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Urinating outside the box

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  • Urinating outside the box

    Pele is a 10 year old domestic short hair cat (neutered) that I've had since he was a kitten. He was the first pet I got as an adult on my own. He's live with several animals throughout his life. He was diagnosed with diabetes last year. He is affectionate to me and my husband and even guests. Including Pele, I currently have 3 cats and 1 dog.

    My question/issue is with him urinating outside the litter box. It started many years ago as a "I'm mad at you, Mom." signal. If the litter box wasn't cleaned 1 day or he was fed late or a new animal was brought home. It was fairly rare and a non-issue.

    In the last 2 years, it's been happening really consistently. I now keep a hand carpet shampooer and a full sized shampooer. I use one right away and do a full shampoo as soon as I start to smell that its permeating through the house. It's very tiresome but I don't like my home to smell like I have pets.

    I've tried everything: I now have several litter boxes, one for every room in the house which are cleaned constantly. I've tried the facial phermone plug-ins and sprays. I yell at him and place him in the litter box when I catch him in the act and I praise and reward him when I see him use the litter box. I give him special attention and am very careful to feed him on time. My vet thought it would stop when we got the diabetes under control, but it has not.

    And now, my husband and I are talking about getting pregnant. I can't be crawling around cleaning urine while I'm carrying and I can't allow a child to crawl on a urine soaked carpet. I've always disagreed with people getting rid of an animal that had a non-violent behavior issue, but I can't see any way around this.

    I love my Pele and I'm afraid that a 10 year old with diabetes and a litterbox issue will have a hard time making it into a good home, yet I feel that perhaps, a single animal home might be the answer.

    What have I left to try before getting rid of my first born? I truly consider that a last case scenario. I am not a fair-weather pet owner, I take full responsibility for any animal I bring into my home and will avoid getting rid of him any way I can.

    Please help!

  • #2
    Hello and welcome to pet lovers!

    Has Pele's urine ever been cultured for crystals? Has an xray or ultrasound ever been done to check the condition of his urinary tract (scarring or thickening) and to look for stones?

    What are you using to clean the soiled areas? You need to use an enzymatic cleaner, one specially for pet soiling. Regular cleaners will not remove the odor so that he can no longer smell it. Enzymatic means it breaks down the bacteria and eradicates the odor completely.

    Have you ever tried cat attract litter?

    Dr Elsey's Cat Attract Litter

    Have you tried retraining? Put Pele in a restricted area. A small bathroom, or even better, a large dog crate. There should be room for only his litter box, a bed and his food and water dishes. (and of course some toys and able to stand up and move around)

    Usually two weeks in the restricted area to get the habit of using the box ingrained. Then gradually allow more freedom, but only one room at a time. From crate to...a bedroom, for example. And when he shows he uses only the box in the bedroom for a couple weeks, then see how he does in the rest of the house.

    I recommend using the cat attract litter, during the retraining, and afterward, and running a feliway to help reduce his stress at being confined.

    Let us know how it goes.


    • #3
      First- thanks for not giving up on your Pele! So many people out there do the complete opposite as you are doing, and I see it every week when I volunteer at the humane society. Thank you!!

      Second- has he been tested for a urinary tract infection? That's what I first think of but you said its been ongoing for several years, and I don't know if UTIs can go that long...
      Do you know if he's getting arthritis? Maybe it hurts him to climb inside the litter box now so he avoids going inside. A low-sided litter box would let him walk in and out easily. I've never seen them for sale but an old baking sheet (or one from a second-hand store) could work.

      I hope you get this figured out! :]

      "A true friend is one who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else" ~ A Wise Fortune Cookie
      Kesha, wait for me at the rainbow, m'kay?


      • #4
        Thank you both for your replies. I'm going to do two things at this point:

        First, there's a side story: the latest addition to our house was a stray kitten that we took in last August. He hasn't been neutered because it was found that he has a bad heart murmur and they can't put him under. They can do the surgery with local anestetic, but the vet didn't seem to think he'd last long and said he might not make it through, so we weren't going to put him through that. Now though, he's really spunky and if you couldn't feel the murmur, you wouldn't know there was anything wrong. That said, I'm going to ask the vet if she still thinks the surgery is an option and try to get that set of hormones toned down.

        Second, I'm going to take Pele to that same vet. I had been taking him to another doctor in the same office, but when we took in that stray, Austin, and were scheduled with Dr Kosta instead of my normal vet, she seemed quite a bit more thorough. I will have her test him for UTIs.

        As I said, this has been a behavior issue that has surfaced at different points in his life when he's unsettled for whatever reason and there has been more chaos in the last couple years and it's been worse yet since we brought the other male cat in.

        I'll also try that litter and see if he still needs the retraining after that. We'll be buying a home and moving when our lease is up in May. I'm going to try everything I can in the mean time. My husband and I agreed that if it's between Pele and Austin (the stray with the heart condition), that our real commitment is to Pele and we'll have to find Austin a new home, since we originally only intended to foster Austin.

        Thank you again for your insights.


        • #5
          Hopefully Pele's vet visit goes well.
          I hope it doesn't come down to you having to rehome Austin, but I know you want the best for both of your cats.
          Good luck.

          "A true friend is one who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else" ~ A Wise Fortune Cookie
          Kesha, wait for me at the rainbow, m'kay?


          • #6
            Pele peeing

            Now that you've added the info about the stray you took in, that is exactly the answer to Pele's behavior. Since the stray is not neutered, Pele feels threatened by his existence and will want to dominate the home, which he is doing. I had the exact same problem until I neutered the kittens I brought into my home. Once that was done, my male 6-yr old cat, Cooky-Too, went back to his normal routine of using the litter box (he prefers clumping litter). He had also taken to jumping onto my kitchen counter and spraying his stench on it and the backsplash! Imagine the odor I encountered first thing in the morning! Even though Cooky-Too was neutered at a very early age, the fact that I brought in unaltered cats into my home spurred on his spraying aka "dominance." You're going to have to make a choice, either live with the pee or find a home for the kitten. Also, anyone who has a cat should never put a litter box on a carpeted floor (or have carpets in the house). My floors are all tiled.