“Dear Emma, I caught my cat peeing on the bathroom rug. Did you have these problems? Do you maybe know how can I solve it? I’m sorry to bother you, I know that you’re just another pet owner who is not licensed to give advice, but…“
Luckily, I adore cats. I mean, I wouldn’t be writing a blog about my cat’s life and all the adventures we’ve been through in the last couple of years. My Nora, the cat I adopted from the shelter, is a pet you can only wish for. She’s playful and social, but sometimes a bit too loud.
I don’t mind it though, I got used to it. Spending time with her in my one-bedroom apartment has been a blessing, and I’d do it all over again, in a heartbeat! Anyways, from the moment I took her home, I knew that I want to share our story with the world.
So, that’s how I became the responsible “cat mum,” writing the blog about how we’re surviving hot summer days and those extremely cold winter nights. I also take her on trips, so I write some kind of travel journal as well. Apparently, people love it!
Just like Ariana (the girl from the beginning of this article) did, they reach out to me for some advice. I’m not an expert, but I try to help as much as I can. So, Ariana, here are your answers. Hope it will be helpful!
Is it normal for cats to pee on bathroom rugs?
I think it will be a bit easier if I tell you that you’re not the only cat owner who faces this problem. However, if you notice that your furbaby started behaving oddly and defecating everywhere else but her litter box, pay attention because there may be some underlying problems.
When she opts for this kind of behavior, you have to be aware that something is wrong. Especially because cats take care of their hygiene and she’s probably well-trained. She knows that her litter box is a place where she goes to pee or poo, right?
She’ll always be a bit devilish and she definitely can’t be tamed completely (the wilderness is in her DNA), but there are some boundaries she can’t cross. This kind of behavior is definitely not something praiseworthy, though, so don’t go around bragging about it.
Rather, take some time and monitor what’s happening with your kitty and why she suddenly changed. Are you curious about why is your cat peeing on the bathroom rug? Time to find out in the next part!
Why is my cat peeing on the bathroom rug?
As I’ve told you previously, sudden changes in her behavior may be alarming and you should probably talk with the vet. However, sometimes it’s just her rebellious nature, her possessiveness, and well, her preferences. You can’t blame her for having high standards, can you?
1. She has a bladder infection
This is one of the health problems I was mentioning before. Usually, if a cat decides to change the place where she’s peeing, she may have developed UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). This may not be easy to recognize, but you can start by checking for blood in her pee.
She’s going to pee more often as well, and it will definitely be a painful experience that she’ll subconsciously connect with her litterbox. Therefore, she’ll opt for a bathroom rug to be her new toilet.
The America Veterinary Medical Association warns cat owners that this disease can happen at any period of cats’ life, but obese cats, those who eat dry food, and are middle-aged are at higher risk.
So, if you suspect that your kitty has inflammation of the urinary tract, check for any changes in her pee and her behavior. Also, make sure you consult your vet before taking another step.
2. She has other health issues
Besides UTIs, these furbabies can have other health issues that will make your cat start peeing on the bathroom rug out of the blue. We’re talking about kidney disease, thyroid problems, partial blockage of the urinary tract, and even diabetes.
It’s not strange that older cats have cognitive dysfunction, which is similar to our dementia. This is going to make them forget where their litter box actually is. They simply may have forgotten that they have to pee until it’s too late and they have to urinate in an inappropriate place.
If your cat is peeing on a bathroom rug, it may be her way of telling you that something’s wrong. She may not be able to vocalize it, but she’s definitely going to show you. So, pay attention to her changed behavior, and decreased or increased water consumption.
As soon as you realize that something’s off, consult your vet urgently. He may prescribe some medications that will help her to get better. Perhaps he’ll suggest some changes in her diet and he’ll surely tell you to monitor your furbaby.
3. She’s stressed
When your feline decides to change the place of urinating, it can be because she’s stressed. Did you move out to a new place recently, or you’ve just adopted her? If some of these are true, your kitty still needs some time to get used to the new environment, so be patient with her.
There could also be other stressors, like adopting a new member of the fur family, someone visiting you and staying at your place for a couple of nights, or even redecorating your home. Maybe, you’re leaving her alone for a bit longer than usual, so her abandonment anxiety started kicking in.
All of these may be insignificant changes to us, but for your little feline, it’s a big deal. Try to figure out what’s actually happening and identify potential stress triggers so you can remove them asap, or help her to embrace the change.
When your cat is peeing on a bathroom mat, or anywhere else besides her litter box, she’s actually trying to comfort herself. She’ll feel safer knowing that it’s her territory and that she deserves to be there.
4. She’s marking her territory
Did you adopt a new cat or a new pet in general, and she feels a bit threatened? Maybe you just decided to foster a little puppy until your friend finds him a new home, and your furbaby wants to show who’s the boss in the house.
That’s one of the reasons that your cat will be peeing on a bathroom rug – she’s marking her territory. She’s doing this to let the stranger know that the whole bathroom or just that little rug is hers and the intruder is not welcome.
Talking about new places and moving to a different house, she may mark her territory this way, simply to feel more comfortable. This is more common for male cats, but even female kitties can do this. It’s a simple way of saying, “I’ll be back” (not a Terminator reference at all).
