Social Question

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

When faced with finding a different home for one of your pets, how do you deal with the grief?

Asked by WillWorkForChocolate (23163points) January 11th, 2011

I raised my tiny black cat from a newborn. I was her mother. She’s my little furbaby. But she won’t stop peeing on our leather couch and my husband refuses to buy new furniture unless I find the cat another home. I keep saying that if we get rid of the couch with the odor, I think she’ll stop, but he doesn’t want to take that chance.

I know we need to get new couches, because it’s so embarassing to have people come over and I have to tell them, “Don’t sit there, the cat peed there.” It’s mortifying. But I’m so torn up over losing my furbaby. I remember giving her catmilk from a bottle and snuggling her with me at night to keep her warm.

The thought of giving her up, in my mind, is like she’ll be dead. I’ll never see her again. I won’t know if someone’s taking good care of her. I won’t ever play with her again or watch her and my big male cat bathe each other. I’m balling like a baby just at the consideration of what might be best for our home in the long run.

I can’t keep this couch that no one can sit on, and my daughter has friends coming for a sleepover to celebrate her birthday. I can’t have this group of girls come over and then make fun of my daughter for having a “pee couch”.

Have you faced a situation similar to this, and how did you deal with the grief of giving the animal up?

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58 Answers

Dog's avatar

There has to be a way to cure the problem without losing your baby. I have shared your question in hopes it will bring a different outcome.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Dog Thank you hon, but I’m really afraid there isn’t. I’ve tried everything to get rid of the smell itself, and everything to keep my cat off that couch to change her behavior pattern. I’ve tried all the different sprays that are supposed to keep cats from peeing/marking in areas, or to repel animals from the furniture period. Nothing is working.

My husband is furious. And he refuses to buy new furniture until we get rid of “the problem”, which he considers to be the cat of course. We desperately need to replace the couches, but I’m freaking out over giving up my furbaby.

tinyfaery's avatar

If you give a cat with bad behaviors away that cat will likely be abandoned and euthanized. Who wants a cat that pisses on everything? There is a reason the cat is doing this. Have you taken it to the vet? Kidney issues are the main cause of improper urination. If it’s a behavioral issue then you allowed it to happen and it’s up to you to help the kitty.

Getting rid of the couch and any smell is the best way to figure out why the cat is pissing on everything, aside from the vet. Consider placing litter boxes in more and new places, try new litter, shit, read Starting From Scratch. Do whatever you can to save your baby. No one, and I mean no one could make me give away my pet for such a reason. If you are even considering getting rid of the cat over this then the cat is not your baby.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@psychocandy I appreciate those thoughts, and I’ve already gone through all that. And I really resent your last comment. Who’s more important to me, my husband or my pet? I can love my cat desperately and treat her like my baby and still feel the need to appease my husband. Do I want my marriage to be strained because of an animal? Hell no. Do I truly love my cat? You bet your ass I do.

Dog's avatar


What if….

Remove the leather couch and buy a used cheap temporary couch that has not been marked with urine. (garage sale, thrift store)

See if kitty behaves.

It could work. It might just be the lingering traces of urine attracting her to the sofa.

I tell you what- we could pass a hat around to buy the cheap temp couch. I will throw in $10

I know your heart is breaking. :(

anartist's avatar

Try getting the couch professionally cleaned and maybe scented with citrus [cats don’t like] and see about finding an animal behaviourist to work with her.
I could not give up my babycat.

Blueroses's avatar

Especially when the behavior effects other people in the household, it seems pretty heartless to suggest that @WillWorkForChocolate does not care enough for her cat.

I’ve been in the position of having to rehome a destructive dog I had raised from a tiny pup because my family could not live with his behaviors and I wasn’t able to correct him. It was the most heartbreaking day of my life and I would have put a .22 bullet into anyone who told me I hadn’t tried hard enough or loved well enough.

The urination issue is a huge one. First step of course is to rule out bladder infection and/or stones. Does she always go on the same couch? I was going to suggest the same thing @Dog just did… remove the furniture without making an expensive replacement.

tinyfaery's avatar

Excuses excuses. Furniture or a life? Hard choice.

@WillWorkForChocolate What exactly have you done? Vet? New litter or litter box? A thorough cleaning? Reading up on retraining? You haven’t said. How long has this been going on? Why did she piss in the first place?

