Cat owners know that no matter how well-behaved their feline friend may be, the odds are that over the course of the cat’s lifetime, urine will end up where it’s not supposed to be. And the ammonia-like, pungent odor is hard to forget—and hard to eliminate.
Reasons for Potty Problems
Inappropriate peeing is a sign that your cat is trying to tell you something. The problem could be medical or behavioral, and it will save both you and your cat a lot of frustration if you can pinpoint and correct the cause.
Underlying illnesses: Urinary tract infections, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease can all cause potty problems. Cats suffering from painful arthritis or other physical conditions might struggle to get to and from, or in and out, of the litter box.
Lax litter box upkeep: Are you keeping your cat’s litter box adequately scooped? If not, your cat may (understandably) rebel! Additionally, some cats can be picky about their litter. Have you switched brands recently? Steer clear of strong scents, too.
Location is everything: Older cats may not want to trek down the basement steps, and even a younger, able-bodied cat may not like to visit the litter box if it’s sitting right next to noisy equipment, like a furnace or a washing machine.
Staking their claim: Is there a stray cat outside your back door? If so, Fluffy might decide to tinkle on the inside of the door to stake her claim on her territory. Believe it or not, your cat feels safer when she can smell her own urine, so take into consideration anything that could be stressing out your cat.
If you’ve ruled out issues regarding litter box habits and outside strays, the next step is to schedule a wellness examination with your pet’s veterinarian to check for the presence of medical conditions.
Now … About That Smell
While you’re investigating the reasons for your cat’s litter box avoidance, you need to promptly clean up any messes as soon as you become aware of them. Cat urine contains a cornucopia of substances like urea, pheromones, bacteria, and uric acid. As bacteria breaks down urea, ammonia gets released, and presto, the hallmark odor of cat urine is born.
Here are some cleaning tips from your friends at Godspeed Animal Care:
- Thoroughly blot up any liquid as soon as you discover your cat’s “accident.”
- If the spot is on carpeting, stand on a thick layer of paper towels to pull as much liquid as possible out of the carpeting and padding.
- Use an enzymatic pet urine cleaner/odor eliminator and follow the package directions for the type of surface that is soiled. Enzyme-based cleaners break down the acid in the cat urine, which neutralizes the odor.
- Keep your cat away from the area or block the area with an overturned laundry basket until the surface has been thoroughly cleaned and is dry.
- Do not use ammonia-containing products, as these could just encourage your cat to pee again in the same spot.
We are here to help you get to the bottom of your cat’s litter box problems. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you have.