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One thing I DON’T adore about Duncan

I really hesitate to tell you this, because I know you all love Duncan and I want you to keep on loving him and if anything could make you stop loving him, this would be it.

Last night, after I sang Duncan’s praises on this very blog, with the list of ten (okay, eleven) things I adore about Duncan…I went to bed only to discover that Duncan had peed on my bed.


I was shocked and appalled, but the irony was not lost on me that he did this the very same day I blogged so lovingly of his wonderfulness and perfection. You’ve gotta hand it to him, he’s got a wicked sense of timing.

I immediately got out of the wet smelly bed and started doing laundry and consulting the internets for cat psychology and laundry tips. The sheets, duvet cover and mattress cover have all been washed, but the down duvet? At this moment it is out hanging on the clothesline while its fate hangs in the balance.

I made the bed with clean sheets and no duvet. Duncan cheerfully joined me in bed for some of our trademark snuggling while I lay there wondering what the hell he was thinking.

Here are some of the contextualizing facts which might have something to do with this bizarre turn of events.

1. Duncan had no litter box issues before last week.

2. For the first time since Duncan moved in, there was someone besides him and me in our bed last week. (For now, let’s just call him the Gentleman Caller, or GC.)

3. GC asked me one morning last week “Is it possible Duncan peed on my clothes during the night?” I replied, “No, it’s impossible, Duncan would never do something like that.” He then held out his soaking wet, cat-pee-scented clothing and I was appropriately horrified and forced to concede that maybe it was possible that Duncan might have had something to do with it.

4. There were no further incidents until he peed on my bed yesterday, which was three days after we last saw GC.

Some additional context:

1. Duncan seems to like GC.

2. GC brought his dog over for a brief visit a day or two before the clothes-peeing incident. Duncan hid from the dog and did not unhide until several hours after the dog left.

Some theories:

1. Duncan is jealous of GC and has a passive-aggressive streak.
2. Duncan likes GC but doesn’t want him in our bed.
3. Duncan misses GC because he hasn’t been around for a few days.
4. Duncan is stressed because there was a dog in his house.
5. There’s something physiologically wrong with Duncan.
6. Something else entirely.

I’ve made an appointment with the vet for 4:00 this afternoon, just to rule out physiological causes, but I’m pretty sure it’s psychological. Duncan’s got issues.

I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime please share your theories, ideas and suggestions. Especially if you’ve ever had any luck getting a Cat with Issues to STOP peeing on your bed.


Duncan, cat

21 comments to One thing I DON’T adore about Duncan

  • Jen

    You can wash a down duvet! In fact, the down manufacturer’s association recommends washing down duvets in a regular washing machine and recommends against dry cleaning. There are some good instructions for how to do it here:

  • Carmen

    Yep, you CAN indeed wash a duvet. Get Duncan checked for stones, etc. but I suspect that your male cat is jealous…. No, he does NOT miss him, he peeed (how many “e”‘s?) on his clothes….

  • 300baud

    It’s a mistake to try to apply human psychology to explain what your cat does. I can’t believe I had to say that. Have you ever met a cat??! You would have to use the deepest darkest sort of abnormal psychology to explain one.

    There is probably a reason he does it, and it may well have to do with how his unique little mind works, but to assert “jealousy” would be anthropomorphising. I bet Duncan does not think of what he does as revenge. He has his own reasons which won’t be so obvious to us.

    If you have the scratch to spare, it couldn’t hurt to have him checked out. My cat started peeing inappropriately shortly before suffering a serious decline in health. Maybe he is being struck by the need to go REALLY BAD, and is looking for soft piles of stuff nearby to do it in.

  • Megan

    Kitties start to pee in strange places when they have UTI’s. Did the pee stink especially bad because that is a sure sign that it is a UTI. As for the down duvet. Go to the laundromat, use an industrial size front loading washer, use baking soda. Using a front loader will keep the comforter from separating and getting all bunchy in the wash. This is how I wash my down sleeping bags. Hope it gets sorted out?


