Foster cat keeps peeing in bed, I'm desperate for more ideas to try 😭

emocatowner

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I have been fostering momma and kittens for a bit over 3 months now. Full saga on here. TL;DR she's a street cat, was super stressed, growling and hissing at first. Now she's a lot more at ease around us, getting clicker trained and even letting me pet her head a bit!

They all quickly learned to use the litter box, including momma. But momma also kept peeing on any soft blanket I left in the kitchen. So, for a while, I stopped putting out any blankets for them, except a VetBed, that for some reason she hasn't peed on.

About 2 months ago, I allowed them out of basecamp, and into the bedroom, during the day for fosters and the evenings for my resident cats, as a way of doing scent swapping and getting fosters used to the TV etc. I was stupid enough to not have a litter box in that room.

She's been peeing in our bed on average once a week since. She's good at figuring out our patterns and doing it when she knows she won't be disturbed, e.g. when I'm showering or eating dinner.

It's been over 2 weeks since she last did it. I thought we were in the clear. I've also put blankets in the kitchen, and she's actually sleeping on them instead of peeing on them!

And it just happened again 😭
Here's a video of her in action: Part1 and Part2

I have tried the following:
She got spayed 3 weeks ago
Vet checkup, perfectly healthy, though some elevated blood values due to stress
There is a litter box in the bedroom for over a month
I put aluminum foil where she usually pees
I put a bowl of kibble nearby
Feliway diffuser since we first got them
Used different kinds of litter, currently trying a super soft one, Cat's Best Sensitive

I guess Jackson Galaxy would suggest putting a litter box in bed, on the spot where she pees. But won't that teach the kittens to pee on the bed too? My bf is also utterly disgusted by the idea, and would rather just not let her go in the bedroom again, but I would really like another solution. I don't want her to be returned, or to inflict bed piss on anyone adopting her.

Anything else I can try?
 

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emocatowner

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What litters and litter box types have you tried?

Have you tried some dirt?
Thank you!
This is the basecamp setup:
IMG_9322.jpeg

Left one has Cat's Best Original, right has Cat's Best Sensitive.
I previously had a non-clumping soil based litter from the local supermarket, but it made their paws all dirty, so I stopped using it. She still peed on the blanket while this was down.

There is also this other box in the hallway, that they have access to during the day, also Cat's Best Original.
I had it in the bedroom for a while too:
IMG_9323.jpeg


And this is the one currently in the bedroom, with Cat's Best Sensitive:
IMG_9324.jpeg


She uses all of these boxes on a regular basis, without hesitation. I have a UV flashlight and there is no pee anywhere else except the bed (and previously on blankets)

I guess I could try a few more types of litter? I can't really get Cat Attract easily, but there's this Biokat's Diamond Care Vet Line Attracting and Calming that sounds promising?
Bf was thinking getting some sand or other kinda soil that she may have encountered outside, bought from a construction supply store or something. Would that have a good chance of working?
 

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What your bf is suggesting is close to what others would suggest. You might also try some paper pellet ones or, if your home isn't too humid some Naturally Fresh walnut shell based one. But I think location of boxes is more likely the culprit (your photos are very informative and helpful to brainstorming!) You could also try just some newspaper in the box. Some people have also had good luck with tofu based litter.

Those boxes all seem to be in areas where she can be 'observed'.

One box, is particularly close to other resources (next to the tree), so she's not going to want to use those. That'll call predators to her sleeping space. Very spooky business.

Do you have a closet that you can leave adjar and put one inside at the bottom? Then, move a poop to there.


Some of these rather than a litter box for your bed in the meantime: Amazon.ca

The general rule being spread around is that cats don't like covers. We talk about this rule a lot because most people want to cover the box and some cats don't handle that and then get urinary issues. Since it's an instinct for humans to want to hide the box, it's more rare to run in to the issue of a cat needing a cover and having trouble going where witnessed.

now, covered boxes also tend to not offer enough space. A cat who won't use a covered box may still use a box, in a covered spot with more space.

Attached is Magnus's favourite spot to potty. It makes him feel sheltered without making him feel crowded.

For Calcifer, he will only use a covered box. We bought big litter box covers from Wayfair. Similar to this one but we bought our two on clearance: https://www.wayfair.ca/Tucker-Murph..._1175_0~[GLOBAL] Pet - [Cats Only] Litter Box
 

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Anyways the habits you state of her not doing it when she will be disturbed really points to her needing privacy to potty.

