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atarah09's avatar

How do you stop a cat from peeing in the house?

Asked by atarah09 (254points) November 4th, 2011

I have an older male cat, and he was spayed years ago. We’ve had him for over 10 years, so giving him away isn’t an option; I really, REALLY love my cat. We’ve had issues with him peeing on the floor before, but he stopped for a good while, and just recently, he picked up the habit again. How do I get him to stop?! I’ve heard people say, “when he pees, show him what he did and do something he doesn’t like- eventually he will stop”. My cat, like most cats, HATES water. Should I put him in the tub and get him wet as punishment? This behavior has got to stop, and I am at my wit’s end; I am very desperate. Please help.

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28 Answers

Brian1946's avatar

Does he have a litter box?

SpatzieLover's avatar

Is his litter box cleaned regularly?

Possibly he would prefer two litterboxes.

As for the floor, once the odor is there it will keep happening. If this is carpet, remove the pad, have the carpet cleaned and have new padding installed.

Personally, I have only had one cat that has ever had “accidents”. When she has had them it was because another cat had used “her toilet”. (she is potty trained)...When this happened, I bleached and scrubbed her toilet, cleaned “her” floor and all was right in her world again.

I have never agreed with or done punishment for “accidents”.

You can use a “scat cat” spray in the area the accident occurred in for him to stay completely away from the area.

atarah09's avatar

Yes, he has a litter box, and it’s always clean. He uses it all the time, he poops in it and he pees in it. Also, he is an only cat- he’s the only pet in the house.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yes, you may think it’s clean, but he may not.

How do you clean it? How often is the litter changed?

Some cats will not pee where they smell poo. So, if he’d just done #2 and then he had to pee, he may have used the floor since it smelled more appealing to him.

atarah09's avatar

This is an urgent matter because my dad is threatening to give him to a shelter, and I can’t let that happen.

atarah09's avatar

His litter is scooped and changed on a daily basis- well over 4 times a week.

FutureMemory's avatar

Put him outside.

atarah09's avatar

@FutureMemory He is an inside cat. There are a lot of strays outside, and I fear he’ll either get hit by a car or get into a fight with another cat. Thank you, but that isn’t an option either.

Brian1946's avatar

How soon after he goes do you remove the stools from the litter?

Coloma's avatar

Take him to the vet NOW! He may have a urinary tract infection, other kidney related issues, diabetes, dementia.
To get rid of him without a full examination and professional intervention is unkind to do to a pet you have had for 10 years.

If it is a behavioral issue you can try the Feliway spray and diffuser to see if it makes a difference.

I have had two male cats that became incontinent in their later years. One was senile and incontinent and the other was in renal failure.

Take him to the vet ASAP!

atarah09's avatar

@Brian1946 As soon as someone in the house notices it, it is removed. It’s not in there long at all.
@Coloma I agree that it is very cruel. I am hoping that it is just a behavioral issue, and not a health issue. I am out of work and things have gotten tight. I will take him to the vet. He really is a sweet cat, and I can’t imagine living in this house without him. Thank you all.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Litter boxes are cheap. Buy him at least one more. This could easily remedy your situation.

The other thing you could do for now is isolate him to one room or one part of the home while you thoroughly clean the flooring.

At least this way, your dad won’t want to just get rid of him. The shelters are full of older cats for reasons just like this. It is too sad. You can remedy this.

If need be, guarantee your dad you will pay for that room of carpet/flooring.

atarah09's avatar

I’ll buy him another litter box, and I’ll take him to the vet. I’ve been to shelters and it breaks my heart, there’s no way my cat is going to a shelter. You all have been so helpful, thank you so much!

SpatzieLover's avatar

Please keep us updated @atarah09! Best wishes!

atarah09's avatar

Thank you, I will!

tinyfaery's avatar

DO NOT DUNK YOUR CAT IN WATER! That is abuse and the cat will have no idea what is going on.

Take him to the vet. If the problem is behavioral buy this book.

atarah09's avatar

@tinyfaery – Didn’t say I’d “dunk” my cat. “Getting him wet” and “dunking” him are two very different things. You shouldn’t let your bias towards me, get the best of you. Sincerely thank you for the for the book recommendation though.

tinyfaery's avatar

Who are you? I’m an ass to everyone that has no idea how to rear an animal. Ask anyone. You think too much of yourself. Getting you cat wet will do nothing. It just makes you look like an irrational fool.

atarah09's avatar

And I didn’t say I’d do it, I stated something someone had recommended to someone else.

“Who are you?”- Uh, @atarah09, of course. Do you want my real name? Hold your breath.

So, anyone who has a question concerning their pet automatically “has no idea how to rear an animal”? lol, ok.

“You think too much of yourself”- No, I think a lot of my cat; ergo why I’m here. I thanked you for the book recommendation, you can leave now :)

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Buttonstc's avatar

The main point is that punishing your cat (with water or anything else) AFTER the fact is totally useless because they don’t make the association between the act and the punishment. We make that association but the animal does not. They are totally confused as to why this negative action is happening to them. They just see it as random cruelty.

Cats are normally so fastidious. If he’s doing this after 10 yrs of no bathroom problems, this is a SIGNAL that something is WRONG.

