How to Stop Cat from Peeing on Carpet: Causes, Steps, and Products That Can Help You
Cats are clean creatures, so, when you notice your feline buddy peeing on your carpet there must be something wrong.
So, what might be the possible reasons for this behavior, and what are some tested and proven ways on how to stop cat from peeing on carpet?
Additionally, cats are also very particular about their daily routine, their litter boxes, and their territory. Generally, cats urinate around 3-5 times a day.
You may see them squatting in their litter tray, followed by some digging. This is also a simple way to distinguish whether your cat is urinating or spraying.
Having said this, it’s indeed bothersome if your cat has started peeing on the carpet, or anywhere else outside the litter box.
This behavior is called “inappropriate urination.” And while it is not uncommon, it is still alarming, and frustrating.
Also Read: Top 5 Best Non Tracking Cat Litters
Why Is Your Cat Peeing Outside of His Litter Box or On The Carpet?
In addition to the urinating, that occurs on carpets, inappropriate urination can also occur on soft items or even on the floor itself.
These soft materials absorb cat urine easily and your feline friend will never have to hide it! The reasons for the change in peeing behavior of cats include:
Underlying Medical Conditions
Some pet parents tend to brush the possibility of a medical problem under the rug assuming that it is just normal.
But in reality, we can’t say so unless the veterinarian has ruled out the potential medical reasons for the inappropriate urination.
Hence, as a cat owner, the first thing that you should do when you see your cat urinate outside of his litter box is to consult your vet.
This way, you can be sure that your feline companion isn’t suffering from any of the common medical problems that cause this behavior.
Below are some of the common urinary medical issues that cause inappropriate urination or urinary incontinence:
Bladder Stones or Blockage
If your feline buddy shows signs of pain or discomfort while urinating, such as meowing loudly or crying, or if his abdomen is tender to the touch, then, he may be experiencing blockage in his urinary tract, or urinary tract infection.
Difficulty in peeing may cause your pet to go outside of his litter box to relieve himself, such as on your carpet. You should take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect that he is having difficulty urinating.
Don’t wait to see blood in your cat’s urine before taking him to the clinic, because when that happens, his condition may have already advanced, which can be more dangerous and life-threatening for your cat.
Urinary Tract Infection
Older cats are more prone to having urinary tract infections than kittens, or young adults. And one of the signs of this medical issue is frequent urination in small amounts.
Urinary tract infection is usually caused by bacteria and must be treated with antibiotics. Follow-up treatment is also necessary after.
Feline Interstitial Cystitis
This condition, which is also sometimes called idiopathic cystitis, is the inflammation of the bladder, which can cause your cat to urinate suddenly, which will give him not enough time to get into his litter tray.
A proper diagnosis should be done by the vet so that proper treatment can be started as soon as possible.
This condition is usually treated through diet modification and making changes in your cat’s living environment.
Metabolic diseases in cats, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, liver disease, and chronic kidney disease may also cause inappropriate urination inside your house.
Your Cat Is Unhappy With His Little Tray
Is the litter box large enough for your cat? You may have bought an age-appropriate litter tray for a kitten when your feline was still young, but when she is older, you definitely need to change it for a bigger tray.
Cats like to be able to move around and dig when going to the toilet so ensure your trays are around 1.5 times bigger than your cat's length, and a little wider, too.
If your cat loves digging when he is using his litter box, you should also consider how deep the litter box is and the amount of litter sand inside.
Most cats are able to dig up 3-4 cm of depth to find the right spot to bury. However, each cat has different preferences, so make sure to be sensitive to what your cat wants.
Additionally, make sure that you clean the litter box regularly. Cats don’t like to use litter boxes with too much urine and poop inside. Also, there are different types of cat litter sand in the market.
Oftentimes, adult cats want to use the substrate that they were using when they were younger. So, you may want to stick to such a product, and gradually shift to another type of litter sand if you intend to.
Location of Cat Litter Boxes
Aside from paying attention to your cat’s litter box and litter sand, you should also be mindful of the location or of the area in the house where you position your cat’s toilet. Just like us, humans, cats want some privacy while they relieve themselves.
So, make sure to place your cat’s litter boxes in discreet areas in the house and away from noisy household items, such as your washing machine.
Cats don’t want some company while they pee or poop, and they certainly don’t want to be scared by the disturbing noise caused by the washing cycle.
Changes In The Home
Do you move furniture around frequently? It may take cats a while to adjust and be comfortable in their living environment, so, a change in furniture arrangement may upset them. And urinating in different areas in your house is their way of saying that they don't like the changes.
When you plan a major change to a property, you must do it slowly (if this is ok) to allow your cat to become accustomed to it bit by bit.
You could also give your cat an enclosed place with the necessary resources nearby to ensure your cat is safe during the move.
Spraying or Marking Territory
Cats start marking their territories when they reach maturity. They do this by spraying urine, and such action is often confused with urinating.
When cats spray, it is their way of telling other cats inside the household that such location is part of their area and they are there. Outdoor cats do this to let other cats in the community spread the message so that they won't bother going into that area again.
