Nice furniture’s not cheap. A cat urinating on furniture can quickly do thousands in damage. And if that furniture happens to be antique or heirloom you can’t really put a price tag on it. So, ad soon as you discover that your cat’s used your sofa, settee or office chair as an alternative litter box, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t happen a second time. The more times a cat pees on a piece of furniture, the harder it becomes to completely clean the soiled area. And if you can’t get the smell out, even after you solve the problem that was causing your cat to urinate outside the box, your cat may keep returning to piddle again simply because she’s attracted by the odor.
Health conditions that cause painful urination, such as a urinary tract infection or kidney disease, may lead a cat to pee on furniture. The cat associates the pain of the condition with the litter box and looks for a softer place to go in attempt to avoid the pain. In fact, urinary tract infections are among the most frequent causes of cats urinating on the bed. If your cat’s never avoided the litter box before and none of the problems in this article apply to your situation, take your cat for a vet check up.
While most un-neutered tom (male) cats spray urine to mark territory, even neutered toms and queens (females) can and do sometimes spray. There’s a clear difference between spraying and ordinary urinating. To simply urinate, a cat squats on a flat surface (hopefully the litter box). To spray, a cat stands with his backside aimed at vertical surface like a wall or chair leg and sprays urine while back-treading with his hide legs. Spraying is meant to mark territory; ordinary urinating may or may not be used for marking. If your cat feels her territory is threatened, you may notice other signs like vertical scratching (walls and furniture, not carpets) and possibly even aggression.
New furniture can also attract your cat’s attention. New furniture, whether brand new or second-hand, smells of some place outside the your cat’s marked territory (the rest of your home). Your cat may decide to incorporate it into her territory by wetting on it in order to make it smell more like her.
Easing Kitty’s Stress
If you suspect your cat is urinating on furniture for territorial reasons, assuming your cat’s already fixed, there are a few things you can do to help kitty de-stress. Feline pheromone products like Feliway and Comfort Zone can help for general. If it’s a particular piece of furniture your cat’s trying to claim, applying the cats own scent to the furniture may help. You can do this by gently rub a soft absorbent cloth on the scent producing areas of your cat–the top of your cats head and the her back at the base of her tail, then rubbing that cloth on the furniture. The scent dissipates quickly, so repeat this several times a day.
If these methods don’t work, you may need something to keep the cat away from the furniture altogether. Some people swear by rubbing orange peels on the furniture or applying a citrus-scented furniture freshener, since most cats dislike the smell of citrus. If your cat’s indifferent to citrus (like Macho, who once tried to eat a Mandarin orange), there specially formulated cat repellent sprays available for indoor use. In the meantime, you can cover the furniture with plastic slipcovers. It won’t solve the problem, but it will save your furniture.
Sometimes a cat pees on furniture because the furniture still smells faintly of cat urine. It may look and smell clean to you, but cats have much stronger senses of smell than humans. One frequent cause of this problem is cleaning only visible urine stains. If your cat wet on the carpet next to the sofa, she almost certainly splashed urine onto the sofa when she scratched to “bury” her pee. Use a black light to double check the walls, curtains, and furniture legs, and other items near floor areas where your cat has urinated even once. If you find any left over ickiness, clean it with an appropriate cat urine odor remover (not all pet urine remover products work on cat urine).
You can solve your cat’s inappropriate 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.