Last week we returned a set of sofa cushions to a customer very clean and smelling fresh. She had called us because her cat had peed pretty extensively on the cushions on her living room couch. Selfishly, we really love pets and their accidents because it usually means a return customer and a regular customer to boot!! so naturally, we were thrilled and invited her to bring them right in.

in this particular case, this customer was using us for the first time and a few days after she got her cushions back her pet revisited them again.  She called us back pretty upset, quoting our guarantee and triggering me to write this blog post about what causes cats to revisit a spot they have previously urinated.

Urine is extremely difficult to remove from upholstery – or really from any fabric that you can’t throw into your washing machine!

If you really don’t feel like reading to the end of this article, the short answer is no – removing urine and odor do not prevent a cat from peeing in the same spot. I do, however, recommend reading through the whole article here so that you understand why and are more prepared when you spend a lot of money to clean an item that your pet has just soiled.

We remove a lot of urine from upholstery and area rugs in our facility (and the odor causing bacteria that feasts upon it.) We are so confident in our process that in most cases (including the one above) we will guarantee complete removal – total decontamination… but not all cases are the same.

Sometimes it feels like a cat pee mantra because we repeat it so often.

“Urine (cat urine especially) has a very low surface tension, and so it wicks very quickly through the fabric and beneath it into the cushioning.” 

In some cases, we simply cannot get to all of the urine in order to remove it however, when we can (as above,) we still need to advise our clients that complete removal of the substance, the odor, and all of the bacteria is not going to guarantee that your pet will not revisit that spot.

So how do we guarantee that your pet will not pee in the same spot again?  Well unfortunately – we can’t – that is up to you. The initial cause of your animal peeing in that spot is the very same reason that it may visit it again.

Cats are notorious for being emotionally motivated to pee in the wrong spot. It is true that cats are vindictive! I have a cat and a two-story home. My husband insists on keeping the door to the upstairs locked at night. In our household, at night, animals belong downstairs and people belong upstairs. However, the cat has decided that she will go wherever she wants, whenever she wants, and anyone who puts an obstacle in her way will be punished. This is also motivated by the fact that when she is upstairs, she gets undivided attention, and when she is downstairs she is competing with a very large dog. This is not uncommon situation.

Below are the top five reasons that cats urinate outside of their litter box.

  1. The litter box is not clean or fresh enough.
  2. The cat likes the feel of a different surface
  3. The cat is angry at you
  4. The cat is stressed
  5. The cat is not getting enough attention.

Notice that the top five reasons do not include “the cat smells its own pee… “

Households with multiple cats may have some kind of a power struggle going on so that reason is on a longer list, but ultimately there was a reason that the cat peed on your furniture in the first place. That original reason is not “there was pee on it before” so it is likely that the cat will revisit that spot for the same exact reason it visited that spot in the first place – the solution is to get to the root of the issue.

So, before you run and yell at your cleaner because your pet peed on your favorite rug or best sofa right after you had it cleaned, remember that we are there to remove the symptom, but we are not as adequately equipped to solve the problem!  The pet psychology portion of it, is up to you.

Happy Cleaning!