In dire need of advice about cat not using the litter box

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In dire need of advice about cat not using the litter box

Post by MarleyCat12 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:56 am

I’m at my wits end here and I don’t know what else to do.

My cat one day stopped using her litter box to pee and began peeing on the carpet. That was years ago. This is a behavioral issue, I know. So I recently moved and the whole apartment was supposed to have hardwood floors other than the bedroom. Well...what do you know, I show up and the whole thing is carpeted...super. Kitty used the litter box fine for a few days, then started peeing on the carpet just feet from the litter box.

I have carpet cleaned constantly and used enzymatic cleaners. She continued to use that area to pee. I began sitting with her at the litter box and giving affection to associate positivity with the litter box. And I have also been putting her in the box every few hours, making sure she uses it, not my carpet. I put down aluminum foil where she was peeing. She went to the litter box a few days then started peeing next to the foil. I bought stress relief drops, which seemed to work but were a pain to get her to take. So I bought a pheromone collar, which does seem to be helping, but she is still choosing the carpet over the litter box. I bought a black light to try and find other areas she may move to, but it doesn’t appear to work with this particular carpet.

So I started locking her in the bathroom while I was at work. She has food, water, and a litter box (which she uses). Yes, I feel like a total jerk. No, I don’t want to do it. But she simply cannot pee all over my carpet. But I also cannot rehome her or put her down. Needless to say, I am super stressed. She is super loving when I get home but it feels inhumane. Not to mention, she still pees on my carpet at night because I simply cannot lock her up that much. But once a night is an improvement on 4 times a day. What can I do here?

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Re: In dire need of advice about cat not using the litter box

Post by Janey » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:42 am

Hi and welcome. It’s a real pain when this happens, when I fostered, one cat was the same. However, once a home was found and he could go out he was fine. So the first thing that comes to mind is - can your cat go out, and if not is she wanting to? Similarly if she can go out and there is something going on outside, that can cause her stress, e.g. new cats in the neighbourhood that can cause it too. Also, have you tried different litters? Here is a link which may be helpful: ... ay-indoors
I hope you manage to sort it.

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Re: In dire need of advice about cat not using the litter box

Post by Lilith » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:43 am

Hi and welcome :)

Hi Janey too, we overlapped :)

Whew, you have a problem indeed. I can't pretend to be an expert; I once had a dreadful cat, who was alpha cat in the house, VERY dominant, spayed as a kitten, plenty of freedom and company and fuss - and she sprayed like a tom. Everywhere. I never did cure her. She died peacefully at home of old age ... and a week or two later I found a posthumous piddle in a corner ... I swear she came back to do it lol.

A while back I got a Stanley knife and slashed off a good third of my living room carpet because of my disgusting Molly, also spayed, equally dominant, who'd been peeing on it for I don't know how long - but in Molly's case it seems she dislikes certain litters and will only use a clay clumping variety ... oh boy, whatever you want, Moll! She too gets huge praise when I see her using the tray, like your Kitty. So far so good - she hasn't had a go at the replacement mats ... paws crossed!

I can understand your putting Kitty in the bathroom while you're out ... and she accepts this situation and uses her tray like a good girl ... they're so hard to understand! Have you tried putting a tray in her illegal piddling place? Or a puppy pad? Is your house rented or can you rip up that contaminated carpet and start afresh? Cat wee is dreadful stuff to get rid of. I did buy some stuff called 'Nature's Miracle' which I THOUGHT worked for a while, but then realised it hadn't.

Hopefully other people will have better advice than me and be along soon but just wanted to sympathise and say I do hope you find a solution to this - it's soul destroying, no matter how we love them, the little horrors.

All the very very best!

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Re: In dire need of advice about cat not using the litter box

Post by Ruth B » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:26 am

I don't blame you for being at your wits end it is a horrible problem to have to deal with.

I am assuming that over the time she has been refusing to use the litter tray she has been checked by a vet for any medical problem that might cause the issue, sometimes if they a UTI or Cystitis it can cause pain when they use the tray and they start to associate the litter tray with pain so stop going there.

You mention what you have done to try and stop her going on the carpet, but not what you have tried to encourage her to use the litter tray, so there might be an answer there. If you have a covered litter tray then she might not like being enclosed, if it is a small tray she might not feel she has room to move and dig as she likes, if she is getting older and the litter tray has high sides is she having problems getting in to it, if it is something like the wood pellet litter she might find it uncomfortable on her paws. These might sound minor things but to her it could be a big deal, I saw it myself when I adopted my Mothers cat at the start of the year.

My Mother always said she would not use a litter tray and would insist on going outside, as she would have to be kept in for several weeks after she moved in with me that wasn't an option, although I had considered getting a bag of topsoil to put in a tray for her if necessary. However, after a two hour car trip, I let her out and filled a tray with the fine grained clumping litter that I use for my cats, she went straight to the tray and started digging like mad, there were a couple of accidents where she had missed the tray and it had soaked into the newspaper under the tray, but she never went any were else. My Mum used the wood pellet litter and she obviously just didn't like it.

