My couch is not a litter box!

by Jane
(Saint Paul, MN)

Minnie Maine Coon Cat

Minnie Maine Coon Cat

My 11 1/2 month old female Maine Coon kitty named Minnie has started peeing on our couch. We have 2 cats and two litter boxes, and she has never done this before.

What is going on, and how can I get her to stop this. I have finally, after a week of cleaning and scrubbing the couch, eliminated the smell.

I put a thick comforter on the couch this morning, and let her back up, within 5 minutes she was returning to the scene of the crime and peeing there again.

I know I cant punish her, because it is probably something I'm doing, but I am ready to lock her down in the basement and throw away the key. Help!

My Thoughts:

I'm sorry to hear that Minnie is having problems, Jane. You're right, punishing her won't help, and it will only stress her, no matter the cause.

Has she been to the vet recently? She may have a urinary tract infection or other illness.

Assuming the vet says she's healthy, have there been any changes in her life or in the household recently?

Have you changed litter or the box cleaning schedule? Maybe it's time to try a new box.

Is she under any addtional stress? Have you moved any furniture, changed any routines? Changed cleaning products?

Is your other cat ambushing her at the litter box? This can turn into a problem in multi-cat households.

Have there
been any recent visitors? Any pets?

Is it possible that there are stray cats that have come visiting?

Is it spraying or full-on urination? Spraying is often a territorial response. Is there a reason she should feel threatened?

Urination can also be triggered by cats outside the house. Are there strays in the area?

Is she spayed? If she's not spayed and male cats are coming around and urinating on the outside of your house, she may be responding to that.

Do you have a black light to check for traces of the cat urine? If not, I'd get one and check that couch. A cat's sense of smell is extremely sensitive, and residual odor may bring her back to the spot.

Assuming she's doing this no where else, can you block her access to the couch or the room?

I wouldn't exile her to the basement, but I might try confinement retraining in a sunny room with all the comforts (see Barb's success with confinement retraining).

If she has a mishap in her retraining room, make the confined area smaller. If she's fixated on that couch, though, she may do fine in isolation but not when she comes out.

Also, if her problem is caused by other influences (cats outside, a urinary tract infection, etc.), then the problem won't be resolved until that other influence is addressed.

I hope that helps and please let us know what happens next.

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