The Trouble with Cats.

DSCN0498There 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. I know it is Simon peeing cuz I have caught him and never have seen Kali do it. We got Kali almost 5 years ago so she’s not a recent addition. There hasn’t been any recent changes actually. Nothing that matched the timing of Simon doing this….

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.

 

*Sad Sigh.* Any suggestions?

 

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