One of my best tricks when renting in a small space was putting the boxes into closets. If you keep it clean and keep a cheap car air freshener in there, your jackets don't smell like litter.
 
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emocatowner

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What your bf is suggesting is close to what others would suggest. You might also try some paper pellet ones or, if your home isn't too humid some Naturally Fresh walnut shell based one. But I think location of boxes is more likely the culprit (your photos are very informative and helpful to brainstorming!) You could also try just some newspaper in the box. Some people have also had good luck with tofu based litter.

Those boxes all seem to be in areas where she can be 'observed'.

One box, is particularly close to other resources (next to the tree), so she's not going to want to use those. That'll call predators to her sleeping space. Very spooky business.

Do you have a closet that you can leave adjar and put one inside at the bottom? Then, move a poop to there.


Some of these rather than a litter box for your bed in the meantime: Amazon.ca

The general rule being spread around is that cats don't like covers. We talk about this rule a lot because most people want to cover the box and some cats don't handle that and then get urinary issues. Since it's an instinct for humans to want to hide the box, it's more rare to run in to the issue of a cat needing a cover and having trouble going where witnessed.

now, covered boxes also tend to not offer enough space. A cat who won't use a covered box may still use a box, in a covered spot with more space.

Attached is Magnus's favourite spot to potty. It makes him feel sheltered without making him feel crowded.

For Calcifer, he will only use a covered box. We bought big litter box covers from Wayfair. Similar to this one but we bought our two on clearance: https://www.wayfair.ca/Tucker-Murphy-Pet™--Allyannah-Litter-Box-Enclosure-X118833723-L1175-K~C007613671.html?refid=MX79439869220605-C007613671_1634279050&device=m&ptid=4583039375624832&targetid=pla-4583039375624832&channel=BingPLA&network=s&PiID[]=1634279050&query=litter box cover&msclkid=4b2871d60bbb1f8adc0914c54ba060b9&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=WF.P.CAN.G.Pet (Mobile SCA)-G688191515&utm_term=4583039375624832&utm_content=446_1175_0~[GLOBAL] Pet - [Cats Only] Litter Box
I think you may be on to something!

I keep reading that cats don't like using closed boxes and really prefer open boxes so they can run if needed. But momma here actually peed in a cat carrier a few times (on the blanket) so she may indeed prefer the closed kind!

I'll move one of the litter boxes under the table, to see if she actually ends up using that one more.

I had them farther away previously, closer to the door, but I used that for cat introductions, so I switched to feeding them there. (I'm keeping 2 of the foster kittens)

I'd been thinking of getting a closet litter box for the bedroom, though my bf said there's no way a cat will use that
I initially wanted to replace my nightstand with this, but I'm guessing it's too small? https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07D9G26JP/?tag=
Maybe something like this? I like the shelf, though it's kinda expensive https://www.amazon.de/dp/B0BFPHHNG8/?tag=
I guess something like this might work too https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08G13SHDX/?tag=

We're really hoping we won't have her more than a few weeks more. There is someone who is considering adopting her, and they are aware of the past pee issues, though I worry when I tell them she peed the bed again, they may change their minds.
But I guess we can keep using it, it'll be less messy in the bedroom that way too, and we probably should keep a litter box in there in case any other cat gets ideas...

We can maybe also clear one of the closets we keep clothes in and try to place it there, though I think my bf will hate her even more if I suggest that...
 

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She may like her litter prestiene too. Those boxes look like they need scooping. Not horrable but might be enough to put her off.

It might be the bottom of the box im seeing but not sure.
 

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Re covered boxes:

Both my litterboxes are covered, ive had them for 20 years at least. (You won't find ones built like that anymore)

Indy will not use an uncovered box as I know when she had to stay at the vet I got a call saying she would not pee. I told them to put a cover over it and she went.

Some cats are weird
 
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emocatowner

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I was just getting hopeful, I moved the leftmost litter box under the table. And then she does a poo in the right litter box. With me in the room...
She may like her litter prestiene too. Those boxes look like they need scooping. Not horrable but might be enough to put her off.

It might be the bottom of the box im seeing but not sure.
Hmm could be. I usually scoop at around 2pm and another time at 8-11pm, and she usually pees sometime between 7-11pm. I can try doing a 3rd scooping...

Re covered boxes:

Both my litterboxes are covered, ive had them for 20 years at least. (You won't find ones built like that anymore)

Indy will not use an uncovered box as I know when she had to stay at the vet I got a call saying she would not pee. I told them to put a cover over it and she went.

