean, the cat started peeing elsewhere before my son took over duties of cleaning. Before that, I was in charge of it, and it was kept thoroughly clean.

July 8th, 2008, 12:24 AM
Regarding rehoming. If you disclose the problem to a new family, it is unlikely that they will take him. If you don't disclose, he will likely pee there too and then he will end up at the pound or on the street. Rehoming is not usually a good option.

BUT - this problem can probably be treated. My cat used to pee in the house daily. Now she rarely does. Here's how we did it:

First, you must rule out the medical stuff, like an infection or blockage. Ask the vet to take a uring culture and examine the pee for crystals or sediment, Second, be aware that if it is dominance behaviour, it is sometimes hard to treat. The suggestions below are for anxiety or "bad habits." I will comment on dominance issues afterwards.

My cat has cystitis. She has been the "queen of pee" for a long time. It is pretty much under control lately. This this has nothing to do with infections, even though they can occur together.

Cystitis is little crystals pinging off the walls of the bladder and causing irritation. That makes kitty uncomfortable. Getting the bladder flushed out regularly is the best treatment. So, the FIRST thing I would suggest is canned food. It made a HUGE difference here. More frequent peeing means that the crystals get flushed out and do not "ping" around as much.

Second, kitty has learned that peeing hurts, and transfers that avoidance to litter box avoidance. So, the second thing I would recommend is putting out extra litter pans - in every room if you can.

Third - litter box retraining. My cat is trained to pee on command. When I think she is getting full, I take her to the box and insist that she goes. If she's empty, she sits down, but if she has pee, she will go. To do this, take her to the box VERY frequently and say "time to pee" or come-on, hurry up." If kitty leaves th box, turn him (?) around and insist. Repeat until you are pretty sure that he doesn't have to pee. If he pees, praise him lavishly. To ensure that he learns this, isolate him in the bathroom for several hours with NO litter box. Bring him out and take him to the box. If he pees, he gets free run of the house. If he doesn't pee, return him to the bathroom for a couple of more hours to let more pee build up. Kitty will learn pretty quickly that peeing on command means "freedom" and not peeing means "bathroom.

Last (but definitely not least) you must get rid of ALL the pee smell. On floors, bleach-water will work. On fabrics and carpets, pour regular Listerine (yes, you read that right) half and half into the carpet. Make sure that it gets good and wet so that it gets down to the pad. It works better than the pet products like Simple Solution and so on.

We went from peeing in the house almost daily to rarely having an accident.

You can also try anti-anxiety drugs. Those are very effective in some cases, since stress makes peeing WORSE. My cat always has more accidents when she is stressed. If you continue to have problems, ask your vet about "clonicalm." It's not something you want to use long-term (side effects) but in the short term, it might help with the litter-box retraining I mentioned.

BE SURE to keep ALL tempations up off the floor and out of access. Keep clean and dirty laundry secured in a hamper. Don't leave paper of plasic or clothes on the floor or tossed on couches. Don't leave dirty clothes on beds.

And yes - clean litter boxes and lots of them on multiple levels.

Peeing on you while you are in the bed is *probably* dominance behaviour. He is "claiming" you.

Anti-anxiety drugs can also help decrease the need to express dominance behaviour. It can act as a "bandaid" to stop the behaviour. Then, gradually, you keep reducing the dose until you find the right balance between medication and symptom control.

It's possible that your kitty has BOTH bad habits and dominance issues, Reducing one will also help reduce the other.

People are reluctant to use medications. I am *NOT* saying they should be the first choice, but if behavioural changes are not working, they are a very good second choice - one that actually ALLOWS better success with the behavioural changes themselves. In other words - the drugs control the symptoms long enough that new learning can be implemented.
People will give drugs for any part of the body except the brain. Then they become resistant to the idea. But the brain is basically just another organ. Rushing to use drugs is not the first choice, but it very likely will help if other measures don't work.