  • DeLaina

    My guess- hes trying to remove GC scent from the house; especially places that are usually reserved for only you and Duncan. Duncan is used to the rest of the house smelling like other people, but the bed room is strictly yours (I’m assumeing)

  • DeLaina

    I forgot to mention- if you think this maybe the case maybe you could start introducing GC’s smell slowly. For example maybe you can wear one of his shirts to bed or something like that.

  • Anne Onimos

    Just be glad GC wasn’t the culprit.

  • Greencolander

    Two of my cats — the late Gilgamesh and the still-alive Enkidu — both urinated in unusal places. I took them promptly to their respective vets. In 1995 Gilgamesh had FLUTD, and a he was given female cat hormones, antibiotics and a special diet. No problems ever again. In 2004 Enkidu went to AVAH and stayed there for 48 hours: he had to be catheritized (?sp), given lots of meds, special diet, IV, etc. etc. etc. $1000 and a pancreatic infection later, he recuperated and came home, and after 4 years, no problems so far.

    If you’re able to get a fresh urine sample, place it in a clean jar and keep it refrigerated until the time of the vet appointment. This will really help the vet.

    Once you’ve ruled out a medical cause, there is a ton of information on how to work with the cat to solve this type of behaviour issue. Your vet can get you started; you can also check the internet. From some seminars I’ve attended, vets who specialize in cat behaviour recommend saving drug therapy (ie. kitty prozac) as a last resort.

    Good luck! Good vibes to Duncan!

  • Chances are it’s this:
    1. Duncan is jealous of GC and has a passive-aggressive streak.
    2. Duncan likes GC but doesn’t want him in our bed.
    4. Duncan is stressed because there was a dog in his house.
    TUx, who is a lot like your descriptions of Duncan, had huge issues with Dave when I first got him. (Tux, not Dave… Dave came five years before the cat) He liked Dave, but didn’t like Dave in the bed… after all that pillow was his five days a week and Dave was an interloper stealing it, and throwing things at him at 5 a.m. when he had every right to be fed! Tux, in retaliation, peed on my couch (well actually it was a futon) several times… usually right where Dave sat. Dave sat in it once and there was a loud “get rid of the cat” arguement that Dave lost. Tux also expressed his displeasure with agression… at me. He’s never bitten or scratched Dave, but I have several scars. After about three months the problem took care of itself. I don’t know if they had a sit down and came to some sort of agreement, but Dave and Tux like each other just fine. Well… as soon as Dave vacates a seat, Tux immediately steals it and gives Dave a haught f*&@ you look… but other than that, things are good.
    Now, Tux also has a unrinary problem (crystals) which we cleared up around the same time, so that may have had something to do with it, but the agressiveness calmed down too… good luck with Duncan!

  • That’s not a little nasty… having seen a photo of Duncan I’m assuming his bladder would be roughly the size of a large bottle of pop.

    There does seem to be a pattern. I’d go with the dog being the trigger, cats are territorial little beasties. Also if Duncan sleeps with you and GC took his place it’s a decent assumption Duncan’s working out some issues.

  • future landfill

    Scent is everything to critters. Dogs routinely piss where they smell another has previously raised a leg to mark the territory as their own and assert dominance. (A submissive dog in regular contact with a dominant usually doesn’t.) Cats are a bit more obtuse, being rather smarter than dogs, but I expect the same instinct prevails. “This house, and everything in it is mine, and here’s my calling card to prove it.” (Well, the wee buggers can’t very well leave passive/aggressive notes, now can they?)

    GC could up the ante by taking a leak in various locations about the house, but that’s maybe a bit much to ask a fella, and could lead to escalation of hostilities with resulting scars, increased laundry costs, and possible estrangement of all concerned.

    Possibly an exclusive trysting place off-limits to Dunc? Waiting to see if there is a repeat of some sort is probably worth a try, and probably keeping canines out of the house unless they are to be a permanent resident.

  • GC

    Duncan, I miss you too… but STOP that!

