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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2011, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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New to forum--Cat pee problem

I adopted a 3 year old kitty (Tinkerbell) from family members that no longer wanted her and there were no issues. I adopted another female cat from the Humane Society. She is 8 yrs old and I've had no issues with her at all. Both of them are indoor kitties and litter trained.

I followed the recommendations given to me by the Humane Society regarding introducing a new cat to the home. I kept them separated for almost 2 weeks. Misha (8yr old kitty) had taken over the basement as her territory. Tinkerbell claimed the living room as her territory. Misha is a very skittish cat. She used to run and hide when I tried to give her attention. Eventually she became used to me but she still preferred to hang out in the basement.

About 2 months after I adoped Misha I went on vacation and left them with a housesitter. 2 days into my vacation she noticed poop on my living room area rug. There was a poop left on the carpet for each day I was away (2.5 weeks). She did not notice any pee initially. Then one day she noticed Tinkerbell was looking down the stairs into the basement. Misha was at the bottom of the stairs. It appeared as though Tinkerbell was too afraid to enter the basement because of Misha. Both litter boxes are in the basement. The house sitter picked up Tinkerbell, walked down to the litterbox and placed her in the box. Tinkerbell peed immediately! We believe Misha would not allow Tinkerbell downstairs to use the litter which is why she was using the area rug in my living room as a litter box

I tried to solve the problem by placing one litter box upstairs and one downstairs........although they use both of them.

My area rug was only one month old. I was determined to save it!! I used a black light to ensure all pee was taken out. I used Nature's Miracle and a rug cleaning machine and a special rug shampoo for pet messes. The rug was like brand new. I could not smell any pee and NOTHING showed up on the carpet when I scanned it with a black light. Unfortunately my plan did not work. Tinkerbell peed on the carpet again. She has never peed anywhere else in the house besides her litter box and the area rug. I have an area rug in my basement too, it has NEVER been peed or pooped on.

I know it was Tinkerbell peeing on the rug because I caught her, TWICE!! (I tried to save the rug 2 times but since she peed on it despite my best efforts I had to throw the rug away)

Currently I am not having any issues at this time BUT....

I really want an area rug for my living room!! Currently it's just a wood floor. The floor was not damaged because I had a pad underneath the rug, which was thrown out after each incident. I did not try to clean/save the underpad. I just bought a brand new one instead.

My questions are:

1. Should I buy a new area rug to see if she will pee on it? I am trying to determine if this is a 'learned' behaviour because she used my old living room rug as her litter box before the housesitter realized the true problem. The housesitter assumed my cat was pooping on the carpet because I was away (revenge!) I know this is common cat behaviour. She didn't notice the pee until later. After I cleaned the rug I didn't know Tinkerbell had started peeing on it again until I caught her!! Maybe she continued to pee on the rug because she could smell it, even though I couldn't and the black light detected nothing.

I am thinking about buying a small rug (bathmat size) as a "test" rug along with a pad underneath to protect the floor.

2. I absolutely loved my ruined rug. It is not easy to find something to go with my decor. I saw the SAME rug on for less than half the price I paid for it in a local store!!! IF Tinkerbell passes the "test" should I buy this rug? Do you think it is better to buy a different pattern because she may "recognize" the rug and pee on it? Is that possible or was Tinkerbell continuing to use it as her litter because it was soiled (according to her nose I guess) even though I cleaned it to the best of my ability.

I should also mention I was away for a weekend recently and left them with the housesitter. Both of them used the litterbox. Neither the housesitter or myself found pee or poop elsewhere in the house. I put the area rug in the basement away in the closet, just to be safe. I also kept the bedroom doors closed because I heard some cats will pee and or poop on their owner's bed while they are away on vacation. I have rugs by my front and back poop or pee there either!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2011, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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It has not been easy getting to know my two cats. I've had both of them for less than a year.

My Sunny passed away when he was 18.5yrs old from kidney failure from old age. I had to put him down because he was suffering. I had him since he was 6yrs old. He used to belong to my ex's family so technically I have known Sunny since he was a kitten. I knew his history and everything about him. Initially he was an angry psycho kitty however he changed into an affectionate cat over a period of time because my ex and I (I was married at the time) showered him with love.

He never peed or pooped outside his litterbox. When I came back from vacation Sunny would get his revenge by biting me! I never knew when it was coming. Sometimes he only waited a day, sometimes it was a week or so later. He'd fool you by acting so affectionate, purring, then suddenly he would strike like a snake and I would end up with a bloody nose each time. I didn't mind because it was better than peeing or pooping in my house!!!

Eventually we got a friend for Sunny, no issues with either cat. She still lives with my ex. She was "his" cat because he found her.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 09:30 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about your problem! Have you considered getting a bath rug and putting a litterbox on top of it, and then slowly moving the litterbox farther and farther away from the rug until the cat is consistently using it in the desired location? Then you could switch the bath rug out with the new area rug and the cat will no longer associate a rug in that location with a poo/pee zone.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion! I will try it.

