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Any ideas how to stop cat peeing in the house?

(28 Posts)
onceipopicantstop Sun 14-Apr-13 12:19:01

Bit of a long story sorry. We've had our cat for 9 years, she was a rescue cat and is probably about 13 years old now. She was diagnosed with diabetes shortly after we had her and is on insulin injections. We've had a few ups and downs with her diabetes but generally she's been a healthy cat.

For the last few months she has been pooing fairly regularly in the house. Sometimes it's a whole stool, other times its a few bits or a smear on the sofa. Her back legs are a bit weak, and our vet thinks she may have some sensory problems and perhaps can't feel that she isn't clean if that makes sense. It sounds revolting but sometimes she comes in from the garden and there is poo hanging from her bottom so this theory does make sense. It has become quite an issue as we are constantly on poo-watch! The vet has been looking into dietary changes to see if that may help. There have also been a couple of new cats around and though she doesn't seem particularly bothered by them we did wonder whether this was contributing.

Now we are having problems with her peeing in the house as well! We've been having some building work done over the last couple of weeks. We had to move out because of the mess but left the cat here as we thought she would be happier in her own environment (in the past moving her out has upset her diabetes). It has been noisy work, but for the first week my husband was here all day, every day, so she saw a familiar face. And for the last few days of the job we were coming down twice a day to feed her and give her medication - and the work was much quieter by then anyway.

But she had pee'd in the house a couple of times before we returned - always in the same place - and has continued to do so since we returned. We've thoroughly cleaned the area, used a citrussy smelling cleaner, and put down things on the floor, including bubble wrap (thinking she might not like the feel) to try and stop her. But the problem continues. There are no other signs that she is unwell or her diabetes is unstable so I'm presuming its behavioural, perhaps in protest to the recent chaos! DH is ready to make her live permanently in the garden! But she's always been a house cat, and she's elderly so that feels a bit mean!

I will be speaking to our vet in the morning but any advice gratefully received in the meantime. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
thecatneuterer Sun 14-Apr-13 12:25:41

Does she have a litter tray in the house? Can you put a small tray in the place she likes to pee?

cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 12:33:17

Have you got a litter tray or trays for her? It sounds to me as if she's anxious and wants to pee inside in safety - which many cats prefer anyway. If so, and you haven't a tray or two for her, I'd get one fast to try out.

Also, as she's an older girl and her back legs seem a little weak, have you and the vet considered that she may have a bit of arthritis which makes pooing difficult? Older cats can find it a strain doing the poo squat (and also digging outside) so sometimes give up halfway through with the poo dropping somewhere else in the end. If so, that's easily medicated. I'm conscious that she's already on meds for the diabetes (and I don't envy you that one) but arthritis meds, and some moderate laxatives if necessary, can be given orally in food so are not a significant issue.

Just a couple of thoughts.

onceipopicantstop Sun 14-Apr-13 13:05:28

Hi thanks for the replies. We don't have a litter tray - she has a cat flap -but as you say we may have to start using one again. Much as I hate them perhaps it would at least confine the mess to one area. Do you think this would just be a short term measure until her anxiety settles?

DH is currently constructing some sort of shelter for her to use overnight. He's really cross - probably because he ends up cleaning the mess up as we are TTC and I don't weant to go near it! She's just done it again - poo and wee in the same place - whilst he was out and I was upstairs. And he is quite adamant that she will be staying out of the house until we speak to the vet tomorrow. But wouldn't that make her anxiety worse?

Good thought about the arthritis too. Vet has examined her for that and didn't think she was too bad but might be worth discussing again. She already has laxatives. When she sits she kind of stops with her bum a few cm off the floor and then sits properly after a few minutes. We think its sensory related but arthritis could be contributing I guess.

OP’s posts: |
cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 13:16:05

It could only be a short term measure but I would leave it to her as she's an older girl. Her days of going outside all the time may be coming to an end.

