What To Do With a Cat That Pees in the House?

One of our cats, Patches, seems to be peeing in the house, not in the litter box. I say seems, though there really is little doubt of it. At christmas when we brought a couple of chairs in for Christmas dinner so family would have somewhere to sit the second we brought them in she jumped up on one of them and peed on it, in front of several people. Every once and a while, but getting more frequent it seems, she goes somewhere in the house. There doesn’t seem to be any real rhyme or reason to it. Just randomly around. And it’s a big enough house that we don’t always see/smell it right away. Sometimes it’s just things on the floor, ie: a plastic bag just dropped in the middle of the floor, or a work glove left in a corner. This evening when I was turning out the lights to go to bed I was down at the front enterance and was hit by the now familiar horrible smell of cat urine.

No source of course. I spent about five minutes wandering around the basement and front enterance, periodically getting down on hands and knees to sniff a suspicious stain on the floor, or a glove, or a bit of leftover insulation. The only thing I found was a relatively old pee spot on a plastic bag full of drywall screws sitting on a workbench. Dead center.

No rhyme or reason. She was doing it in the heating vents at one time, other times on the (old) couch (pretty sure of that anyway), and a couple of times my backpack, which was thurouly washed after the first time, but was smelling again when we got back from holidays and it was left on the kitchen counter.

I don’t know if it’s a territory thing (the new chair incident suggests this) or a bladder infection (she’s been checked by a vet, bye bye another $500 for that thankyouverymuch) or a stress thing (construction around the house, but she’s been doing it for longer than that) or something to do with abandonment issues. Hell, I don’t even know if it’s new to this house or if she was doing it at the apartment when we first got her. Maybe that’s why she was abandonded by her previous owners.

She uses the litter box fine, we’ve seen her use it. We’ve taken her to the vet like I said and he said she had a mild bladder infection and we nuked that with antibiotics. We have gobs of litter boxes which are cleaned regularily. We clean any spots we find thoroughly, but of course, sometimes we don’t find them for a while.

I’m pretty much at the end of my rope. I’m sick of not wanting to have people over because my house smells like cat pee. I’m sick of having to worry that if I leave my bag on the floor I have to stick my nose in it to check to make sure it’s still ok. I’m sick of catching the hint of something and not knowing if it’s pee or not, or if I’m imagining it or not.

And I don’t know what to do. Realistically I have two options.

  • Keep cat.
  • Don’t keep cat.

And from that it comes down to something like

  • Keep cat and accept that there’ll probably be more peeing in the house. Maybe it’ll end or slow when the basement is done, maybe not.
  • Send cat to the SPCA for adoption. Maybe the issue is the multi-cat home. She isn’t particularily friendly with the other cats, but she’s not a loaner by any means. Her and Zoon will play or groom each other. Maybe whoever gets her won’t have any issues at all. On the other hand, maybe I’ll just be foisting the same problem on some other unsuspecting person or family.
  • Put the cat down. Most definately will make the problem go away, and also the hardest choice. I’ve never put a cat down before and obviously would rather not do this to someone under my roof. If it’s a choice of this or having a house that smells like cat pee for the rest of my life though…

Any other options? There are some webpages on stuff like this, like this one, with a lot of suggestions that are already done or are good ideas and may not work for me (ie: putting peed on items in the litter box is a fine idea, how exactly to I get my furnace vents in there though? ).

So what do I do to save my house and my sanity?

Because this post seems to have hit high up in the google searches, I thought I’d update a bit about what happened in my case.

The cat is fine, she wasn’t put down and no, that wasn’t more than a passing thought. It seems that her issue in this case was a territory thing. My parents took her and she is fine, and other than really not driving in the car, she is happy and healthy. She doesn’t pee anymore, has a loving family and is the queen of her house.

19 Comments on “What To Do With a Cat That Pees in the House?”

  1. It could just be a cry for attention… it is a multi-cat house, and she may not feel she’s getting her due of attention. So you might try that and see if that helps too.
    And for the places she likes to pee a lot… get a Bounce dryer sheet and put it there. I’m really serious. Something about the smell of Bounce… cats don’t like it. I laughed too but it worked for our cats!
    As for the SPCA… I am wary about recommending you there to surrender a cat. My friends did that (for the same reason you are considering it) and they didn’t even try to adopt him… he was put down within an hour of arrival (mostly because he was overweight, but the behavioural problems didn’t help his case). For that reason, I no longer consider the SPCA a viable option for surrendering a cat. If it does get to the point that you just can’t keep her anymore, you might investigate no-kill shelters in your area, at least then you know she’d be cared for.

