Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our dirty secret

Awhile ago, Shaun and I got a wild idea to rip out the indoor/outdoor carpeting that is in our back hallway going down the stairs.  Our cat box lives on this small landing, for lack of a better place.  That door behind it leads to our driveway, we never use it.
With a cat that likes to periodically pee outside the box, the carpeting was stinky and gross, I couldn't wait to get rid of it. 
Yeah, this is really hard for me to share with everyone.  I know I wasn't as diligent about cleaning the box as I should be.  I do have three (!) litter boxes in the basement as well...and this one really should be moved upstairs, but I'm terrified of Max peeing on our newly refinished floors.  The carpet around this area was also a convenient scratching post for my cats, who have all their claws. DOH!
Once we started ripping it up, I was pretty amused by what we found.  Old linoleum (at least I think it's actual lineoleum, based on the age) in a funky pattern. 
Once that carpeting was removed, I was able to scrub the heck out of the flooring, baseboards, and put down some 'urine off.' 
The stairs also looked better minus the scraggly carpeting. 
However, we are at a loss about what to do with them.  Do we try to rip the flooring up and refinish the wood?  Rip off all the treads and buy new ones?  Paint what's there until we feel like dealing with it?  We have no idea.  So it's sitting like this until I make up my mind. 
Stupid litter box.  Please tell me your litter box/cat potty problems, I need to know I"m not alone!


  1. You are definately not alone. I have to same problem with my cat upstairs and I need to remove the carpet as well. Does the 'urine off' work well?

  2. Ha, you are NOT alone! We have ours in a bathtub that we never use (is that weird?) and it gets a little interesting at times, to say the least. :) We also use flushable litter, which isn't for everyone, but I think it's just about the best thing EVER invented. Our male cat went through a "let's pee on everything, shall we?" stage awhile ago that was terrible - we had to get rid of a nice armchair. And our kitties have their claws, too. I feel your pain!

  3. That linoleum is...funky indeed! I don't own cats myself, but my friends who do have had kitty-potty-problems (as they call it) so I can sympathize. Generally speaking, I've heard that getting a scratching post for a kitty can reduce their I-will-tear-up-everything urges. As for the potty problems, I got nothing. :( Good luck, though, I hope you figured it out...and that the stuff you're using works for you. :D

  4. i don't have cats so i can't relate on that front but i had to chime in and say yes, what funky linoleum! i almost like it in a strange way.

  5. Nope, definitely not alone. With 10 housecats and 2 inside/outside dogs, we have a few dirty little secrets of our own. We have one kitty will only use pee pads in a litter box, the others for the most part are good about thinking "inside the box", but we do have occasional rebels. We are also diy-ers, so I've been lurking at your blog for a while and really like what you've done with yor place.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  6. I find an occasional cat surprise and there is no rhyme or reason. I chaulk it up to the cat just has to go.

    In regard to your stairs, I think painting would be your quickest fix. If you want to spruce them up more, Lowes sells these stair treads that I've used. You do have to cut up your existing stairs a bit, but it does make them look pretty.

  7. Do your cats pee outside the box because they're old? Or have they always done that? Mine always goes in the box but he's only 2. I had him declawed when he was a kitten (just the front) so don't have a scratching problem except with his back claws on my leather chair.

  8. O I feel your pain. We have 3 cats ourselves. All the litter boxes are in the basement and it hasn't been a big problem. But they are messy. One likes to pee in empty buckets.

    Hmmm...about the floors. I am at a loss also. You could paint any wood underneath them with floor paint.

  9. Satan, also known as our cat, is very particular about his litter box. If isn't scooped daily he'll either pee in front of the box, or on objects. Luckily, he doesn't pee on fabric. But his favorite places include the bathtub, the kitchen sink, on the dishes in the kitchen sink (EWWWWW) or my personal favorite, in the dog's empty food bowl. He's psycho.

    I would paint the stairs until you now what you want to do for sure. Cat pee and newly finished floors are horrible.

  10. You are not alone. I couldnt figure out a good place for the litter box (corner of the kitchen? no. corner of the dining room? no. bathroom? no room in there) and ended up sticking it in the bottom of the hallway closet and installing one of those pet doors on the closet door for the cat to get in & out to use it. It actually has worked out really well and I haven't had any problems. I clean it out every day to keep the closet from stinking, plus I dont keep any linens in that closet, just cleaning supplies on a higher shelf.

