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17 July 2012 @ 12:28 pm
highly specific cat peeing question  
I've scanned the last 18 months of posts to no avail, and so I turn to you, HDers, with a highly specific question.

About two months ago, my partner and I adopted a former stray cat who's about a year old. She is pretty laid back but, being young, needs to play a lot. So we play with her. Right now she is deeply in love with the plastic ring from a milk jug. She brings it to us in her mouth, we throw it, and she plays fetch. We do this until she flops out. It is highly entertaining.

Problem is, twice in the last couple of weeks she has wanted to play at 2, 3, 4am. She leaps onto the bed, drops the ring on my partner's chest, and meows. We attempt to continue sleeping, or pet her ears and turn over. 15 seconds later, we realize SHE IS PEEING ON US. OK, the comforter or blanket over our feet. BUT STILL. HORROR.

We have had her health checked out. It is great! Top notch!

We are adept with Nature's Miracle and laundry tips. Thanks, HD archives!

Her box is scrupulously clean, and we take special pains to scoop it before bed.

The obvious answer is to shut the cat out of the bedroom, but then we're worried she will start peeing in other areas that we won't find until later. My partner works from home, and between the bed episodes, the cat peed in the hallway, in view of him, when he was on a call and couldn't play. How much do we need to wear out this little creature?? Do we need another cat or will that just double our nightmare?

Our vet is talking to us Thursday, but I am praying some of you have also dealt with this issue successfully. Thank you!
i'm a loner, dottie.  a rebel.: pikalittlelamb on July 17th, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
i just asked something similar here and got good feedback.

i'm a loner, dottie.  a rebel.: lushlittlelamb on July 17th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
one more thing. Where she's peeing (a soft surface) is very common. It indicates to me she likes to pee on soft surfaces. You can try changing her litter to something softer, like good mews or a newspaper litter. She may not like the hard litter if that's what you're using. So I'd try associating her litter box with "hooray, bathroom!" and not every soft surface in your home.
Euphonia, Sorceress of Inksschpahky on July 17th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks, ours doesn't have any health history/habits so it is still a bit of a mystery. But hope your kitty got sorted out!
i'm a loner, dottie.  a rebel.: lushlittlelamb on July 17th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Well, those tips will work for any cat with inappropriate urination issues.
Arrow In A Streamjabber on July 17th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
My intuition is telling me you're being marked - kitty may have a fear of rejection, having been a stray and finding a happy place of belonging might be hitting some anxiety that this happiness is fleeting, so she's marking you as hers, so happiness will endure.

I can't suggest a solution, but I think the route to the solution is through kitty psychotherapy. If she can be convinced that this is for real and forever, she'll mellow out.
Euphonia, Sorceress of Inksschpahky on July 17th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
I hate to admit it but I agree with you. It's hard to see it as anxiety and not spite at 4am but we'll do some investigating...god, cat psychotherapy! We need to learn how to love-bomb a cat that doesn't want to be held or be physically close, but gazes adoringly at us from four feet away. EXCEPT AT 4AM WHEN SHE IS ALL UP IN OUR BUSINESS.

It is a good thing she is so freakin' cute.

Thanks for weighing in.

Arrow In A Streamjabber on July 17th, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
Does she have "her own place" at home? I've noticed with our cats and dogs that if they have a place that's their own - not for being sent to as punishment but where they can go and hide and be undisturbed - there is less drama.

For my dogs, it's a crate. They get closed in it at times, but it's mostly a refuge - when there is a storm or vacuuming, they hide there. If they're not feeling well, they hide there. And we never pull them out, only invite them to come out if they want.

With our cats it's a bit different, but one (feral that we've been unable to tame) has taken up residence in a drawer in an end table by the living room sofa. That's his den and nobody bothers him there. Before he had "his" spot, he marked the house to the point where we thought we'd have to give him up to a shelter. But, since he found a private place to be alone, the marking has stopped.

So, maybe there's a possible solution. A cat tree with a compartment from which to stare lovingly might be just the thing. A few toys there, occasional treat and some catnip there in the evening might help to ween her of the anxious routine too.
awstuff4friends: kurt dumdidum graphicstogo26 - text meawstuff4friends on July 18th, 2012 04:08 am (UTC)
It is a good thing she is so freakin' cute.

I say this a lot, too; but she's also been dubbed my therapy cat because mine is affectionate...except the weirdo doesn't like being under bed covers unlike every other cat I've ever known or heard of. But...if she wasn't so important to my mental health--Nope. I still couldn't do without her. Especially not after I had all the surgery done to her to comply with the government housing's rules. :(
Kathrynsurvivinglove on July 17th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
This weekend they did a "my cat from hell" marathon. I'm not saying your cat is a cat from hell but they had a very severe version of the peeing stuff on the episode I've linked above. The solution was to *walk* the cat so it would do its territorial pee'ing outside on the walks rather than on the people's stuff. Especially considering that you cat was a stray I wonder if this tact might work.

