I got a cat, Misty, from the dumb friends league about a year ago. She’s a wonderful cat, except for one unforgivable problem and I’ve just run out of patience.
She urinates on my bed. Whether or not I’m in it.
At irregular intervals (can be as much as months apart), inevitably early in the morning (3-5am) she’ll urinate all over the bed. The litter is kept fresh, and I haven’t changed the brand. She’s never gone anywhere else in the house: her litterbox or my bed.
I’ve taken her to the vet: no bladder troubles, no medical problems. I even got another cat because the vet suggested she might be lonely. No change, except that the problem’s gotten slightly worse (more frequent), but only slightly.
The only other possible solution I’ve heard is getting all new bed coverings. (Blankets, sheets, etc.) But that’s expensive and it may not solve the problem.
Anyone have any suggestions? (I’m not sleeping with the bedroom door shut, btw. And I can’t figure out how to keep the cat off the bed when I’m asleep)
I’m assuming that she has a nice big CLEAN litter box in a reasonably private place, down on the floor, out of the draft? Even though I’m not exactly a cat person, I have heard stories about clueless people who put the cat’s litter box in some ridiculous place, like right next to the front door in a draft and surrounded by wet boots, with people clomping past just as she’s doing her business, or else up on the shelf above the washing machine, or out in the garage and it’s freezing out there, man, plus it stinks like the recycle bins and the pile of garbage bags waiting to go out right next to it, not to mention that tub of used motor oil you’ve never gotten around to getting rid of.
And I do know that cats are picky about cleanliness. Using the Pooper Scooper often enough?
Put her in a crate at night if it really bothers you. My WAG would be that it’s a territorial thing, and you may not be able to change it, but then I’m actually a dog person, not a cat person.
…and that, of course, she has access to her litter box at night, and isn’t dependent on you to open the back door and let her out.
Or that, if she has a cat door, there isn’t some unfriendly neighbor person/big dog/mean cat who is at large during the night, and she’s just afraid to go out there. “Fraidy-cat” isn’t just a cliche, you know. Nearly everybody is bigger than she is.
Have you got a drunken neighbor who flings empty beer cans at her when he lets his dogs out after the 10:30 news?
Get something like car floor mats ot those hard plastic mats used to allow roller-chairs to roll on carpet. Flip them upside-down and place on your bed. The bottom of these things are little plastic spikes. To small to actually do damage but VERY uncomfortable to walk on. Keep those things on your bed whenever possible and over time she might get discouraged from going up there.
Another thing a friend of mine did was place an invisible fence around his couch. Buy invisible fencing and place it around the edges just under your bed. Fit the cat with the electroshock collar so every time she tries to go up there she gets zapped. Probably won’t take her long to learn to not go there.
Check with your vet before doing any of the above. I do not want to be held responsible for hurting your cat but I believe both options above are merely uncomfortable (even hurt) but do no real damage.
She’s a completely indoor cat, the litter box was changed about 4 days ago. There’s no-one else in the house but the two cats and me.
The litterbox is in a spare bedroom, used as an office/computer room in a back corner. It’s been there as long as I’ve had her.
Boxing/Crating isn’t something I’d thought of, but I don’t think it’d work for this particular cat/: she hates being boxed. (Last time I took her to the vet, she chewed partway through the plastic carrier to get out!
I’m coming to the reluctant conclusion that it’s territorial too, and, well, I really like her and all, but if it comes down to keeping her and waking up in a puddle of cat piss every few weeks or the Dumb Friends League, the DFL is starting to look like the better choice.
Okay, she’s got a litter box, it’s only occasionally that she does this, and it’s always in the wee hours? If it was a dog, I’d say that it was a case of, “I’d rather go out and pee at 5:00 instead of waiting until 6:00, so I’m hoping that you’ll get a clue and wake up and let me out at 5:00 from now on.”
She has to go. For some reason, she doesn’t use the litter box. Have you changed any work habits, spending more time at the computer, posting here maybe? So maybe she doesn’t feel like it’s her “litter box room” anymore, now it’s your “computer room”?
Another thought: maybe it’s a dispute with the other cats? Every so often they have a go-round at 3 a.m. and she’s the loser, so she tries to mark out her own territory on your bed. Or else the Top Cat just won’t let her use the litter box? Try getting a second litter box and see if that helps.