They're really not that bad to use if you've got any sort of out of the way place. I can understand DH getting cross - it's a pain in the neck cleaning up pee and poo all the time - and I suspect that his building a shelter in the garden is some sort of practical attempt to deal with his annoyance. If you nip out this afternoon and get a tray and litter, you can probably assuage that reaction. Making her live outside is likely to increase her anxiety a lot. I wouldn't even consider it for such an older cat.

By the way - you should be able to clean a litter tray even if you're TTC. Disposable plastic gloves can be used if necessary and are really, really cheap.

I'd discuss the arthritis again with the vet because it sounds to me like a likely candidate. The only thing is that NSAIDs (the usual meds) can lead to kidney damage in the longer term but you have to set that against any possible current pain and a cat's natural distaste for peeing or pooing in an unauthorized place. They really don't like doing it so it's a sign of problems when they do.

I don't know about the use of NSAIDs when a cat's diabetic, either - and on meds for that. Your vet will advise.

thecatneuterer Sun 14-Apr-13 13:27:02

I don't know what TTC means.

Most cats seem to get to an age when going out to wee/poo seems to become too much trouble for them, especially if it's cold/wet/snowy. I think you're going to have to get a tray.

You really shouldn't even be thinking about leaving an old, arthritic cat outside in the cold when she's been used to being inside. That would be an awful thing to do.

Litter trays are really no big deal and if you can put one in the spot she is currently choosing that would be ideal.

2kidsintow Sun 14-Apr-13 13:33:27

That's exactly what we've had to do. Our 17 year old cat had taken to peeing by the front door. Basically he no longer wants to go outside and is happy to be an inside cat. We've put a litter tray out for him and he got used to it within a day or two. Unfortunately, he only wants to pee in the hallway, so it's the first thing that people see when they come in. We got a covered tray and that is working well.

We think it is a combination of the fact that he has old bones and isn't as handy on his feet. He prefers much more cuddles etc than he used to so I don't think he likes the cold. We are waiting to see if he goes out in the warm weather as he used to like basking in sunbeams.

Also, unfortunately, I think he has been muscled out of his own territory by other cats and this makes him nervous to be outside. On a warm day he will go out briefly if one of us is near, but otherwise he legs it inside quickly. The other cats had even taking to coming in through his cat flap and eating his food, so he is much happier now we have a litter tray and have shut the cat flap permanently.

cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 13:39:52


If he's got a microchip, you can get a cat flap (Sureflap appears to be the best) that recognizes his chip and will only allow him in. They're not cheap but apparently work very ell indeed.

Just an option for you to think about in case he decides he wants to go out during the summer. You may think it's not worth it because he's so happy inside now.

cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 13:40:54


My spelling deteriorates by the minute!

onceipopicantstop Sun 14-Apr-13 13:51:55

TTC = trying to conceive!
We already have a microchip catflap and its been brilliant but we will be getting a litter tray this afternoon. We won't leave her outside I promise - DH has put her outside at the moment just to show her she has done something wrong but she'll be coming in once we have the litter tray sorted. I daren't leave her unsupervised in the house at the moment so we'll leave her until then. I couldn't sleep knowing she was outside overnight! DH and DS are in the garden at the moment anyway so she hasn't been abandoned!

Unfortunately the layout of our house makes it difficult for the litter tray to be out of the way so it will have to be a point of interest for our visitors! Will also have to teach DS to keep away!

OP’s posts: |
Bramblesinafield Sun 14-Apr-13 13:54:22

We had an issue with this with our old girl and have bought a lidded cat tray - my girl wouldn't go through the flap, so we used some tape to stick it open and she uses it happily. This makes it less intrusive as we are limited for space. We find the wooden pelleted cat litter to be less smelly and the cat is happy to use this. Thankfully the house pissing has decreased.

cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 13:56:58

Well done, once . She should pick up the use of a tray real quickly (probably used one when she was a kit) but let us know how it goes.

