Cats peeing on furniture do more than put you on regular clean-up duty. If they keep it up, you’ll end up with furniture that continuously smells of cat urine. That odor isn’t merely unpleasant, it can also harm your health since the ammonia in cat urine can irritate you lungs. Eventually, your cats’ bad habits can ruin your furniture, leaving you with hundreds if not thousands in replacement costs. And if you have antique or heirloom furniture, you may lose something irreplaceable.
The first thing to do if your cats start piddling on the sofa, the ottomans or the computer desk is to take them to the vet promptly. A number of medical condition, some requiring urgent care, can cause inappropriate urination behavior. Beyond that, though, there are a few other things to consider.
Clean Thoroughly. No, Really…
Don’t think that just because you can’t see stains or smell any odors that you’ve cleaned the furniture thoroughly. You may not be able to detect any cat urine odors coming from the furniture kitty wet on, but your cat might because she has a far more sensitive nose than you. Why is this important? Because cats are drawn by instinct to urinate on any area that smells even faintly of cat urine. In the cat’s mind, all those areas are appropriate bathroom spots.
Until you completely neutralize the smell of cat urine on your furniture, your cats may wet there again and again. The only cleaners that can get rid of the smell are those that break down cat urine’s crystals on a chemical level. For this, you have a choice between homemade cleaners containing ingredients like baking soda and lemon juice, or commercially made cleaners containing enzymes. As long as the formula and cleaning process are right, you’ll be able to totally eliminate the smell.
Improve the Litter Box Set-Up
Most indoor cats are so used to using only litter boxes to do their « business » that they tolerate a box that isn’t quite to their liking. On occasion, though, a cat finds something so unappealing about his litter box that he decides to look for an alternative elsewhere. That alternative may be your furniture.
To make your cats more likely to use the box, start by providing a box for each cat. In multi-cat homes, various things can stop the cats from sharing a litter box. Choose large (around 25 inches by 19 inches) litter boxes and fill them with approximately 1 inch of fine-grained, gravel (non-pellet) litter. Use litter that’s either unscented or specially scented to attract cats. Place the boxes in quite areas that are easily accessible to the cats. Some kitties, like declawed cats and long-haired cats, have special litter box needs, so you need to make some (simple) accommodations.
Making your furniture less appealing as a litter box alternative may also help. Spray the furniture with a cat repellent meant for indoor use. Alternatively, spray it with citrus-scented fabric freshener (for fabric upholstery) or rub orange or lemon peels on it. As a last-resort, though, you may need to cover the furniture with plastic slipcovers until you find out why your cat’s wetting on the furniture and figure out how to stop it.