For that matter, try moving the litter box. There may be some new cat input device that you’re not aware of, being only a feeble primate with limited senses, that drives her up the wall and onto your bed every so often when she has to pee. Do you download stuff at 3 a.m., or print stuff out automatically? Do you have a fax machine that clicks on at 3 a.m. and makes a spooky noise?
Maybe she gets a shock from the surge protector right next to the box? Just brainstorming here.
I sure hate to see you just truck her back to the pound for this. I have the feeling that it’s not an insoluble problem.
One last thought: she’s not in heat, is she? Is she spayed?
Thanks for all the questions/suggestions:
She is spayed/neutered (whichever girl-cats get), but (and I don’t know if this matters) she apparently had a litter of kittens before she was spayed/neutered.
I don’t think it’s a problem with the new cat, since she was doing it before I got him.
And the computer room is getting the same amount of traffic it always did. (The computer is at the opposite corner of the room from the litterbox)
I like your suggestion about moving the litterbox. The second litterbox idea isn’t bad either. I’ll give 'em a try.
Let me know if you have any other ideas, you’re really helping and I appreciate it!!
An easy solution would be to keep her out of your bedroom. Just keep the door closed.
I love my baby dearly but she is now allowed on my bed at all. My SO has slight allergies. He is okay with the cat as long as she doesn’t take naps on his pillow.
During the day I keep the bedroom door shut. At night the cat is always shut in the den to sleep. She doesn’t mind it at all. She is so use to sleeping in the den that when I start to get ready for bed at night she goes to the den to wait for me to get her stuff ready.
Maybe you should make her a nice bed and put her in the spare bedroom/office at night. She can’t pee in your bed if she is never in it.
It may be expensive, but new linens will go a long way towards solving your problem. I’ve had similar troubles when I had two indoor only cats. Regardless of how many times you wash something they’ve urinated on, they still smell it and think of it as a secondary litter box.
Since you obviously don’t want to start this all over with new linens, try putting a plastic shower curtain over the top of your bed when you’re not around. They hate to walk on or lay on plastic - too cold I guess. If you can’t keep them off your bed at night, try sleeping with the plastic on for a few months until they learn to stay down.
On a similar vein, I used to keep a spray bottle of water next to the bed. When they’d jump up while I slept I’d wake and spray them. They got wet the first few times (One stubborn cat would hunker down and get SOAKING before she’d leave) but after a while they learned that when I reached for it, they would get down. Eventually, the water bottle became a warning sign. Just placing it on the bed when I wasn’t around would keep them off. Leaving it in front of a door would keep them from scatching at it.
Also, clean the cat box every day. Especially with two cats, it must be clean for them to use it.
Finally, I found that mine needed more attention. They would act up when I’d ignored them for too long. I’m not one to set my schedule around pets, but making sure that you spend five minutes with them when you come home or whenever tends to put them in better moods.
Just a word:
If you DO decide to get rid of her, do NOT give her to the pound. PLEASE. Find a no-kill shelter, or a kitty foster home. Please, do it.
My cat’s name is Misty too.
Just an idea-the fact that she was spayed late in life probably had something to do with this.
By the way, also look into her feeding habits.
I can’t find the link but I have been to a site called Planet Urine dot com. They have products for this problem. You shouldn’t have to get new sheets but you must get rid of the smell from the mattress. (and remember she can smell better than you) I have a little kitty that liked to go in the bathtub. That not so bad you cna just wash it down but we ended up getting a second litter box and in that box we keep a thin layer of litter. We also scrubbed clean the tub so she wouldn’t smell her mark there. This seems to be working.
Maybe you’re going about this from the wrong angle. Maybe you should get another bed for yourself and just let her have this one. Cats are nothing if not persistant.
We have 2 cats and at least one of them has a habit of leaving puddles every so often. Unfortunately, he/they tend to choose other boxes when he/they does so, so it is usually my daughter’s toy boxes that get hit.
The suggestions our vet gave us were to get a second litter box and to remove the covers if they were the covered type. Apparently, some cats are very sensitive to odors and will not use the box even when it smells fine to us. With the cover off, the odors are not as concentrated. And with a second box, he has an alternative if one is unacceptable.
IMHO, 4 days is far too long to go between box scooping, especially with 2 cats.
