What to do when your cat thinks potted plants are a good litter box alternative.

By Andra Chantim
Updated February 13, 2013
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A seldom-used bread plate from your grandmother's formal china set, placed under a small houseplant, will dress it up while serving the practical purpose of catching excess water.
Antonis Achilleos

“My cat has started peeing in my indoor plants.”

Barbara B., via e-mail

The fix: Start by taking him to the vet: Changes in bathroom behavior can signal a medical problem, says Pam Johnson-Bennett, the author of Think Like a Cat ($18, amazon.com). Consider his litter box, too. If it’s covered, shared with another feline, or infrequently scooped, that could motivate him to forgo it for your ficus. Also check that you used organic commercial soil (not dirt from the yard) in the planter, says Mieshelle Nagelschneider, the author of The Cat Whisperer ($25, amazon.com). A cat could mistake a plant for his commode if he smells an animal’s urine on it. None of those sources to blame? Then cover the plant’s soil with large river rocks. Felix should get the message.

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