Cats are often adored for being low-maintenance pets when it comes to bathroom issues, so when you notice that your cutie has suddenly started going No. 1 outside of the litter box, it can come as a big shock to the system. Thankfully, you can do something to change it.
Make the Floor Less Attractive
If something about your floor is compelling your little one to eliminate on it, take action to change it. The Humane Society of the United States recommends putting discouraging items over your floors, including cotton balls with a lemony fragrance, aluminum foil or a runner rug the wrong side up. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine recommends newspaper, plastic sheets and sandpaper. You certainly don't have to do this all over your home, but just over areas that seem especially soiling-friendly to your pet.
As a general rule, felines steer away from going potty and eating in the same locations, and it's hard to blame them. If your cat has a new penchant for urinating in the corner of your living room, for example, change the association in her mind by putting some yummy treats in that same spot, at least temporarily. You can also do the same with a bowl of water, can of wet food or even her favorite stuffed toy mouse. A happy "playtime" association may deter your kitty from wanting to soil the space, as well.
A good old dose of cleaner may also do the trick in preventing your pet from urinating on the floor. If you remove all remnants of urine smell, your cat may not "remember" to repeat the offending action when on that same spot of the floor. Opt for an enzymatic cleaner that will thoroughly deconstruct the odor of the urine. Remember, cats have very keen senses of smell. Even if you can't detect a specific scent, your cat very likely can.
Synthetic Pheromone Spray
Synthetic pheromone sprays may also be able to stop your cat from ruining your floor. These sprays aim to copy the happiness-inducing odor that a cat gives off via her cheek glands. Not only do these faux pheromone scents calm and relax cats, they often prevent them from urinating, especially if the action is a marking and territorial one. Once a cat smells the artificial pheromones on the floor, she'll very likely think she has previously marked the spot with her urine. Mission accomplished.
If your cat's urinating problem is medical, then nothing you put on the floor will be able to stop her. Schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to check out your fluff ball's health status. In some cases, house soiling behaviors are a symptom of various ailments, including urinary tract infection, diabetes and overactive thyroid. Also, cats who are not spayed or neutered are usually much more likely to spray surfaces. If your cat hasn't already been fixed, speak to the vet about scheduling that appointment immediately. Lastly, if you're worried in any way that your cat is eliminating outside of the litter tray as a reaction to stress and anxiety in her life, consult the vet about possible use of anxiety management medications, at least for a short while. Before you try that, however, think about what you can personally do to ease your pet's nerves, whether it's spending more quality time playing with her or setting aside a comforting personal space within your house for her.
- Humane Society of North Texas: Feline House-Soiling
- The Humane Society of the United States: Solving Litter Box Problems
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Feline Behavior Problems - House Soiling
- Stanford Cat Network: Solving Litterbox Problems
- ASPCA: Medical Causes of House Soiling in Cats
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images