Monday, May 21, 2007

Status Report: Cat Pee.

Someone in this house is taking great care to pee outside the litterbox. I first noticed this about three weeks ago, when Mr. Plain(s)feminist brought the litterbox into the bathroom to clean it out. After he'd removed it - and after I'd taken a shower and then walked every inch of that floor with bare feet - I noticed that the bathroom floor stank of cat piss. I washed the floor with Lysol disinfectant wipes (and scrubbed my feet with hot water and soap) - and by the way, folks, if you have any of these wipes in your home, you might as well throw them away. Cat pee - 1; Lysol - 0. And I washed the floor three times before I figured that out. I did have some Windex wipes, though, so I washed the floor again and the smell disappeared immediately.

I couldn't quite figure out how the pee had actually gotten on the outside of the bottom of the litterbox, though. I blamed the pee spillage on the stupidly-designed litterbox liners that fit like a sleeve over the whole box. We bought the old kind, the kind that sits inside the box like a garbage can liner, and I prepared myself for a clean floor.

About a week later, same scenario - Mr. Plain(s)feminist bravely cleaning the catbox, and again, there I am, this time haplessly sitting on the pot - again with bare feet - and realizing that the reason the bathroom reeks of pee is that there is cat pee all over the floor.

And again, my first response was the damn Lysol, because I'd managed to completely forget what had happened the week before.

This time, I decided to remove the top of the litterbox and to keep the box meticulously clean, in case someone was deliberately peeing outside the box in protest. (And meticulous it has been. To say that I have paid more attention to that damn box that to my own grooming is not much of an exaggeration.)

And shortly thereafter, somebody did indeed pee on the floor outside the litterbox, which explained how the pee was getting underneath the box.

And so I went to the pet supply store and I found the very largest litterbox I have ever seen. It is a thing of beauty. It has a high "spill-proof" attachment that adds several inches of height. It is large and comfortable enough that all of us can start using it if we want to. I am thinking of installing cable in it. And further, I have added to it Nature's Miracle Litter Treatment. If there is
any sign that anyone has been there and even thought about leaving a deposit, I am there with my little kitty poop shovel and my plastic bag. And I don't scoop out only the poop - oh no. I scoop out the wet litter, as well. I am now the full-time litterbox attendant.

And still, someone continued peeing outside the box. Regularly.

Mr. Plain(s)feminist brought both cats - with full bladders - to the vet on Friday morning to have their urine tested for infection. Unfortunately for everybody, when they got there, they no longer had full bladders, and so there they stayed until the vet could determine that neither had a urinary tract infection (the vet staff was kind enough to clean the carrier and liner). "Can you separate them tonight?" she asked, "so that we can figure out who is doing this?"

So, into the bathroom with a private litterbox went the eldest for the night, so chosen because she was far less likely to raze ankles in a mad dash for the door. However, she has a hell of a mee-yowl. Finally, at about five am, after numerous dreams in which her piercing cry featured prominently, and after said cry had dropped significantly in register (yes, she was getting hoarse), and after I'd checked to make sure that neither had overflowed their litterbox, and after I'd newspapered the rooms the litterboxes were in within an inch of their lives, I let her out.

I still don't know who is responsible for all the pee. However, I've noticed that having two litterboxes seems, for the moment, to have done the trick. While there still seems to be a little problem of aim, at least there is no evidence - so far - of further spraying. After ten years, "they may be tired of sharing," the vet offered.

Which gives me an idea re. our tiny, one-bathroom apartment.

But the good news is, so far, it looks like there will be no need for any behavior modification drugs for the cats. Just to be safe, though, I still haven't taken down the newspaper.


Veronica said...

AHH. Finicky little things. My youngest actually had a UTI earlier this year, but, it took a while and a lot of laundry before we figure it out.

Anonymous said...

My dog has peed inside once or twice lately. But he's a funny little thing, he actually thinks he's doing us a favor by peeing on piles of dirty laundry. Easier to clean, depending on what it is, but since we're moving shortly, I think I would much rather have him pee on the floor than on my stuff.

the Nicest Girl said...

From what I understand, you should have one litterbox per cat. I had two cats (a bro and sis) for a little while until the bro just.. was too much to handle and I had to give him back to the humane association. I had problems with pee ending up in unwanted places (a nice bean bag chair had to be thrown away eventually) until I got two litterboxes. Now I have a stray kitten and although he is too small to fit into my huge litterbox, I'm glad I didn't throw the other one away because I learned my lesson. Definitely have one litterbox per cat.

Linda said...

And cat pee is *such* lovely stuff to try to clean.

The enzyme based cleaners are your best bet, especially if you're dealing with carpet.

Luckily for us Squeek...never mind...I'm not about to jinx myself.

plain(s)feminist said...

Well, we've managed for ten years with just one litterbox, so it just seems odd to me that all of a sudden having one box would be a problem. And when I say "we've managed," I mean that, except for recently when one cat had a UTI and was leaving pee drops all over the place, and once before that when Bean was born and they peed in his infant carrier in a jealous rage, they have NEVER peed outside the box.

UPDATE: The spraying continues. But it's always half inside the box, so the vet and I think it's not malicious. I suspect it's a habit honed by years of having a covered box against which to pee. Today I will get the largest covered box I can find and see if that does the trick.

And yes, the enzyme-based cleaners are the best ever.

Drek said...

Despite having two quite delightful cats with my Sainted Fiancee, I am unfortunately still very much a dog person. My hyperactive pup may have done simply appalling damage to the carpet (separation anxiety + lots of energy = torn up carpet) but she is nothing if not fastidious about her bodily functions.


Anonymous said... need to get your cat checked by a vet for a urinary issue. One of the most telling symptoms of this problem is a cat who begins urinating outside the liter box. I work part-time for a vet. You wouldn't believe how many cats we see who have completely blocked urinary systems (which can be deadly). When we talk to the owners they ALWAYS say...we didn't know there was an issue, but...the cat was peeing around the house. Please take your cat to get checked out as soon as possible.

Also, higher quality food can really cut down on urinary tract problems. We find that cats who are on high quality cat foods (Science Diet, IAMS) rarely if ever have these issues. Yes, the foods are expensive...but not nearly as expensive as surgery or repeated vet visits.

Linda said...

Ummm... they did go to the vet. Go back through the post.