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Help! The cat is peeing in my plants

By Andra Chantim and Alexandra Gonzalez Repetto, Real Simple
updated 10:18 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
So you figured out it was your cat's bladder that was killing your houseplants. Now what?
So you figured out it was your cat's bladder that was killing your houseplants. Now what?
  • A change in your pet's bathroom habits could be a sign of a medical problem
  • Stencils and pencils can help hide overzealous eyebrow plucking
  • Hairline fractures in the glass of your iPhone are harmless: You can live with them

Editor's note: Have a disaster that needs solving? Go to and share your problem.

(Real Simple) -- My cat is not using the litter box. What should i do? 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."

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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." 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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I overplucked! How can I make my eyebrows grow back faster? -- Kathy Jo Osman, via Facebook

The fix: To fake fullness convincingly, line up a brow stencil over your own brows. (Anastasia has a set of five different arch stencils to help you find your best match.)

Using a brow pencil that's a shade lighter than your natural color, fill in sparse spots with feathery strokes, then blend with a (clean) soft toothbrush, says Sania Vucetaj, the owner of Sania's Brow Bar, in New York City. And don't worry: Your plucked brows will return in about a month.

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You can even speed up the process by applying a growth-stimulating peptide serum, like European Wax Center Restore It.

How can I fix a cracked iPad screen? I dropped a plate on my iPad and cracked the glass. -- Rona Graham Bruce, via Facebook

The fix: Apple will overhaul the glass (for a $49 service fee), provided you bought an AppleCare+ warranty within the past two years. Have only the standard warranty? Then you'll need to pony up $219 to $299 for Apple service.

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If that's too steep or if it has been more than two years since you bought your iPad, you can send it to an electronics-repair service that's unaffiliated with Apple, like iFixYouri. For $130 to $180, this company's technicians will replace the screen.

You could also just live with the splinters if they're not severe. "A badly cracked screen may eventually cause the touch sensitivity to fade," says Javier Vilanova, the director of Apple services at Tekserve, in New York City. "But hairline fractures, while annoying, are basically harmless."

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How can I remove a lipstick stain? Lipstick got smushed into my deep-pile carpet. -- Monica J., via e-mail

The fix: First use a spoon to scoop up any solids, says Chris Hix, a product-care specialist at Shaw Floors, in Dalton, Georgia.

Then dab a tiny amount of cleaning solvent, like WoolClean Dry Spot Remover #2, on a white cotton cloth, says Shawn Bisaillon, the owner of Professional Carpet Systems, in Superior, Colorado. Blot the mark, working from the outside in and alternating between the solvent cloth and a clean towel, until every trace of color has disappeared.

Wait a few minutes. Fill a spray bottle with hot water and spritz the area until it's saturated. Pat with a clean towel.

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