A year or so after we adopted her from the local animal shelter, Sandy developed a nasty habit – She started peeing on our bath mat. She had been a reasonably well behaved cat up until this point so this really caught us off guard. The first time it happened, we wrote it off as an accident and simply gave the stinky bath mat a good washing. When she proceeded to pee on it again though, we were really quite disappointed as we knew a habit was developing.
“Why was she doing this?” She’d used her litter box consistently and without issue up until this point. “What on earth is wrong with her!?”
The worst part about a problem like this is you understand that your cat just doesn’t know any better. You’re not mad at her but just really upset by the whole situation. My wife and I literally lost sleep worrying about what our beloved little furball was up to while we were lying in bed.
Naturally the first thing we did when we realized that this wasn’t an isolated incident was hit the good old Interweb. We determined that the first thing we had to do was ensure this wasn’t a medical issue. Apparently some cats with urinary tract infections (UTI) express the fact that they’re in pain by peeing in odd places. While we didn’t think Sandy was ill, we did the responsible thing and took her to the vet. She tested negative for UTI so that was good. We then proceeded to try three different things to to discourage this behaviour – and proceeded to bat 0 for 3…
Check on and adjust the litter balance as required
The first thing we wanted to do was ensure Sandy was OK with the litter situation. For whatever reason, she was finding the mat more desirable to pee on than her litter. If we could find a way to make peeing in her litter box more pleasant, maybe she’d leave our poor bath mat alone.
We swapped out her old litter box for a new larger one. Her existing box was probably a touch too small and we read that larger is better. We topped up the spiffy new litter box with fresh stuff and set it back it’s place. Sandy prefers World’s Best Cat Litter and has for some time. We definitely didn’t think it was an issue with the litter itself.
Sandy continued to poo in her litter box but ended up peeing on our mat again. Ugh.
“Urine Off” type product to discourage peeing
In order to make it clear to Sandy that the bath mat is off limits, we had to find a way to eliminate the scent of urine from it. Cats will naturally pee where they’ve peed before so completely eliminating the smell is critical if you want the behaviour to cease. To this end, we sought out one of these enzyme-based cleaning products that claim to kill all traces of urine from soiled articles. The one we settled on was Urine-Off Cat and Kitten Formula
We proceeded to treat our icky bathmat as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Unforunately the cat came back… and peed on it again! We deduced from this that the cat actually liked peeing on our bath mat – whether it smelt like her pee or not.
Change the type of mat
Quite a few sources dealing with this issue cited latex backed mats as the culprit. Sure enough, the bath mat we had was of this variety. This pleased us! We thought the problem was solved and headed off to the IKEA to grab a more cat-friendly mat to place outside our shower. We settled on one of those hotel style bath mats that could easily be confused for a towel.
Before placing the new one down, we used the Urine Off stuff on the bathroom floor just to ensure all the cat pee molecules were eliminated. We set the mat down and went about our day, figuring that we had solved the problem for good.
Wrong. Sandy soiled the new mat as well.
Strike 3! We’re out of ideas!
After the three ideas above failed to produce any change in Sandy’s behaviour, we didn’t know what to do next. For a while we were simply making a concerted effort to hang our bath mat over the lip of the tub when we weren’t around. This was effective but kind of a pain in the butt… While at work, both my wife and I would worry about whether or not we remembered to get the mat off the bathroom floor.
So after living like this for a couple months, we finally stumbled upon a proper solution. While browsing the Bed And Bath section on Amazon.com one day, my wife saw this Bamboo Bath Mat from CreativeWare. While it looks more like something you’d see adjacent to an outdoor shower, it actually really works inside. It also gave my wife a chance to redecorate. We picked up some matching bamboo articles and decorations – think waste bins, shelving and even a toilet brush holder!. All the bamboo makes our bathroom looks like a Spa in Bali!
And it doesn’t smell like cat urine anymore either!
Does your cat pee on bath mats or anything else? Let us know if you’ve got any tips!
A CAT OWNER says
My cat has also been urinating on our bath mat and has done so at least three times– so many times that we are going to try to do without one. It doesn’t help that it has been raining outside constantly, so even though she has access to the great outdoors through a cat flap and an indoors litterbox, she is staying indoors a lot. I never had problems before I tried to get her to stay in at night and provided a litterbox (after being an outdoors mainly cat) in the attempt to stop her getting involved and injured in cat fights. Her response has been to urinate on bath mats, linens, and bean bags.
I am in the exact same situation. Did you resolve it? My cat spends warm nights outside but in winter I bring her in. Shes peeing on my dish mat, her food bowl mat, carpet runners over carpets. terrible.
My cat peed on the bamboo matt too 🙁
I have been having issues with my kitty’s one did have a uti and has sins been on a CD diet …no issues. The lil one however pees on the side door mat and to powder room mat so we have gone with out . No issues
She also peed on any laundry left on main floor , so if we bring laundry up from the washer and leave the basket a garbage bag is placed over it …wr have tried everything the good old net had said to do and still she peed .so we just eliminate problems . Now that winter is here the back door needs a mat so we got the coconut style and she so far just lays on it ……could it work? Let’s hope
My cat keeps going in my small bathroom down stairs of they bath mat she go on that or if anything she pooh in her tray of the door closed she use her tray she hadnt for infection she fine but this toilet thing drives me mad always the same place even if bath mat not down she driving me in sane
You can’t stop a cat, unfortunately. We now hang our bath mat on the towel rack.
Jeffrey Harris says
Thanks Pilar. Guess once you get used to hanging the mat, it’s not so bad.
My cat also constantly pees on bathroom Matt or floor. Only at night. Tried everything! Any ideas out there. Very frustrated!
Sadly, my bamboo mat is also a targeted item. 🙁
Jeffrey Harris says
Ugh. Sorry Anne. I’ve seen some people say they just get into the habit of hanging they’re bathmats when not in use. Good luck
Our cat started weeing on our bath mats and towels and, at first, we thought that maybe it was the location of the box so we moved that around. We also bought a new litter box (one that wasn’t enclosed as we thought that he may feel a little cramped and maybe that was putting him off) but he would still occasionally do it. He also tried to pee on the bed once but we had started noticing the signs at this point and put him in his litter box where he weed without issue.
Finally, we decided to change the litter as he was really good until he was going out more frequently and it could be a result of peeing outside where there is soft soil and sand (we live in the desert ha). We found a more sandy texture and we haven’t looked back. We can now freely leave the bath mat down and he will always opt for the litter tray – we’ve had no accidents since!
The only downside to the softer litter is that he does sometimes get wet, dirty paws but a mat of his own has solved that!
Jeffrey Harris says
Nice one Jasmine! Finicky little guys aren’t they?
How did you get Sandy to stop peeing on the bath mats? justt by getting new mats she stopped? But others have said that the bamboo mats dont work?
Jeffrey Harris says
Ultimately that worked for us yeah.. Think she liked the feeling off scrunching up the traditional soft mats under her feet. Good luck!