Behaviour is NEVER an easy problem to deal with, and there are many times we wish that our patients could talk – just as it is with people, no two patients are the same. It really depends on their personalities, their environments, and what they find stressful.
Behaviour can be changed, but it takes a long time, especially if the animal has been doing something for a long time. It takes a patient owner and possibly repeat telephone calls with the vet to monitor progress. It’s not unusual for the vet to modify some things, too, as time goes on. With any behavioural change, we are aiming to eliminate a behavior that is undesirable to us as owners, and replacing it with one that is more acceptable to us. In a cat’s mind, he or she is not doing anything wrong with their inappropriate urinations!
So, in a nutshell, here are the things to try…
* Unfortunately, the very first time you tried to clean the urine out of the carpet where s/he first urinated, you probably used something (like a disinfectant) that probably has ‘set’ the urine odour in the carpet/clothing/furniture. This is likely to be permanent now.
It is really important to break down the urea molecule with an enzyme the very first time we try to clean the carpet/clothing/furniture, as this is what cats can smell. The reason that your cat habitually returns to that area is because it ‘smells’ like him/her. So we need to try to get rid of as much odour as possible.
If your cat does urinate on the carpet (or on any clothes left on the floor, or furniture), you need to use something that has enzymes in it to break down the urea molecules. This is either a special spray (called ‘Odour Eliminator’ or ‘Urine-Off’), or you can use ‘Biozet’ laundry powder.
The standard Biozet is the one to use, not the one for colours or with a fabric softener in it. Repeatedly soak up as much urine as possible with paper towels – you’ll need to repeat this until the paper towel comes up dry.
Make the Biozet up into a paste, or dissolve it in some warm (not hot) water and use it as a spray. Allow it to really soak in, and leave in for at least 5 minutes. Then just sponge it off with some more warm water, and allow it to dry. Clothing should be soaked overnight.
* If you’re having trouble finding where your cat has urinated before, an ultraviolet light can be purchased (www.urine-off.com.au) with the Urine-Off product. This light will show up any urine as a fluorescent stain on carpets, furniture, curtains, etc. You might be surprised where else your cat has urinated!
* Provide more litter trays – we would recommend at least 2 more – in the area(s) you are trying to stop your cat from urinating in. The more options available for your cat, the better. Maybe the litter tray is not as clean as s/he would like, and it might explain why s/he sometimes urinates beside the litter tray.