  2. Unfortunately for you, if you think cat pee is bad now, you will be dismay to find that, over time the smells comes back…almost impossible to get rid off.
    Your house value decreases considerably, as those who are not into cats, can immediately detect what type of foul smell is, even years after it happen.
    I rented my house to a young guy, under the promise no animals will be allowed…few months later came back to visit and I almost fainted…my pulse went up, realizing that was MY HOUSE that smelled so bad…he said he understood no dogs… my god…6 years later, when the sun heats a wall in the livingroom, I can still smell it..not matter how many types of cleanners I have used…

  3. There is a no kill shelter in Richmond (www.rapsociety.com). No personal experience with them, but there she would have hundreds of ‘friends’.

  4. There’s a product called Cat Attract Cat Litter that I have heard good things about. Suggest you give it a try.

  5. Your post is way old so perhaps it’s been resolved, but thought I’d write that I’m going through the same thing, as is my best friend with her cat. We discuss it endlessly — many emails and phone calls “she peed AGAIN!!”. I’ve just decided to put mine down. The tipping point? Finding my 10-month-old daughter playing just inches away from a puddle of pee in my dining room. If it is affecting the quality of your life, it is time to say good-bye. Shelter vs. the BIG shelter in the sky…it’s your call.

  6. hi my name is raefe and i have a pure bread pursian. Shes 6 nonths old and has been peeing on my couch off and and and i have no clue why, i had taken her to the vet and they said she had a bladder infection so she went on antibiotics and it seemed to work, but its now been 2 months and shes at it again, ive cleaned that couch numerous times and yet she still goes on it, and only in the middle of the nite when she seems to lazy to go dowm the stairs even though she goes there every other time..And it seems to spray everywhere im not sure if shes trying to hide it so she hide it but i dunno,shes seems very scared and just wanting to be alone and when i do wanna cuddle with her she bakes away, i dunno what to do any suggestions

  7. am also going through same thing. My cat is 17 years old. As a kitty, he was the cleanest cat, but now there is not a morning I wake up to find at least one or two spot of poop, pee or puke. Then when I come home at night, I know what would be awaiting me. To top it all off, it is NEVER the same spot. I am quite sure he has covered everyspot in the house except the bathroom. I, too, have serious concerns about my daughter playing on the carpet or floor or mat where he had peed. Every room in my house smells like cat pee. His latest obsession was the living room. He had been peeing around the coffee table. Everyday a new spot adjacent to the last. He is about half way around the table now…so far seven spots. I pulled up the area rug and he just pees right on the floor. His pee is so potent that it stained my hard wood floor, especially if he had done it during the day and I don’t find out until I get home in the evening – Four very big horrible stains. He peed on my husband while he was sleeping, on our down comforter (we are on our third and now we put it away when we go to work), on my daughter;s pay mats, her Hannah Montana area rug, on the carpet, in the hallway, all the sides of our bed (y daughter’s bed is spared as she has a top bunk bed and the bottom is a play area which he’s pee’d many times), under our bed, on our clothes, on the Christmas tree cover and wait, this morning on the presents. There is not a room that does not reek like cat pee. I wake up in the middle of the night and get a whiff and would just gag and can’t go back to sleep. I am paranoid and sniff everything that I pick up, clothes that I am about to wear, the bed before I get in. And when we get a whiff now, we don’t even know if it is new or old pee. We have no quality of life. We can’t put him down, he has been with me since he was born. But we don’t have people over. We barely want to stay in the house ourselves. It is SO GROSS. I am so fed up.

  8. I know these posts are old, but I just have to comment that anyone who would deal with this issue by killing their cat is deplorable. Please, if you think that behavior is ok, or you have ever put an animal to sleep for ANY reason other than to alleviate suffering, don’t ever get another animal again. When you take an animal into your home, you are responsible for their life. For better or worse. People who do things like this (also people who give up animals to shelters) are irresponsible and immature and to think that they are having children and passing on such behavior is disgusting. Please, anyone who is thinking of getting an animal, be responsible – research, be prepared, and make sure you have the finances to care for the animal (which can be expensive).

  9. WE have adopted a 2-1/2 yr old cat a week ago, and she was fine, all of a sudden in our ensuite in our bedroom my husband discovered that our”Princess” (that is the name that was given to her by her owner) has been peeing on our bath mat. she is a spayed, cat and is very clean other than this problem. When we got her, she was loveing, purring all the time, and then after two days she changed, she spends most her time under the bed or at the top of the stairs. Real change in character. Do we take her back? could it be her food? She does use her litter box– we don’t want to take her back but perhaps we have no choice– Please help us solve this problem.

