Bengal Cat Litter Problems
Bengal Cats and Domestic Cats may have problems using the litter box. I have owned two domestic cats and one Bengal Cat. The domestic cats used their litter box faithfully and I can honestly say there was never an accident in the 25 years I owned two domestic cats. My Bengal Cat Lucy presented a challenge regarding proper use of the litter box.
Naturally I researched inappropriate elimination and found an abundance of tips and advice to resolve the litter box problem. My first stop was the vet to rule out a urinary tract infection. My Bengal Cat Lucy is healthy and has no medical problems. That was a relief. Moving onward to resolve the problem I sought the advice of three veterinarians, breeders, read books, scoured the Internet, asked other cat owners, spoke to pet store owners and in my quest for a resolution I left no stone unturned.
Cat Repellent Spray
I purchased a spray which was to dissuade the Bengal Cat from going on furniture. The spray made me cough and gag. The spray had no effect on the cat as a matter of fact I think she sort of found it pleasing and made certain to jump on everything sprayed. I coughed so much and found the smell very offensive and threw the product in the garbage.
UPDATE: Nature's Miracle is working well however the smell is very strong and after spraying the areas where urination occurred I am compelled to close the door and leave the window open for a few days.
Kitty Litter Brands and Second Kitty Litter Box Implementation
I made certain the kitty litter was cleaned two to three times daily and implemented another box as I was advised that two litter boxes can resolve the issue. That did not work. I read about a product called Cat Attract. I purchased the Cat Attract and had a small degree of success with the product however within a few weeks my Bengal Cat was once again using furniture for urination. My Bengal Cat was urinating on the sofa so I purchased a steam cleaner and cleaned the couch three times as I was adamant that I was going to rid myself of the problem. Within hours she was peeing on the couch again.
Scat Mats, Chair Mats
I was also informed that you can purchase zap mats which send a shock to your Bengal Cat but I could not bring myself to incorporate a system that would hurt Lucy and I wanted to exhaust every avenue in an effort to resolve this urination outside the litter box. Also I was told to purchase the chair mats from an office supply store and cut them to size and turn the little nibs upright on the couch. Again I did not apply this method as her feet are very tender and sensitive so I could not institute a mat that may cut her little feet. Further I read a couple of articles which stated the Bengal was at first cautious of the little nibs but eventually used the nibs to scratch their backs and then peed on the office mat. The result was urine on the mat, the couch and rolling down onto the floor.
Another suggestion was to block the entrance to the room thereby eliminating the urination outside the litter box problem. I built a cat cage myself to fit a doorway leading into the living and dining area which naturally corrected the urination problem however I was somewhat limited to entering the room as Lucy always wanted to shadow me and every time I allowed her access to the room she would head straight to the couch. Our time was cut short by her behavior and I closed the room off again.
Much to my surprise my Bengal Cat decided to pee on another sofa that does not have a door leading into the room and I was frazzled. Again I tried changing kitty litter brands to no avail.
I tried various methods of cleaning the couches and the result was unchanged. I purchased different types of cleaners and even bought a steam cleaner to get as deep as possible into the cushions. I was advised the density of cushions is such that you can never get the smell totally out at least not for the Bengal Cat. Their sense of smell is 1,000 times greater than humans. Also I was advised that many people buy new sofas until they can rid the Bengal Cat of urinating on the cushions.
Confinement is the next step however when you branch out and allow the cat to revisit areas where they urinated in the past the net result is back to square one. Bengal Cats like to urinate on plastic bags, cushions, gym bags and areas where your scent is not readily available. In my case the areas chosen were a spare bedroom and two couches that are rarely used. The areas I use are not targets for elimination but the rooms that are used occasionally can present a real problem.
I was informed about a product called Feliway plugins. Although I was ready to purchase and spend hundreds of dollars I was informed by a veterinarian and a pet store owner that the product had less than a fifty percent chance of working and due to the lack of success many customers wished to return the product. I was told in advance that the product could not be returned and due to poor reviews I read online decided to shy away from this product.
Offensive Odors for Cats
Also I was informed that cats Bengal and domestic hate the smell of oranges and lemons. I thought this may have merit and when I was peeling an orange and the juice and skin was on my hand I bent over to give Lucy a smell. She loved it and wanted to lick my hand. You see it is so difficult to determine which cat will shy away from odors such as oranges because my Bengal Cat thought the orange was wonderful.
