Thursday, September 08, 2005

Chloe Conundrum: Help Needed

I'm trying to post very quickly right now because I should be at work, but since posting usually makes me feel better, I thought I'd give it a whirl this time.

We have four cats: Eli, who as you know is my baby, Noah, Chloe, and Maya. It's Partner's work-- she rescued Maya and Noah from some dire circumstances. Noah was fished from a storm sewer when he was a kitten. He was saved from the flood, hence his name: Noah. (By the way, I love the name Noah and it would be a potential kid name, but how could we name the kid after the cat? Too weird.) Maya was one of three kittens that lived in our old neighborhood. Some fool dropped a pregnant cat in our sub and kind neighbors rescued three of the kittens but couldn't catch the other three. So Partner did and found homes for two of them, but Maya stayed with us. There's more of a story here, and I should post it-- but I wanted to be quick, right? Right. In the interest of time, we'll skip that story for now and tell it later.

Chloe and Eli were obtained by more conventional grounds: Eli was an ad in the paper. Someone's pure-bred Siamese had gotten out in heat, and they wanted the rogue litter gone fast. By the time Partner had gotten there, only sad Eli was left and she thought for a minute about not taking him. The runt. Maybe something was wrong with him? But then she scooped him up and I can't imagine that there was ever a better cat. Thank God she got him. A week later she drove to Wisconsin to get Chloe who was born to a barn cat. Chloe looks like the twin of Eli, but half the size. She's a dolly cat: only about six and half pounds. We have some friends who always lament we're not feeding her enough, but we are. She's just a little girl.

Awhile ago, some months now, we started to have a problem with someone peeing. On the bed. On my side of the bed. And then on the couch in the sitting room off our master bedroom. We suspected Noah, since he's the most neurotic. We took him to the vet and she said, "He's fine physically-- no infections, etc." We got the beads that you put into a litter pan and we were instructed to test all the cats. If it was physical, it was the best possible outcome, you know? We isolated Maya: she's a wee bit aggressive, so perhaps it was her? Maybe she was peeing on the bed to get possession from Chloe?

When Maya was isolated, we figured out really fast it was Chloe. She practically peed on the bed in front of me. We tested her urine. No physical problems.


I've admitted Eli is my favorite-- and Partner has admitted Chloe to be her favorite.


The vet recommended isolating Chloe, and she has been the sole resident of two bedrooms connected by a bathroom for a month and half. Eli and Noah visit often. Not Maya. We decided we needed to start re-socializing Chloe upon our return from the August trips. We've been taking her out at night to sleep with us again in the master bedroom, the site of her previous crimes. It's been okay for three nights. This morning I left her in the room while I came to check email, read your blogs, etc. When I returned to the master bedroom, I found pee on the couch. Pee so fresh it hadn't even sunk into the cushion. Mind you, Maya, her nemesis is not in the room with her at the time. She has water, litter, and food.

What the fuck??

What are we going to do? She can't stay in these two rooms like this forever. Number one: this "office" is going to be turned into a baby room (hopefully) and containing her to the back bedroom seems too cruel: it's just not big enough.

Partner has read and read and read about all of this. We've talked to the vet. But she's not doing what she's supposed to be doing: stop peeing on our furniture. And I don't know-- I know some people just live with cats who pee on their stuff, but I can't do that. It's not really an option for me.

What are we going to do? It should be noted that I am totally looking for assvice here. In fact, I'd even go so far as to call it advice. Any ideas? I'm listening for humane and kind and knowledgeable words here.


Blogger ~cj~ said...

I have no real idea... but it seems to me that you are exhausting a lot of resources. Too bad animals can't talk and just let us know what is going on. Sure would be a lot easier! Have you tried speaking to other persons who have multiple cats? Maybe checking with another vet? A very frustrating situation!

2:40 PM  
Anonymous LL said...

It would take a special cat for this to work, but it was the first thing I thought of.
Yes, I am suggesting... cat diaper.
At least it will be good practice.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Nico said...

I have heard of animal psychologists... as crazy as it sounds, maybe worth a session or two?

10:29 PM  
Blogger emsie said...

It might seem obvious, but have you tried cleaning out the litter every day? maybe even twice a day? By cleaning, I mean *CLEANING* out the litter.. new, fresh litter with the pan cleaned out with something that doesn't smell bad to cats).

We also tried putting our cat in the room with the litter tray, on its own, with just food and water. Litter box gets absolutely cleaned every day.