Good luck. Let us know what works.
Jen: pic#104686149randomjen on July 17th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
I have no helpful advice, just sympathy. My friend has a cat that does that...and has for 13 years. She does it for attention, when she's upset or stressed, etc. I'll never forget the time I was cat-sitting. She peed on the bed, probably because I was sleeping there and not my friend. I washed the sheets and was just pulling the still warm from the dryer fitted sheet over the last corner when she jumped up on the bed, walked right over to me, meowed and peed. She was very clearly telling me to GTFO.

Hopefully, you will find some solution and things will become less urine filled.
Sarcasticia Nitpickerson: kittenstisiphone on July 17th, 2012 04:57 pm (UTC)
For a fast fix, you could try spraying your bed linens with something like orange or lavender that you'll enjoy but your kitty will hate, which should keep her off your bed. I'd also suggest a feliway diffuser and a cat bed that's in your room but not near your bed; put the diffuser right near the bed, sprinkle the bed with catnip, and that will give her a very strong suggestion that this is her place to be. It won't necessarily stop her peeing, but it should stop her peeing on you.

awstuff4friends: JM oh no by eyescubedawstuff4friends on July 18th, 2012 04:09 am (UTC)
Use lavender, not orange. Orange will hamper your ability to sleep peacefully.
give a dog a bone: Awww Yeaholycaryn on July 17th, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
I had to put my older cat on prozac during a difficult transition in our lives. It was for about four months and then everything was fine again.
stultifera navis: yamamoto catlaughingwoman on July 17th, 2012 05:26 pm (UTC)
I've found with spraying issues that Feliway works really, really well. The plug-in diffusers work best in rooms that tend to be problem areas, and the spray is good for places like the bed, or specific things that get sprayed (or scratched). My understanding is that it reduces anxiety in cats that are acting out because of that anxiety, and it curbs aggressivity in cats that are acting out because of that. We live in a multi-cat (4!) household, and it has been really good at helping maintain a peaceful equillibrium, as well as useful for particular stressful situations (when we are out of town, etc). My husband tends to think it's woo-woo, but concedes that it works. Our vets swear by it. It's much cheaper to buy on Amazon (as well as the refills) than in the petstore.
winter is coming, so don't stab your sister: ladybug quietceilidh on July 17th, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
this might be a dumb question, but is she spayed? Because we didn't get our cat spayed as early as we should have (lack of money) and she had serious peeing-everywhere problems when she was in heat. Getting her spayed totally fixed that problem.
dushamoya: userpicdushamoya on July 17th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
After seeing my dad care for approx 398459728650364523452345 cats, I'm not so sure I really follow the "get them fixed ASAP to prevent peeing issues". I think it totally depends on the cat, their personality, and their environment.

We've had several that were strays taken in and fixed at who knows how old and have done perfectly fine with the not peeing, and young kittens we got in as soon as they were old enough who have serious pee issues.

I don't type this to be like "zomg you are WRONG", but instead to say dont beat yourself up about not getting her in fast.

Edited at 2012-07-17 10:54 pm (UTC)
awstuff4friends: Xander-Oz Who What by angelswilliamawstuff4friends on July 18th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
It's very important for male cats, but I've never heard of it applying to females at all. (?)
Sarcasticia Nitpickerson: kittenstisiphone on July 18th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
It does to an extent, though females are a bit less likely to spray than males.
not always right, but often not wrong: cat  kaliravengirl on July 18th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
She may have been spraying, which is common when a cat is in heat. It's often confused with improper urinating. She was probably trying to attract a male. :)
awstuff4friends: kurt dumdidum graphicstogo26 - text meawstuff4friends on July 18th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
Oh, okaaaaaaaaay. I'll shut up, now, regarding the neutering issue.
Dravvie: Shh....Princess Timedravvie on July 17th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
My cat used to be super clingy and got stressed out to the point where she was licking her fur off if I left her home alone. She's learned not to pee on stuff, but I try to leave her with a special blanket to cuddle with that I've had on the back of my computer chair to cuddle with, and when I come home I let her sniff and examine me and sent mark me with her face and chest rather then pee on my shoes and work clothes late at night. And sleep on my purse, for whatever reason, sleeping on and sent marking in a similar manner my purse seemed to chill her out when it became an allowed thing. So much less peeing.

Also, some stray cats get kind of freaked out by too much litter box scooping. Add another box, play around with how often you need to scoop. For my cat it's about every 2 or 3 days, as much as that freaks me out. If it's too clean she'll poop next to the box because it doesn't smell like hers.
lapenn: book teaselapenn on July 17th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
how much do you play with her before bed? I ask because our cat (almost 3 years old now) will wake us up if we don't play with her before bedtime. We have to wear her out. This obviously doesn't solve the pee issue, but it can keep her sleeping through the night.