Some cats are weird
Good to know! I'll get a covered box just to have it, other fosters may end up needing it, one of the closet types.
 

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My smallest covered one is 50 by 50 so similar to the nightstand one. It's worth a try! You have multiple cats so some might use it. 2 out of 4 cats in our house have regularly used the small one. And a third will occasionally use it but only after coming in from outside on his leashed walk..and I think he holds it then and just needs the closest one.

That's a good sign re: pooping in the one under the table!

There are LOADS of inexpensive DIY options as well. I often encourage people to keep one hidden box in their main living space if they are the type to not want one around where company can see. 16 DIY Litter Box Enclosures You Can Build Today (with Pictures) | Hepper
 
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emocatowner

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That's a good sign re: pooping in the one under the table!
Oh, sorry, she pooped in the one that was still out in the open.
But it's her preferred box in general, I guess, since it's bigger than the other one, so idk
 

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Oh, sorry, she pooped in the one that was still out in the open.
But it's her preferred box in general, I guess, since it's bigger than the other one, so idk
Sometimes it takes some time to adjust.
 
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emocatowner

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Still no luck with the box under the table. Everyone still prefers the one that's out in the open.
Bf is reluctant to get a cabinet, due to limited space and being convinced the cat won't use it unless it's in a corner somewhere, which we don't really have the option for in the bedroom. He makes some good points.

I did get some more types of litter, and a really big closed litter box, that I'll put in the foster room, just let them pick. The winner gets moved in the bedroom.

I'm considering some calming pills, or something like Royal Canin Calm kibble for her. I intend to ask the vet about them. But do any of you have experience with that?
 

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Still no luck with the box under the table. Everyone still prefers the one that's out in the open.
Bf is reluctant to get a cabinet, due to limited space and being convinced the cat won't use it unless it's in a corner somewhere, which we don't really have the option for in the bedroom. He makes some good points.

I did get some more types of litter, and a really big closed litter box, that I'll put in the foster room, just let them pick. The winner gets moved in the bedroom.

I'm considering some calming pills, or something like Royal Canin Calm kibble for her. I intend to ask the vet about them. But do any of you have experience with that?
🤞 one of these things pan out. It's so hard to figure out the preference at first!

I've never used the calming food so I cant comment on it.
 

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Kabuto had the seinor calm urinary food during the pandemic (his normal food out of stock.) and it seemed no different than his normal food. Except very overpriced. I dont know if it actualy does anything or is just a gimmic. It seems gimmicy to me but ymmv.
 

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Helps manage behaviors in older cats who become apprehensive and fearful in stressful environments and social situations, such as moving or the arrival of a new baby Stimulates aging cats’ decreasing appetite with highly palatable dry kibble.
Taken from the amazon description of the food. Sounds like its just more flavorful.

Reviews seem hit and miss reguarding wheather it actualy works or not.
 
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emocatowner

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Taken from the amazon description of the food. Sounds like its just more flavorful.

Reviews seem hit and miss reguarding wheather it actualy works or not.
Yea the main thing it contains is L-tryptophan. There's other treats and stuff with this, specifically for calming cats.
I read some promising studies about it, making cats less insecure in new environments etc.
I guess if it doesn't have any horrible side-effects, it may be worth a try?
Or maybe I should just be patient with her... she is getting more and more relaxed. More willing to play, tail is up more often, less scared of us, more curious about checking out new objects, open cupboards etc.
 

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emocatowner emocatowner I think time. You're trying some new things with her already so to feel secure lessening any other changes may be best❣

I would consider maybe some treats that have cranberry or blueberry in them just to keep her urine's ph up since she's struggling.
 
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emocatowner

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emocatowner emocatowner I think time. You're trying some new things with her already so to feel secure lessening any other changes may be best❣

I would consider maybe some treats that have cranberry or blueberry in them just to keep her urine's ph up since she's struggling.
Probably will need time.

Vet okayed giving this supplement with L-tryptophan in it, says it's worth a try, though it will take time as well.

I don't think she's struggling to pee in any way, she uses the litter box just fine, no hesitation. There's also no straining when she's peeing on the bed, as far as I can tell from the video. And there was nothing in her tests to show a problem, vet thinks it is just stress. I worry about giving cranberry stuff or anything that increases the urine ph because it puts extra strain on the kidneys. My cat with kidney disease died earlier this year, so I'm extra paranoid about this stuff.
 
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