We have two British Shorthairs, George and Martha, 4 years old. Last year, George peed himself in the pet carrier on the way to the vet. Looking back, part of the problem probably was timing, as I had the appointment about 2.5 hours after the cats had breakfast, and he usually pees about 3-3.5 hours after meals. I cleaned the carrier, albeit only with water and normal detergent, threw out the old blanket and put in a new one.
Last week I had another appointment for their annual checkup, which I specifically made in the afternoon, but unfortunately, this time both cats peed in their (separate) pet carriers. Also, I think one of the cats (pretty sure it was George) once peed in the carrier when we brought them to my parents-in-law, but I think that was only once out of the 2-4 trips they made to their house.
So this time I cleaned the pet carriers thoroughly with UrineOff and put in a pee pad, just in case (we use normal cat litter in their litter boxes). I also arranged that they'll be fed dinner at my parents-in-law's, so I expected their bladders to be fairly empty. But the very first thing Martha did when I put her into the carrier is pee!
I've read through most of the other questions relating to urinating in inappropiate places, but I feel that most of the suggestions don't apply - I can't shoo them away when I see that they want to pee, travelling is always associated with stress, they're not trained to pee on these pads, or blankets in general, and apart from the pet carriers, they never do; it's highly unlikely that this is related to a health problem, it's quite likely that it's related to George's very first accident a year ago.
Unfortunately I never marked the pet carriers, so it's possible that at some point we put the Martha into the one that was peed into by George. I do know that I used the same pet carrier for Martha last week and tonight, and I'm quite sure it was the one that hadn't been peed into, because we also used it as a crate and Martha actually used it quite regularly as a bed - so that's why I'm really confused why she peed, and why she peed into that carrier.
So I guess my questions are:
- What can I do to stop them from peeing into the pet carriers?
- Do I need to get them new carriers, and will they stop peeing if I do?
- What else can I do to minimize the risk that they'll pee in a carrier?
- If I get them new carriers, is it a good idea to use pee pads again, or will they associate that with urinating?
I'm pretty sure now that the accidents were indeed fear-related, as several answers suggested. When my husband picked them up again from his parents' place this past weekend, they came home without any accident (surprise, surprise). I think putting them on the toilet in advance is a good idea (though I'll have to find out first which toilet is used by which cat). The cats are actually used to the carriers; as mentioned above, Martha sleeps in one of them quite regularly, so I was very surprised that she, too, peed into it.
I'm also wondering if it might help to organize things differently. I usually bring them to the vet, and my husband usually brings them to his parents' place whenever we're going on a vacation but I'll help him pack their things and put the cats in the carriers. Perhaps we should see what happens if he does that on his own.