Next I was told it could be stress. Perhaps when the Bengal Cat is at the window she is getting annoyed at squirrels, birds, bugs, etc and this could bring about urination outside the litter box. I was told to eliminate the windows with activity with either blinds or blocking the entrance to the room. Again this was an exercise in futility.
In my home there are no other pets, no children and we spend loads of time with the Bengal Cat. She is the focal point of my life and appears to enjoy our company and her home. She does not have another family pet to compete with and gets loads of exercise, daily walks when weather permits, spends hours in the back garden yet the problem persisted.
Let me clarify that this problem is intermittent. Lucy will use the litter box regularly and then all of a sudden for no apparent reason she chooses a couch, cushion, or bed for urination.
After blocking off my living and dining area I realized that another room would need a cat cage and soon my entire home would be off limits to my cat Lucy. What was I to do? You feel so helpless and cannot understand the reasoning for this bizarre behavior. I read an article about hybrids and the fact they are bred with a wild cat means you cannot determine which trait they will inherit. I also read that in some instances it is impossible to train a Bengal Cat to continually use the litter box and sadly the result is they are sent to the rescue, humane society or put down.
Cat Trees, Toys, Climbing
Bengal Cats are very intelligent and they do have certain traits which are quite different from domestic cats. For example they need to climb. I mean they must climb all the time and when they are in a tree or on a thin ledge their balance is astounding. They really are the masters of agility and I also read that a large cat tree, lots of toys, attention and affection can dissuade the Bengal Cat from urinating outside the litter box. Again my Bengal Cat has all these luxuries yet the problem persists.
Brand New Litter Box and Avoid Plastic
I was advised that purchasing a new litter box could assist and I raced out to get a brand new box. Lucy used her claws and cracked the box in one day. I reinstated the old litter boxes and she seemed happy and used them for a couple of weeks and then she decided to urinate on a green garbage bag that I had just filled and set at the front door. She hopped up on the garbage and peed all over the bag. I picked her up and raced her to the kitty litter but every time she sees a green garbage bag she gets very excited. I was informed the scent on the green garbage bag is very attractive to some cats and they would actually prefer peeing on plastic opposed to their litter box. I was stunned to learn this information but luckily it is easy to keep plastic away from Bengal Cats. Another item the Bengal Cat likes for urination is fresh towels fluffed and folded out of the dryer. This happened once and now I fluff and fold and put away pronto.
UPDATE: I want to share events that occurred with Lucy over the past few days which may be of assistance. For some unknown reason she decided to pee in her bedroom on the bed. Her cat bed is about a foot from where she peed and I was stunned because she has been sleeping on that bed for over two years and all of a sudden she decided to use it as a litter box. I stripped the bed but luckily I had that stay dry liner to protect the mattress and tried to ingratiate her back into the room but within an hour she peed on the bed again. It can be so frustrating and you have to ask yourself why? Why on earth would she pee in her own bed? I closed the door and bought a product called Natures Miracle. I sprayed the entire bed and surrounding area and apparently you must allow the product to dry before allowing the Bengal Cat back into the room.
I was thinking about litter boxes as the vet mentioned the bigger the box the better especially for my Bengal Cat because she is very tall and long. Perhaps a rectangular litter box opposed to a square box would meet her requirements. The pet stores did not carry anything suitable and I was thinking about storage boxes but for the most part the sides are too high and the bottoms are not completely flat. Today I decided to look into this litter box again and much to my surprise I found one at PetSmart. It is called Whisker City Jumbo Two Compartment Litter Pan and it is huge measuring 34" x 19" x 10", here is a picture of the box:
The reason for this update is due to the fact that Lucy has not been using the litter box regularly for two days. I brought this jumbo litter box home and put the litter in the box and she thinks it is a toy and sits in it, hides in it, pees in it, poops in it and absolutely loves the jumbo litter box. This is the first positive breakthrough in a few days. She has been inspecting and using the litter box since implementation and finally she is using it like clockwork. This litter box is designed for homes where there are multiple cats or really large cats that miss the outside of the box and in some instances designed for cats that do not use their litter box. She actually did a huge leap in the air and looked like a bird flying into the box. I have never seen her so excited about any product or toy but this litter box surely has caught her attention and she has been using the litter box faithfully.