Coloma's avatar

Sometimes a pet does have a problem that can make it impossible to keep.

I sympathize with you @WillWorkForChocolate , it is a very tough situation to be in.
I once had a dog that was an escape artist and a killer of wildlife, deer, to be specific. I eventually had to opt for euthanasia as I could not re-home her in good conscience and was not willing to pass on her problems to others that might dump or abuse her. It broke my heart, and believe me, I did EVERYTHING, private trainer, hours and hours of work, nothing helped.

I have always loved my animals but, I am not willing to tolerate house soiling at all on any sort of a chronic level, unless the animal is very old and in that case, well, time to say goodbye.

If you have done everything you can think of, and the only alternative is to do away with her, well, I would suggest euthanasia rather than to pass on the problem to another that might abuse her.

I am having an issue right now with my two new cats that have discovered the joys of crapping in the pea gravel in my entry way, inspite of a perfectly clean litterbox. They are perfect inside, but, I am none too thrilled with having to rake cat shit out of my entry way, not to mention the smell.

I say look into whatever measures you may have overlooked, but, if the situaton is out of control don’t let anyone lay a guilt trip on you.

Some animals have behavioral issues that just CAN’T be fixed.

I encourage all of you peeps to have empathy for this situation.

One should not have to live with cat piss all over their furniture.

I have a 15k wool persian Odabashian rug, and if my cats started pissing on it and could not be broken of the habit, well…trust me, I would be anguished too, but…sorry, not acceptable.

Bottom line, we can do our best and sometimes there is just no solution to a behavioral problem.

Sad but true.

nikipedia's avatar

I had a cat that peed on the couch.

We got rid of the couch.

The cat stopped peeing on the couch.

If your husband is unwilling to even try this simple solution—with a couch that you ALREADY have to get rid of—he is, frankly, a fucking douchebag.

Jude's avatar

Your husband sounds like an ass. Sorry.

Coloma's avatar

Whoa, whoa, you guy’s…name calling is not appropriate.
Not wanting to live with a cat piss saturated couch does not make someone a fucking douchebag

tinyfaery's avatar

As long as you actually try to do something, everything, which most people do not do. Ooh, useless expensive crap over a life. How enlightened.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Flame off, people! Please remember to disagree without being disagreeable.

Coloma's avatar


You are making assumptions.
I am one of the most loving and responsible pet owners to ever walk the planet, but you know what, it took me almost 50 years to enjoy having some nice things, and I while I would never get rid of a pet without doing everything in my power to correct a situation, I also am not going to have a pet that destroys my home. Nothing wrong with that.

tinyfaery's avatar

Uh huh, yeah.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
syz's avatar

Inappropriate urination is one of the top reasons for pet surrenders to shelters – it’s a sometimes intractable and difficult situation. Shelters euthanize thousands of perfectly healthy and problem free cats every year, so finding a new home for a kitty with a known problem may be nearly impossible. If you do find someone to take her, make sure to include a “return” clause, so if it doesn’t work out, she comes back to you rather than being euthanized.

While not optimal, I would suggest another path: purchase a cat condo as a living space for her, and monitor her time out of it. You can schedule quality time with her, and supply enrichment toys and stimulous for while she’s in it. Some might consider caging her cruel, but it’s certainly better than the alternative (and animals used in research and in puppy and kitten mills spend their entire lifetimes in accommodations much smaller).

Your husband no doubt realizes the trauma that this situation is causing you, so he should be happy with the compromise. If, however, he’s delivered an ultimatum, then he’s a dick.

mrrich724's avatar

Sorry that everyone thinks your hubby is a douche etc.

I don’t see the logic that a cat is more important than living like a civilized human being in the 21st Century. Unless the cat brings something to the table other than being cute and cuddly, I don’t see where the value is in living in a home that smells like a barn.

My boss is going through the same thing. She doesn’t want to declaw her new baby cat. But they’ve already noticed scratches on their $2000 leather sofas.

The husband says cats gotta get declawed, but she doesn’t want it. Should her husband of over 15 years now have to settle for less over a cat . . . something that started on this earth as a wild animal living outside?

