Post # 1
Help! My cat keeps peeing on our leather couch!!
Some background: we moved across country in October, and since then he’s taken three airplane rides, and has peed: in my suitcase while I was packing, in the storage room of our house while we were packing it up to rent it out, on top of a pile of discarded plastic bags in our bedroom, on my dad’s leather chair at my parent’s house, and twice on the leather couch at the new place we’re renting.
He’s seven months old and I took him to the vet to get neutered on Monday, thinking that the peeing would end, but it hasn’t. I came downstairs today and there was more pee on the couch, even though we’d covered the entire thing with towels.
I told my vet about it at Arthur’s pre-neuter appointment, and she agreed that she didn’t think it was a UTI, but more behavioural.
I don’t know what to do – has anyone suffered from this problem before? I’ve been showering him with love, holding him a lot and talking softly too him as I’m pretty sure he’s upset about feeling strange from surgery, and having to wear the cone of shame (which I’ve posted a pic of on another thread).
Does anyone have ANY advice? Do you think I should have the vet run a battery of tests to rule out any physical problems? He uses the litter box to poop 100% of the time, and has no problem peeing in it 99% of the time. He just strategically chooses these areas that are ‘significant’ to us. I feel so bad because my dad’s leather chair is unfixable, and they’ll have to get it re-covered.
Post # 3
(side note: the post count for this was NEGATIVE 1 when I clicked – so funny! Never seen that before!!)
Leather, in general, is a really bad idea for cats. Our cat used my leather ottoman as a scratching post – and he doesn’t touch any other piece of furniture. Cats use leather as a nesting/clawing spot. If you recover your dad’s chair, don’t choose leather.
Every single person I know has issues with their cat either peeing or hanging out in their suitcases. Keep your suitcase closed. Easy fix! Or keep the cat out of the room when you are packing. Cats love boxes, and they associate suitcases with the trauma of being left alone (or being moved!).
The cat probably peed in the storage room while you were moving out because they are creatures of habit and disturbing that balance is really traumatic to them. What do they do to tell you they are stressed/traumatized? They pee where they shouldn’t (and sometimes poop).
I think this is about environmental stability for the cat and not about how much attention you are giving it. Plus, the leather is just a bad idea.
Post # 4
@crayfish: Ya, the suitcase I’m not too worried about – it’s the fact that we’re renting a fully-furnished house and the couch came with it. We plan on being here for a couple of years, so that should help with the stress factor. There were suddenly a lot of changes in our lives just a month after we got Arthur, so I think this has just freaked him out.
I feel like we’re going to have to lay garbage bags across the couch from now on, when we’re not using it. But I’ve heard that if you feed your cat near the area that he peed, he’ll stop peeing there because they don’t do that near their food. Just wondering if anyone’s ever tried that.
Thankfully he doesn’t claw at the leather. He has a giant climbing tree and another smaller scratching post which he’s pretty good about using. Occasionally he’ll claw at the carpet, but that’s not so bad.
Post # 5
I agree that the problem is more than likely more emotional than anything. With a child, you could explain to them about moving and make them a part of the process to some extent. They also have words to express how they are feeling. But a pet can’t use human language to tell you he is scared or uncomfortable about all the changes that have been happening in his little world. He also has no clue what “moving” is, he just knows that all the family’s belongings were slowly packed away, then he was, and he was driven across the country to a completely new location, with new sights/sounds/smells…he is understandably frightened.
Try Feliaway or have your vet give him some temporary medication to help calm him down so he can get settled in. When you moved in, did you give him the full run of the house immediately, or did you keep him in one room so he could become accustomed to that first? Does he have a spot in the new house that’s “his” where he can go when he is scared or uncomfortable? Also, make sure whenever he soils that you are thoroughly cleaning with a cleaner like Nature’s Miracle (or similar product specifically to remove pet stain odors), so the smell isn’t encouraging him to resoil the area.
Post # 6
@MsGolightly: Look into a product called Feliaway. My little one Glory was peeing on reusable bags, and in people’s stuff if they came to spend the night (soooo embarrassing). My vet ran tests and there was nothing wrong with her, she was just being a little so-and-so. My vet recommended getting another litter box without a lid, and using Feliaway in the areas she peed in. It’s basically a plug-in (like a Glade) that emits pheromones that only cats can smell. SO when kitty gets upset, happy pheromones make kitty feel better and not pee inappropriately. Thankfully she stopped before I had to use it, but my mom uses it with her cats and it works really well for her. Maybe ask your vet if she thinks that would be a good option.