A month has passed and Lucy is still fascinated with this Jumbo Litter Box. She is back in her bedroom and sleeping on the bed without peeing on the bed. The litter box is back in her bedroom and she is still fascinated with dive bombing the box, rolling in the box and thankfully using the litter box faithfully. Another interesting note regarding the litter box pertains to smell. This litter box always smells fresh and is exceptionally easy to scoop. I keep the level of litter approximately two inches and clean every morning and evening. I have a keen sense of smell and noticed that other litter boxes sometimes have a slight odor. I am referring to a very slight odor that other people could not smell but I certainly was not thrilled with the scent. This litter box always smells good and I don't know if I attribute the freshness to the construction of the box or the size of the litter box. Also Lucy enjoys using each end of the litter box plus the center of the litter box. Perhaps the ability to use areas that are completely fresh and odor free have created a better atmosphere and Lucy has used it religiously for over a month. Another worthwhile note is that my Bengal Cat is very tall and very long and I guess as time elapses they outgrow their litter box.
Food on Couches
As I cannot give up on Lucy I kept researching the problem with urinating outside the litter box. This solution is going to sound a bit strange but it worked flawlessly for a few months. Remember I mentioned the couch in the living area that was steam cleaned three times yet she peed on it again. I blocked off the room. I tried the new idea and opened the room, the Bengal Cat Lucy was content and the Bengal Cat was using her litter box for urination.
I placed bowls of food on the couch. Yes that is right bowls of dry food on the couch in the living area, bowls of dry food on the couch where the room does not have a door and it worked perfectly for a few months. I read that cats, domestic, hybrid, wild, big and small will never eliminate where they eat. You must fill the bowls daily and I read that after a few weeks you can remove the bowls and the cat will not urinate in the area. I placed a bowl on each cushion. In my living area there are three cushions so I placed three bowls of dry food in the center of each cushion. This was overkill but I was ready to try any idea as cats that pee outside the litter box create such a terrible odor and the work involved to clean couches or beds is inordinate.
Lucy was more than happy to hop up on the couch and eat from all three bowls. Every morning and evening I checked the couches to pick up any pieces of food she had removed from the dish. I kept the area meticulously clean and every morning she followed me when I poured new food in each dish. It was our routine and Lucy was very happy to move about from room to room and watch the new food filling up her dish. I was consistent and incorporated the Bengal Cat into the new program of eating her dry food on the couch.
I have an update regarding the food bowls placed on couches. Lucy was more than happy to eat from the bowls and urinate in her litter box for approximately three months. I noticed the food on the couch in the office was not being eaten. The food on the couch in the living area and the food downstairs were utilized and within two days of not eating on the couch in the office Lucy urinated on the couch again. Although the food was fresh she decided there was enough food in other areas of the house and ceased to eat from the office couch.
Steam Cleaning with Pet Products
Of course I needed to resolve the issue as after cleaning the couch she urinated on the couch again. I cleaned the couch myself with a great steam cleaner and used the products available for pets to remove odor, stains, etc. I spent almost five hours cleaning the couch yet she obviously still smelt the urine and returned to the couch to pee on it again.
I struggled with solutions and even thought of getting rid of the beautiful antique couch. I was worried about the other antique couch as I knew in time she would stop eating from that couch as well due to the fact that her food is located in more than one area.
Are there medications for cats such as Prozac to stop urination outside the litter box?
Yes there are several medications available on the market to administer to your pet however this is a band-aid solution. While the Bengal Cat is on Prozac (Reconcile) the side effects include excessive sleeping and in general the Bengal Cat is lethargic. I have been advised that the medication will work for your Bengal Cat however the moment you stop administering the medication the problem resurrects itself and the owner is really no farther ahead because you have not eliminated the true problem. The medication is not as effective as determining the reason why your Bengal Cat is urinating outside the litter box.