As far as your linens go, if you’ve been washing them with regular detergent your cats can still smell the urine, which will tend to cause a repeat performance. I have had very good luck with white vinegar. I put about a cup or so into the washer along with the detergent. It seems to neutralize the odor. There are also products on the market created specifically for this problem that use enzymes to break down whatever it is that is left behind after a normal wash.
You’ve already gotten some great advice here - it may take a combination of several ideas to reach your cat’s tiny little brain, but it can be done! I have one more suggestion for you, especially if you can catch her in the act - sometimes you can modify the behavior if you can make a direct connection between the bad behavior and a consequence.
I once had a male cat who started spraying the walls of my apartment. For various reasons, I didn’t want to neuter him, and I loved him dearly, so I came up with a plan to discourage him. I kept an eye on him and every time he approached a wall backwards, and his tail started to shiver, I’d snatch him up, toss him in the sink and wet his behind. I only used this punishment for this particular behavior and only when I caught him in the act. It took 3-4 wettings before he caught on and quit spraying in the house.
It’s not always easy finding a punishment for cats - my current boy doesn’t seem to mind getting wet (unless, of course, I’m trying to give him a bath). If you catch her in the act, give her a tap on the nose (Mother Cat Language for “no!”), tell her, “Bad girl!” and then add a punishment - perhaps exile her to the computer room for the rest of the night. If you can come up with a unique punishment specifically for this behavior, and enforce it uniformly, she may get the message. Or not.
I had an ancient Siamese male, who was getting on in years, and whom I still miss, his having passed on a couple of months ago, who now and then would urinate on my bed. I tried yelling at him – he just looked pissed, I tried swatting him lightly with a loosely rolled up newspaper – to make more noise than sting – and he ran, but eventually did it again. He did not do it often, so I applied a cheap painters drop cloth, plastic, under the mattress pad and just changed the bed when I discovered his indiscretion.
I loved him too much to get rid of him and he only did it now and then. Besides, he liked to curl up in my lap when I laid in bed watching TV and purr his old butt off, looking smugly content.
There is a spray you might try for dogs and cats called ‘Repel’ that is used to stop spraying and urinating in inappropriate areas. You spray it where they did it. Some suggest you get a water pistol and when you catch a cat doing it’s stuff where it’s not supposed to, squirt it briefly.
There is a possibility that the cat is marking your bed as its’ territory, or it might be irritated at you for some reason – like leaving it alone too long, having a neighbor with a dog who scares it, or it actually might occasionally forget about the litter box.
I’d not get rid of it, but then, I’m a sucker for cats.
You know, Fenris, there’s tons of stuff out there on the Web, cat care message boards, etc. Do a Google search on “cat urinate bed” or something.
Also want to point out (bad thought ) that older cats have a terrible adoption record, if you do decide to take her back to the Dumb Friends.
I wanted to thank everyone for the input!
Here’s my plan:
#1) Washing blankets/sheets/pad in vinegar (it’s a water-bed, so there’s not much to do with the “matress”
#2) I’m going to start scooping the litter more often
#3) At least until I can relax a bit about the current situation, I’m going to try the “lock her in the litter-box room at night” idea.
#4) I’m also checking some of the on-line sites. I’ve never tried Google before (Altavista’s my engine of choice) but it gave up a ton of results for DDG’s suggested query. I’ll be browsing.
If all else fails, there’s a no-kill shelter. A friend of mine tried to take a cat there and they were backlogged for months but if it comes to the point where I have to give her up, I’ll check with them first. For what it’s worth, she’s fairly young (2 years old, tops).
Thanks again and if anyone has any other ideas, I’d be happy to hear 'em
Put some plastic on the bed, when the cat pees, it causes the pee to run on their feet & they don’t like that very much.
You know, I adopted a stray cat that had this same problem. No matter what I did, he had to go to the bathroom on the bed. His litter box was kept very clean (every day to every other day), it was in a private place, his diet and health were good. The only solution I ever found was to not let him in the bedroom. It was hard though, I would accidently leave the door open for 5 minutes in the morning while getting ready for work, and zoom… away he went. It was almost like he would save it up.
I finally had to give him bact to the (no-kill) shelter I got him from. He was a sweet cat except for the one bad habit. The final straw came during this hot date I had with this beautiful woman… nuff said.