Post # 7
My cat had issues like this before, it’s a fixed older female. She would pee in the laundry basket on top of clothes, on our bed, and on the sofa. I thought it was the smell of our dogs she didn’t like, or the smell of the feathers in the duvet and down matress pad. I coverd the couch in trash bags and then in towels so it wouldn’t seep throught, but man it was horrible. Nothing I did would make her stop, I got different sprays and stuff they never worked. It took 1 time of me actually catching her peeing and, i mean in the act, on the sofa and I grabbed her by her scruff and took and put her in the litter box and made her sit there for like 15 minutes. That was the end of it…knock on wood… she hasn’t done it since probably 3 or 4 years now. Good luck I hope you will find somwthing that works for you. I know how frustrating it is, cat pee smells so bad too 🙁
edit to say the couch and bed she was peeing on was also not ours it. We were renting a furninished house as well. I was unbelievably worried about that , but it worked out ok in the end.
Post # 8
I wish I could help you, but I had this problem too and never fixed it. The cats I fostered always used the litterbox (thank goodness), but they scratched up our furniture, ripped apart our wires and window treatments and threw up almost every day on our furniture. We tried everything from a change in diet, exercise, scratching post, you name it we did it. There is no such thing as keeping something out of your cats reach, they are total acrobats and get into everything. They also got intot he habit of waking us up every morning at 4:00am and I can’t express how stressful that became. There was no keeping them out of our room since we live in a duplex with a spiral staircase and no real bedroom door. We tried keeping them awake late at night so they couldnt’ do this and it didn’t work. We tried spraying with water, it worked twice then they weren’t afriad of it anymore.
All I can say is good luck and hang in there. We eventually passed our cats to another foster home and have decided not to get animals of our own because of everything we went through!
Post # 9
If he was just neutered this week he still has hormones, it take about a month before they are out of his system, so I wouldn’t expect improvement on that yet.
Plastic bags are always tempting, and for your cat it sounds like leather is as well.
Clean the leather with a citrus smelling cleaner, cats tend to not like it and it may help.
If he is doing it with any regularity he should have a urinalysis done, preferably on a cysto’d sample to make sure he does have crystals.
Covering the cough with vinyl table cloths may help to protect it until you can get the issues under control.
Also, he should be eating mostly canned food with water added. Extra liquid will help with any bladder issue.
Other ways to reduce cat stress:
-Having lots of vertical space (ie high places for cats to perch and watch outside or inside action) Being up high makes cats feel very safe and secure.
-Plenty of litter boxes, at least 1 more than the number of cats in the household, scooped at least 1-2 times a day.
-Canned food as all or part of their diet. Canned food is mostly protein and water so it is much closer to the natural diet (ie mouse) of a cat than dry food.
-10 minutes of undivided attention twice a day with no other pets around. It is amazing how many cats feel better with dedicated one on one time.
-Feliway or Comfort Zone Diffusers where the cat spends most of his time. These contain the hormone that tells the cat that everything is good, calm, and friendly.
-Keep their routine as even as possible, cats love to know what to expect, so feed, clean boxes, give attention at the same times each day as much as possible.
Post # 10
Feliaway does work. Its like a xanax glade plug in for your cat.
I used them when I was introducing two new cats to my spoiled girl.
I firmly believe it helped the transition and prevented territorial peeing.
Post # 11
I had this issue with one of our cats for almost 2 years (I had him for about 2 years prior to the incidence). I was at my wits end. He would use the litter box almost always but it seemed like once a week he would decide to pee on the bed or the couch. When it first began I brought him to the vet to check for a UTI..negative. Then I thought it was because we had just moved but when it didn’t stop I pushed that thought to the side. I had never changed the brand of liter so that wasn’t it either. I was cleaning the litter box several times a day so that was definately not an issue. I was seriously begining to consider having to get rid of him. (by the way Kids and Pets is a pretty amazing cleaner for dealing with the cat pee) For what ever reason we then took the cover portion off the cat box and he has not done it since. All that time and it had never occured to me!
