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 overstock.com 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 door......no poop or pee there either!