Other thing is, consider getting blood tests to check for kidney function. Its probably a long shot, but cats don't wizz in their litter boxes for a reason and from what I'm told, a blood test is the best and most accurate way of checking kidney function. Worth a try if urine tests show nothing (and usually won't for kidney function, again, so I'm told).

Another couple of long shots are pheromone (sp?) sprays to calm the cat down and also citronella type sprays everywhere she currently pees. We used it on timber floors for a few months and eventually our cat stopped peeing there completely. Bit different on the floor to furniture but you might be able to get one that can go on furniture?

Other than that, make sure you're washing where she's peed previously with no smell stuff especially for cat wee. If its just her being nasty to you, cats don't like places they've peed smelling like other stuff, so they'll wee there again.

Good luck :)

10:50 PM  
Blogger Trista said...

We had a cat that did exactly what your cat is doing. We switched his food to a low magnesium food and finally ended up giving him cat antidepressants. I am not kidding. Kitty prozac. You could try that.

Anyway, we got poor and couldn't afford the meds anymore and he started peeing again. We started paying attention to his triggers -- he would pee on luggage if found some, we figured because he was anxious about us travelling. He peed on my side of the bed when he figured Kristin was paying too much attention to me (he was her cat to start with)so she would try to pay attention to him before paying attention to me. But what finally solved it for us was that we moved to a bigger place on a quiet street and let him go outside occassionally. After the move he never peed inappropriately again. I guess he just didn't like the condo and was redirecting his frustration on other targets.

The short of it: try drugs or therapy or attachment parenting or move.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

My gf and I have two cats, and Lucy will pee on cloth (beds and couches mostly) when pissed off. Originally there had been a physical component, she had some crystals in her urine, but there was also an emotional component. She would pee at the foot of our bed, on my side, like an hour or so before I would get up and feed her. I think it was like, hey asshole, feed me now! She'll also do it when we move or there's some other routine stress. But sometimes she'll do it for no apparent reason.

Our first change, back when it began, was to switch the cats to a raw food diet. It wasn't such a big deal (make big batches and freeze it) but it was expensive and more time consuming than dry kibble. But it helped the crystals. We've since gone back to dry kibble. We also would isolate her in the bathroom whenever we weren't there to monitor her behavior. We also became super extra litter box diligent with scooping and cleaning. Sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn't.

We also started shutting the cats out of our bedroom when we slept. Which is sad, not to have sweet kitty snuggling, but worth it for the lack of pee. We had to figure out when it was happening and disrupt that cycle. So far it has worked pretty well. The one weird habit she picked up from all of this is occasionally peeing in the bath tub, but this is much preferable in terms of a kitty quirk.

It really would be awesome if Lucy and I could have an in depth discussion about her behavior. Or if this problem resolved itself in a couple of months, not the couple of years it has been. It's just a trial and error sort of problem resolution, where you think you've fixed it and then wham! a new variation arises. Good luck. I hope my advice was more helpful and less assy.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cat pheremone comes in a difuser that you plug into the wall like an air freshener. It seems to calm cats down and is supposed to stop them from peeing on your furniture. We have four cats too and we put it in the room that they use the most. We used it more to help them adjust to each other, but they have peed on the floor in our bedroom a couple of times and it hasn't happened since we got the difuser.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Leann said...

Keep the cat off the areas she's peeing on. In my experience the choose specific spots for a reason, the reason being they're mad/upset and are venting. It seems like a possession issue to me. So, use aluminum foil on the areas she pees on. Yep, cover the bed and the couch when they're not in use. She'll either find a different spot to pee (which might be better than pee on the bed) or will stop completely.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Katie (WannaBeMom) said...

Oh you guys! This advice was great! We've aleady done some of it to no avail. For example, I've bought the Felliway, and while it drugs out Noah the Neurotic, it seems to agitate Chloe the Peer. Partner is religious about litter cleaning, but I don't think that is it since she goes in the litter when she's isolated and doesn't pee or spray at all there. I think we might try to some kitty drugs, and we have another vet appointment on Tuesday morning. I think we might try some Kitty Prozac, and I am *DEFINITELY* going to make a little tinfoil quilt for the bed and couch. I hope something works! I'll post an update soon. You guys are awesome!!

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

white vinegar is a great smell diffuser for cat peed carpet - it might work on the furniture too. It gets rid of the smell (mostly), and apparently discourages the cat from going there again.
Our cat wizzed on the furniture, but she had bladder crystals. Once she was on the special dry food for older cats she didn't do it any more.

1:20 AM  

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