5. She’s being mischievous
She’s a little devil, that’s all. If your cat is peeing on a bathroom rug for no obvious reason, it’s possible that she may have some behavioral problems, or you’ve never trained her properly.
This is going to be one of the most challenging problems that you’ll have to face when it comes to your feline. It’s not going to be easy to fix her and make her stubborn self obey you. She probably doesn’t like to listen to what you’re trying to teach her, so sit tight!
If you ruled out every other reason from the list and you’re completely sure that she doesn’t have medical problems, then she’s just a naughty kitty. Stressors that we’ve mentioned earlier, and marking territory as well can be considered behavioral problems too.
Your cat may show changes in her behavior if you have multiple pets, but a single-pet household may never experience something similar. It’s not rocket science to train your fluffball, but in case you can’t do it, or you don’t have enough time, there are always professionals that you can ask for help.
6. Her litterbox is the problem
Something’s off with her litter box. Maybe it’s the shape or the size, it’s not in the right location, or the amount of litter inside is not adequate for the queen of the house. It can also happen that you don’t clean it often enough, so she doesn’t like the smell at all.
In all of these cases, your feline will choose another place to pee or poo, because she simply doesn’t like messy (and stinky) boxes. Her nose is extremely sensitive, so even if you take care of her toilet, there may be a camouflaged scent she can sense.
This is where her little mischievous rebel will come to the scene. If your cat is peeing on a bathroom rug, she may be protesting. She obviously doesn’t like her restroom, so she’ll use yours. Simple as that.
It’s not really common, but some cats don’t like litter boxes at all, so she’ll pee and poo anywhere but there. In these cases, you’ll have to take her outside often and give her time to wander around the ‘hood.
7. She likes rugs
Isn’t this the most obvious reason? Perhaps your feline simply enjoys the texture of the rug and absolutely loves spending time there. She could also be attracted to the smell of rubber or plastic, which can usually be found on the bottom side of the rug.
Some cats even like licking plastic and they will pee on plastic bags, because of their specific smell. If you have that mat for a longer period of time, it probably has a unique fragrance that your furball adores and she’ll want to have it for herself (then we go back to the marking-the-territory part).
Since we’re mentioning smells, one of the reasons why your kitty likes peeing on the rug could be because she did it before. No matter how good you think you’ve cleaned it, she may sense the underlying odor that your nose simply can’t detect.
In a case when she can’t sense the urine particles on the rug, and she knows that she peed there, she’ll do it again. The strong cleaning product masks the smell of her pee and she’ll want to reclaim it as hers.
Another reason why your cat prefers peeing on a bathroom rug is because of its texture. Perhaps the texture of the litter is hurting her little paws whenever she needs to urinate. Therefore, she’ll opt for this purrfect substitute.
How can I prevent this from happening?
Okay, so we went through all the possible reasons why your cat is peeing on the bathroom rug. I assume that you want to know how to prevent it, right? It kind of comes naturally, like okay, I know the problem; give me the solution.
So, in order to make your feline stop using your rugs as her restroom, this is what you can do.
1. Find out why is your cat peeing on the bathroom rug
First and foremost, as a good pet owner, you have to find out the reasons why is your cat peeing on the bathroom rug. Don’t just assume she’s being rebellious without checking her health or trying to make her living space a bit more comfortable.
You’ve read all the possible problems above, some of them being pretty dangerous for your feline’s health. So, if you spot her peeing where she shouldn’t be, schedule an appointment at the vet’s clinic to check up on her.
Discovering an illness on time can prevent so many bad things, so please, don’t wait for too long when you notice that she’s misbehaving. As I’ve told you, there may be some serious underlying health issues she’s struggling with, and she wants to get your attention by being a bad cat.
2. Take her to the vet
I previously mentioned it, don’t hesitate to take her to the vet. I know that sometimes you don’t want to admit that something’s wrong with your kitty, and maybe your anxiety will make you assume the worse, but you have to do it.
At least, make a phone call. Explain to him or her everything that’s been happening recently, so the vet can conclude if it’s possible that your furbaby is just going through a phase. Expect a lot of questions, like how much water she drinks or how many times she actually pees.
Don’t be lazy to answer thoroughly because it may save your cat’s life. Yes, sometimes cat peeing on the bathroom rug means nothing more than your fluffball being mischievous, but what happens when there’s a solid reason behind it? Will you ignore it?
3. Block access to the rug
When you’ve discovered what’s exactly happening with your kitty, it’s time to take the first step towards solving this problem. The easiest thing you can do to try and prevent your cat from peeing on the bathroom rug is to simply block access to it.
Use other objects to make her stay away from it, for example, sonic devices that will make sounds that will annoy her. Also, you can cover the rug with aluminum foil that will be sticky for her little paws, so she definitely won’t go there.
You can also use synthetic feline pheromone that will have a calming effect on your cat and put a stop to her peeing all around the house. Or just don’t use rugs in the bathroom, easy.
4. Provide her with the right environment
If you’ve taken her to the vet and you’re sure that there aren’t any health issues that make your cat choose to pee on the bathroom rug over her litterbox, pay attention to her mental well-being.
