Disdainfully, Fluffy sniffs her litter box. With her nose in the air, she strolls across the house and squats in her favorite spot, leaving a smelly gift on your Persian rug. Your friend uses pee pads to train her puppy, leaving you wondering -- do pee pads work with cats?
What is a Pee Pad?
Pee pads, commonly known as training pads or puppy pads, are disposable, plastic-backed, absorbent pads intended to protect flooring and carpets while housebreaking puppies. Some pet owners use them in addition to walking Fido and Rover, minimizing the cleanup necessary in housebreaking accidents. A pad is placed on the floor in a convenient location so Rover can find it in a potty emergency. The pee pad's scent also attracts cats, encouraging Fluffy to use it when she can't reach her litter box.
While Fluffy normally uses her litter box, pee pads are a convenient substitute after surgery or as she ages. Older, arthritic cats may find it difficult to jump in and out of a litter box. If Fluffy was declawed, kitty litter may be extremely painful to her tender toes, making a pee pad a valuable substitute for a clay or silicone-based litter. In addition, if Fluffy or Rajah has difficulty in urinating, the white surface of a pee pad may reveal blood in the urine or feces, signaling that an urgent trip to the veterinarian is necessary.
A large pee pad spread under and in front of the litter box helps catch any "misses" and encourages Fluffy to use her box. If there are multiple cats in the household, however, Fluffy may refuse to use her box if Rajah has already marked it. Litter box training may be forgotten while Fluffy and Rajah sort out their alpha cat issues. If Rajah begins marking or spraying his territory, pee pads are easily taped to the wall or chair to protect it until he is neutered. An enzyme cleaner removes the lingering smell, so when he returns home from the vet, the attractant in the pee pad will encourage him to use it instead of the wall.
Picky and Persnickety
A picky cat like Fluffy may view her litter box with the same disdain as you'd view a port-a-potty or a busy public restroom. Fluffy may also refuse to use her litter box a second time, turning up her nose until the box is cleaned and the litter replaced. Placing a pee pad in a quiet location may resolve some of her issues, giving her a second or third choice of bathroom facilities. Meanwhile, Rajah, a particularly persnickety cat, may prefer to use an odd corner where a litter box won't fit. A pee pad allows you to indulge in his potty preference.
With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.