Want to hear a funny story? Or maybe it's a tragedy. Guess it depends on how well you can relate...
On my very first day of high school, I grabbed my jacket from the closet floor, finally forced to face a chilly morning after lazing about for months. As soon as I sat down on the bus, I noticed the kid next to me smelled of cat pee. He was in my first 2 classes and after a couple hours, I was dying to get away from him and his horrid smell. And finally, finally he went off to 3rd period in the opposite direction as my next class. Funny thing,...that cat pee smell just lingered, and lingered, and then whacked me across the back of the head and said "Hey dummy, it's you that stinks." Oh-dear-lord-no-it-can't-be-me...lightheaded, it's all a bad dream....blood rushing to my ridiculously self conscientious 14 year old face....take a sniff of the jacket, holding on to a thread of hope that it smells of nothing more than a stale closet.
Nope. It's pee.
The guillotine of shame crashes down with an intensity and reality that keeps therapists busy for years. First day of high school. No lockers yet. One cat peed-upon jacket. Hours to go until the end of the day. Nothing to do but torture myself mentally with scenarios of the conversation that every student at the school was most certainly was having about my personal hygiene and general repulsiveness.
It was not a good day.
The moral of the story: Learn from my agony. Below are some of my favorite tips to help with inappropriate elimination. Read them. Follow them.
1. Make sure it's not a medical problem. Trust your gut and go to the vet.
2. Make sure your pet can get to the appropriate place when they need to go.
3. Keep pets stress free. OK, easier said than done, but stress does really, really increase the likelihood of inappropriate elimination. Consult with a behaviorist if you need help creating a little zen.
4. * For dogs, go back and repeat the remedial housetraining you would do with a puppy*. (Click for housetraining articles on dogstardaily.com, or at Stacy's Wag'N'Train. Make sure you reward your dog immediately for peeing in the right place - start gentle praise while they are still going, and offer a treat, game, walk, or other reward as soon as they are done. Continue remedial training until you have 2 weeks of zero accidents. Do not underesimate the effectiveness of rehousetraining.
5. Don't punish your pet for pottying in the house. It is not an effective way to solve the problem, and it flies directly in the face of tip #3. If you catch your pet in the act, interrupt and redirect to the appropriate location. If you did not see the accident happening, review tip #4.
6. For cats, make sure the litter box has a deep layer of litter, and clean the litter box many times a day. (Imagine how often you would like your toilet to be flushed.)
7. Have one more litter box than the number of cats that you have. Do not use a hooded litter box, and make sure it's not in a location where the cat may feel trapped or unable to keep a lookout.
8. Add Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract to cat litter.
9. Clean thoroughly with Fizzion or Clean + Green pet stain cleaners. I like these way better than traditional enzymatic cleaners.
10. If a certain area is being marked, spray the area with perfume, citronella, or any other odor that is not attractive to pets. Then, for cats, put a litter box near the area. When your cat comes back, it should go like this: "Hey, may favorite toilet,..oh it smells awful,...wait, here's a great place to go." Or for rabbits, just skip the perfume and put a litter box direclty on their preferred area.
11. For rabbits, leave a few pellets in the litter box when you clean. Confine your rabbit in a smaller area with the litter box for a few weeks to re-establish the connection.
12. If you just cannot convince your pet that the couch is not the world's most fabulous toilet, then block it off. Keep the door closed, use a baby gate or ex-pen. Then be sure to make your preferred toileting area AMAZING to your pet so they don't just pick another inappropriate spot.
13. Always smell clothing that has been left in the back corner of the closet for an extended time prior to wearing.
Posts made after 2/1/2013 written by Kelly. Most older articles written by Cathy. She accepts sole responsibility for typos and bad grammarisms.