Similarly, male cats also do this to send the message to the opposite sex that they are available. Apparently, this behavior is common in cats that were not yet fixed.
However, it can also happen even to spayed or neutered cats, specifically when they are stressed or they feel threatened.
New Cat In The House
If you have recently adopted another cat in your house, it can be one of the reasons for the changes in your cat’s peeing habits.
Your resident cat may be stressed or confused as to how to go about with his daily routine now that there’s a new cat in the house. As a result, he may mark his territory by spraying urine outside of his litter box.
Fortunately, there are several ways to help make a good introduction to your new kitty and help promote a healthy and loving relationship with your resident cat as soon as possible.
Stress and Anxiety
Some of the reasons in this list already fall under this general category, but to be more specific, here are a number of reasons related to stress and anxiety that can cause changes in your cat’s peeing habits:
- Changes in your cat’s environment
- Medical reasons
- A new cat in the house, or on the block, considering cats are territorial and don’t want intruders.
- Conflict with another cat in your house, or your resources may not be enough for your cats to share. For example, some cats fight over a fluffy bed or a crate/enclosed bed.
- Unexpected loud noises, such as fireworks, or even the sound of your washing machine.
- If you’ve gone on holiday, there’s a chance that your cat will pee on the carpet because of the sudden change in their routine, which includes daily play or cuddles with you. Some cats also pee outside of their litter box when they miss their owners. To prevent this from happening, you may leave a piece of clothing in their bed where they can smell your scent on. This can reassure them that everything will be okay.
Old Urine Smell
Cats have an incredible sense of smell than us, humans. And if they can smell the odor of their urine in a certain area, they will most probably return to that location to urinate.
3 Best Carpet Odor Eliminators You Can Try Today
1. Arm & Hammer Litter Carpet & Room Pet Fresh Carpet Odor Eliminator
Arm & Hammer Carpet Odor Eliminator utilizes baking soda to neutralize even the toughest odors deep in a carpet.
This also aids vacuum cleaners in removing 25% more dirt and leaving an enjoyable scent for long-lasting freshness for your home or office!
2. ANGRY ORANGE Pet Odor Eliminator
A small squirt of this powerful pet odor eliminator goes a long way in spreading heavenly scent in your environment while deterring your pet from peeing on those same spots again.
Angry Orange Odor Eliminator targets strong, lingering urine and pet odor smells at the source and destroys them.
It features a refreshing citrus scent that is gentle on our senses, but works like hell on strong odors and is hated by our furry companions.
This spray bottle is ready and easy to use. Simply shake the bottle and spray directly on affected areas to eliminate odors. You can use it on your floor, garbage cans, couch upholstery, non-leather furniture, car interiors, and more.
However, before you give it a try, make sure that your pet is not around as spray can scare your cat away. For best results, remove your pets from the area, clean excess mess, shake the bottle, and then finally, you can spray.
Cats and birds may be sensitive to concentrated levels of certain ingredients, so, it’s best not to spray on them directly.
3. Nature's Miracle Mountain Fresh 3 in 1 Odor Destroyer
Blast away stinky smells faster than they travel from one room to another with Nature’s Miracle 3 in 1 Odor Destroyer.
This product features triple-action bio-enzymatic formula that doesn’t just mask bad odors the way many air fresheners do, but it also destroys them and replaces them with a refreshing scent. And the moment you smell it, you know that the spot is clean and free of its stinky past.
What’s more, it’s also safe to use around children and pets when use as directed. But still, considering that some cats can be frightened by the sudden mist from the bottle spray, it’s still best to use it if they are not around.
Also Read: Best Cat Urine Removers
How to Stop Your Cat From Urinating On The Carpet?
There’s a reason why we’ve enumerated the reasons for inappropriate urination above, and that’s so you could work on these issues first before trying other solutions.
Once the specific trigger has been identified and addressed, you may not need other ways to help your cat use the litter box again.
When all the possible reasons have been resolved, the next step is to retrain your cat so that he won’t think that it’s fine to pee on the carpet.
You can start by removing any sign that your rugs were once used as a litter box. And the best way to do it is to get rid of urine odors.
Retraining your kitty to use his litter box may take time, but you can help him get there. Below are specific steps that you can take:
Check up. Make sure that your vet has ruled out medical reasons for your cat’s peeing problem.
Reassure. Make the litter box a happy and comforting place for your cat to relieve himself. Provide your feline buddy with a brand-new litter box and fill it with fresh litter regularly. Be mindful of your cat’s litter preference, and once you found it, stick to it. Also, cats like to do their private acts in a secluded place where they will not be disturbed either by other animals, people, or sudden loud noise. You may also try enclosed cat litter boxes, and check out if your cat prefers it over the standard exposed cat litter box.
Clean. Also, as mentioned earlier, cats don’t like dirty litter trays. Aside from cleaning your cat’s toilet daily, you should also remove all the litter sand, wash the litter box with warm water and unscented soap or baking soda, and then fill it with fresh litter.
