Peeing on the mattress :(

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by Luigi, Sep 24, 2018.

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  1. Sep 24, 2018 #1

    Luigi

    Luigi

    Luigi

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    Luigi is a neutered male lop (neutered for exactly one month now) and I know the hormones won't be completely gone until after 6-8 weeks post-neuter, but I'm at my wit's end. He is perfectly litter trained and knows exactly where to go (his cage) when he needs to use the toilet. These are definitely not "accidents".

    Long story short, my husband and I sleep on a double mattress on the floor. In the past, this mattress was up against the wall and a chair, so there was only one side Luigi could hop on from. We used to allow him to roam freely on the mattress until he started peeing and pooping on it. He was banned from the mattress for a while after the one time we caught him red-handed. I used boxes and bags, placing them strategically to form a barricade so that he couldn't get onto the mattress. We had to remove these items every time we would go to sleep and put them back after waking up. It was a pain in the ass. During this time, Luigi would also hop onto the chair (the same chair that was next to the mattress) and pee/poop on it. He also peed on my husband once while he was sitting on his lap. We learned to put a towel on the chair, just in case he ever managed to sneak on it to mark his territory, but after these further incidents, he was practically banned from the chair as well. He would try SO many times to jump onto the bed via the chair, and literally try all ways possible to get to where he was not supposed to go... but, for the most part, my wall of boxes worked like a charm.

    Fast forward to a week ago. We had to rearrange EVERYTHING in our room as we found that our floors and the bottom of our mattress were damp from rain water that had soaked into the carpet. This is an old house in an old building, and I'm pretty sure our room itself has structural problems that aren't easy to fix, for a bunch of reasons. The funny part is, we only found out how serious it had become after my husband suggested propping the mattress up during the day, to save us the hassle of blocking the bed every day. To get to the damp carpet and remove that, we had to move the mattress to the center of the room. It now has one side touching the wall, but every other side is unobstructed and free for Luigi to gain access to.

    Things went well the first few days after this new arrangement. We decided to keep the mattress on the floor and see what would happen. Luigi happily went back to licking the sheets, pillows, blankets, etc., probably less grumpy now that he's allowed back on the mattress. One day, I found a trail of poopies on it. I should've known that poop is almost always a precursor to pee, but silly me just had too much faith in this bunny! For the second time, he'd peed on the mattress, and this time while my husband was sleeping on it. On the bright side, neutering seems to have reduced the strong odor of his urine, but he still did pee a BIG puddle. I did the laundry and changed the sheets. We were stupid enough to leave him alone with the mattress for a few minutes, for which we were punished with another smaller patch of pee along with TWO poop pellets... like, what is this bunny even thinking... "oh, let me leave my hoomins a present"?!
    [​IMG]
    Luigi is now permanently banned from the mattress. We have to push him off whenever he hops on. We have to go back to propping the mattress up. And because I take care of all things bunny-related around here, I need a better solution! I finally listened to the internet and ordered a shower curtain to place over the mattress. I thought this would solve the problem once and for all (if he pees on it, I could just wipe it off). Well, he hasn't peed on it yet, but he has pooped a dozen pellets on it today. However, the worst part and the part that makes this whole shower curtain thing unviable is that he has started chewing AND ingesting small bits of the curtain. I guess this was a horrible idea to begin with, and I don't know what to do anymore. I removed the curtain and put him back in his cage right away. This is not punishment. I just can't get him to stop EATING something that I have purchased to prevent him from peeing on our mattress! Even when we prop the mattress up, he still insists on chewing, eating, and digging at the corners. In fact, he has already ripped through and eaten some of the bed sheet...
    [​IMG]
    And here's his fat ass on the shower curtain-covered mattress today, moments before he started chewing on it. Those are indeed pee stains on the right. I spent like 13 euros on a shower curtain and it didn't even work out the way I'd hoped... :(
    [​IMG]
    I'm so frustrated and it's not even his fault. I know it's a bunny's natural instinct to dig, chew, and mark territory. I know I'm not the first or last person to have this issue, but other bunny owners' living situation is different from mine. For those with a bed/bed frame who aren't sleeping on a mattress on the floor (probably 99% of the Western population), it's much easier for them to exclude their bunny from the bed if they needed to. Or they could simply move the bunny to another room if they wanted to - an option that's not available to us. Plus, at this point, we have run out of things to block the mattress with. We don't have NIC grids or mesh panels or whatever you call them to fence off the mattress with. Propping up the mattress daily seems to be the ONLY option I have right now, but that is truly annoying to do every day.

