Why I Started The Happy Litter Box

baby gate and cat
Can’t you just see the little stinker’s wheels turning?

Some days I just shake my head and laugh at the lengths my husband and I went to in order to accommodate our problem child, Romeo’s, pee habits.

Romeo would pee on anything soft on the floor – towels, rugs, visiting guest’s jeans (sorry, grandma!), you name it. Forget having wall-to-wall carpet. We learned our lesson in our last home when we had to replace the entire upstairs when we moved.

So, now our whole home is hardwood floors. And, there are no area rugs, save one that’s an indoor/outdoor rug that he never seemed interested in squatting on.

But we’re moving again soon and just carpeted the basement to make it more inviting to prospective buyers. It looks and feels awesome. I wish I could have enjoyed a nice, soft, carpet-y basement floor. But it was not to be. Not with “Pee Cat” living in my house.

Now we have to keep him out of the basement and off the carpet. I had a baby gate up, which deterred him for a couple of days. Until he jumped it. And peed on my new carpet.


First I threatened him with solitary confinement in the bathroom. Then, I devised a structure that I hope he won’t try to scale. What do you think? Will he do it?

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, please share. What crazy adjustments do you make to your life for your cat?


  1. I just discovered this site and I love this. I remembered when my cat Fasha have a peeing problem and I was tearing up my hair trying to find solution.

    Anyway, I tried everything, moving her litter box, changing the litter box to crystal, pine, clay everything. Scoop up the waste twice a day! Brought her to the vet, and everything is OK healthwise. My opinion was she did that to spite us. Or to see how we react. We try positive reinforcement (treats after she peed in the box), punishment (by putting her in the cage whenever I caught her in the act).

    I recognize if anything that looks remotely like a box, she’s going to pee in it at least once. So I placed the things in places she can’t reach or squat into. But that doesn’t deter her from peeing all over the floor. And not just in one spot! At the very least she never pees on the bed, couch or carpet. She likes the hard surface.

    So at the end, I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. I ignored her when I found her peeing. I did not correct her, I did not raise my voice, when I found her urine or found her in the act. I just let her finish, then proceed to clean it up thoroughly ( I got rather good at eliminating the smell too. I used to have bought Dettol monthly). After I did that ( which was doing absolutely nothing ), after several weeks I begin to see major changes. She never pee anywhere else except in the litterbox. Like I said, I suspected she did that to see how we react.

    She had just passed away last month. October 2011 in fact, I would gladly have that peeing problem again, if that means she is back sleeping on top of the tv. 🙂 This just shows you, even the most problematic cat, can leave a big hole in your heart when they’re gone.

    Sorry this is a long comment. Sometimes I miss her.

  2. I’m happy to report that with the 4 cats we’ve had in 50 years, none have been a litter box problem unless they had a UTI. My daughter’s 2 cats sometimes come here to stay for a week or two – then we put up a total of 3 litter boxes. Still no problem. It’s interesting as to why Romeo wants to pee on carpeting. It’s so funny actually, but has to be very frustrating for you.

  3. I would say that my aluminum foil-covered couches are definitely the craziest adjustment (excuse me, washable pee pad and then aluminum foil-covered couches AND a futon LOL). The foil is nuts, but is the only thing that works (plus, it’s a great conversation starter with repairmen who think you are insane). That and an increasing number of litter boxes scattered throughout the house (and yes, now in the living room alongside said couches).

    I agree that a support group is needed!

  4. my cat dexter is an opportunistic pee-er, and if he comes across anything he can rummage/dig into (paper recycling boxes , duffel bags, pile of clothes on a table) he will have no qualms about peeing in it! and sometimes in the bathtub, to the dismay of my roomie. so we need to be very mindful of where we leave open purses or laundry bags, and close closet doors to make sure he doesn’t get inside. super annoying habit but we love him

  5. I’ve got one who pees at the back door because I didn’t open it soon enough in the morning to the screen porch or (as we live in Northern Illinois) it’s getting too cold to have it open. I’ve put down a sheet of tin foil hoping that will keep her from it – of course – everyone needs to know why there’s a sheet of tin foil on the floor. AND – why can’t they keep their darned tushies inside the litter boxes. I may have to bring in my granddaughter’s little pool and keep the boxes in it. I keep meaning to search the hardware stores looking for some kind of plastic box big enough and low enough for 3 litter boxes.