Should your husband have to lose (or risk losing, whatever) another $2k just to test whether or not the cat will pee on a new sofa? Should your child have to grow up in an unsanitary, smelly, embarrassing environment for a cat?

If you are embarrassed by it, you KNOW there is something wrong with it.

But honestly, sorry you have to make that decision. It sucks.

syz's avatar

@mrrich724 I don’t see the logic that a cat is more important than living like a civilized human being in the 21st Century.

Why would you even get a cat if you have a $2000 sofa? Or vice versa? If you’re not willing to accept the responsibility, then don’t get a damn pet. Cats scratch furniture, dogs track mud, and kids puke – it’s a fact of life, and treating a living creature as a decorative accessory = substandard human in my mind. I have seen families that bring a young adult pet to the local shelter every year because it’s no longer “cute” – yep, it grew up, you didn’t train it so it’s unruly, and now it’s having puppies or kittens because you didn’t have it neutered. These people come back every fucking year because they just get a new puppy or kitten each year. They are one of the many, many reasons that I can’t deal with public anymore.

(“You” being a generalization, not you specifically)

tinyfaery's avatar

@syz Thanks! Ever the voice of reason.

mrrich724's avatar

@syz you are right. But a pet, which like I said, brings nothing to the table other than cuteness, is an emotional purchase. And when people make emotional purchases rather than logical ones, they don’t consider important factors like having to take responsibility for another life.

Further, it’s unfortunate that one person wanting something that many other see as simply an inconvenience and annoyance leads to issues like this. @WillWorkForChocolate did it b/c she’s an adult and wanted a cat, but it doesn’t only affect her. Now her husband and child are dealing with it (and I may be completely wrong, but there’s probably a chance that if they are willing to give it up now, they didn’t REALLY want it to begin with)

What’s more, I think it’s nuts to compare a cat tearing up property equal to a child puking. A cat will live its whole life destroying shit, then it will die. Little value will be created in between. A child might run amuck (in my experience alot less than a pet), but the hope is that one day down the road, that child will grow in to an adult and contribute something to the greater good of the earth, if not at least the family that cleaned his/her puke.

Coloma's avatar

I think very few people treat their pets as a decorative accessory.

Everyone learns by trial and error.
Some animals are easily trained and others are not, just like kids. lol

Having expensive furniture does not make someone a shallow pet owner, I don’t care if I have a $200 couch or a $2000 couch, I don’t want to sit in cat piss.

I bought black velvet chairs a few years ago and now I clean them and cover them almost daily with my new cats shedding. I am not going to get rid of my cats, but, out of control pissing on the furniture is not something I would be willing to put up with these days.

Not wanting to live with animal piss on the furniture does not make anyone wrong, bad or evil.

Pets ARE a family affair and it is only fair to take the other family members feelings into consideration.

syz's avatar

@Coloma Hang out at the shelter, at a vet clinic, and at the emergency clinic, and you’ll see the people who treat pets as totally disposable. While most people do not, a lot more than “very few” do. Touchy subject for me, having spent 20 years in the field.

@mrrich724 “A cat will live its whole life destroying shit, then it will die. Little value will be created in between” tells me that you and have have very different perceptions of the value of a pet (which is fine). I happen to disagree. And I threw the kid in there not as an equal value, but as an example of the accommodations that we make when we share our home. Just as prospective parents shouldn’t expect to be able to have an immaculate house of delicate crystal and white carpeting, prospective pet owners should be aware that they will have some degree of collateral damage. It’s up to the owner to decide what’s an acceptable level – and as I mentioned in my first post, inappropriate urination is a tough one. One of my own cats (who has since died of renal failure at the age of 19) would pee in corners, and so she became an outdoor cat in spite of my strong belief that cats should not live outside.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’d give up the husband. And I’m only half-joking.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Thanks so much guys for being supportive of my predicament by calling my husband a fucking douchebag and an asshole and implying that I’m a heartless bitch because I don’t like telling everyone who comes to my house that they can’t sit on my couch or else their butt will stink like cat pee. I really appreciate it a lot; I’ll be sure to come to you for further dilemmas when I’m already having a shitty day and I feel like being beaten over the head.