As has been mentioned puppy pads beside the tray might give her an area she is happy to go on and save the carpet.

You might also want to get a mattress protector, one that is waterproof on one side and fabric on the other, cut out the elastic as it is designed to fit over a mattress like a fitted sheet and put that on the floor where she tends to go, it will soak up any urine and stop it reaching the carpet. Although they are water proof on one side they can be washed but do take a bit of drying, but it might help save your carpet.

If she really won't go on anything but carpet with out a fight then getting some cheap off cuts from the local carpet store and cutting them up to fit in a litter tray might work and you just throw them out after use. It might sound daft but if it means that she that she can go in one place where she is happy then it would be worth it, after all it does sound like she has been going on the carpet for quite a while now.

I do hope you can find a solution that means you and her can live a happy stress free life together again.

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Re: In dire need of advice about cat not using the litter box

Post by Kay » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:02 am

I wondered too, Ruth, if the type of litter used could be the key = especially as she uses the tray for a few days before going back to the carpet

have you ever tried changing the litter every day? expensive though that would be, it would be cheaper than new carpets

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Re: In dire need of advice about cat not using the litter box

Post by Sniper1 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:33 pm

I would put down several trays each with a different litter to see which one she prefers then choose the one she prefers and have two trays changing one fully with fresh litter every day just to see if that helps

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Re: In dire need of advice about cat not using the litter box

Post by Nicky brown » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:03 pm

Just read your post but realise it is a couple of weeks later now - sorry.
My wee boy Hendrick, who sadly was fatally injured in October, was the same. We got him at 8 weeks or so and were told he was house trained and right enough, he used the litter tray immediately but then things changed for no apparent reason. First he peed on the carpet under my bed - I caught him in the act. I was mortified and it put paid to him ever being allowed in the room alone plus I used to freak out if ever he went under the bed again ( though lots of cuddles still took place in bed on a Sunday morning) then one day I caught him peeing in the dining room on our wooden floor, then our upstairs lounge - wooden floor, then the utility on tiles then the worst - we found 5 piles of poo in the hall. (we had a lot of clutter and furniture so it wasn't obvious). There had been a smell but we couldn't find the source so thought it was just lingering from litter tray use - because yes, he was using the litter tray too. This went on for a year - thankfully pee not poo. ( small mercies). Fortunately our hall has never been finished and was chipboard so we were able to use neat bleach. What else did I do?
I loved him and tried not to scold him - I treated him like a child ( might of lost the rag a little a couple of times). I always put him straight into the litter tray - even after the event. If ever I saw him sniffing about, I put him in the tray and when he used it, always fed him treats and told him what a good boy he was. Things began to improve when I added a second tray next to the first. I didn't try different litter as I've always just stuck to wood pellets. I had two other cats both of whom go outside all the time so the trays were just for Hendy. He desperately wanted to go outside too which I think was part of the problem but having lost my previous baby at 11 months, I was protective of Hendrick. Like you, we shut him in the bathroom whilst at work but had to do it at night too. He got used to it and by 2 and a half (the age he was when we so sadly parted) it was routine at night. We always gave him supper in the bathroom at bedtime and sometimes he even took himself to bed. When we thought we could trust him we let him have the freedom of the hall again and downstairs lounge - only to discover one day that he had been peeing repeatedly on the carpet behind the couch (ARRGH). I used vinegar and bicarbonate of soda several times which definitely worked to deodorise but I was left with a bit of a stain ( fortunately where no one can see). That was the end of allowing the freedom of the lounge when we were out but..... When he was taken from us, he had been clean for around 6 months and although still sleeping in the bathroom at night, had the freedom of the hall, stair and landing by day with no more mishaps. We'll never know what it was about - I've had many cats over 30 years and never had that before and I've always had 2 or 3, introducing new family members along the way. When he was Injured/killed, it was made harder knowing we had worked so hard with him and had reached a plateau where he was now a handsome, loveable and finally ( all be it 'watched', house trained adult cat). Obviously we had started letting him out whilst we were home - 2018 was such a warm spring and summer - and a couple of times the monkey stayed out all night - worrying me endlessly. He was fatally injured on a late Autumn afternoon - he blended in with the Autumn leaves and think likely was chasing a squirrel so nothing to do with having to cross the road to go to the toilet. He had only been out 10 or 15 minutes too. I can't regret letting him out because I think he was upset to be stuck indoors when the others were out but on the topic of being clean, perseverance and hard work and lots of love paid off and at no time did I consider that he couldn't stay forever, we just had to find a way and we thought we had. Good luck. It will work out and remember - vinegar and bicarbonate of soda on any soiled upholstery. Oh - and don't clean floors and carpets with discinfectant that smells the same as anything you use to clean the litter tray - find an alternative fragrance.
Sorry - a bit of a long winded reply but hopeful some tips in there.

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