They can’t talk so it’s up to us to figure out what’s going on. The most common is some sort of physical or medical problem.

The first step is a Vet visit and a thorough checkup. If that yields nothing, then your Vet can guide you as to what else to try. But in all likelihood it is something physical (whether bladder related or not)

I’ll just give you one brief example (I’m not saying it’s the case with your cat).

I was a live in caregiver for an elderly couple with a cat. Everything was fine with the cat for more than a year.

But one day he peed in a box sitting in a corner. He had also run out of the house several days before. But the peeing out of his box was my signal to get him to the Vet ASAP.

One of the things she did was to pass a fine tooth comb through his fur and the exam table was absolutely covered in flea dirt, he was that severely infested.

After a course of Frontline and thorough cleaning everything returned to normal.

You may wonder what the connection was between peeing outside the box and having a severe case of fleas. Obviously not a direct connection. But this was his way of signaling that SOMETHING was very very wrong.

It’s our job (with the aid of the Vet) to interpret what the signals mean. Something is bothering your cat. It’s not like he just up and decided to pee on the floor just to spite you or something.

Something is wrong. Hopefully it will be something physical with a straightforward solution. Or it may take a little more sleuthing. But it’s not happening for no reason at all or cause he just doesn’t like you anymore or purposely wants to be disobedient.

He can’t talk but he is sending you a signal. You just need to figure out what it means. The logical first move is the Vets office.

whitetigress's avatar

@tinyfaery What is your issue? Are we jellies supposed to know that @tinyfaery has a beast of an opinion when it comes to animals? If I ask just anyone I can guarantee you not everyone would know who @tinyfaery is or care about what @tinyfaery is. My point is that you have to get over this idea that you’re the only animal lover in the world and you know the and only ways about pets. The OP is sincere and shows a yearning to get an answer pertaining to the sutiation. Why are you calling @atarah09 a noob. Just because someone is new to Fluther doesn’t mean they are new to asking questions.

@atarah09 I can understand the discipline you are coming from when you mention the “wet” discipline. It’s similar to taking a puppy who pee’s and you put his nose in front of it and give him a tone of hard “No no’s” Dogs and cats actually do learn classically that there is either a reward or for doing something or a negative effect for doing something. For instance, hypothetically if you were fire a bullet inside the house every time your cat pee’d in the house it would startle it. Eventually it would pick up a pattern and feel safe only to pee outside or not in the spot it shouldn’t it would figure out that outside or the litter box is the safe place. My gun shot example is a bit extreme but I hope it generalizes an idea. Westerners in particular are so set on certain ways of raising anything like there is one true way. Raising an animal, or kid for that matter is highly subjective and various forms or raising them for various results.

@tinyfaery For the most part I do like your recommendations when it comes to animal care, I don’t disregard your efforts at all.

Buttonstc's avatar


I’m going to have to strongly disagree with you about your example for the simple reason that 99% or more of the time that a cat pees outside the box, it’s not being done while you’re there to see it.

So whether you’re shooting a gun or doing a Hopi dance every time you spot cat pee on the floor, it will make zero difference to the cat.

They don’t associate the two events at all. Animals live primarily in the “now”.

It may not be that unusual for a young puppy to pee on the floor but it is definitely HIGHLY UNUSUAL for a cat to do so. They are fastidious by nature.

So I don’t care how many guns you shoot off or how else you choose to vent your anger (water, yelling, whatever) if you don’t get to the root of the cause, the cat will still just perceive your actions as either totally random and whacky or deliberately cruel. Until the cause is discovered, you’ll still end up with cat pee where it shouldn’t be.

THAT’S THE POINT that Tiny was trying to get across. Just because she was not necessarily that diplomatic about it, does not change the truth. The cat will not associate whatever punishment you choose to visit upon it with the reason behind it because it’s done AFTER THE FACT.

Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp?

Western or Eastern has nothing to do with it at all. Punishing an animal AFTER THE FACT accomplishes NOTHING.

Kardamom's avatar

Please don’t punish your cat!

Even if you clean the litter box once a day, that is probably not enough. My older cat needs to have his litter scooped every single time he does #1 or #2. And having 2 boxes makes it a little easier for you and the kitty.

Also, because the kitty is older and has recently started doing this, he may have some type of urinary tract infection or other digestive problem. I would suggest taking him to the vet for a check up.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Beyond 10yr is fairly old for a cat. It could be an issue with just age. I don’t know where her has to go do the business, but maybe he is getting to sore to get there, and get in, or he sometimes forget where to find it before it is too late.

atarah09's avatar

Thank you all for the input. I really appreciate it!

ccrow's avatar

Good luck with this, if it’s not from something physical (i. e. UTI) it can be difficult to stop. Definitely get kitty to the vet, and if you can get a urine specimen, so much the better, although that’s easier said than done! You say there’s no other pet; is there anything going on in the home that’s different? Is the peeing done ‘on’ stuff, like marking? Or just on the floor?
I dealt with marking done by three neutered male cats, after a relative’s cat I was caring for was gone… I tried everything with no luck. I hope for your sake this is something medical that can be fixed.

jca's avatar

Please post an update.

Thank you.

The Update Lady

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