Actually I keep bath mats under both the litter boxes, that must be why she associated my living room area rug as a poo/pee zone.

There has been unfortunate recent developments in the story. I thought Tinkerbell had not peed outside the litterbox after I threw the living room area rug away. I was wrong. I discovered she has recently been peeing on the rug under her favourite litter box. That room (office) has a wood floor and unfortunately this time it got into the wood (living room floor is fine because I had a thick pad under the rug). I decided to move the litter box out of that room (office) and keep the door closed at all times. I do not ban them from my living room because they love the bay window. Needless to say I will not be buying a living room area rug for a long time!

I moved her favourite litter box out of the office and back to the basement in the same spot she was using before the living room area rug incident occurred. Her favourite litter box is actually the bottom half of a storage container. The previous owner said she preferred to use a larger box. She is a large long hair cat (mostly fur, lol).

In order to place her favourite litter box back in the "old" spot I had to remove the standard size litter box that was there. I placed it upstairs in my bathroom (house only has 2 levels, main floor and basement, bathroom has tile floor)

I didn't know that multi-cat households can be so complicated

I live alone so I don't think it would be an issue to keep the standard size box in my bathroom (only bathroom I have)

I don't want anymore wood floors damaged

Last edited by tinkerbell3; 07-11-2011 at 02:15 AM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 02:42 AM
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Has she been to the vet to rule out any and all medical problems?

Becky, the proud momma of:
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2011, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Not lately.

She was at the vet prior to the pee incident in my living room. I know that issue occurred because my other cat was dominating her and not allowing her to go downstairs to use the litterboxes which is why I now have a box upstairs instead of having 2 downstairs.

She has done very well, all things considered. I did not want to adopt any cats prior to my vacation. I also got renovations done only 2 weeks after adopting tinkerbell. During the renovation she was kept in my bedroom with a litterbox and food. Never had any issues. The renovations only took one week to complete. I never had any problems until I went away on vacation.

The timing was not good but the family was going to get rid of Tinkerbell, I wanted her so I took her even though I was going to do renovations and go on vacation 3 months later. I adopted my second cat Misha because she was an old obese female that nobody wanted and the humane society in my area puts down unwanted animals. She was a friendly affectionate cat, I did not want to see her put down.

The latest incident occurred at the same time I had more reno's done. It only took three days. I did not keep them in my bedroom this time, I let them roam the house. I guess I should have confined them to my room again.

Last edited by tinkerbell3; 07-12-2011 at 05:33 PM.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2011, 07:10 PM
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When cats start peeing outside their litterbox, it can get tricky. I have a 12-year old cat who does not use the litterbox to pee (though I think she poos in there). We did not have any issues with her for about 3 years after we got her. Then, we started finding pee on the carpet here and there. we have tried everything the vet suggested behavior-wise, but she used the carpet more and more and the litterbox less.

One thing you might have checked, is if your cat has crystals in her urine. My cat had these, which the vet thought may have initiated the peeing on the rug, and then it became a behavioral habit. A couple things you might try, if this becomes a long-term problem (as it has for me): lay a few old bathmats or small rugs around and see if she will routinely use them--we buy cheap ones when they're on sale, and wash and re-use them; or, try laying puppy pads near the litter box and in her favorite spots to go. These two methods almost always keep my cat from peeing on our larger area rugs, and we were able to eliminate the puppy pads from everywhere besides the litterbox area once she got used to going on them. Good luck!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 05:20 PM
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New Carpet has Chemical That Smells Like Cat Urine

Cats are attracted to carpet, especially new carpet, by the chemicals in the carpet that already smell like cat urine.

"Unfortunately, however, cats tend to urinate in what seems to them to be an appropriate place, and a carpet that already smells like urine is fair game.

Evidence now shows that perhaps your cat is not entirely to blame. At the 100th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in May of 2000, a study was presented that pointed to microbiological degradation as the cause for stinky carpet.

Jodi Martin and J. Joyce, researchers at Calgon Performance Chemical Group in Pittsburgh, PA felt that the odor of cat urine in new carpeting was a significant enough occurrence to merit a study of the cause. They hypothesized that the odor could be caused by a) microbiological degradation of the carpet backing or b) chemicals used in the manufacturing of the backing. Subsequent lab findings pointed to microbiological degradation as the probable source.
What Does This Mean? In lay terms, tiny microorganisms (bacteria) find a home in the latex backing of the carpet, and during their growth produce butyric acid, which is a weak acid that will not harm the carpet, but does have a decided odor that to some humans (and cats apparently) smells like cat urine. This particular bacteria appears to be anaerobic, which means it is capable of growth outside of oxygen. The standard disinfectant used in carpet manufacturing apparently does not affect these microorganisms, and any new disinfectants will need to be tested to ensure they do not harm the latex backing.

Last edited by marie73; 08-04-2011 at 09:01 PM. Reason: removed link
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