Do you remember how I was mentioning stressors earlier? Identify all the possible stressors and try to eliminate them. By removing all of them, you’ll be able to provide your fluffball with the right environment. Make her feel comfortable and help your kitty to lower her stress levels.
Create more hiding spaces for her in the shared environment so she can hide in case she feels the need to do so. Keep her happy, make changes to her diet and simply take care of her more than you do now. Also, buy more cat toys so she can have fun even on her own!
5. Clean her litter box more often
One of the reasons your cat is peeing on the bathroom rug, as stated before, is the cleanliness. That’s definitely every cat’s top priority and your kitty won’t settle for less either. So, if she starts urinating somewhere else, change the litter in her box more often.
If that doesn’t work, try washing the container with some stronger cleaning product (but avoid heavily scented ones) so it ceases the smell of her pee completely. That way, she may start using it again.
6. Make some changes to her litter box
Test if it’s the litter box shape that doesn’t suit her, or if the amount of litter you’re putting inside is not adequate. Try making some changes to her restroom, so she starts using it properly and your cat won’t be peeing on the bathroom rug again.
Also, the size of the container may be questionable, maybe she outgrew it already. Make sure that it’s always clean and easily accessible. So, find a perfect spot, preferably far away from her food and water bowls. It would be ideal if you’d place her litter box outside on the terrace or balcony.
In the end, make sure she has enough space around the place where her litter box will be positioned and that she can easily get into it. There are a bunch of other ways that you can upgrade her pee-place, like a self-cleaning litterbox, or you can buy specific litter types – just make sure that she feels comfortable.
7. Train her
Once you’ve established that there’s nothing wrong with her, or she’s just too young, the only thing you can do to prevent your cat from peeing on the bathroom rug is to train her. This is not going to be an easy task, but I’m sure you can do it.
You’ll need a bit of motivation (the stinky rug is not enough?!) and A LOT of patience. If you think that you won’t be able to fulfill this task on your own, there are always some professionals that you can turn to for help. They’ll gladly help you and your little furball.
Use some positive reinforcement to encourage your feline. This will help you to connect with her better and you’ll be able to teach her different tricks. Treat her with kindness and be gentle if she makes a mistake. Give her emotional awards rather than treats (but don’t cut on those completely, either).
8. Don’t leave the bathroom door open
This should be a simple task, don’t leave your bathroom door open. The best way to stop your little fur fella from peeing where she shouldn’t is to perform this little action, because if she can’t go in there, she definitely won’t be able to pee on the rug.
Get ready that your kitty may start scratching the door, destroying other things in the household, or even finding another pee-place. Therefore, this option may not solve problems in some cases, so see if this is the right choice for your cat and the whole situation you’re in right now.
9. Spray that specific place with an unpleasant smell
You know how everybody keeps mentioning (I think I even did a couple of times by now) that cats have a really good sense of smell? Use that. You don’t have to buy some expensive deterrents because there are a lot of things around the house that can help you.
The most effective ones are vinegar or anything that smells like lemon. Her instincts will naturally tell her to stay away from those places where she feels this fragrant because vinegar has a very intense smell and lemon is not really safe for cats to eat.
Try avoiding anything with a garlic scent, though, since it may be toxic for her. You can also use this technique as a training method if you want to make her learn to use her litter box. Just spray it a bit around the house and she’ll definitely stay away from those places.
How to effectively get the pee out of the bathroom rug?
I know this may sound like an impossible task to fulfill, especially because you already feel uncomfortable just thinking of the pee smell, right? Honestly, it’s not so difficult even if the stains had some time to settle.
The easiest way to get rid of cat pee is to wash your bathroom rug in a washing machine. Don’t wash it with your clothes and avoid putting in anything else. A simple detergent that you’re using should be good enough to remove every trace of your “cat peeing on a bathroom rug” experience.
In case you want to remove the stain quickly, sink the rug in your bathtub with some oxidating soap and let it stay for some time. This probably won’t take the smell out, but it will help with the visible evidence of a crime.
You can also use some scented sprays that will keep that horrible odor out of your (mostly) small and relaxing place. It will definitely take some time for the rug to be as good as the new one. Be patient and use some of the tricks I’ve shared with you to stop her from peeing anywhere but her litter box.
To all people who are reading my blog post for the first time, I hope this article was helpful. Remember that you’ll grow with your furbaby along the way, and you’ll learn so many things!
Pay attention to her needs, listen to her body language and those meows she sometimes releases. Give her treats when she deserves them and scold her if she’s not behaving properly. But always be gentle, because she’s another living being that you’re taking care of.
Don’t be mad when you catch your cat peeing on a bathroom rug. Realize that you have to help her and choose the best way. Spend a lot of time with her, spoil her and give her a lot of hugs. No matter that some people argue it’s true, you’ll never be her slave (do you know the meme “pet me, slave”?).
She’ll be grateful and she’ll surely sense when you’re not feeling well. Cats are very intelligent creatures, treat them as such and enjoy all the blessings that they’ll bring into your life.
That’s all for now.