  11. you are not alone!

    we have 2 litter boxes in the basement, and our cats still go on the floor under the basement stairs.... directly behind the litter boxes. i will completely admit that we're not the best at cleaning them, so i can't full blame the cat. for the most part i just deal with it, it only really becomes a problem with it rains, the dampness in the basement makes the smells much more noticable.

    in our apartment we had a difficult time dealing with the litter box - we didn't have a closet or room to put them in that the dogs didn't also have access to. the dogs liked to "investigate" any open litter box (gross). and the cats didn't like the litter boxes that come with those lids on them. so i took a cabinet (with doors) and cut a hole in the side for the cats and put the litter box inside the cabinet. it was the perfect solution, plus to clean it you could just open the cabinet doors for easy access. the cats liked it because it was nice and roomy inside, and the dogs couldn't get to the litter. then i also put the cat food on top of the cabinet (again, the dogs couldn't get to it).

    longest comment ever about cat poo.

  12. reason 1 million why I'll never have cats. at least you seem to have found a pretty decent spot to keep the litter box....away from everything else.

    I'm excited to see what happens with the flooring!

  13. Litter boxes are by far my least favorite thing about cats. They are worse than scratching, shedding, everything. Ours is in our guest room kind of behind the closet door, with a garbage bag underneath the box in case she gets sloppy with her aim. (It looks soooo nice, lemme tell ya.) I'd like to install a doggy door in the kitchen door (and teach the kitty how to use it) so that we can put the cat box in the basement someday. Also, our kitty is an outside-during-the-day and inside-at-night cat, so we probably only have to clean the litter box once a week. We live on a quiet street and she would revolt if we ever tried to make her an indoor-only cat.

    As for the stairs, I don't know! Our basement stairs are painted with those "speckles"- same as the kitchen was in this post: http://hiphousegirl.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/surprise/

  14. We have always kept our litter box in the bathroom which makes the place the opposite of relaxing when we haven't cleaned it in a while. We were pretty terrible at cleaning it too... and then, we moved out of our apartment and into a place with a back yard. Kitty now goes outside -- no litter box at all! He's happier, we're happier. So grateful. But I feel your pain! In all my years of being a kitty mommy, I never found a good solution to the litter-in-the-house requirement.

  15. Oh my. This post and the comments made me giggle so hard!

    When we first adopted our cat, Quinn, he was about 4 weeks old and one of the stipulations on Jerry allowing me to actually get a cat was that I would keep the litter box clean and he would never smell it or have to clean it himself. At first I was really good about cleaning it every day. Then I realized, he's one cat. Do I really need to clean it every day? Nooo...

    By the time I came to that realization, Quinn had already decided that he was above a cleaned-every-other-day litter box and so now, whenever I miss a single morning cleaning (which happens more often then I care to admit) I will have little nuggets of Quinn love to pick up outside of his box. Luckily, he only left me love on the carpet in that room once.

    Cats are so strange. :)

    On the stairs, I replaced linoleum tiles that were tarred on (oh yeah) with peel and stick tiles from Lowe's. Everyone comments on how nice they look when they're getting the house tour. It is, after all, going to your basement.

    Good luck!


  16. From the comments it's clear that you're not the only one with kitty problems. Our cat has NEVER taken to her litter box - she's 12. Each house we've lived in during that time period suffers the same fate, although she's switched it up in the last year. Now she pees in her box but shits on the rug. Our rug is brown. You can imagine how well that's gone for us.

  17. Litter boxes suck. I have two cats, hence two litter boxes. I live in an apartment and the only logical place (and semi-sanitary) to put them was the bathroom. One on each side of the toilet.
    One cat doesn't like if I put a lot of litter in the box, and will kick it all onto the floor if I put too much in for his standards.
    The other cat doesn't cover her stuff so the first cat goes in and does it for her.
    I have to sweep my bathroom floor every single day, but I figure it's better than having to vacuum carpet every single day.

  18. My kitchen cabinets were lined with strips of that exact same linoleum by some previous owner. I suspect it is probably what is under the current linoleum on my kitchen floor. I can't wait to redo my kitchen!

    Also, I grew up with cats (as many as five at a time) and we trained them to come when they were called so that they mostly went outside. The litter box was used rarely, only if we were gone for a long time. Sometimes if we left the cats alone too long, we would have a surprise to deal with. But usually they were at the door, ready to go outside.

  19. Ugh tell me about it!! We haven't really found a good place for our stupid litter box and the huge litter box we have isn't even big enough for our huge bengal cats! Arghhh.

    I think the laundry room is the best place.. I know, eh, but I don't have a basement. And I won't ever put it on carpet again - we had to rip up a square of carpet in our game room! I hate the carpet anyway, so who cares, but I really want to train the cats to use the toilet. However I read that sometimes cats can get stressed if they use the toilet, so I guess that idea is dropped. Sighness...

  20. I don't have cats, but we have two small dogs. We keep them in the laundry area (basement) when we are away from home, but when they are out the only place they pee is on the carpet on our steps.

    It drives me insane that our male pomeranian has pee stains all over the landings on our steps! He doesn't pee anywhere else. I want to get new carpet, but my husband says he'll just do it the same thing again. We steam clean the carpets every three months. It just makes them look even more raggedy.

