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Old 01-07-2013, 10:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help with my cat - please! Don't know what to do. =(

Hi all! I am in some serious need of advice. I'm at my wits end with our cat and just can't figure it out.

We have a 9 year old cat named Nala, whom my husband has had ever since she was a kitten. And ever since she was about 2, she has been peeing in the bathroom on the bathmats. I am not overly fond of the behaviour, but as my husband loves the cat dearly, it's never been too much of a problem to daily wash the bathmat. We tried many times to curb that problem, but nothing seemed to work.

However, recently - within the last year - she's stopped using the bathroom and has begun to use my hallway carpet. And now I can no longer keep the area clean, and the whole house is starting to smell. It's yucky, not to mention I have three small kids who love to play in the hallway - one of whom will be learning to crawl very shortly.

We have tried *EVERYTHING*! I've tried the "Cat Attract" Litter - it worked briefly but then she reverted to the hallway. I scrubbed the hallway with "Nature's Miracles" - only to have her pee on it a few days after it dried. I even tried to tape a plastic bag on the area, and she'll pee on the edge of the bag on the carpet. Her litter box stays clean, and the litter is always fresh. She went to the vet recently, and a UTI was not found.

I just don't know what to do! It's been going on for over 7/8 years. And I'm honestly ready to throw in the towel. But the problem is there are no "no kill" shelters in our area that are taking cats (especially any cat that's over 5 yrs) and I don't really want to get rid of her anyway.

What can I do??? Is it too late to cure her litter box issues? Help please! It's crushing my husband.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This could be anything from UTI to a thyroid problem, to simple stress. Vets miss UTIs all the time, I'm afraid

You can try something called Feliway from the vet, or several doses of baking soda based carpet cleaner followed by a new litter box with a different litter.

You might also try putting shredded newspaper in the litter box instead of cat litter. Some cats are attracted to it or just don't like litter. You will need to change it daily, and used baking soda to hold down the odor, though.

Last edited by Tomcats; 01-07-2013 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How did the vet test her for UTI? I would have them pull urine right from her bladder to be sure there's no contamination.

Is she spayed?

Is she de clawed? Some de clawed cats don't like the feel of litter on their mutilated toes.

After exhausting *ALL* medical issues I would suggest re training her. Buy a large (great dane size) dog crate. In it goes a litter pan, food/water, and a bed. A few slats of wood through the holes on the side with a board can make it a two leveler. Put her water and food as far from the litter as possible. Once she's using the litter box in there without fail expand her space to a very small room like a bathroom. The only soft surface is a bed for her. Keep giving her more access to space as she improves. Any accidents and back to the step before. For this to work you *MUST* clean the accident areas really well with a good enzymatic cleaner. If she smells urine (way more sensitive nose than you have) then she'll start again.

Again, you need to be way more sure that it's not a UTI (I wouldn't be with the limited info we have on what the vet said).
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Referring to the post above. Check the paper, Craiglist, or thrift store for used crates. The big ones can be really expensive when new. Also, there is a product called Dumb Cat that is for cleaning accidents that works really well. I have gotten it at Petsmart. Not cheap but works good.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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For starters, why not shut her off from the hallway and break the habit?
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A lot of cats are attracted to bathmats because of the smell
of the rubber backing. That's a toughie. As for the hall carpeting,
that's another matter. You must get rid of all urine scent, which
is difficult with the padding they put under carpeting. It may take
one of those spray-and-retrieve carpet cleaners they rent or a
pro cleaning job. Urine can't be eliminated just by scrubbing with
soap, either. It takes both a soap scrub AND an enzyme killer to
completely eliminate the odor to the cat, so a really good carpet
cleaner (nontoxic to cats!) AND something like Nature's Miracle
or ByeBye odor should clear the scent. Yes, it's a lot of work,
but there's no other way. Also, cats don't like to go in an area
where they eat, so I've heard of cats being reconditioned by
putting a dish with a few kitty kibbles down in the areas where
they spray or pee. A new litter box might help too. We forget
that the odors get absorbed by the plastic, and while it might
not be at an offensive level to us, the cats can object. I've
been told to get new boxes every year, and so I don't forget
I write the date I purchased the box on the bottom in magic
marker. I also agree with the UTI testing. It will make them
change their behavior.

Good luck and good cleaning to you
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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yeah, i heard the thing about they won't pee where they eat. i was bed-ridden at the time and wrong. i started feeding my cats in my bed simply to try to stop the one that was going in it, and he did it anyway. so much for that theory for all cats, i suppose.

i did everything, and i mean everything you can think of for a couple of years (uti check, neuter, put a big piece of plywood on my bed if i got up to go to the bathroom, put food in my bed, feliway, new mattress, new sheets and pillows, new litterboxes, litter boxes in different places, feliway, citrus spray, hot pepper.) the only thing that even worked for a little while was leaving an open jar of icy hot on the bed. cats hate that smell, but he was very determined and after a couple of months, that was a fail also.

come to find out that all he wanted was a litterbox by my bed.
i don't want to be the bearer of bad news, and i'm not blaming you at all, but letting her pee on the bathmat all that time kind of conditioned her to pee outside the litter box. after 8 or 9 years, i don't know. you'd have to completely retrain her. it's probably possible, if you can put that much energy into it, go. don't give her to a shelter, no one wants a cat that p's everwhere and they'll either bring it back or abuse it. that's what kept me from giving mine up. no one likes a bed/hallwetter.

cat urine may already have gone through the carpet and pad to the wood, and in that case, you'll have to tear up the floor because you can't get that odor out of wood. i suggest a clear carpet runner with those wee wee pads on top of it (or chux, if they're cheaper). that way if she pees on it you can just throw it away. i tried those on my bed and most of the time he would do that but sometimes he would dig underneath them, pee, and put them back. he still does that with a laundry basket of clothes if i leave it out (dig down and hide it) so i have to hide laundry in the closet. otherwise he's 100% litterbox now.

mine was trying to communicate something to me, i think your cat may have just gotten into a bad habit. good luck.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MowMow View Post
After exhausting *ALL* medical issues I would suggest re training her. Buy a large (great dane size) dog crate. In it goes a litter pan, food/water, and a bed. A few slats of wood through the holes on the side with a board can make it a two leveler. Put her water and food as far from the litter as possible. Once she's using the litter box in there without fail expand her space to a very small room like a bathroom. The only soft surface is a bed for her. Keep giving her more access to space as she improves. Any accidents and back to the step before. For this to work you *MUST* clean the accident areas really well with a good enzymatic cleaner. If she smells urine (way more sensitive nose than you have) then she'll start again.

Again, you need to be way more sure that it's not a UTI (I wouldn't be with the limited info we have on what the vet said).
I agree with Krissy's advice. It might sound drastic, but confining Nala to either a crate or a bathroom is likely the only way you will retrain her, given the length of time that the problem has existed...and that only applies once you've fully ruled out any underlying medical issues.
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