What to Do When Your Cat Has an AccidentIf your cat has an “accident” on your carpet, it’s easy to panic. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to address the issue and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

1. Take Care of The Stain

Cat accidents can leave unsightly patches in your carpets. Here are a few tips to prevent the stain from becoming a permanent fixture if you’re lucky enough to catch it when it happens.

What to do:

  1. Act quickly. It’s best to act as soon as you notice the spot, instead of putting it off and letting the stain set. 
  2. If the stain is still wet, remove as much urine as possible using paper towels. Be sure to blot, not rub, as rubbing will only push the stain deeper.
  3. If the stain is dry, pour cold water on it and blot.
  4. Avoid using cleaners with ammonia. Cat urine contains ammonia, and the similar smells could encourage the cat to mark the same spot again.

2. Address The Odor

Even after you’ve removed all visual evidence of the stain, the odor may still linger. This is especially likely if the stain sat for a long time, allowing the urine crystals to sink deep into the carpet fibers. The longer it sits, the worse the odor becomes. Be careful what you do to address this issue. Over the counter and DIY solutions will only temporarily mask any odors or stains, but they work as a short-term fix until you can get it deep cleaned. Avoid using a steam cleaner on the area because steam can actually lock in the smell. Your best bet is a cleaner like Chem-Dry Four Seasons who has a specialty pet urine stain remover. 

3. Handle The Deeper Damage

Something else to consider as you’re removing the odor is whether the urine has soaked through to the padding and sub-floor. If you can still smell the odor after cleaning, this is likely the case. In this instance, you will definitely want a professional to handle the issue, because a surface cleaning will not reach these areas. A professional carpet cleaner should be able to lift up the carpet to examine and treat the damage underneath. 

4. Employ Preventative Measures

Once you have taken care of the stain and smell, you want to prevent this behavior from happening again.  There are a few steps you can take to make a repeat accident less likely. Be sure to address problems quickly so that they don’t become “normal” behavior.

  • If your cat is spraying, make it feel secure in its territory. Cats mark their territory when they feel threatened. 
  • Provide easy access to the litter box. Make sure it’s facing where the cat can see it easily. Be careful that the door isn’t ever shut to the room with the box, and that the cat isn’t ever shut someone without a litterbox. 
  • Make sure that the litter box meets the cat’s needs. Older cats and young kittens may have difficulty getting in and out of a box with high walls.
  • Clean the litter box often and consistently. A dirty litter box discourages a cat from using it. 

5. Investigate Repeat Behavior

If this kind of behavior continues after taking the steps above, it’s worth looking into. Often, failing to use the litter box is a sign of an underlying medical problem. If your cat is regularly having accidents, take him to see your vet. Take notes about any other changes you may have noticed recently and present this info to your vet as well.