There is so much conflicting advice on the internet about what to do with a cat that seems to have a behavioural problem. And believe me, I have tried it all. Well, all feasible options.
My cat Simon is peeing in inappropriate places. Wait, that makes him sound like a flasher. Haha. Let me start at the beginning.
Simon started to act grumpy as soon as we had Isabella. He acted so grumpy around her we’d lock him out of her room at night, just in case. He doesn’t seem to like them touching him, doesn’t seem to trust them. Husband and I joke that he tolerates the kids, but that’s it.
About 3 months ago he started to become uncharacteristically vocal. He started to pee where ever he was sitting, or at the front door where we would notice it. He would yowl when peeing and was lethargic. We took him to the Vet and found out he had urinary crystals. We did the round of meds and kept his litter box clean by scooping it every day. We switched to the vet approved food and give him fresh water every day. We set up lots of quiet sleeping spaces and got him some new versions of his fave toys. For awhile it seemed that everything would be okay.
Then he started doing it again. On days when I didn’t have time to sit with him. The vet figures this was a big factor, by the way. She says some cats like extra attention….who knows? Anyway, he was peeing in my shoes at the front door. I saw him once position himself over my fave sneakers and wait. Then I saw him pee. A lot. Without pain. No blood in the pee. He looked at me and stalked away. He was not ashamed. I had sat with him the entire night before but had busied myself with errands and coffee dates that day. I phoned the vet, took him in and got his bladder checked. Clear. I refuse to spend $500 on blood tests and overnight stays when the vet’s guess is it is behavioural. Instead, I have scoured the internet.
Then, I thought it had stopped. His energy was back completely. He was fine with Kali. Lately he has been moody but I attributed it to old age. He’s only 7 but still…. He is either completely cranky or completely snuggly. Otherwise he seemed completely fine. We continued with the same litter he likes, scoop it every other day and I give the cats fresh water daily. I even put a second bowl of food and water on Simon’s fave landing, a quiet spot he likes to hang out. He seemed so happy. I patted myself on the back for a job well done.
Then I found another puddle of pee by the door. A couple of days after cleaning that up Simon was sitting by the vent that leads to the downstairs laundry room. The dryer thumped and he jumped, peeing on the floor. He looked ashamed this time and went slinking away.
Then I was downstairs and I reached for the kid’s fave backpack on the floor to pack it for a day out. And guess what? It was covered in pee. Most of it had soaked in, but where the plastic picture was there was a pool of healthy blood free pee.
I also think there is a spot I can’t find in the living room he is peeing too as one corner doesn’t seem right to me.
We tried rubbing his nose in it and yelling at him, and we tried bathing him to clean it off as punishment, then read that both of those tactics will make it worse.
Awhile went by…a week or two…and then Hunter got a cold. Izzy or Hunter were always on my lap every time Simon came to sit. One day was especially bad. He was downstairs where we were and peed on Izzy’s fave Tinkerbell bag. It is the same level as his litter box, so it’s not the stairs deferring him from using it…. which I thought might be a problem since every level of our townhouse is separated by stairs.
We have two cats and two litter boxes, in a quiet, low traffic area.
After reading every page and thread I could find on the interweb, I have tried all the things I could think of. The only thing I haven’t tried is some “cat de-stressor liquid” or Feliway…..
I am starting to figure that he hates living with unpredictable kids. He’s old and cranky and wants 200% of my attention which is impossible. He seems better suited to a quiet old couple who are home a lot and want to sit all day with a cat on their lap.
I talked to a lot of people after exhausting the Internet’s suggestions. One of my friends figures the kids are big enough to be seen as threatening (since Hunter likes to chase him I guess I could see that. And sometimes Hunter pushes Simon gently off of my lap), and Simon may be trying to establish his dominance over them or expressing his jealousy. I agree on that and I’m starting to think he’d prefer a kid free environment.