Post # 12
I have had this problem with my cats, as well. When I got my second cat, she started spraying my leather couch before I got her spayed. Even after she was spayed, both of the cats would go back and forth peeing in the same spots, in a sort of struggle for dominance. It was AWFUL. The only thing that ever worked was covering the couch with big vinyl upholstery strips every night before I went to bed. Once we moved in with Fiance (the couch did not come with), they were totally fine. There hasn’t been a peeing incident in our new house at all. I think once the couch smells, it’s really hard to get the cat to stop spraying it. I would try cleaning the couch thoroughly with Nature’s Miracle, and just make sure the cat has two litter boxes that are clean enough to be more inviting than the couch. You mentioned that the couch came with your furnished house. It’s very possible that the cat smelled another animal’s scent on it and, coupled with the emotional stress of moving, decided to act out on the couch. Sorry this is happening, I know how much it sucks.
Post # 13
These are great suggestions so I will just add when he goes on your couch, place whatever you use to soak up the pee either in or next to his litter box. Also, if it’s just the couch he keeps doing this with and nothing else works, try feeding him on the couch. Kitties won’t eat where they go.
Post # 14
My cat used to pee on our laundry and couch at our last apartment. When we moved, I locked both cats in the bathroom for three days straight. Their litterbox was in the corner and their food was on the counter with their water. While we unpacked and put everything in its place, the cats stayed in the bathroom, even when they meowed to get out. Finally on day three I opened the door. It took them a while to want to come out, and they went back in whenever they were scared. That bathroom is now their safe room. Before, my cat would never use the litter box with the lid on. Now she has no problem using it even when I’m right there.
I have several theories on why my cat was peeing on my couch.
- It’s where I was spending all my time. TV, laptop, baby. All on the couch.
- The litterbox was in the laundry room, which was downstairs. I honestly think my cat was pissed she had to walk all the way downstairs to pee.
- I think my dog trapped her in there once. She didn’t like that room at all.
- In our previous apartment my cats had their own bedroom. Moving to an apartment where no one place was just hers pissed her off.
Some things you should ask yourself:
- Is my cat comfortable with the location of the litterbox?
- Is there something about the litterbox frightening my cat?
- Does my cat have a safe area/stress free zone where he can hide and relax?
- Has all the urine odor been removed from the couch? If not, the cat will continue to use it.
I’d recommend buying an Sssscat can to place on the couch when you’re not there. It works great for deterring him from being on it when you aren’t around. Also, you need to DOUSE the couch with Nature’s Miracle. I don’t know what that will do to the leather (you should test it first) but you’ll need to buy a new couch if you can’t get an enzyme cleaner soaked into the leather enough to kill the urine smell. I got a 5 gallon container of Nature’s Miracle and soaked my couch. Literally. It was squishy to the touch. It took two and a half weeks to dry. But the cat hasn’t peed on it since and the dog doesn’t mind laying there, so it must have worked ok.
Post # 15
So many interesting suggestions – thanks guys!
Some things that you suggested, I do or have done already: he has an open, big litterbox that I clean a couple of times a day, we have used Nature’s Miracle – it does get the smell out but the stain is still there 🙁 (I’m scared of soaking a couch that isn’t mine), there are no other pets in the house (though the previous tenants had two pugs, so maybe he smells the dogs on the furniture), he does have a safe room which is in the ensuite bathroom off the master bedroom.
I’m going to go today to see if I can buy that Feliaway product. I now have high hopes for it!
It really is so stressful and frustrating 🙁 I would never give him away because of this, but I really need to get a handle on it or else I’m going to end up resenting him.
Post # 16
I’ve had this problem myself before. Our kitten used to pee, the last time he peed was about one week after being neutered so I will agree that there is still some hope the neuter will fix the issue.
I would not go with plastic bags on the couch but instead maybe tin foil, that was what we were recommended. An Extra liter box may be helpful too. I felt like for a while I was potty training because I would set the cat in the box every 30-45 minutes when I was home, sometimes he would go right when I set him in. We tried retraining, putting him in a room with just the box, food and toys but our cat is seriously the most vocal cat ever and I was worried we would get a noise complaint because we lived in an apartment at the time….I have heard that can be effective though.
There is a litter out called cat attrack I think, it’s pretty pricey for cat litter and I would not recommend that. Didn’t work at all.