Cat peeing on rugs

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra,

For some time now, my adult cat, Lily, has been peeing on my rugs. I have had to replace all the rugs in the house and now I don’t keep any down, except in the bathrooms. She pees on them and at least I can wash them. She is about 10 years old and (should) share a litter box with her 17 year old sister. My question is: If I change her diet to a special urinary kind, will that help?

I like your website as I am a passionate animal lover.

Thank you,
Deborah Berke


Hi – thanks for your email.

Gosh, what a frustrating problem. Inappropriate urination in cats is one of the most common behavioral problems in cats. I don’t envy any cat owner that has to deal with this problem.

First, let me answer the easy questions about the litter boxes – the rule of thumb is to have one litter box PER cat plus one. If you have two cats, the ideal is to have 3 litter boxes. They may share the litter box but you should have more than one.

As far as why, what you can do about her problem, this is what I’d recommend. Make sure that there is not an underlying medical problem causing her symptoms such as bladder stones or urinary tract infection. I’ve seen cats blamed for inappropriate urination as a behavioral problem to later find out that there was a medical problem. I’d feel awful to overlook something like that. So…to start off – have your cat examined by your vet and allow them to at least do a urinalysis.

If it is determined the problem is behavioral, the answer isn’t simple. Your question asked about if a special diet would help solve the problem. Depending on what her urine looks like, its pH, and presence of crystals, a diet change may be beneficial. There are several foods out for cats with this problem (for example Hills Science Diet makes one called CD – it is a prescription diet available only through your vet).

I am working on a really good eCourse for cat owners that are dealing with inappropriate urination in their homes. My course is free and I am going to cover tips on why cats can have inappropriate urination and what you can do at home. I’d really like you to sign up for this course. It is free and I am sharing some great tips that I’ve learned over the years.

Best of luck!
Dr. Debra

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