Cats are instinctively clean creatures, known for cleaning their fur and grooming themselves. So if you are a cat owner, you already know your feline friend is pertinent about its daily routine, is selective about its toilet facilities, and keeps its territory protected.
Cats urinate 3 to 5 times daily and always go to their preferred place to urinate or spray. Unfortunately, if your cat is peeing on the carpet or outside its litter box, it’s called inappropriate urination and must be addressed immediately.
In this article, I’ve put together why your cat might be peeing on the carpet and the measures you can take to change this habit.
Reasons Your Cat Is Peeing on the Carpet
Besides urinating on the carpet, cats can pee on furnishings, pillows, rugs, and any other soft item within access. Let’s review the reasons that trigger this behavior.
Having Other Cats in the House
If you’ve brought a new cat home, you may notice a shift in your resident cat’s urination patterns. In addition, your feline friend may feel anxious or apprehensive about the new cat in its territory.
They could spray urine outside the litter box, on the carpet, and in different locations to establish territory.
Fortunately, there are many methods available to facilitate positive interactions among felines. If you are planning to keep multiple cats in your household, you will need more litter boxes, keeping them at a distance from each other, preferably in different locations.
Your Cat Has An Underlying Medical Condition
If you notice a change in your cat’s bathroom habits, ensure everything is sound with its health. For example, if it has started urinating frequently, it might suffer from medical conditions, including feline interstitial cystitis, diabetes, kidney disease, urinary tract infections, or bladder stones.
If the litter box is getting too dirty, or the cat is either avoiding using it or taking too long to get to it, you should get an evaluation done by the veterinarian. Always take your cat to the vet if you notice a change in its urination habits.
Resource Sharing With Other Cats
If you have more than one cat in your home, ensure each has its litter box. Likewise, ensure each cat gets its food and drink bowls, bed, and litter tray, and keep them in separate areas because felines are notoriously solitary.
Cat Territorial Traits
When a cat reaches sexual maturity, it will begin spraying, sometimes mistaken for urinating, to establish its territory.
They leave these odorous and visually distinct paw prints and scratch marks on their territory to let cats and other pets in the neighborhood know that this is their territory and they will protect their area. It’s also possible that they’re spraying to look for available cats of the opposite sex.
Another reason for your cat spraying can be its anxiety or when something triggers a stress response. The pool of its pee surrounding it makes it feel at ease and familiar with the surroundings.
Litter Boxes and Substrate
Is there sufficient room in the litter box? Your cat may have outgrown the litter box you bought as a kitten. It will be more comfortable if the tray is at least 1.5 times as long and slightly wider than your pet.
Take into account the depth of the litter box. If your cat prefers to dig the litter, purchase a bigger-sized tray. Most cats enjoy a depth of about 3-4 cm, so they may dig and bury the excrement, but every cat is different, so it’s essential to cater to your pet’s preferences.
Cats prefer using clean litter boxes when the substrate has been replaced frequently. Therefore, always wash the litter box and add fresh litter regularly. As an additional precaution, the tray should be deep enough to hold the substrate, as some cats try to hide their messes.
Maybe they’re not keen on the substrate you’re employing. Generally, felines prefer the substrate they were raised on as kittens. Thus it could be helpful to learn what they used before. Also, give your companion time to adjust to a new litter if you change.
Types of Substrates for Litter Boxes
Let’s discuss the three types of substrates:
- Non-scented substrates, such as clay, are preferred by most cats, whereas other cats like the finer, sandier varieties.
- You can also use crushed walnut shells as a clumping substrate. Again, it is eco-friendly, sustainable, and a renewable resource.
- Old newspaper pulp, absorbent pellets, or granules make non-clumping substrates.
- Compressed sawdust or wood pellets contain pine oil to mask urination odors, but it may be too abrasive for your cat’s paws, especially if it’s getting on in years.
- Exotic fibers extracted from coconut shells – it’s friendly and gentle on the paws, made from a renewable resource that won’t run out.
Silica Gel Beads
These beads have recently hit the market and are effective in absorbing odors but rough on sensitive paws.
While cat owners might prefer highly scented litter as the best option, felines don’t. What smells good to us may overwhelm them since their noses are more sensitive. In addition, cats are creatures of habit and preferentially use what they are used to, so if you switch to a different kind of litter, your cat may start eliminating outside the litter box.
Unscented, clumping clay litter containing activated charcoal is the most popular among cats. If you wish to switch to a different brand of litter, keep at least one box of the old brand on hand and use the new litter only if your cat likes it.
How To Prevent Cats From Peeing Indoors
You can try the following ways to stop your cat from peeing indoors:
Consulting Your Vet
If your cat has started urinating in inappropriate places, you should first schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
Cats may urinate outside the litter box for various medical reasons, including urinary hyperthyroidism, tract infections, bladder crystals or stones, feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), arthritis, renal illness, and diabetes.
