Cat Peeing in the House? Consider the Litter.

Cat laying in litter box dreaming about the beach.The issue of cat litter seems like it should be a fairly straightforward thing, right? I mean, it’s essentially just kitty toilet “paper.” Humans use can choose ultrasoft, scented, flower-printed paper or just make do with the rough, unbleached paper, so why should a cat care what he uses in the the “bathroom?”

Whether or not it’s logical to us, cats do have preferences when it comes to litter. In fact, problems with the litter can be enough to send your cat looking for a litter box alternative he considers better, like the floor behind the sofa or in a corner of the kitchen. So, if you expect your cat to use the litter box, you’ll need to get the litter right.

There’s a Reason There are So Many Types of Cat Litter

Stop by any large pet store and you’ll probably find at least half a dozen types of cat litter available. The most common are gravel-type litters made of natural clay (non-clumping) or betonite clay (clumping). You can also find pellet-type litters made of corn, pine or recycled newspaper. Most cats prefer gravel-type litter, so if you’ve been using pellets and your cat’s been avoiding the litter box, try switching to gravel.

Conversely, some cats prefer pellets because they’re softer on the feet. If it turns out your cat likes pellet-type litter, I have a money-saving tip for you in Cat Urine Problems Eliminated. All litters have their pros and cons and the choice really depends on what your cat will use, not what the commercials say. The only thing I’d add is to avoid using clumping litter with kittens younger than 6 months of age. Kittens tend to ingest litter when they clean their paws and clumping litter may cause intestinal blockages. It’s not common, but why take the risk?

Litter Depth: Finding a Happy Medium

The amount of litter you put in the box is another factor you’ll need to experiment with because different cats prefer different depths. We humans who have to clean the litter box prefer deeper litter because it’s easier to scoop. This is particularly true with clumping litter. To make sure the clumps are easily scoopable and don’t stick to the bottom of the litter box, you may need 3 or 4 inches of litter.

The problem with that depth is that many cats dislike walking in deep litter and won’t use a box with 3 inches of litter in it. If you’ve been adding a lot of litter to the box, try cutting back to just 1 inch. Although this shallow depth may make it harder to clean the box, it’s worth the trouble if it gets your cat to stop using the carpet or linoleum, which is much harder to clean than any litter box.

Note, too, that if your cat is choosing slick surfaces like linoleum floors or the bathroom sink, it’s a good sign there’s too much litter in the box. Some cats prefer just a handful of litter. Yes, that makes the box hard to clean, but again, it’s still better than cat pee in the sink.

Cats Appreciate Cleanliness, Too

With their frequent “tongue bathing,” cats have earned a reputation for cleanliness. Given a choice, a cat would never walk around in his own feces. Although kitties do tend to stick to one area for bathroom purposes, outdoors they’re able to bury their leavings deeply enough that they don’t have to walk through them. And once a spot gets too dirty, they just move on to a cleaner one.

So, if you expect your cat to use the litter box, the box has got to be clean. This means litter box scooping is a daily task. This is not something you can let go for a week or even three or four days. Daily litter box scooping is just one of the responsibilities of having a cat.

Covered boxes, baking soda, and deodorizers may hold down the smell, but they don’t remove the source of the odor. Your cat still has to walk through that poo and pee to use the box and many cats just won’t do it. They’ll look for a clean spot on the floor instead. For this reason, scoop every time the box contains three soilings. Be aware, too, that there are a few picky kitties out there who won’t enter a box with any soiling, so you’ll have to scoop after every bathroom visit (kitty’s, not yours. :-))

If you have several cats in the house, a single litter box can get pretty full in just one afternoon. To make it easier to keep the boxes clean, put out a litter box for each cat. Even if the boxes are side by side, the additional clean space gives your cats a choice besides the carpet.

On the flip side, avoid to over-sanitizing the litter box with strong smelling cleaners like undiluted bleach or citrus cleaners. The smell can keep the cat away from the box. The litter box should smell slightly of cat pee because it’s this scent that tells the cat where the correct bathroom area is.

Putting it All Together

Of course, litter and the litter box overall is just one factor in stopping your cat from peeing in the house. Health and the cat’s environment also come into play. You can solve your cat’s urination problems and get your home completely free of cat urine odors, but the solutions may not always be obvious. Instead of wasting time learning by trial and error, read the book Cat Urine Problems Eliminated to discover proven-effective ways to retrain your cat and regain your home.

Learn How to Keep a Cat From Urinating on the Carpet

Cats piddling on the carpet is, unfortunately, not terribly uncommon. Learning how to keep a cat from urinating on carpet is well worth your time if you have have a kitty at home. The good news is that even if your cat starts peeing on your rugs and carpets, you can effectively stop this behavior and get rid of the odor.

Identify the Cause

This part is not necessarily easy. So many different things can cause a cat to start urinating in the house that even for an experienced cat owner, it can be hard to think of all possible causes in every situation. One potential source of problems is health. Cats with urinary tract conditions and certain other health problems commonly pee outside the litter box. Taking the cat to the vet should be your first step if the cat starts urinating on the floor. Once the problem is treated, your cat should stop wetting on the carpet. With some health problems, like incontinence, you may need to place several litter boxes in different places around the house. Not the most convenient thing, but it should keep the cat from urinating on the carpet.

Stress is another potential cause. House cats are creatures of habit and even small changes can upset them, although reactions vary from cat to cat. A stressed cat feels threatened and may start peeing on the rug to mark her territory and, in her mind, ensure her safety. If your cat’s stressed out, you’ll need to either remove the source of the stress (such as teaching the toddler in the house not to harass kitty) or help the cat adjust to the stress. There are several ways to help cats feel less stressed.

Eliminate Cat Urine Smells

Cats are drawn by their instincts to urinate where they smell cat urine. To them, any area with this odor qualifies as a litter box. This to keep a cat from urinating on carpet, you’ll need to remove all urine odors from the carpet and possibly the carpet padding and the floorboards below. Pulling back your carpet and checking for dark stains will tell you if you need to clean the padding and floorboards. If you cant get the smell out of the floorboards, there are products you can use to seal them so not even your cat can detect an odor. In cases of severe soiling, it may be more time- and cost-effective to replace the carpet and padding.

For light and moderate soiling, you have two effective options: a homemade cat urine remove and a store-bought one. Some fairly common household products vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice in the right combination can eliminate stains and odors. A commercially made cleaner containing enzymes such as protease and amylase can also break down the crystals in cat urine so you can get them out of the carpet. With most formulas, you’ll need to cover the treated area with plastic and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours.

You can keep a cat from urinating on carpet and get your home completely free of cat urine odors, but the solutions may not always be obvious. Instead of wasting time learning by trial and error, read the book Cat Urine Problems Eliminated to discover proven-effective ways to retrain your cat and regain your home.