An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cat Pee on the Bed: Bear's Saga Continues

Dear Greyce,

Since I last wrote (see Continued Urine Marking - Nov. 8, 2010), the spare bed has been decorated twice with my urine.

Herself is just not sure what to do. She is tempted to close our door during the day so we can’t use that room. That said, most recent incidents happened first thing in the morning when they were still home.

They already close their own bedroom door when they are not at home (because I have had a peeing history there) and that is the only other window access room on the ground floor. Well to tell you the truth, there is the front door window but no comfy reclining spots there.
What can I say? I pee on beds! Help!

Should they leave a plastic bag on top of the bed linens? Should the litter box sit on top of the bed? Or beside it? (Himself’s fear is that a litter box on the bed will teach me that a bed is an okay place to pee and that might translate to their room too.)

Oh, there has been tons of cuddling and lots of play – as you recommended for dealing with any anxiety. I really like my laser toy. That dot is fun to chase. It is one of the only toys that I will actually go after when my sister is in the room. The rest of the toys need a closed door room and even then I am not so sure about chasing them as I know she is outside the door waiting for her turn.

Thank you for your continued support. So sorry to keep bugging you!


Dear Bear,

You are not bugging me. In fact, you are helping my readers understand how complicated it is to implement behavioural change. Even though general principles apply, every situation is different. And yet success is all in the details.

So I’m grateful that you are providing me with the details that have been difficult for you. If we can clarify those, then we can get on with the program – and hopefully with success.

It seems to me that you feel the need to mark the bed. I know, I know, it’s a lot of urine that you deposit and some would say you are urinating and not marking. As I said to Dash (just today, in the entry, Small Bits of Urine), it is awfully difficult to distinguish some cases of horizontal urine marking from cases of urination. Some cats (and I suspect you are one of them) like to mark as well as pee in the same place – even in their litter boxes. And the solutions to marking and inappropriate elimination problems are different.

I suspect that there is a marking element – that your pheromonal code on that bed has dissipated over time and you are refreshing it with your urine. Purrhaps you see this as part of your daily duty, to mark significant areas as the household rises for the day. It would be wonderful if you would mark with check rubs, instead.

I also suspect that bed peeing has something to do with the fact that beds in both bedrooms – for you have a past history of peeing on both - are near windows with views of your grounds. Most of us feel that windows are areas of vulnerability. Purrsons say they are safe because windows are solid; but there sure don’t look solid to us!

So what do I think? I think you are marking and may even be peeing, too. I think it likely relates to feeling vulnerable and that the windows are a contributing factor. And as for choosing the bed, rather than the window itself? I think it’s largely due to your preferences for soft surfaces and fabrics – like your penchant for peeing on pillows.

I know that peeing on the bed is a difficult issue – both for some cats (like you) and for their purrsons.

Right now it seems as if you and beds are like my Herself and chocolate. Herself has a passion for chocolate especially during the winter months. Even though it is contributing to added pounds and she knows she should not imbibe, its mere presence is such a strong attractant that blind desire obscures all reason. Hence the need to ban chocolate from the premises (even though Himself adores it).

In the same vein, it seems that mere access to the spare bedroom draws you to marking the bed. So for now, I vote for keeping the door closed – at the very least for the times when Themselves are not at home. And yes, I am aware that you’ve peed on the beds in the early morning, when the folks are at home. My prefurrence right now is to see how things will work out if both bedroom doors are kept closed. Of course, we will monitor the situation and adjust as needed.

If they feel the need to keep the door to the spare room open for any period of time, then 1) the litter box should stay beside the bed and 2) the garbage bag – or preferably a liquid-proof bedwetting pad should be over the target area, and 3) they should consider spraying that pad with Feliway (assuming they have some of the spray bottle left over from your last escapades) to discourage you from marking it.

I believe I’d mentioned the box location in my last entry to you. But it was buried in some of my comments and purrhaps you didn’t see it. From what I recall from the floorplan you sent me, they could try the box either beside the part of the bed you most pee on OR on the side of the bed closest to the window (which may be a triggering factor). If they use Feliway on the bed itself, then I suggest the box go on the side nearer the window (just because it will be away from the Feliway).

I’d rather you NOT have a litter box on top of the bed because that is a very difficult location. As a temporary measure it may be fine; but I think we are heading for the long haul, here.

I suggest a box near your ‘decorating’ place but NOT on it because of your history. For example, when you wrote me about your peeing-on-the-stove problem, you then installed a litter box in the kitchen; you were able to use that box instead of the stove top. Now let’s not get into the fact that you’d still really like the stove top. All I’m saying is that given a nearby alternative, you have shown that you will use it. You have been using it, haven’t you?

As for the bed pad and Feliway. I would hope that the Feliway spray (not diffuser) would encourage you to use the nearby box. But that is a hope and not a certainty. Just make sure your folks follow the instructions for clean up (no produces with ammonia, bleach or scent AND using Feliway only once the pad is dry). They also need to pay attention to using Feliway when the bedroom is open and before you come in.

And before I leave the subject of cats and pee on beds, there is one other possible solution but it is very expensive. They could replace the guest bed with a Murphy bed (the link given is only one site) that is, a bed that folds up into the wall when not in use. (It looks like a very attractive wood panel when closed.) It’s a very popular solution in places like New York City where space is at a premium; and it is a way to have the use of the bed when needed, but keep temptation out of your way when not. Now this is quite costly and could affect your toy and catnip supply for some time. So it is not a solution to be taken at all lightly. Try the others, first.

The window viewing issue is an important one. I am not a fan of having you watch through the front door window and with both bedroom doors closed, your options are limited on this floor. Remember, you already have anointed items in the front hall – likely as a result of seeing or smelling roaming cats. But don’t forget, you do have a favourite viewing area at the stairs (that you showed me on your floorplan) so I hope that would do, instead.

If you absolutely must use the front door as your ground floor viewing area, just remember: no pillows for you. If Herself still has some Feliway spray leftover, then suggest she give the door a bit of a spritz at cat level a couple of times a day. You can with the bedroom doors closed, access to the front door window and Feliway first, and see what happens.

Now about that issue with toys and Bailey. There is obviously something about your relationship that intimidates you. Do you think food puzzles would be a solution, as something that might interest you while Bailey is doing other things? Read today's entry to Dash (metioned earlier) which talks about food puzzles among other things, and think about it. It’s just a suggestion, not an order.

And do keep in touch and let me know how things go.

I’m rooting for you Bear,


No comments:

Post a Comment