Good luck.


onceipopicantstop Sun 14-Apr-13 20:03:47

Litter tray in place and was used within half an hour! We've had to put it in the lounge at the moment as that is where she has been going, but I'll move it once she's using it reliably.

It seems ages since we last used a tray but I've realised its only been 3 years. I was pregnant when we managed to sort the cat flap. What I had forgotten is how the litter tends to get stuck on her paws and between her toes and get trodden around the house - I got quite stressed about this as I was pregnant and anxious about the whole cat poo thing. We're using catsan litter which is quite fine - is there anything else anyone would recommend to prevent this problem?

OP’s posts: |
QueenStromba Sun 14-Apr-13 20:14:40

We have [ this litter box]] and it does a good job of keeping the litter contained.

cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 20:15:26

Good news that she's used it. smile

We're quite low tech here and as we use Fuller's Earth (which is a bit heavier than CatSan) I just spread out a couple of broadsheet papers under each tray and give them a daily small brush. The heavier litter doesn't travel as much.

I believe you can get mats which trap stray litter and others may be able to give you recommendations on those.

Is DH a happier chappy?


QueenStromba Sun 14-Apr-13 20:26:56

Sorry link

RugBugs Sun 14-Apr-13 20:37:57

If your DH is up for the challenge you could make a litter tray a little less obtrusive quite easily. Litter trays fit quite nicely inside those wooden storage boxes that ikea and argos sell as laundry baskets/storage (just cut a cat sized hole in one side for easy feline access).

onceipopicantstop Sun 14-Apr-13 20:47:49

Thanks for the suggestions QueenStromba and cozietoesie - will take a look.

DH is fine. He's just worried about me I think as I did get very anxious during my last pregnancy. I suffer with an anxiety disorder and became quite fearful of the litter tray etc. We just don't want to go through the same with this pregnancy!

OP’s posts: |
cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 20:52:47

I think you should do some research on it. I seem to remember Lonecatwithkitten talking about toxo and saying that you pretty well had to wallow unprotected in a very dirty tray to run any risk whatsoever. I may be misquoting her but I would in any case have thought that normal hygiene precautions (including disposable plastic gloves - dirt cheap - if really necessary for your peace of mind) would be fine.

onceipopicantstop Sun 14-Apr-13 20:59:17

I have spoken to my vet in the past about the risk and he said it was more common to catch toxo from undercooked meat etc than from cat poo. But even so the irrational part of my brain makes me over anxious!! But I have gloves and will try to remain calm!!

OP’s posts: |
cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 21:18:29

Anyway - if it comes to it, DH will find it a lot easier to simply clean a tray or two than to scrub away at carpet etc !

You'll be fine.


PS - the only reason I mentioned two trays is that they can sometimes be funny about peeing/pooing in a dirty tray and as one function often follows on from the other within a very short time, two trays is probably the optimum if you have the space for them. (Seniorboy has two and uses both in that way.) You'll want to see how she gets on with this one though - it's early days yet.

cozietoesie Sun 14-Apr-13 21:19:11

PS - Lonecat is a vet. smile

onceipopicantstop Mon 15-Apr-13 14:07:26

A successful night with all pee and poo contained in the litter tray! Hurrah!! Yes will definitely be easier in one place! Have noticed she wees, leaves the tray and goes back a few mins later to poo so will keep an eye on whether 2 trays are needed. Spoke to our vet and will review by phone in a couple of days - just to make sure there's nothing to suggest she's unwell but looks like its all behavioural.

OP’s posts: |
thecatneuterer Mon 15-Apr-13 14:36:30

Good news! It's funny how often the answer to problems in the Litter tray board is 'get a litter tray' smile

cozietoesie Mon 15-Apr-13 14:47:40

Good news indeed. I'm glad it looks to be behavioural so far because there's no sense in using any meds when you don't have to.

Let us know how she gets on over the next few days.


Yes, thecatneuterer. The board is well named!

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