To the decent people who gave good suggestions, lurve to you all.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Calm down. No one hurled any of those insults. Besides, if you are this angry, maybe there is truth in some of it, after all. I am sorry you’re in this situation, but if you are this upset about giving up your pet, you need to communicate this to your partner and if you have and all the possibilities have been exhausted at a reconciliation, then you would feel more resolute in your decision rather than this upset. After all, no one is forcing you to give up your pet but since you are giving it up, why are you pissed off?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Scroll up honey. My husband was called a “fucking douchebag” and an “ass”, and it was definitely implied, by one person, that because I’m trying to appease my husband and save my daughter from being humiliated when her friends come over, that I’m a heartless bitch for even considering giving up my cat. And I don’t appreciate it.

I wasn’t angry in this thread until I read a few of the comments.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate You’re right. I didn’t read it through. Those comments are not appropriate.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Mods- I’d like to leave the comments up as they are please. That sort of hatred for someone who is not even here to defend himself should not be wiped under the rug. I’d like for it to remain public. Please, since it’s my husband that was impugned, please do this for me.

@Dog I will be talking to my husband about trying a temp couch to see if the behavior stops. Thank you so much for that suggestion. And that was so sweet of you to throw in a cyber $10. You made me smile.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Is there a way to keep the cat out of that room, if that’s the only place the cat is going other than the litter box? I wonder what happens if the couch is removed from the house for awhile, the carpet is thoroughly cleaned, and then a new couch comes in? Keep an eye on the bathroom habits of the cat in the interim, and make sure a reoccuring bladder infection isn’t the problem. Perhaps keept he cat confined in an area so you’re sure she’s using the box. It could also be that certain types of cat litter are prompting her to prefer the couch.

Is the cat marking the couch or actually urinating on it?

One of my cats likes to pee on the dog’s bed.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@BarnacleBill No, it’s the living room, in a small house; we can’t keep her out of it. And yes, she’s peeing on it. We’ve tried different litters, and I bought a bigger litter box with more room to move around also. The original one was plenty big if you ask me, since she’s such a tiny cat, but I upgraded anyway.

I’m going to talk to my hubby about trying a temp couch to see if she quits.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir LOL, I just saw your comment about giving up my hubby. I’ve considered that, but I’ve already got him broken in. And he’s hot…

Coloma's avatar

Well, I for one am certainly disappointed in some of the comments.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Coloma I’d say “it’s okay”, but it’s not. But, I’m cooling off now. And I still want the comments to stay up to show the value some people place on animal life over human necessity, and how foolish it is.

anartist's avatar

My very elderly RosieCat had a stroke under anaesthesia her last time at the vets. I did not know it and neither did the vet. But a few days later she got up on the dining table and very spectacularly pissed it. She continued to lose control dramatically. She soon was in the early stages of dying as she kept creeping away to hide under bushes or in dark corners and turn her face to the wall. I could not bear to lose her [this was probably selfish of me] and kept her close, covered the bed with a plastic bedwetting sheet and kept her on it near me. I brought her food and water. She stopped eating and drinking and slipped imperceptibly into death. But I stayed by her to the end, had her cremated, and scattered her ashes where she first came in from the cold to live with me. She was 21. Loving critters plays out in lots of different was for folks.

I did not have a husband to placate at the time.

tinyfaery's avatar

Well, that just made me teary. :(

anartist's avatar

@psychocandy don’t be teary. She lived a long good life after being abandoned as a young pregnant cat. We both made out on the deal.

crisw's avatar


One thing I have not seen answered yet, although it’s been asked a few times- has the cat been checked for a urinary tract infection? That can often cause inappropriate peeing. If not, would the husband agree to doing that?

BarnacleBill's avatar

For some bizarre reason, I kept dreaming about this question last night. Perhaps it was because I fell asleep on the couch, and my cats kept laying on me. Putting aluminum foil on furniture will keep a cat off of it.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@crisw She’s going to the vet today. That’s the last option, other than Dog’s temp couch idea, that I haven’t tried yet.

On a side note- it’s really disturbing that 6 people gave nikipedia a GA for calling my husband a fucking douchebag. If you think that’s a great answer, then what exactly does that make all of you?

Oh and by the way, my hubby agreed to try the temporary couch idea.

Cupcake's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I’m sorry you’re going through this.