    So I'm appealing to you guys! Does anyone have a good suggestion? I love Luigi to bits and I need something that works for all of us. Lord knows, this bunny will chew and eat anything you throw on the mattress. He already goes through cardboard boxes like a pro. I love him very much!
     
    samoth likes this.
  2. Sep 24, 2018 #2

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    Ahh... but beds and bedding are just so soft -- perfect for peeing upon. ;)

    I considered suggesting investing in an exercise pen or two to wrap around the bed, but from the last photo, it doesn't appear that space is in abundance in that room. I don't think that would work too well.

    Shower curtains are really thin plastic so it isn't surprising he chewed through them. You may want to try a heavy duty plastic tarp instead. Most rabbits won't chew through them, but you won't know until you test it out.

    Is keeping him in the kitchen area an option? I've housed some of my past rabbits in an eat-in kitchen.

    Other than that, putting the bed up may be your only option. :(
     
  3. Sep 24, 2018 #3

    Luigi

    Luigi

    Luigi

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    I've considered an exercise pen before, but yeah, we are very low on space the way things are currently arranged. :(

    It was back to the drawing board today. I figured that one of the reasons the shower curtain was unsuccessful was because it didn't wrap around the mattress the way fitted sheets do, so it was just loosely sitting on top instead of being securely fastened to the mattress. It wouldn't have been hard for Luigi to sink his teeth into one of the corners of the curtain. I really underestimated him. I had no idea he was such a tenacious bunny.

    Our kitchen is upstairs (we live in a basement room), but it's not our kitchen and not our house to begin with. So he's not really allowed anywhere outside of this room.

    What I thought I might try next is a fitted waterproof mattress protector, only instead of it going under the sheets, it will go over them and cover the whole bed. He can pee and poop on it, and it should be easier to clean up. I've ordered one today and it says it's machine washable. I'm hoping that he'll deposit his scent by playing and rubbing on it, and maybe that will discourage him from peeing if he's convinced the bed is his (smells like him). I read a thread on Reddit where someone tried this trick by covering their bed with their bunny's blankets, and it worked for them. Whatever happens, we can still remove the protector at the end of the day and enjoy our bed without it being peed on directly! Fingers crossed! :p
     
  4. Sep 24, 2018 #4

    samoth

    samoth

    samoth

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    Is Luigi a jumper? My bed is raised on a basic metal frame, and neither of my rabbits have ever hopped up here. (My buck has claimed the underside of the bed as his, but he doesn't mark there; just sleep.)

    What about larger xpen panels (like those for dogs) around the bed? You said you don't have NIC or mesh panels, but I don't think those would work well... and they'd cost a lot for as many as you'd need. A set of heavy duty 30-40" tall xpens would probably run around €50-60.

    What about giving him something to call his own? Ikea kaninhols are really popular over in your area.
     
  5. Sep 24, 2018 #5

    Luigi

    Luigi

    Luigi

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    samoth, he can jump quite high if he puts his mind to it. He has jumped on top of suitcases before, and we're talking about those large ones for the cabin and not small carry-on's. :p

    The main problem is that we have no bed frame, and we won't be getting one until we move to our new home (don't know when that's happening). I've thought about getting mesh panels for bunny proofing purposes so many times, but they are pretty expensive where I live. There is no Amazon like in the US or UK where you can find these things easy and for cheap(er). I've seen xpens that look great for confinment, but one xpen here is easily €20-30. My wallet is exhausted... :(

    Yeah, kaninhols look great from what I've seen, but we have no space. His living space could be MUCH more comfortable and roomy, but that's just not what we can provide for him right now. We really need to move, but when that can happen is not within our control. I have to make the most of the space we've been given, and arrange things in a way that works for both him and us. Thanks for the ideas!
     

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