Another friend has suggested to me that it’s a common misconception that animals feel jealousy or try to assert dominance. Although I have trouble believing that since they are wild animals domesticated and it may be their wild instincts coming out in my mind, I am still keeping an open mind about it because I haven’t heard the whole reasoning behind it and will have to pick her brain about it.
He hides a lot when the kids are playing loud and won’t get off of me after they go to bed. If he isn’t sitting on me he is beside me, touching me with his paw…..
So far he’s wrecked 2 bags, two pairs of shoes, and two pieces of furniture. Even Nature’s Miracle spray couldn’t fix them. Although it did get the smell out of my front entrance and kitchen linoleum and the carpet, thank goodness.
It has been suggested I crate him at night or lock him in the bathroom at night with his litter box, food and some toys for a full day. I am not doing that. It is impossible to not use one of our rooms for a day with our layout and I wouldn’t do it anyway cuz I think it would hurt his pride, break his spirit and wreck him…and me. One website said to lock him in there for 4 days with 5 visits a day. Ummmm, that sounds cruel to me.
I also read that putting a litter box on each floor may help but there is nowhere to put them that they aren’t visible to the kids. I don’t have an open layout and worry Hunter may dig in there etc. Plus, Simon is really private. If you catch him using the litter box he will try to turn so you can’t see his face, so they couldn’t be in the open. So that won’t work with our layout. You’ll have to trust me on that one.
Husband checked his hearing and vision and he passed both tests so it’s not sight or hearing loss that is making him jumpy and cranky….
I am at a loss and heartbroken. I think maybe I have to place him in a new home. A quiet kid-free one perhaps. I fed this silly cat with an eyedropper when I got him because he was given to me too young and would fall in his milk dish. I had him sleep in a hamster cage to make him feel safe and scratched his head while we listened to an artist that made him purr, Paul Simon. Can you guess how he got his name? 😉
I have set up extra cat beds so he can have quiet places to go. Whenever I get a chance I sit and pet him or talk to him. I give him treats and brush him. I have moved his litter box and his food to his fave quiet places…and no, not beside each other….
Nothing is working.
I am pretty proud of my kids for gravitating towards strong role models. For example, Izzy would rather be Wonder Woman or Mavis than Cinderella. Hunter would rather be Superman or pretend to be a construction worker than Prince Charming.
Which leads me to…Do they even sell Superhero action figures anymore? (in Canada)? Or must I resort to Ebay!?
There were many different opinions on baby proofing when my kids were new and just starting to crawl or walk to get in to things. The websites all cautioned parents to the dangers of EVERYTHING if you Googled long enough. The older generation of aunts, uncles and grammas cautioned us against being too cautious. So what was a new parent to do?
Example: opening cabinet doors in the kitchen and either 1) slamming fingers in it when closing it, or, 2) smashing or dumping all of the stuff in that cabinet.
Advice? Well, we could close it up with a baby lock so the kids couldn’t venture in to it and cut themselves on a blender blade or smash my glass pot lids. A baby website advised us to do this with the reasoning, ‘it keeps you as a parent calm, the baby safe and then the parent can say no less and yes more’. Or something to that effect.
The other advice was from other parents or Gen X’ers that had grown children out in the world somewhere. They said, ‘If you baby proof too much they will never learn right from wrong. You are making them soft. You need to let them make the mistake of slamming their fingers in the door. Once they get hurt they won’t do that again!’… Or something to that effect.
Well, yes. To the basic child eventually they would learn, “I open the cupboard, it slams shut, and then my fingers hurt. Cupboards are bad, I should stay out of them.”
But we took the first advice! Why? Cuz we tried the second advice and my kids are little scientists. As my oldest said, “It’s not gonna hurt me, I am shutting it DIFFERENTLY THIS TIME!” (She was that sure and adamant). The thing that was happening was that my kids were so sure that if they slightly changed any one variable…hold the door differently, put less stuff in it, slam it more quickly, etc….that it would change the outcome. Sometimes it did!