Pet Safe Scat Mat
This may sound really cruel but I bought the Petsafe Pawz Away zap mat at Pet Smart. I placed the mat on the couch after steam cleaning once again and Lucy was zapped and flew off the couch. It broke my heart and I almost cried because I felt so mean. I did read hundreds of reviews before purchasing the mat and everyone agreed it was humane, successful, recommended by vets and not cruel rather an effective solution.
After the initial jolt from the mat Lucy has not returned to the couch although she always looks at the couch to determine whether or not the mat is still in place. She still uses the room to look out the window, use a litter box, play with toys and regularly scratches on a small post which is located in the room. Her large tree and other post are in other rooms. I was somewhat concerned that she would not like the room due to the mat however she has adjusted perfectly after one rather unpleasant experience.
Lucy has further investigated the couch area by walking on the perimeter as the mat is placed in the center of the couch and is only one foot wide. She has managed to move the mat slightly toward the front of the couch but not enough to urinate on the couch comfortably.
I really had to wrestle with the idea of a scat mat but in the final analysis what can one do when every alternative has been exhausted? Obviously the mat was not a first choice and I really tried every avenue to dissuade Lucy from urinating on the sofa. I spent a lot of money, time and effort to correct the urination outside the litter box to no avail.
You Love Your Pet and I Love Lucy
Lucy is really a member of my family. She is like a person to me and I am as attached to her as she is to me. She is the focal point of our lives and gets loads of attention. She is very happy, healthy and simply a joy to be around. The mat freaked me out when I first read about the jolt it gives your dog or cat. I could not bear the thought of purchasing this item. Finally I was at the end of my rope and would never consider getting rid of Lucy, she will always be my little girl but this peeing on furniture was totally unacceptable.
So if you are struggling with the purchase of the mat don't think twice about buying the item for your home. At least the Bengal Cat will learn after one jolt on the mat to stay clear of walking on the couch. As mentioned earlier she has tried moving the mat but I heard her in the room and upon investigating she was fine and did not get zapped a second time rather she was trying to figure an angle to rid herself of the mat so she could urinate on the sofa.
I purchased two mats for the couches she decided to urinate on. She is now using the litter box every single day with no mistakes. The first time the mat is placed on the couch you will feel horrid but after you realize that the problem is corrected it will give you such peace of mind and keep the Bengal Cat regularly using the litter box without urinating in unwanted areas.
Cat Bed, Toys, Attention Solved Peeing on Bed
In the spare bedroom I tried another avenue which worked flawlessly for my Bengal Cat. After the bed was stripped and thoroughly cleaned I purchased a new cat bed and placed several of her toys in and around the cat bed. At first she just sniffed the toys and didn't seem too interested in the cat bed. After a few days she was curled up sleeping in the cat bed with the toys. The toys already had her scent on them which is the reason I tried to promote a new bed, plush scented toys and an area where she could rest comfortably and play at her leisure. I was in the room each morning and evening with her and played with her toys, continually dropped them in the cat bed and praised her for jumping in and out of the cat bed.
That spare bedroom is now called Lucy's bedroom and the success rate with the toys and cat bed has been ongoing for almost a year. Unfortunately this system was not successful for the couches as she continued to urinate on the sofa. My best guess is the cushions are so dense I could never totally remove the odor from her keen sense of smell. I was informed that a cat has a sense of smell which is 1000 times greater than humans. Although we cannot smell any urine in the couch the cat can detect the odor from urinating and it does not matter what product is used to eliminate the urine. My couch is stain free, smells terrific and I spent loads of money purchasing all the right products to no avail.
Rule Out Medical and Health Related Concerns First
In summation I suggest a trip to the vet to rule out any medical issues. After you get a clean bill of health then you may begin the cycle of never ending solutions to stop this unacceptable behavior. Perhaps the extra litter box will work for your cat maybe the Cat Attract will be successful or even the sprays and plugins. My Bengal Cat responded perfectly with the bowls of food for a few months but unfortunately the implementation of this system was not long lasting.
Attention, Activity, Chasing and Playing as Bengal Cats are Super Active
As Bengal Cats are active they have a tendency to inform you when they want to play. I always stop my activity and give her my undivided attention. She loves being chased around the house so each evening before bed I chase her from room to room. They say a tired cat is a good cat and I whole heartedly subscribe to this theory.