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Understanding animals through their behaviour

HOW TO CLEAN UP CAT PEE OR POO

If you don’t clean it up thoroughly, the cat is likely to go again in the same spot. Clean up when your cat is not in the room. It may otherwise think its marks gets your attention! Consider redecorating after cleaning up if the spraying has been going on for a long time.

Never use bleaches or disinfectants. They smell like urine to a cat, so does anything pine, rose or lemon scented.

Use warm water with ten per cent solution of biological liquid or powder (called enzymatic detergent like Tide or Wisk in the USA).  Then rinse the area thoroughly in cold water and let it dry or dry it with a hair dryer if time presses.

Next spray or apply some other way surgical spirit (called rubbing alcohol in the US). Patch-test cleaning on a small area in case it removes dyes from carpets or polish from furniture. Use a nail brush to get this into fabric and crevices. This gets rid of the fatty residues that prompt a cat to top up his own marks. Dry this off completely. Do not let the cat in the room while using surgical spirit as they usually dislike the smell of it and may therefore spray on it, undoing your hard work!

Mark each cleaned site with something – a little paper spot bought from stationers perhaps. Just so you know what you’ve done and what you haven’t. If the cat has been spraying a long time, some people clean room by room: others set aside a morning and do the lot in one go.

DIFFICULT AREAS
The edge where the skirting board meets a laminating flooring will have a pool of spray urine if the site has been used repeatedly. Use a silicon sealant between the two. Then cover with heavy varnish of the sort used to varnish boats to make a barrier between the sprayed urine pool area and the outside world.

The intersection between tiles. This too collects a pool. Clean the tiles then put the heavy boat varnish in the intersection or even over all the tile surface as well.

Cement floor. Wash and clean with a biological cleaner first and let dry out for two to three weeks. If the urine marking has gone on for ages, paint concrete floor with heavy paint as a sealant. Whether painting or not, put a sheet of heavy duty polythene (the sort builders mix concrete on) under the carpet underlay before putting on clean carpet.

Wooden plank floor. The urine pool will have been created between the planks. Lift carpet, clean boards and remove any rotten wood. Leave to dry two to three weeks. Use heavy paint as a sealant. Wait for two or three months to make marking is over. Cover the planks with a polythene sheet as a barrier before putting down new carpet. If worried, put an additional sheet of polythene between the carpet and the underlay so if the worst happens, the underlay isn’t ruined and it will be easier to clean up.

Carpet cleaning. If carpet has been used for urine for a long time, consider replacing with new rather than just shampooing etc.

AFTER CLEANING
What you do depends on why your cat has been urinating in the house. If your cat has been merely going outside the box or tray, then very thorough cleaning should be adequate. Make sure you make changes around the litter box or tray. Make sure anyway that you have the right litter arrangements to reduce stress.

If your cat has been marking its territory, then the aim is to change the smell of the sprayed areas either with the cat’s own scent from its chin or by using Feliway® Do not use Feliway® spray directly on the cleaned site for 24 hours (because the cleaning methods will make the Feliway® useless). To stop the cat re-using the site during this 24 hours, either shut the cat out of the area or cover the cleaned spray site with cling film and then spray on the cling film. 24 hours later remove cling film and spray Feliway directly on the area.

To use the cat’s own scent, take a plain white piece of cloth and gently stroke this under his chin or against his cheek.  If he is a nervous cat and dislikes this, then hang the cloth where you cat will rub on it. Careful observation will show regular rubbing places. Wait till he has rubbed on it about three times. Then hang the cloth in the place where the cat sprayed. Do this daily (or twice daily for severe cases) for about a month. You may need to use lots of little cloths one after the other, rotating them daily. If you can’t tell where you cat rubs, use Feliway® spray.

Install a Feliway® Diffuser (a plug in)  for added effectiveness in the room where the cat sprayed. A diffuser on its own is not as effective as daily use of the Feliway spray. Warning – if your cat has merely been urinating because she doesn’t like your litter tray arrangements, a diffuser might make her more rather than less likely to urinate in the same area.

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Pot of biscuits covered with old tights

Change the scent of the pee site by adding the smell of food. Either put down cat biscuits or add a jar of biscuits covered by an old pair of tights so that the smell can waft through.

OTHER FABRICS
Send curtains etc to dry cleaners. Wash duvet covers and bed linen. With moveable mats and small carpets get these cleaned somehow if you can. Throw away if you cannot clean. Before putting these back use the white cloth or Feliway® on the previously soiled area. Do not try to save money on cleaning because in the long run the more thorough you are, the cheaper it all will be. A spraying/pooing cat can cause a lot of grief and nothing is too much to stop it early on.

There is a US website www.PlanetUrine.com that specialises in cleaning agents to stop smell. They will ship to the UK.

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