Cats are supposed to be clean pets that are easy to care for, so it's no wonder that cat owners are horrified when their cats start using the carpet instead of the litter box. Cat urine on the carpet can be a big problem, too. Not only does it leave unsightly stains, but if the pee seeps through the carpet to the padding underneath, the odor can be frightful. If your cat has started urinating outside the litter box, there are several steps you can take to fix the problem.
Clean Thoroughly after Accidents
The first thing to do when you find a dreaded wet spot is to clean it up. Use paper towels to absorb the moisture. Then use a cleaner to remove the stain and odor. Enzymatic cleaners, available at your veterinarian's office and at pet supply stores, work better than ammonia-based cleaners. Your cat may mistake the smell of an ammonia-based cleaner for another cat's urine and pee on the spot again to mark its territory. It may also help to spray lemon-scented freshener on the carpet. Cats don't like citrus scents and tend to avoid them.
Keep the Litter Box Clean
Scoop out your cat's litter box at least once a day. Some cats want their litter scooped every time they have a bowel movement. Clean out the box and refill it with fresh litter at least once a week. Cats dislike unclean litter boxes and are likely to look elsewhere to do their business if the box isn't kept up to their standards. When possible, avoid changing to a new litter brand as this may upset your cat's routine and lead to more accidents.
Add an Extra Litter Box
You should have at least as many litter boxes as you have cats. This can help your pets avoid territorial disputes that lead to accidents. Even if you only have one cat, though adding an extra box or two may help solve the problem of peeing on the carpet. Older cats, for instance, may not always be able to get to a single box in time. Having a couple of boxes in different parts of the house or apartment makes it easier for them to find an appropriate place to urinate when nature calls.
Take Your Cat to the Vet
If the above suggestions don't seem to be helping, take your cat to the vet for a checkup. Cats are prone to painful urinary tract infections. A round of antibiotics may stop the accidents. Cats also pee on the carpet when they're stressed or unhappy. The vet can prescribe medications for these problems as well. If your cat is "thinking outside the box," it is trying to tell you that something is wrong. Once you figure out what the problem is, the accidents will stop.