Whether because of a medical condition or due to stress, your furbaby may begin to urinate on your favorite rug rather than in his litter box. With a few simple adjustments in your home, both your rug and your sanity can be saved, stopping your kitty from his inappropriate elimination.
Cats urinate outside of their litter boxes for a number of reasons. Your cat may urinate on the rug to claim it as part of his territory, especially in households with multiple cats. If the rug is located in view of a window through which your cat sees other cats outdoors, he will urinate on the rug to communicate to these other cats to stay out of his territory. Simply closing your curtains may solve this problem. Medical issues could be the cause, such as a urinary tract infection, so bring your kitty to the vet for a health check. Treatment should stop the cat from urinating on the rug. Spaying or neutering your cat should also stop territorial urine marking. Many rugs have a rubber non-slip backing, which has a scent that attracts some cats to the rug to urinate on it. If that is the case with your cat, you may want to switch to a rug without this type of backing.
Once a cat urinates on your rug, the smell of the urine will continue to draw him back to the scene of the crime to pee on it again and again. To prevent this from happening, get all of the urine and its scent out of the rug completely. For small, washable rugs, place them in the washing machine with detergent and 1 cup of vinegar. Blot up the urine for non-washable rugs with paper towels or a sponge and douse the area with water; blot again. Soak the area with a pet-specific enzymatic cleaner that contains ingredients to eliminate the components of the urine and its accompanying odor. After your rug is dry, you may want to treat it with a pet odor neutralizer or a sprinkle of baking soda to fully remove any possible residual odors.
If possible, prevent your cat from getting to the rug. Shut the door to the room containing the rug or block off his access from it with a baby gate. Place a motion-sensing deterrent near the rug if you can't physically block it off from your cat. These types of deterrents spray a harmless burst of air at your cat to scare him away from the area. After a few weeks, you may be able to remove the deterrent once your cat naturally avoids the area. Spraying a synthetic feline pheromone solution over the rug will also deter urine marking of the area and calm your cat if he is experiencing stress.
Make the surface of the rug unattractive for your cat to urinate on. Cover parts of the rug with double-sided tape. The sticky surface will discourage your cat from walking on the carpet and urinating on it as well. Placing aluminum foil or an upside-down carpet runner, nub-side up, over the rug discourages your cat from urinating on the carpeted surface by making it unpleasant for him to walk on, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Cats don't like citrus or strong floral scents, so daily spraying of the rug with a scented room or fabric spray can help keep him away from it.
Litter Box Placement
A cat who consistently urinates on your rug may prefer to eliminate in that area. Place his litter box over the spot he's been peeing on, after it's clean. This should prompt him to use the litter box rather than the rug to eliminate. After your cat begins to eliminate in the box regularly, you can begin to move it to a different location an inch or so per day from where it sits on the rug. Kitties who urinate on rugs may have a preference for soft surfaces. Try a soft, fine-textured, natural litter, like a paper-, corn- or wood-based one, instead of your current litter, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine recommends. This softer litter may make the litter box more attractive as a place for your cat to urinate, rather than your rug. Keep the box clean by scooping it daily and washing it weekly.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.