Numbers matter. Additionally, when you have multiple cats at home, make sure that you have enough litter boxes. As a general rule, it’s best to have one extra litter box than the number of cats you have in your house. So, if you have three cats, your house should have at least four litter boxes, which can be situated in different areas in your house.
As per the location of the litter trays, it’s common knowledge that your cat should have easy access to them in a comfortable, and private area of your house.
If you have an elderly cat, try checking if he can still access the box or if the sides might be too high for him to climb over.
Scrub down. Clean up the urine odor thoroughly. You can’t simply use plain water in removing any trace of cat urine on your carpet or furniture. You can use a black light and your sense of smell to identify areas in your house where your cat has peed.
For your carpets, rugs, and mattresses, you can spot clean them by using an enzymatic or bacterial cleanser. And make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to maximize its effectiveness.
For towels, bedding, and clothing, you can wash these in your washing machine using a cold cycle, and then hang them outside to dry.
For your floors and other hard surfaces, you can do a thorough surface cleaning with the use of a general household cleaning solution or a pet stain and odor remover.
Also, don’t use scented cleaners. Cats have sensitive noses, and they hate strong smells.
Reduce stress. If your cat is peeing outside his litter box due to stress, you can help by using synthetic pheromones that stimulate feelings of relaxation. You should also minimize the factors that cause stress. It also helps to lower your cat’s stress level by keeping several easily accessible clean litter boxes in quiet places.
Don't punish. Never punish your cat if he pees outside of his litter box. Never rub your cat’s nose into his urine or feces, and you should place the litter box away from your cat’s food bowl and water bowl since cats don’t eat where they pee.
Use of deterrents. You can also use smells that deter cats from peeing on a certain area of your house. Because of their sensitive noses, cats are not fond of overpowering smells, especially the strong aroma of essential oils. You can use the following essential oils to keep your cat away from peeing on the carpet and on the floor:
- Citronella oil
- Lavender oil
- Orange oil or juice
- Peppermint oil
- Lemon oil or juice
Simply mix 20 drops of any of these essential oils with a cup of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, mix it well, and spray it on walls, furniture, or parts of the house you want your cat to avoid. Aside from essential oils, you can also use vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide.
You can also try using physical repellents such as double-sided tape because cats hate sticky areas. Another option would be aluminum foil. Simply cover the area where your cat has peed with aluminum foil because cats don’t like its sound and texture.
Also Read: 6 Best Cat Calming Sprays
Homemade Products to Stop a Cat From Peeing in The House
There are several homemade recipes online that you can use for cleaning and repelling cat urine. While most pet parents don’t mind buying ready-made odor eliminators, we can’t deny that there are also a lot of cat owners who prefer to make these products at home.
Some are simply more comfortable doing it that way, while others may just want to try it in the meantime while they are waiting for their orders online to arrive.
Nonetheless, two of the most common homemade recipes that can help stop your cat from peeing in your house are vinegar solution and citrus spray.
Vinegar is a popular choice because it’s environment-friendly, and some pet parents are more at ease with it. Harsh commercial cleaning products can often cause issues for people with breathing problems. So, using the vinegar solution can help.
If you want to try it, first, you should clean up the urine on the floor using a paper towel or anything else that you can simply throw away. Once the visible presence of urine is removed, you can then use either the vinegar solution or the citrus spray.
Vinegar Cat Urine Cleaner and Repellent
- Baking Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Dishwashing soap
- Mix three parts of water with one-part vinegar in an ordinary spray bottle.
- Spray it on hardwood, tile floors, or on your carpet, and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Absorb the vinegar solution with paper towels.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the affected area.
- Grab your hydrogen peroxide and some dishwashing soap, and pour it over the baking soda.
- Brush the floor using a scrub to kill all remaining bacteria.
- Soak up the affected area with paper towels and let it dry.
Homemade Citrus Cat Repellant
- Peels of oranges, lemon, lime, tangerines
- 2 cups Water
- Dishwashing loquid
- Lemon juice
- Boil two cups of water
- Add peels of lemon, orange, and/or tangerine (about one cup).
- Let it simmer for around 20 minutes, remove it from heat, and let it cool.
- Pour the solution into a spray bottle. Add two teaspoons of lemon juice and a squirt of lemon-scented dish soap.
- Shake and spray on furniture, walls, or parts of your house you want your cat to avoid.
It can be upsetting to find your feline friend peeing outside of his litter box, on your carpet, or in other areas of the house. However, as a loving and discerning cat parent, you should understand that your furry friend is only behaving in a way that addresses his current needs.
And as mentioned earlier, inappropriate urination is caused by several factors, though most often it can be due to an underlying medical condition. Hence, being alarmed is more appropriate, and acting immediately to rule out health problems should be your priority.
Once your vet cleared your cat of any health issues, you can then proceed in addressing and resolving behavioral factors that lead to your cat’s inappropriate urination. Once your cat is happy and healthy, the happiness and relief felt by everyone in your household will follow.