Litter Box Issues: Q&A with Laurie & Scrubby the Pee Cat

An important thing to remember when you are dealing with litter box issues is that you are not alone. There are lots of people who feel your pain.

Litter Box Issues
Scrubby Ruettimann: Pee Cat. But oh so cute!

My friend Laurie and her husband Ken are some of them. Laurie and I “met” via social media, bonded over our shared crazy love for our cats and became soul sistahs when we realized we both had cats that pee. Laurie dubbed the term, “Pee Cat,” for her boy Scrubby and I think it works.

Q: How old is Scrubby?
A: He was born around June 1, 2006.  It’s a national holiday around here. We rescued him in August 2006 from a house with nearly 100 cats.

Q: Has he always been a pee cat?
A: We would say no. He did start peeing at a relatively young age. We noticed pee in cardboard boxes. Of course we blamed our other cats.

Q: Have you discovered any rhyme or reason to his peeing?
A: Scrubby has an older kitty-step-brother, Jake, who seems to trigger Scrubby’s alpha-male syndrome. Scrubby likes to pee on anything that makes Jake happy. This is funny because both Jake and Scrubby are neutered… and Jake is a wuss. There’s no competition but Scrubby doesn’t seem to get it.

Q: What measures have you taken to prevent him from peeing?
A: We’ve done Feliway Plug-In Diffusers, Dr. Elsey’sCat Attract litter, and medication including Prozac, Zoloft, Clomacalm, and Valium.

Q: What is your current litter box set up? (How many and where)
A: We now have six litter boxes for our five cats. Four are in a square in the basement. We use Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract litter. It’s expensive but the cats like it. Then we have two large, under-the-bed, plastic “sweater storage boxes” (without the lid) that are in the very back of the basement next to one another. We use Everclean litter in those two large boxes based on our vet’s recommendation.

Q: What is your current philosophy on Scrubby’s pee issues?
We think his brain is broken. Scrubby is a great cat but he’s just so dumb. We take Scrub to see an animal behaviorist at NC State and she thinks that Scrubby’s pee issues aren’t that bad — especially because we have five cats in the house. The more cats you have, the more likely that one will pee from time-to-time. She believes we’re dealing with a territorial issue. We limit the triggers (Jake’s bedding), spray Feliway on the places where Jake likes to sleep, and we always make sure there’s no pee residue in the house.

Q: Is there anything you think HLB readers should know that might help them if they have a pee cat?
A: It’s important to understand the core trigger behind the peeing and confirm which cat is peeing. We set up a motion-activated webcam and actually saw Scrubby pee on Jake’s bed. This helped us with his treatment plan.

They say you can have nice things or you can have kids and animals. We have nice things, but we pick Scrubby over our things. We’ll continue to work with him and love him regardless.

My favorite part of this Q&A (besides the loving him regardless comment) is the motion-activated webcam.  That is a great idea for those of you trying to pinpoint the when and where of your cat’s indiscretions.

Thanks to Laurie and Ken for sharing their Pee Cat Wisdom.

Readers, questions or comments?

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story — it makes us all feel like we’re not alone. I could have written this myself, right down to the extra litter boxes, medications, and behaviorist, except substitute a declawed tortie female living with two clawed cats (one male, one female), and peeing on rugs & carpets rather than beds. We have now removed all the throw rugs in our house…and spend a fortune on enzyme cleaner. Like your cat, I’m positive it’s a territory thing. But we love her dearly, and she knows that, and works it! 🙂 Good luck with the behaviorist.

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