One of the biggest pet peeves a cat owner can have is when one of their cats suddenly starts peeing on their rugs. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Cats are funny creatures. They can play hide and seek, break into your basement, sleep on top of your jackets, and even take your suggestion that they would be happier in a big house somewhere else entirely too seriously. Cats act out when you’re not paying attention; this article is no different.
One day, everything is fine and dandy. You wake up to your bathroom rug soaked in urine and your cat looking innocent the next day. But why do cats pee on bathroom rugs?
The reason why cats pee on bathroom rugs may seem strange. After all, they have litter boxes to do their business in. So, what makes cats choose your bathroom rug over their litter box? This post will examine this strange behavior and how you can stop it.
Cats See the World Differently than You Do
Cats see things in a very different way than their human companions. They have sharp eyesight and exceptional night vision, about six times better than ours.
The cat can see much better in the dim light of dawn or dusk than we can and can see better at night if there is a little moonlight. Cats also have excellent peripheral vision, but their ability to see color is more limited than ours.
Their sense of smell is more important to them than their ability to see, and they use it both to find food and identify people and cats they know (which is why your cat will often rub her head against you).
They use their urine to mark out areas and communicate with other cats, including stray neighborhood cats who may be wandering through your yard.
If a cat smells another cat’s urine where they usually pee, they might mark it with their scent. It is particularly likely if the litter box is next to the bathroom rug, and cats can see the rest of the house from there.
Why Do Cats Pee on Bathroom Rugs?
Cats are clean animals. They groom themselves several times per day, sometimes for hours. They also do their business in the litter box and don’t like to go outside. So when you come upon cat urine on your bathroom rug, you know something is wrong.
Following are some of the reasons for inappropriate urination:
1. They Want Attention
The most basic reason a cat maybe pee on your bathroom rug is that they want attention. If a cat feels neglected or left behind, it will try to get your attention in any way possible, even if it means making a mess in your bathroom.
2. Litter Box Issues
If your cat suddenly begins urinating on the bathroom rug instead of the litter box, that could be a sign that something about the litter box is bothering them.
A. Dirty Litter Box
One of the most common reasons for a cat to pee outside its litter box is a dirty litter box. It’s essential to keep the box clean by scooping it at least once or twice a day if you have more than one cat.
You should also dump the contents and thoroughly clean the box with mild detergent every week. If you allow it to get dirty, your cat may decide not to use it anymore.
B. Litter Box Smell
The type of litter you use may also factor into how often your cat uses her litter box. The texture and smell of the litter may make a difference in whether your cat prefers it over another type. Some cats don’t like scented litter, which can overwhelm their sensitive noses.
C. Location of Litter Box
Maybe your cat doesn’t like the location of the litter box. If the box has been moved recently, that can cause your cat to go elsewhere instead of using a litter box. Try moving the litter boxes to different locations around your house to see if that helps.
D. Litter Box Size
The litter box might be too small. The size and number of boxes are also important considerations. Cats generally prefer open boxes without lids. A good rule of thumb is to have one box per cat in the house plus an additional one.
3. Medical Problems
There are several reasons cats might urinate in a spot outside of their litter box. The most common cause is a medical issue.
If your cat has started urinating on your bathroom rug (or any other surface), you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Your cat may have:
- A bladder or urinary tract infection or inflammation (including cystitis)
- Diabetes, kidney disease, or another hormonal imbalance
- Arthritis or other mobility issues that make it difficult for him to access the litter box
- An enlarged prostate gland (in male cats)
4. Rugs May Appeal to Your Cat
If your cat is eliminating on your bath mat, rather than peeing in the tub, she may choose a soft surface to avoid scratching her paws on the side of a plastic litter box or because she likes how your rug feels under her feet.
A fabric bath mat can also mimic the texture of grass and earth if you have an outdoor cat who likes to eliminate outside.
5. Behavioral Problems
Inappropriate urination can also be caused by behavioral problems, spraying, and marking behaviors.
Spraying is when a cat backs up to vertical surfaces (walls, furniture, etc.) and wets them with urine. Spraying is usually done by intact male cats advertising that they are available for breeding. Spayed females may spray as well, but this is less common.