  10. Are there any other pets around? Maybe it’s a territory thing. It could be that she just needs time to adjust, and maybe it is her pissed off (sorry for the pun) that what she thought was a vacation turned into her realizing she was being abandoned?

  11. I have a 20-year-old cat who was great for the first 16 years of her life, and now, she’s peeing everywhere she pleases. I keep the litter box clean, she pees over the edge onto the floor. I put her in the box, she jumps out and runs away.
    She favours an old carpet in the garage, so I have resigned to allowing her to do that, but am now keeping her locked in the laundry room with access to the garage. She scream meows quite a bit in there, and we had hoped she would get used to it.
    She sneaks out in the middle of the night and goes into my bedroom. This morning, I found she had peed in my bedroom closet.
    I am so frustrated, and no, of course I don’t want to put her down, but the people who are calling down those who are seeing the signals to the end of a cat’s life are pretty judgmental on here. I’ll bet they haven’t had to deal with this situation.
    And for the guy who says those people who put their cats down shouldn’t be allowed to own another animal…no worries. If this is how it goes, I won’t ever want another. Or perhaps I’ll bring her over to your place after you’ve done laundry and allow her to relieve herself on the nice, neat piles of clothing. hmm?
    Let’s not judge people, and bleeding hearts, be gone. A cat’s lifespan is about 15 years…anything over that and the quality of life is compromised. It’s time to make a decision…

  12. We too are dealing with a cat who has puked all his 12 years of life, regardless of what food we’ve fed him or the thousands of dollars we spent at vets. He also had surgery for FUS about 5 years ago. Yet recently, he has started pooping, and now peeing everywhere. Like many others of you, we have stopped wanting to have people over and barely want to be here ourselves.
    For those of you who are judgmental about the possiblity of putting the cat dowm, HEAR THIS! I called PETA to inquire whether they could recommend a way to deal with this or appropriate adoption possiblities. THEY said that it would be more humane to put the cat down than to put him in a strange environment. I so appreciated their honesty and lack of judgment, I joined and sent them a donation!
    It is still awful to think of putting him down. Yet living under seige is not a solution either. If any of you (especially the judgmental people) are interested in having a beautiful orange tabby who pees, pukes, and poops everywhere, let me know!

  13. I have a 9 year old cat that has peed around the house regularly for most of her life….I have tried everything to get her to stop. I can say that those of you that have young cats an easy way to help them stay entertained in the litter box is by sprinkling cinnamon under the litter…they love the smell and really enjoy playing with it.
    But my concerns are with my cat going everywhere…what do you do? She is a very loner cat and has always been that way. She prefers to be alone but will come for a cuddle only when she’s ready. I have gotten her fixed hoping that will solve the problem but nothing seems to help. I’m running out of ideas and am gonna have to start locking her in the kennel for most of the day just to help clean the floor up a little.
    Does anyone else have any other ideas?

  14. Trish, that’s rediculas that you put your cat down for that reason. There was definitely another option. And that thing you said about the sky is just plain creepy.

  15. I agree with Mel and Kris. How stupid can humans be to kill their cats because they have a peeing problem? I’ve been through this too. Perhaps the cats are peeing on their humans/in the house because they are pissing them off. Cats can feel negative energy. And the idea of putting cats down is linked to how these humans feel/think about other animals. I am constantly shocked at the power-over attitudes human beings express with the animals they live with. Really, don’t live with other animals if this is your mentality. There should be better laws prohibiting certain humans from becoming be animal caretakers.

  16. Animals are brought into our lives to IMPROVE OR quality of life. If the animals areno longer fulfilling that function, then it is time for them to go. Period. Whether that means passing them on to another owner and possibly with the developed problems associated, who knows. In some areas and situations, there are no other options other than euthenasia.
    I have a great respect for animal life, but I have no problem making a decision to end that life when it becomes necessary to do so. There is nothing wrong with that option if the method chosen results in a quick, pain free end. Humans should not have to suffer for years on end dealing with sick or behavioural problems because of animals. Human life is way too short as it is. If the animal no longer improves your life, then the animal has to go one way or another.

  17. I would rather have my (unadoptable because she pees all over the house) cat put to sleep than to see her adopted out to someone else who might abuse or torture her because of her bad habit or turn her out in the woods, a farm, the streets to fend for herself.

  18. please,please help! I just got a cat from the shelter a 7-8 weeks ago
    and we didn’t know who was peeing the dog,the cat,or my 4 year old
    son. Then we found a big wet spot on my daughters bed and it reeked like cat pee. So we need to find a way to make her stop peeing or we’ll have to give her to the shelter(and Samantha your right, i don’t want her to go to a cruel person thats will hurt her) but that will be the only option is she dosn’t stop peeing!!