My cat pees on the rug while we sleep!

by Desiree
(Seattle, Washington)

My cat Ludo

My cat Ludo

We recently relocated to another state, and are temporarily staying in a camper.

My cat has moved with me many times in the past, and I never had any problems so I do not think stress of the move is bothering him.

He uses his box just as usual during the day, but now he has started peeing on the rugs at night.

It started with him peeing on the bathroom rug, so we began closing him out of the bathroom at night refusing him access to this new spot.

He went a few weeks with no problems, and now for the last two nights he has peed on the rug in the living room. His box is cleaned twice a day, and he uses it constantly during the day.

I have tried citrus smells, and even cayenne pepper in the rugs and it doesn't help. Short of kenneling him at night and trying to sleep through continuous meowing, I don't know what else to do.

There is really no way of denying him access to the living room or keeping him in a non carpeted area.

My Thoughts:

I'm sorry to hear that Ludo is having problems, Desiree. I believe that cats are always stressed by a move, even if they don't show it.

This move may be particularly difficult due to the change in living conditions.

His problem cleared up for a while after you denied him access to the bathroom. Two things come to mind...

1) He may have an intermittent urinary tract infection, and the bathroom lockout was a coincidence.

2) He uses the litter box during the day without fail, right? ... What's different about the night time?

Are there animals nearby (you may not be able to hear or see them, so this may be difficult to
know)? Maybe they're "visiting" at night.

You may want to observe him and see if he's being intimidated by animals outside. The camper may be less insulated, and therefore provide a a less secure/more outdoors feeling than his former home did.

He may feel like animals outside are invading, and he's on unsure footing anyway since he's totally out of his element with the move.

Since it's impossible to deny him access, here are some things I would try:

1) Place a litter box right on the area of the rug he's using. I realize that this may not be feasible, and it may be that his texture preference for carpet or soft surfaces (but only at night, which is odd) will win out.

2) A thick layer of plastic laid down on the entire floor, construction site style. At the very least, clean up will be easier and it won't bleed.

3) A surface that many cats will avoid walking on, placed right on the spot.

This can be an upside down rug with a rough underside, cardboard with double-sided tape (duct taped to the rug so he can't move it), and so on.

4) An "indoor pet potty" like those from PetZoom placed right on the rug.

5) A combination of the above.

As always in these cases, I would clean the areas thoroughly with an enzyme based cleaner so that he's not attracted by any residual odor. I would also praise him whenever he uses the box like it's his birthday gone wild.

And... up his exercise level and give him lots of extra attention during this difficult transition.

Does he have use of vertical space? If he's a climber, let him climb.

I hope that gives you some places to go. Please update us on his situation when you can.

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Nov 21, 2011
The first night after trying a couple things
by: Anonymous

After reading several posts on the site about what other people have done with success I woke up with no pee on the living room rug. I'm hoping that this is not just a fluke.

I completely cleaned the rug, and then laid a bath mat over the top of it. I combined this with moving his food and water to the area where he was peeing.

I know too that my cat usually makes his bowel movements late at night, and so I stayed up until after he had done so and made sure his litter was clean. If I have any other problems with this, I will post back.

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