strange pet bathroom behavior

Teenie has always had hang-ups about her litter box, from the time she was a kitten. Not so much with poop, but she’d occasionally pee on the floor next to her litter box rather than in it. It confused me for a long time until I figured out that if the litter box wasn’t deemed clean enough by Her Royal Highness, she’d find somewhere else to go. For many years, I scooped her litter box every day to make sure she wouldn’t have an accident. And she didn’t. And life was good.

Sometime last year, Dave and I got one of those automatic-scooping litter boxes for our bedroom. Yes, I realize that our bedroom isn’t exactly the ideal place for a litter box. But Teenie went through several months where she refused to leave our bedroom because she was scared of the other cats, and it seemed like a better solution than forcing her to go use the litter box downstairs in the laundry room, or letting her have an accident in our room (which is most likely the option she would have chosen). And now that Kris’s dog Lucky is living with us, both Teenie and Beaumont generally refuse to leave our bedroom. So having the litter box there has definitely been helpful, and it’s in a far corner where it isn’t totally obvious. They have food and water dishes in our room too, so they really don’t ever have to leave if they don’t want to.

(For the record, Cleo and Greta seem to prefer hiding from the dog in Dave’s office, for whatever reason. I guess they like the futon.)

For the past couple of weeks, though, Teenie seems to spend more and more time in our bathroom. That makes sense because the weather has been sunnier, and there’s a skylight in our bathroom, so she can loll about on the floor and bask in the sun, as cats are wont to do. No big deal, right?

Here’s what confuses me: Teenie has decided to start peeing in our bathtub. We have a separate shower stall and tub in our bathroom, so we don’t use the tub that often. I noticed a puddle there a couple of nights ago, and I knew it was cat pee because oh my god, that smell, there’s nothing else on earth it could possibly be. But I thought it could’ve been either her or Beaumont (since he tends to have litter box issues whenever there’s a change to his environment – i.e., when we paint a room – and I think having the dog in the house definitely qualifies as a source of stress for him), so I didn’t jump to conclusions about who it was.

Then this morning, Teenie was hanging out with me in the bathroom while I was putting on my make-up and curling my hair, like she does every morning. All of a sudden, she jumped into the tub, sniffed around for a minute, and peed. She stared at me the whole time, like “yeah, so?” I stared back because I was sort of stunned and didn’t know how to react. I realized after she finished that I was holding my curling iron in mid-air the whole time.

The thing is, since we don’t use the tub that often, it really isn’t that big a deal. It’s easy enough to rinse out the tub when she does it, and I always scrub it down before I use it because it’s so rare that it tends to get dusty between uses. It’s a hell of a lot easier to clean the tub than it is to clean cat pee out of the carpet, and it’s actually easier than cleaning the litter box. So I kind of want to be like, hey, good idea there, Teenie! Try it on the toilet next time and all I’ll have to do is flush! But I’m confused as to why on earth she’d suddenly start doing this now, when she’s almost 10 years old and has never done anything like it before. I’m not sure if any pet behaviorists read this site, but are there any ideas out there? I’m totally baffled.

4 thoughts on “strange pet bathroom behavior

  1. It’s good to hear about Teenie again. I had a cat who did that as a kitten. I would much rather have him pee into the tub than do it on the carpet. Today the backyard is his litter box and in his 12 years he has never had an accident.

  2. I have a cat that pees in the tub. When she was a little bitty thing, I tried to teach her to use the toilet, but she wasn’t into that.

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