    The rest of our house has hardwood, but we don't want to invest the money in hardwood for the steps since this is not our "forever" home. We figure we'll just install new carpet right before we put the house on the market.

  21. Well. I've read all the comments and I'm a. so glad that Satan is not my cat and b. impressed with the lady who has two litter boxes for two cats.

    I would just like to add that it's really important to clean the litter box every day and replace all the litter once a week. Just think, if you can smell it, then your much more smell-sensitive cat definitely can smell it. I think that, barring medical problems, the cat is much more likely to use the litter box (and get his aim right) if it's pleasant to use.

  22. We have a storage room right outside the kitchen that we put the litter box in. I wish I could get a litter maid but I can't fathom spending that kind of $ when there is so much to buy for a new house!
    Our female punishes us when we go out of town and poops the carpets. We then in turn throw her outside (which she hates) and that cures the problem - at least until she forgets.
    Anyone want a gray long-haired, declawed tabbyish cat with separation anxiety??

  23. So not alone! I scoop ours daily and still they sometimes pee next to the box. Rascals. Luckily it's in the basement and the concrete is easily cleanable. The vet suggested getting a storage box rather than a litter box so that they have more square footage in which to go lol!

  24. Ooooo, how about painting them with some sort of stencil or design? There's so much inspiration out there. Looks like a big project!

  25. wow theres a lot of people with cat proplems my cat is actually really good however it does not stop me from not liking the kitty litter its so annoying i have started putting mine in the laundry tub that way if she flicks it a little too much its easier to clean up. Also i heard on a show you should only clean out the poo each day but only change the litter completly fortnightly gross i know but its meant to do with the smells etc for the cat to make sure they go there all the time good luck with your cat :)

  26. No cats, although my friend spent a while telling me all about the "system" she bought to teach her kitties to use the toilet. It seems to involve a faux litter tray that goes over the seat, with a series of progressively larger holes in the center. Made me sort of glad I didn't have a cat, until the dog ate too much grass and got sick. Everywhere.

    Anyway, have you looked on Ikea Hackers? That blog is the repository of all possible ways to conceal a litter box. Some of the hacks are really elegant.

  27. Eesh. My house doesn't really have a great spot for the litter box. I tried keeping it in the spare room, but then we had house guests and I can't really expect them to stay in a room with poo...

    So now it is in the master bathroom, in the spot where the jacuzzi tub will be installed next week, so now I have to find another place for it. Sigh. Plus, it's freaking huge with tall sides because kitty flings litter out of the box like it's going out of style.

    And while current kitty has zero potty problems, I had to put my beloved old cat on chicken-flavored kitty prozac because she got so depressed when we got a dog that she would deliberately tinkle RIGHT NEXT TO THE BOX. Thankfully, that stopped and there wasn't carpet, so it cleaned up easily.

    So I guess I'm saying that I can identify.

  28. One of my cats has a neurological disorder and mostly pees outside of the litterbox. We have lineoleum floors in our laundry room and we surround the boxes with puppy pads.

    We did tear out our upstairs carpeting because he was having accidents up there. Even after removing the carpeting, he continued, even worsening. We found out in June that he has a form of kidney cancer. We're about a month into chemo and his accidents have stopped :) He's doing great, but we did have to put a box upstairs for him to make it easier for him to go. So now I have 3! Two in the laundry room, and 1 in a spare room.

    Long story short, you are not alone. My poor kitty is a double whammy of accidents, though he can't control either :)

  29. I WISH I had advice for the steps but I'm not handy enough - I learn from watching you darn it! :) I do dig the pattern though at least for now.

    Ugh liter boxes are the worst. This is why I currently only have 1 cat. I often talk about getting a 2nd one but ... everytime I clean his box I quickly nix that idea. I wish we had a basement but we only have a laundry room - We try to keep a mat there to track the liter when he gets out but it doesn't work, it still gets EVERYWHERE. Thankfully he's good about not peeing or #2ing outside of his box, and I can let it go for a long time. I often have worry or fear though that he'll contract a lung disease or something from walking and sniffing his own urine, this often keeps me in check and makes me do it and if that doesn't the fact that I can smell it from the kitchen is the other way I remind myself to clean it. If I was a cat, I'd hate me, seriously.

  30. Yep, not alone. Embree likes to poop outside the box pretty regularly. It drives me crazy. I've tried everything. We got a giant box for her (it's actually an under-the-bed storage container). We added more boxes. We tried different litter. Tried plastic around the box on the floor to discourage her going. Nothing works, and the vet said it's not a sign of a health problem. It's just a behavioral thing. But it's frustrating and embarrassing (one time a meter reader stopped by and needed to go in the basement - I was so ashamed that there were some Embree piles we didn't have a chance to clean up yet). I probably shouldn't be sharing this stuff on the Internet, but it's a little reassuring to hear that others have these problems too!


Thanks so much for reading....your comments mean a lot to me!