I also recommend switching to a softer litter. We use corn cob litter with our cat, and she loves it. It's softer than clay but not the softest, so try different things.
haywagonsmom: pic#98908284haywagonsmom on July 18th, 2012 12:01 am (UTC)
I just wanted to say that this is very sweet of you to work on the issue with her rather than dumping her to the curb. We adopted a cat that was part of a feral cat colony. She will come and sit in my lap, sleep in bed with me, twine around my legs when I am trying to use the bathroom but if I pick her up she pees. We have just figured that this is something she does. When she has to go to the vet or get mats cut out of her fur we just wrap her in a towel and she pees but it is contained. I hope your little one gets better.
The Girl with the Bubblegun: Robin and Amanda byinchesapart on July 18th, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)
(I've only skimmed the other comments, so, apologies if you're receiving the same info twice.)

Our kitten had the same issue. She would hop into bed, wanting to play, and when we wouldn't she would squat and pee. It got to the point where we had to shut both her and our oldest cat (much to her dismay) out at night. We never did have a problem with her peeing anywhere else. The vet told us that she was probably doing it out of spite since we haven't had an issue since baring her from the room at night.

If I were you I would try shutting her out of the room for one night and see how she does.

I hope you guys figure it out though. Washing pee out of sheets every day is so not fun.
not always right, but often not wrong: cat  kaliravengirl on July 18th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)
Since she's a stray, is she declawed? It sounds like a behavioral problem and she could be young with a lot of energy and wants what she wants right now. But declawed cats often urinate and sometimes defecate "inappropriately." The newspaper litter is a good suggestion and getting good behaviorist input might help. Tree House offers this service to all, if you'd like to try it. Click on the link for some tips and on the left side of the screen "Behavior Counseling" to fill out an email query:

Lady Crimson Tide: HK40Kclynne on July 18th, 2012 02:06 am (UTC)
One of our cats is a semiferal rescue -- she clearly lived on the streets until she was about six months old, and as a consequence is not well-socialized around humans (loves other cats, though, and after two years with us she's accepted me mostly, and my husband a little).

Anyway. Like yours, she wants love and affection but isn't always aware of the right time for it, and when she does want it she wants it much more "on her own terms" than other cats. You don't really want to play with her her when she wakes you up at night because that reinforces that it's acceptable behavior, so what you're doing by petting her and then going back to sleep is the right move.

A lot of the time kittens will just grow out of inappropriate peeing after a week or so, as long as you don't do anything to reinforce it. If that hasn't happened, you could try the following:
* When she wakes you up to play, pick her up and put her in the litterbox, then go back to bed. If she's just peeing because she's excited or something, she'll likely pee in the litterbox rather than on the bed.
* When she wakes you up to play, pick her up and put her in a confined space, with a comfortable hidden bed and a litterbox. We call this "kitty jail," and it's what we do with our cats when they've decided that behaviors we think of as "bad" (howling to wake you up, fighting on the bed, attacking you ... all the stuff cats do to say "I want attention/food/love/outside and you are SLEEPING"). While it avoids reinforcing the bad behavior with snuggles, it provides a comfortable spot to sleep and a place to pee while keeping them from being able to continue being annoying.

Janey feels safest when she's tucked herself into a confined or dark space -- basically, any place that's hard for humans to immediately see her or reach in and get her. Normally that's under the bed, but when she was socializing in our house, we cleaned out the area under the bathroom sink and lined it with towels for her to sleep on. So when she goes to "kitty jail" she already has a safe place to sleep. Perhaps for your kitty's confinement room, you could set up a box with soft blankets or towels as well as a litterbox and food dishes.
your bright silver grin: Rarlen_esq on July 18th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
Best advice I can give--go over to cathealth, search the tags, and also try posting your question there. *Tons* of super-knowledgeable folks over there. The mod is a vet tech at a cat clinic, and has answered my questions SO many times!
awstuff4friends: JM oh no by eyescubedawstuff4friends on July 18th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
I'm having a similar issue with my formerly stray, relatively young, very affectionate and playful cat peeing when she has no reason to. I have come to the conclusion that it's an attention thing because it started around the time I got a laptop and it started getting more lap time than she did.

So, I try to show her more attention and play with her more. Whenever I forget is when I start to smell cat pee when the A/C comes on. :p

Maybe your cat is doing what she's doing because you won't play with her when she wants you to. I'll tell you something, though: Lock her in the bathroom with her food and litter for a couple of nights and make a point of checking her litterbox to see if she's peed in it (going on the assumption you use clumping litter) and if she has saying good kitty and letting her out each morning...and she won't be peeing anywhere she's not supposed to if it's an attention issue and you're giving her as much attention during the day as you say you are. Cats HATE being closed in the bathroom...as you will hear when you do it. But...don't leave anything like laundry or the tub towel on the floor when you do so, or she'll pee on that instead of in her litterbox. My sister warned me about that, and I forgot once and had it happen. :p

Every time I lock Furness in the bathroom and check her litterbox every time I go in and tell her no because she hasn't done anything in it and walk back out and then finally let her out when I hear her scratching and go in and see that she has finally peed in it...she doesn't pee on the carpet for at LEAST 3 months.

They HATE it. They ABSOLUTELY HATE it. There's nothing to do in there but eat, sleep, and do their business, so it's EXTREME TORTURE (figuratively speaking) for a busy little mind.