Moving in with a dog - inappropriate urination - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-22-2018, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Moving in with a dog - inappropriate urination

My boyfriend and I moved in together about a year ago. Which meant his cat (Blinx, 3 years old) also moved into the house I'd been in for a year with my dog (Gaia, small, 8 years old). His cat had previously lived in two homes with him, one had a doberman living in it as well, with no problems. We thought there was no problem here either for months. The two aren't fast friends but could be found sleeping near each other if not actually cuddling up.

A few months in we found that Blinx was not always peeing in her litter box (Same box/litter as always.) but now it was placed in the basement. We have a small house and there is no good way to have it in the living space without it being basically in the middle of a room - also Gaia is a known cat poop eater, so we needed in a space she won't/can't go, and in this house that is the basement. The basement is unfinished and the walls are literally stones with mortar. As it is 100 years old the mortar is crumbling, and Blinx decided to use that sand as her new pee place. We cleaned the area well and soaked in the Natures Miracle. Removed the rest of the sand and blocked her from her preferred spot, and thought we had solved the problem.

A while later, the house started smelling like litter, so I went down to change all the litter in the box (although my bf had said he'd just done it) and sure enough he had, the box was clean. However, I noticed that behind the furnace she had created a new litter box where she was now peeing and pooping, and the furnace was distributing this throughout the house. We cleaned this up and this time the smell didn't dissipate as quickly. We were unsure if we hadn't fully cleaned the area, or if Blinx was still peeing, so she went to stay with his parents for a bit while we figured this out.

We've since done a lot of work in the basement to remove the urine smell and shore up the walls so that they don't leave sand along the edges, and only need to seal in the new concrete and then we we thought we were ready to have Blinx come home. But then we went on vacation for a week and Gaia went to stay with my bf's parents and Blinx. When we picked Gaia up, we discovered that she had been peeing in the dogs bed for quite some time. It was soaked through to the floor (which is also odd bc his parents had noted her laying on it).

Since the in appropriate urination stopped when she moved into my bfs parents, we are not concerned with a UTI or other biology condition. It really seems to be a reaction to living with my Dog.

I'm looking for away to have her come home here but not restart urination in random places. We are also expecting a baby come January, so that will likely also be a new stressor. We can't have our house smelling like cat urine. I'm unsure what to try next, and am leaning to seeing if bfs parents will keep her - although, I wouldn't want that asked of me and my dog so I am trying to find an alternate solution.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-23-2018, 07:45 PM
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Peeing out of the box really is the worst. It does sound like she is stressed by Gaia, but I don't think that necessarily means that the two can't live together, and it's possible that there's more than one thing going on.

Just to be sure I'm understanding:

Before she moved closer to the furnace, was she always using the box to poop in, but sometimes using the box and sometimes not for peeing? And then once she moved to the furnace, she was not using her box at all anymore?

How long was she at your bf's parents' place before Gaia joined her for the week? And at their place, she was consistently using her box for pee and poop until then?

I wouldn't think that she was marking some space as her own, since she confined her peeing to the basement (be glad for small things!). But if she hears or smells Gaia close to the basement the door, maybe it spooks her.

Two things might help: first, I'd get a second litter box, put one by the furnace and the other maybe by the wall where she used to pee, since those are clearly spots where she feels more comfortable. Second, I'd provide "safe" spaces around the house that Gaia can't get to, like a couple of tall cat trees, or shelves with a blanket or bed, or a piece of your/your boyfriend's unwashed clothing to reassure her.

But I would also definitely get her checked for a UTI. Peeing in Gaia's bed is one thing, but lying in her own pee is not normal. UTIs can be brought on by stress, so it could be that she started peeing out of the box again once Gaia arrived because she no longer had safe places.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Thanks for the reply -

Yes before she moved close (in behind) the furnace I think she was always pooping in the box. She always used the box at least some of the time. We'd have noticed clean box.

As far as I know she was having no issues at the bf's parents place. I'm sure they would have told us. She was there 3 months prior to Gaia coming to stay for the week. It's actually their cottage, so we have been many times for up to 3 days all summer. This was the only time Gaia was there without us and for a total of 7 nights.

Gaia won't go into the basement - it's unfinished, and she has never gone down those stairs on her own.

Aside from the basement which is all hers, She has several places Gaia can't access. The top of the keyboard, where she can see out one of the few windows we have, or her favourite has been the spare bedroom (too high for the dog to jump on, she's a pug).

We definitely plan to get a second box if she comes home. Just to see if that helps. I can't be sure she was lying in her own pee. I just know they said she had been laying in the bed, but I don't know when that happened during the vacation and when the peeing in the bed started.

She seems happy at the cottage - its where my bf lived when he brought her home, so it's her first real home.

I'm also concerned about the arrival of the new baby, and how that will affect her behaviour.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-27-2018, 08:53 PM
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I do think that Gaia may be playing a part in the peeing out of the box, but that and a possible medical condition aren't mutually exclusive.

There are a few things that make me think that a medical issue needs to be ruled out first:

Blinx was getting along ok with Gaia for a while.

Pooping consistently in the box, but peeing sometimes in the box, sometimes not, is not usually behavioral. With behavioral issues, cats most often avoid the box for both.

Both UTIs and FLUTD (which could be the issue here) can come and go, and both can be triggered by stress. So it's entirely possible that Blinx first got a UTI, which resolved (or seemed to) on its own for a while, before coming back when Gaia was visiting.

I'm harping on the possible medical aspect because UTIs and FLUTD can be painful, though not using the box may be the only sign that kitties show and also because an untreated infection can eventually cause much more serious issues like kidney infections or stones.

There's no guarantee that because she had 3 good months, something else won't come along that'll cause stress, even if at your bf's parents' cottage.

So whether you're leaning towards leaving her there or bringing her home, I would strongly encourage you to bring her to the vet. The outcome may help you to decide which option is best all around.

I agree that the arrival of baby (and congratulations!) may well upset things, but it may also turn out to be a needless worry! Fingers crossed!
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