Your vet will ask you questions about your pet’s behavioral changes, inappropriate patterns, and when these first appeared before conducting a physical exam, urinalysis, and maybe other diagnostic tests to rule out medical causes and identify behavioral ones.
If your veterinarian gives your cat a clean bill of health, you can work together to address any potential environmental or behavioral factors.
Marking Territory for Cats
Spraying is a common way for cats to indicate their territory. They typically do it by squirting a small amount of urine when spraying.
A urine stain on the wall indicates that your cat is spraying rather than peeing. This is because cats have solid olfactory senses and can easily smell the urine of other cats.
Spraying is more common among intact male cats. They should preferably be neutered before puberty, which occurs between 5 and 6 months. Your veterinarian can advise you when to spay or neuter your kitten.
It may be best to provide each cat its own space in a household with more than one cat. If this isn’t an option, you can provide them with hiding spots, covered escape routes, and towering cat trees or perches to help them avoid each other.
The presence of wild or outdoor cats in the area can often explain why residents have been experiencing territorial disputes. However, even if your cat never ventures outdoors, it may experience the same problem merely by looking out the windows.
Cats may benefit from over-the-counter soothing medicines like Feliway Classic. In addition, your vet can prescribe anti-anxiety drugs if all else fails.
Reduce Conflict and Altercations
Some cats may urinate in inappropriate places if introduced to others or if there is already a conflict between the cats in the household.
They may avoid using the litter box if they have been recently introduced to other cats on the premises or if they previously had an encounter there or nearby. Put your cats in separate rooms so tensions can subside, then try reintroducing them.
There could be a lone cat watching over the litter box. If you have a multi-cat household, you should strategically place litter boxes about the house so that no single cat may block access to them. If you want them to be extra cautious and alert, you might also open the litter box door. They will feel more secure and relaxed.
Cleaning the Mess
Whatever the cause of your cat’s inappropriate urination, medical or behavioral, it is imperative that you thoroughly clean the affected areas. In addition, you need to ensure the scent is gone, not just for your health but also so your cat doesn’t return to the same spot because of the familiar smell.
Here are some cleaning tips to make your cleaning routine easier.
- Your nose will do the trick in locating urine markings and the trouble spots.
- First, blot up as much urine as possible with paper or cloth towels if it is fresh. After that, decide which cleaning procedure will be most effective for the type of dirt (and age, in the case of older stains).
- Use the washing machine on a cold cycle to clean your bedding, clothing, towels, etc., then dry them outside.
- Use a standard bacterial cleaner or a product to remove cats’ urine, pet stains, and strong smells from floors and other hard surfaces.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using an enzymatic or bacterial cleaning on your rugs, carpets, beds, and furniture.
Litter Box Location
You might not want to use the restroom if it’s too far away to get to quickly. Your cat may feel the same about the location of its litter tray!
If the litter box is hidden too far away, as in a cabinet in the corner of a basement laundry room, the cat might not bother to use it. Making the litter box accessible to it might help solve several issues.
Remove litter boxes from areas where cats can be startled, like behind or under appliances that make a lot of noise, near plumbing, or in high-traffic areas. Always pick a quiet location, as these complex creatures prefer urinating in a solitary space.
If your pet has a habit of soiling in the same place, try putting a litter box there and gradually transferring it to a location where you won’t mind them using it. Litter box placement and design can significantly impact the cat’s urination patterns.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety for Your Cat
Habits are essential to felines. In addition, their urinary tract (kidneys, bladder, urethra, etc.) is sensitive to stress; thus, anything out of the ordinary will likely make them feel stressed or anxious.
Their anxiety can be triggered by various stimuli that humans might not consider stressful.
For example, humans tend to enjoy certain events like vacations. Your cat may be perceptive enough to notice when you pack your bags and leave the house because of the change in their environment. It could get quite stressed and start urinating in or near the bags. The same stress response can be triggered by having unexpected guests, hosting a party, rearranging furniture, or moving home.
Cats can be discouraged from using the litter box if exposed to loud noises, such as those produced by a clothes dryer, a plumbing leak, or even holiday fireworks.
A sensible approach to reducing stress is always having a clean litter box in your home’s peaceful, secure location. Packaging your bags in a room that can’t be seen from the outside or in a different room entirely is best.
Use cat pheromone diffusers or specially developed cat relaxing treats to keep the atmosphere as stress-free as possible. In addition, you can chat with your vet about your pet’s stress levels and potential triggers, and they may be able to prescribe medicine to help.
Final Thoughts on Preventing Your Cat Peeing On Your Carpet
As pet owners, taking care of your cat’s diet, grooming, and general well-being is crucial. If you notice unusual behavior, primarily related to peeing, immediately get a vet check to rule out a physical condition.
If there is no physical reason, consider any changes to your home and the people living there. Cats are very sensitive to any type of change. Usually, figuring out why your cat is stressed and rectifying it quickly sorts out issues.
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