  • Well zoom, you’re just going to have to choose. If I were you I’d choose Duncan 😉

  • Oh damn… do get him checked, Romeo started peeing indiscriminantly when he had a uti right after i moved. He still pees in the bathroom sink, but I have decided that I can wash the sink REALLY easily and if I start trying to get him to stop I might find he just moves somewhere not as easy to clean.. It all started with a uti, in any case.

  • My male cat did that once. Right in front of my face. I had been gone for 3 or four weeks and upon return, he felt he owned my every min. When I finally pushed him out of the way so I could go to sleep, he peed on the duvet in front of my face. Little snot. I washed the duvet in the washing machine and it’s still alive today. The cat never did it again.

    Duncan was probably unhappy with the situation. Since a lot goes over smell, what I would suggest is to take a towel and rub Duncan with it, then rub said GC and/or accompanying dog with the towel to transfer Duncan scent onto them. This will make them smell more familiar to Duncan and should make him less apprehensive with the situation. You can also take a towel and rub it on the dog, or in the case of GC his unwashed t-shirt, and leave them laying around the house for Duncan to become familiar with. This is all a time tried method for introducing new animals to your home. It helps relieve the stress on all sides.

    You might also want to slowly cut back a little on the snuggle sessions. That’s a territorial behaviour which means to him that he is marking you as his. Great on the one hand, but bad when they go too far with it. I have a similar problem with all of my male Great Danes. They think I’m theirs and will defend me accordingly. Fortunately this just means that they either place themselves in front of me to seperate me from other people or try and sit on me because then no one can reach me anyway. In Duncan’s case, defence is passive/aggressive urination on your belongings. I try and ignore the behaviour as much as possible and when I can’t, will assert myself over them. Unfortunately, cats can be a bit more difficult about this.

    You could also choose not to deal with it, but that would mean you on your own for the rest of Duncan’s life. I would hope that’s not an option for you, just as taking Duncan back to the rescue centre would be a non-option (of this I’m fairly certain).

    I meant to comment yesterday, but got busy and forgot. Duncan is a lovely cat, even if he is misbehaving. Just remember, he can’t come up and tug on your sleeve and say “hey, roomie, your behaviour is bothering me” so he has to express it someway else. He still remains as lovely as he ever was.

  • Kellie

    My girl cat consistently peed on the clothes of my GC (now husband) when he would stay over, after having me to herself for quite some time. Alas it only stopped when I moved in with him and she was adopted by my best friend (GC had a fourth floor apartment and NZ cats are inside/outside cats). The suggestions of Melinda above me sound bang on.

  • XUP

    (Anne – ha ha) I’m going to have to agree with everyone who said this is a terretorial/security thing. Duncan wants his smell on everything. He’s a shelter cat, you just left him in a strange place for 2 weeks, he endured 2 long car rides and now a strange smell in his safe, familiar place. When cats rub up against you, it’s to get their smell on you, when they lick themselves after being petted it’s to get your smell off them. GC must have left some strong scent of his own on your duvet which only a good shot of urine could eliminate. Maybe you could entertain GC in the guest room from now on and keep Duncan out of there OR keep him out of your bedroom permanently, which I don’t think you want to do

  • The Dog Whisperer would say it was not just territoriality but dominance. Not human “issues”. But what you do about it – I don’t know. With dogs, you claim your space and make sure they know you are the pack leader. It might be the same with cats. But again, I don’t know HOW you let them know you are the leader. But I would go with this tack first, after you rule out a UTI.

  • sheila

    Zoom, I agree with the other comments and I’m so glad you made a vet appointment. I’m also glad that you REALLY love Duncan because urine issues can be so nasty. Good luck. I’m sure a solution will be found. And, keep us up to date, ’cause inquiring minds want to know!

  • Em

    Everyone has already said what I’m thinking, but I thought I’d throw in my 2 cents. :)
    From my experience, especially with male cats, it’s a territory thing. Especially since Duncan is used to the bed being exclusively his and yours, I imagine it’s something to do with the GC invading his space. Also, your recent trip might have been an issue with D. When I went to the UK for two weeks, my cat (Czar) peed on my bed within hours of my return. I would still, of course, get him checked out at the vet, but given the circumstances, I’d put my money on psychological “issues”. Good luck!

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