If you have indoor cats, then you’ll definitely want to know how to keep cats from peeing in the house. This is a problem that can come up suddenly, even with cats you’ve had for years, so it’s a good idea to know how to take care of this issue if it arises.
I never thought this would be an issue that I would have to become knowledgeable about, and yet here we are. I’m about to tell you all about how to keep cats from peeing in the house because one of our cats, Sammy, or “Big Sam” as we usually call him, started doing just that a couple of months ago. Thankfully, we’ve resolved this issue now, but it was definitely a BIG issue while it was going on, as you can imagine! I thought I’d share a little bit about what I learned for all the other pet owners out there who may have to deal with this at some point!
We’ve had Sammy for about 7 years now, and our other matching tuxedo cat Oreo (or “Small Sam”) for about 5. We’ve never had a single litter box related issue with either of them from the time that we adopted them as tiny kittens. The truth is though that this is a behaviour that a lot of cats exhibit at some point in their lives. I think it’s something like 30% of cats!
How to Keep Cats From Peeing in the House
We went on vacation in the fall and this house peeing thing started shortly after that, which was really frustrating. If you’re experiencing this issue with your fluffy friends, here are a few things that you can do!
Figure Out if There Was a Trigger
For us, it was pretty clear that the fact that we were away for 10 days, even with someone coming by to refill food and water everyday, really upset Sammy. It was strange that the problem only started after we’d been home for a little while, but it definitely had something to do with that. Some cats can be really sensitive to changes and even something like moving furniture around can cause them to start doing strange things. Of course, a big change like introducing a new pet into the family can often lead to things like peeing around the house too.
Is it “Marking” or is it Just Peeing?
Depending on what the issue is for your cats, their behaviour may be coming from somewhere different, psychologically speaking. If your cat is upset by some kind of recent change, they may actually be “marking” their territory around your house to send a message to other pets, or just because it often makes them feel more comfortable in a space. Marking can help them to create kind of a comfort zone for themselves. If your cat is actually just using areas of your home other than the litter box to relieve themselves, then it may be an issue with the litter box situation and they may just be trying to find an alternative.
It could also be a little bit of both of course. With Sammy, we thought it could definitely be both, because we had moved the litter boxes to another area of the house while we were away, so that may have caused him to no longer be comfortable using them. We also recognized that he was feeling a little nervous about everything and marking was a possibility, so we decided to just cover all of our bases when tackling the problem. 🙂
Clean Your Litter Boxes Really Well, and Add an Extra One
One of the things that can cause cats to start feeling uncomfortable using their litter boxes is if they’re too dirty or if there’s too much “evidence” of the other cats that use them. It may also be that they have a favourite spot in the litter boxes and that the other cat has started using that spot. The first thing you want to do is to empty out your litter boxes completely, and clean them thoroughly inside and out. You should always have at least one more litter box than the number of cats that you have, but if your felines are particularly finicky, you may need even more. We have 4 now for our two cats, and it’s working well.
Clean Up After Them Right Away
It’s important that you don’t let your cat get comfortable with the new arrangement of them using your entire house as a litter box. If you can locate the spot where they went, clean it up right away, and thoroughly. If you can’t tell where exactly you need to clean, then mop the whole room. Cats are smart and they notice that you’re unhappy with what they’ve done and you’re removing it as quickly as they can leave it. They’ll get the hint. 🙂
Give Them Extra Love
While you might be frustrated, just getting mad at your cats and yelling at them probably won’t fix anything. If they started doing this because they’re nervous or unsure about something, then giving them extra cuddles and pets is definitely the way to go. You want them to feel comfortable and re-assured that everything is normal and their place is the home is the same as it’s always been.
Try a “No-Mark” Spray
One other neat thing to try if you need to keep cats from peeing in the house is something called a “No-Mark” spray. It’s essentially a fake pheromone that the cats can smell and that makes them notice that someone else has marked your home already. We used this after we cleaned up to let Sammy know that not only were we cleaning up his mess, we were replacing it with our own marking and re-claiming it as ours. This spray actually seemed to get the message across almost immediately for Sammy, so it’s definitely worth trying out.
Watch for Signs of Distress and Consult Your Vet
Of course, strange behaviour like peeing all over the house can be a sign that something is wrong health-wise with your cat that they’re trying to let you know about. If your cat is showing signs of distress or seems to be in pain in any way, or if you’ve tried everything and nothing works, definitely consult your vet right away to rule out something like a bladder infection. I find that my vet is also really knowledgeable about the day to day things about being a pet owner, not just serious health-related issues, so if you have a chat with your vet, they’ll probably have some great recommendations for you as to how to keep cats from peeing in the house.
Honestly, this was a really gross issue to have and I’m so glad that we were fully prepared with all of the cleaning supplies that we needed to keep on top of the mess and stink, but it was kind of fascinating to try to get into Sammy’s little head and figure out what was going on with this issue. I’m not saying I’d ever like to have to go about taking care of this problem again, but it was a really interesting experience none-the-less. Courtenay Hartford, Pet Psychologist extraordinaire! Ha! 🙂
Have you ever had the need to learn how to keep cats from peeing in the house? What finally helped you resolve the issue?
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