Q: Why does my cat urinate on my towels or carpets?

November 20, 2008 | By crystal b. | 5 answers | Expired: 2622 days ago

crystal b.

For the past year i have noticed if i leave a towel or carpet in front of my shower my cat will urinate on it. We went on vacation and when i came home i noticed she had urinated on my carpet in front of the vanity in the bathroom also. I always make sure she has a clean litter box and i've also changed the brand of the litter to see if maybe it was that...she only started to do this after we got our dog...and she hates him...so maybe she does this to get back at me??? help! i'm tired of replacing towels and carpets!

Readers' Answers (5)

Dec 04, 2008

Cats often start urinating outside the litter box when something has disrupted their routines or if something has changed in their lives. This may be a response to the addition of the dog. Also, the backing of many area rugs have a chemical in rubber-like backing that actually attract some cats, especially those looking for spots outside of the box to use.

First, get your cat checked out by her vet to make sure there isn't an underlying physical cause. Then, make sure she has a place where she feels secure, where she can retreat from the dog. Put her box in an area where the dog cannot approach her while she is trying to use it so she has privacy & security. If any urine has soaked through to the underlying floor surface, clean it thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide or one of the enzyme cleaners. There is a cat litter called Cat Attract available that is guaranteed to bring kitty back to the box. Be sure to keep her box very clean too.

Cats cannot write us a note, cry real tears or tell us what the problem is. The only thing they can do to get our attention regarding something that is really bothering them (even if it is not important to us) is pee outside the box. Your cat is trying to communicate with you. Assuming the vet has said she is okay physically, something is different & whatever it is, it is monumental to your cat. She is very unhappy or stressed. If this is due to the dog, just make sure your cat has her own personal space, you don't allow the dog to pester her, make sure she still gets her individual time with you & the dog hasn't taken that away, & that she feels safe, secure, & loved. Also, punishment will not "teach" her, nor will rubbing her nose in it. This only creates more stress & more unwanted behavior.

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donna w.

Nov 21, 2008

While it's tempting to attribute her urinating outside the box on her "getting back at you", cat's generally don't think in those terms. She's probably trying her best to tell that "darn" dog that he's not welcome in HER house.

This may be obvious, but make sure the dog isn't interfering with her using the litter box too. Does the dog lay across or near the doorway near her box? Does the dog follow her around constantly and bother her when she's heading to the box. Does the dog wait for her to use the box and then harass her when she's exiting. Can the dog get near her box? If the answer is yes to any of these questions she's got good reason to skip the box and use a towel!

I have a cat that has chronic urinary issues and when she has a flair up the first thing she does is pee on a blanket, throw or other soft item. Do have your cat checked by a vet but barring that it could be the dog.

That being said i'd say talk to the vet about how to get the two to make peace. They may have suggestions or be able to recommend a behavorist that can directly help.

good luck with this and be patient with her. She's doing her best to communicate with you - you've just gotta figure out what she's saying.

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Jill F.

Nov 20, 2008

It does sound a lot like she's making a statement about your absences and the presence of the dog. On the other hand, it might also indicate a urinary tract infection. Cats will look for soft places to urinate because they think it hurts to use a litter box. You should think about taking her to the vet.

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