  6. I have 4 cats, 2 are 2 yrs. old, and the other 2 are about 7-8 yrs. old. All females, all fixed and indoor cats. They are each so different, and I talk to them all the time! I feed them only good quality wet/dry food, change their water 2 times a day, and clean their litterboxes (2) at least twice daily. 3 of the sleep on my bed, so there is no getting up quickly during the night for me to use the bathroom! I need to wake them up, they sleep very soundly and then move them over so I can get up! I love my cats and I think they are happy here!!!

    • Oh….did I mention, my 7 year old cat, Grace, likes to pee in my bathroom sink. Convenient for her and I! Lucy, the 8 year old, who was here first, sometimes pees on the floor in my pantry, I think just to show she is the Queen!!! I doesn’t happen often enough to be a bad habit, but too often considering she knows where to go all the other times. I recently sent away for some Feliway Diffusers and hope that works, since, Olivia, my youngest cat likes to stalk Lucy and get her all nerved up. Lucy would like to be an “only cat” in my household.

  7. I have a “Pee Cat” too!! He does not care what it is on the floor, as long as it’s soft, a towel, my boyfriend’s clothes, anything left will get it! I don’t understand it at all!

  8. Merrell, don’t feel bad..i too have a litter box in the living room… My youngest kitten just wouldnt go in the litter box in the computer room, and chose a corner of the living room…In a “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” moment,I put the litterbox where he was going…Problem solved..For him..Explaining to people why there’s a litter box in the living room…Not so much.

  9. Sweet Eli…. After much trial and error I discovered Eli had separation issues. His urine marking would occur while we were out of the house or at night while we were asleep. We ruled out all the usual…urinary infections etc. The problem solver: Use the litter he prefers (The World’s Best Litter) and keep him in a kennel at night.

  10. Oh, those big cats that can’t or won’t hit the litter box pan. I used to keep the litter pans in a kids swimming pool in the basement-wonderful idea! The dogs couldn’t visit it, clean it for me any longer. Then Jazz decided his favorite place was to sleep on the landing-his new game-attack Sammy any time she wanted to go potty! Then pans in a spare bathtub-easy clean ups, until Jazz decided his new bed would be the vanity! So, as much as I hate to say this, the kids pool and all of the pans are in my living room yeck-just 2 steps away from the front windows and the couch. At least now Sammy doesn’t get killed (about once a week) we still have a cat fight. Of course, this would be the only room that does not have hardwood floors, and all of the carpet will need to be torn up when I move (maybe I’ll stay here until I die) and leave it to my daughter! Love you R+P

  11. Oh gosh, there are too many stories to share! I currently have one cat that likes to show us and the others who the man of the house is. He also is attracted to soft things, laundry piles, rugs and plastic bags. Once those are gone he resorts to the same corners in the dining room and in our bathroom. First I tried feliway plugins, then bought puppy pee pads which shred too easily, then used old rugs, then I cut up a vinyl mattress pad protector and put those under the rugs, gave him a big box in our bathroom, and now currently I put down carpet samples I get from work. It’s a battle I don’t think we’ll ever win-esp while we can’t afford new flooring (which also I wonder what flooring is pee proof). So we use the carpet cleaner vaccuum about once a month and apologize in advance to our guests.

  12. When Wallingford decided that he could ONLY pee on soft things – I ended up putting smaller and smaller pieces of rags in his litter box along with the litter. Looking down one day, I realized that I had been using pieces of my ex’s boxer shorts to encourage Wallingford to pee on. Hmmmmm – wonder if that was one of those Freudian slips psychologists talk about.

    Turns out that he wants his personal litter box in the bathroom so we can potty together. LOL!

    I too, have hardwood floor with plastic outdoor area rugs. Good thing that they come in nice colors and patterns.

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