I’m glad you’re going to the vet and that your hubby has agreed to try the temporary couch idea. I think that’s a great trial. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you and your kitty.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Cupcake Thanks! I’m holding my breath that it’ll work. But it’s okay because I look good in purple.

Coloma's avatar


Yes! Good luck with the trip to the vet, keeping my fingers X’d as well!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Coloma Thanks love! It’s much appreciated. I’m hoping maybe she does have something going on with her urinary tract and that’s what caused the whole pee thing, because that would mean that hopefully, once she takes her antibiotics and is healthy again, we won’t have to worry about problem peeing anymore! And I think my hubby would be satisfied with that, and not look at her like “oh you bad kitty” anymore LOL.

tinyfaery's avatar

Just trying the vet? That should have been the very first thing you did. I guess people agree with @nikipedia. I will now leave this thread before I say something I mean.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

So here’s an update for anyone who’s still following this- she does have a bladder infection, so she is on antibiotics and I will be changing her diet for 4 weeks. We also have a temp couch that we will be bringing in this weekend, AND we’re rearranging the furniture again, so that the couches are in different locations. I’ll be spraying both our current “non-pee couch” and the new temp couch with the “Dumb Cat” spray to discourage marking and peeing. I’m also changing her litter type again. I’m hoping that all of these changes, along with the antibiotics, will correct the situation 100%.

And just FYI, for the doubters of my affection for my pets, the vet visit, her antibiotics and the special food comes to a grand total of $233.86, which I really can’t afford right now, but oh well. If I didn’t truly love this cat, would I be going through all of this?

crisw's avatar

So glad you took her to the vet!

anartist's avatar

@Coloma why didn’t you give your dog to a hunter? He/she would have approved of her ways.

anartist's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Is there a happy ending? Or too soon to tell.

Coloma's avatar


She wasn’t a ‘hunting’ dog, she was a shepherd/heeler mix.
She killed because of a high prey drive and since I don’t agree with hunting in general,( aside from survival needs) I did not consider that an option. Many hunting dogs are mistreated.

It was a painful decision but for the best IMO at that time.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@anartist It’s sweet of you to ask! She’s doing much better with the combination of the vet visit and all the changes we made. It’s been 6 weeks and she STILL has “phosphate producing crystals” in her bladder, but there’s no infection. I’ll likely be keeping her on the special bladder diet food in dry form for the rest of her life, because I figure once you’ve had one bladder infection, you’re more susceptible to them in the future. After all the crystals are gone, she can go back to her regular wet food which will be a blessing; she doesn’t like the special diet wet food at all and she’s losing weight.

My hubby wasn’t too keen on spending so much money because of a cat, but I was able to talk him into it when he saw how much it really meant to me. He’s still not happy that her current diet is costing us roughly $50 every two weeks… He calls her “our little peebutt” and says she spends more on her daily meals than he does, but I do catch him petting her when he doesn’t know I’m looking.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

So, for anyone still following- it’s been 6 months now, and my little Yoda is doing great. She had to go through two full rounds of antibiotics, and will be eating special, ” healthy urinary tract” food for the rest of her life, but there has been no more peeing on the couch or anywhere else, except her litter box. Since it’s impossible to seperate my cats at mealtime, Chewbacca is also eating the “healthy urinary tract” food, which is just fine and dandy.

We still have the “temporary” couch, because it blends just fine with our other couch and recliner. We’ll likely buy a whole new set of furniture when we move next summer. =0)

Coloma's avatar

Yay! Great news! Sometimes our minds run away with us, envisioning the worst case scenario, and then we start to prepare for it, as if it’s already a reality! haha

Glad it was a pretty easy fix and Yoda is out of the woods! :-D

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Coloma I know! When I originally posted this question, I hadn’t even THOUGHT that Yoda might have an infection. I just knew she was peeing in bad places and my hubby was pissed off, so my mind automatically went to “holy shit, I’ve got to give up my baby <cry>!!!!”

It’s all good now though, and I even found a lovely cat food for the urinary tract that doesn’t cost $35 frikkin dollars a bag. cuz that cost sucked! I even found wet cat food for the urinary tract, which is awesome, because my kitties love their wet “treat” at night.

My husband still calls her “peebutt” lmfao, but she’ll actually answer to it and jump up in his lap. =0)

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