Marking occurs when a cat wets items with small amounts of urine, usually on horizontal surfaces. Marking behaviors are usually seen in multiple-cat households. They can be triggered by stress or feeling threatened by other cats in the house and when there are significant changes within the household (such as moving or adding new pets).
6. Stress-Related Issues
Cats are susceptible to changes in their environment. They also don’t react well to other pets in their home or having new guests over.
Being anxious about these changes can cause your cat to urinate outside their litter box to mark their territory or calm themselves down.
All these reasons can be stressful for them because they feel like they are losing control over their environment, leading to anxiety.
7. Establish Their Territory
Your cat may be looking for a place to mark her territory. Tell other cats that this is her turf and they must stay away. It is prevalent in multi-pet households. However, it could also happen in a single-cat home.
The urine of cats is like a calling card since it contains pheromones that are undetectable by humans but discernible by other cats.
She may be choosing a spot near the bathtub because it’s an area where she spends most of her time and wants to keep intruders out.
How to Stop a Cat from Peeing on Bathroom Rugs?
Cat urine anywhere in the house can make your home smell like a litter box. Cat urine contains strong-smelling proteins to mark their territory, a nearly impossible scent to eliminate.
Wetting the crystallized proteins will often reactivate the odor. It can be upsetting and stressful. Fortunately, there are ways to stop a pet from urinating on your rug or any other area in your home.
1. Remove that Problem Creator
If you have three or four cats and one is spraying on the rug, remove that cat from the rest of the group so it can get used to being alone again before reintroducing it to the others.
2. Easy Access to Litter Box
Give your cat easy access to their litter box, which should be placed in a quiet location away from food and water dishes. A covered litter box may also help reduce odors that cause the cat to avoid the box.
3. Block Access to the Bathroom
If you don’t have multiple cats, try blocking off access to the bathroom for a while. Put up a gate or close the door so your cat can’t get there for a few days or weeks. The cat will get bored with not having access and find somewhere else to go potty.
Once you reopen the bathroom, you’ll need to clean up any existing messes so your cat isn’t tempted back into old habits by lingering smells.
4. Properly Clean the Litter Box
Make sure to clean your cat’s litter box daily and change the litter once a week. Use a natural cleaner like vinegar and water to clean up any urine spots on your bathroom rug or flooring. It will remove odors, so your cat is not attracted to return to those areas for elimination.
5. Talk to a Veterinarian
Talk to your veterinarian about possible causes of inappropriate urination, such as kidney disease or urinary tract infections.
How to Get Cat Urine Out of Bathroom Rugs?
You can clean urine from bathroom rugs with various products and methods. Removing dried urine from bathroom rugs can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. You may have to use several cleaners or methods to do the job.
First, treat the area with an enzymatic cleaner, breaking down proteins and enzymes found in cat urine. When you treat the area with the enzymatic cleaner, wash the rug as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you still see some discoloration on your bathroom rug, don’t worry. It is perfectly normal. After cleaning your rug with an enzymatic cleaner, the stain may take some time to disappear. The rug may absorb some of the cleaners and wait for it to dry.
To remove stubborn stains on your bathroom rug, consider using a pet stain remover with enzymes designed to break down urine proteins and enzymes. These products are available at pet stores and online retailers.
After washing them with a pet-specific cleaning solution, you should also rinse your bathroom rugs thoroughly.
Removing Urine Odor
First, blot up as much urine as possible using clean towels or rags if the area is still wet. Next, liberally sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it sit for at least 30 minutes (longer is better).
Once the baking soda has had a chance to work its magic, go back with your vacuum and vacuum up all of the baking soda. If you have access to a steam cleaner, you can also use that to help loosen and remove any remaining stains.
Ultimately, knowing how to keep cats from urinating on bathroom rugs comes down to knowing what motivates them. If the simple act of eliminating is causing stress for the cat, it could be an issue that needs to be addressed.
Whether it’s a medical problem or simply having a proper litter box set up, as long as you understand why they are doing it, you should be able to ensure it stops.