Pottied Plants: Why It Happens & What To Do

By Seth Mueller

It can be quite frustrating for cat parents when their kitt-o turns a potted plant into a well-decorated litter box. While this behavior can be perplexing, there are potential reasons behind it, as well as steps you can take to discourage it. 

Here are possible explanations for why your cat might be making your begonia their bathroom.

Your cat might soil your plant if unsatisfied with their litter box.

Why They Do It

Instinctual Marking
Cats are territorial, and they use urine to mark their territory. When they pee in a potted plant, they may be claiming that space as their own. 

Litter Box Issues
Cats sometimes resort to using potted plants when they have issues with their litter box. This could be due to cleanliness concerns, discomfort while using the box, or even a medical issue. If your cat’s behavior has changed suddenly, rule out any health problems first by consulting your veterinarian.

Stress and Anxiety
Your cat may go in potted plants when they are uncomfortable or anxious. Stress triggers can include environmental changes, the presence of other animals, or changes in their routine. If you suspect stress is a factor, consider what the underlying cause may be. Providing a calm and enriching environment with toys, scratching posts, and perches can go a long way in resolving wayward urination.

So, what can you do to address this issue?

A clean and accessible litter box is best!

Possible Solutions

Provide Adequate Litter Boxes
Ensure you have enough clean and accessible litter boxes around your home. The general rule is one litter box per cat plus one extra. Make sure they are in quiet areas, yet still easy for your feline friend to reach. For instance, if your house has multiple levels, it’s a good idea to have at least one box on each floor.

Choose the Right Type of Litter
Cats can be picky about their litter. Experiment with different types (clumping, non-clumping, scented, or unscented) to find the one your cat likes best.

Regularly Clean the Litter Box
Cats prefer a hygienic litter box. Scoop waste at least daily, but preferably any time the cat uses it. Make sure to change out the litter regularly. Wash the box with mild soap to remove any residual odor.

Use Deterrents
Place obstacles like aluminum foil or plastic mats in the potted plant to discourage your cat from using it as a restroom. You can also consider pet-friendly deterrent sprays.

Try these strategies and your cat—and plants—will thank you!

Final Thoughts

It’s challenging when a cat “misses the mark,” but it’s essential to understand the reasons behind this behavior. By addressing potential causes and implementing the right solutions, you can create a more harmonious living environment for both you and your feline friend.

Remember: patience and consistency are key when modifying cat behavior, and always consult with a veterinarian for any health concerns or sudden behavioral changes.

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