So my kids keep doing stuff over and over…some things are learning opportunities, and some of them …. well, eventually we did quite a bit of baby proofing to eliminate potential disasters. My sweet girl and boy are determined to shut cupboards too fast, jump over the coffee table or climb their dressers. Coffee table, learning experience. The rest? We locked that crap up tight, yes sirree. I want to say no to my children less and yes more, more, more.
I like Go Diego Go. He is a researcher and a caregiver. He does whatever it takes and isn’t afraid to ask for help. He looks up to his big sister Alicia, who is just as awesome as Diego. The kids learn how to take care of the environment and all of the animals in it, while sneakily learning counting, colours, problem solving etc. The Bobo Brothers are pesky monkeys whose play time almost always gets in the way of a rescue. But they don’t mean it and quickly get out of the way once Diego says they need to stop and help….
Unlike Dora’s situation. Yes, she is adventurous. But the learning is too heavy-handed sometimes for my liking. Map is always semi-useless. Like a bad GPS he leads her the long way, through the most dangerous path. I always think of the news story of an old couple who almost froze to death because their GPS led them to an abandoned service road in a forest and by the time they found out it was wrong, they couldn’t find their way out of there. Instead they sat in their little car packed with things to bring the grandkids in the country, cuddling in the wintry forest, trying to get their bearings and make a plan. They were found in the morning. Map would do that; I believe Map would lead Dora in the same cockamamie fashion…and yet Dora blindly follows his advice.
And Swiper…….He pops out of nowhere and with no motivation but greed maliciously takes whatever Dora has, whether he needs it or not. He throws it in the forest or lake or whatnot, with an evil laugh and disappears. I was under the impression he was the enemy. But apparently he is the frenemy. No matter how much trouble he gets Dora in she always forgives him, and sometimes she trusts him enough to let him help on the mission. Forgive me, but isn’t that awful? Dora just lets him treat her awfully, and then she lets him get away with it, no questions asked. I understand the notion of forgiveness, but a person who repeatedly bullies you should not get a free pass every single time.
Dora the Doormat, I don’t really see you as a good role model for my little girl.
When Izzy was born she was an emotional, full force human being already. You could tell she would grow up to be vivacious, dramatic, assertive girl. Or we suspected. When she was a little older she was quite the “tomboy”. She would pick out the snakes, trucks and balls. You know, toys we say are “boy toys”. My hubby and I feel that toys are just toys, colours are just colours and all of the boy and girl distinction is silly. For instance, Hunter plays with dolls. He’s so cute when he puts his babies to bed; he rocks them, gives them milk, a soother and a blankie. Then he tucks them in and walks around saying, “Sh, sleepy.” He is more maternal than Izzy has ever been. When Izzy was two, the age Hunter is now, she loved smashing stuff together, reptiles, hockey… I thought we had a tomboy on our hands.
Then she turned 4 years old. All of a sudden everything changed. Blue was no longer her favourite colour, pink was. Dolls replaced snakes and dresses replaced pants. The more pouf the skirt had, the more sparkles or glitter and the more like a princess dress it was, the better. She went from not letting me touch her hair to wanting it done every day. She is obsessed with dresses and puts together the funkiest fashions. The other day she came down the stairs, her arms full of baby dolls and wearing one of her whacky outfits. A princess crown on the top of her head, headbands wrapping around the front and the back and a flower pinned to the front. Her princess dress was worn over her pink moose pajamas, and a skirt over that. Her fairy wings and about 5 necklaces topped it off. A pair of old heels were her princess shoes. She announced, “We are all sisters and we are QUEEN OF ALL THE ANIMALS.” These happenings are a daily occurrence.
I try not to do the “Oh look at her play with the dolls, she is so maternal she’ll be a teacher or nurse someday” thing. I know that over her life she will have so many interests and hobbies and random obsessions that her personality will evolve. There is no telling where she will end up. But if I was pressed to guess today I would say the next Betsey Johnson.