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pet on medication and still spraying!

michellew
October 24th, 2006, 03:43 PM
Hello everyone,

I know there are many topics on this but none seem to be as complex as mine as I have been dealing with this problem for probably about 2 years now on and off. My cat originally started urinating and defecating out of his litter box in piles of clothes. After much research and time he stopped defecating but he later started (or continued, I can't remember when this started) spraying around the house. I know that once cats smell pee, they will continue to go there and it's really hard to get the smell out. I tried my best cleaning the areas but he kept going there, and worse, choosing more spots in the house to go. It got so bad to the point where the whole house just smelled of urine and that even with cleaning products specifically recommended by the vet, it just ended up smelling worse. Now, yes my cat has been brought to the vet and he ruled out any infection and we spent lots of time trying to figure out what could be the trigger of this territorial behaviour. We could never pinpoint one thing. Now my cat urinates in his litter box in a manner that is typical of spraying cats, but he has urinated like this since as long as I can remember. Always in his litter box but up against the wall in his litter box. I don't remember my cat EVER squatting to pee. The vet said that this just seems like he is very territorial. My cat is neutered and has been since a very early age (under a year old for sure) and he is now about 13 years old. The vet put him on anti-depressants which was to calm his territorial behaviour and once we finally got the cat to take them it seemed to be working. I say seemed because I never witnessed the cat peeing/spraying again but the house continued to smell stronger even in places that I had attemped to clean. Since then we have moved to a new house (only about 2 months ago) with another family. Now my cat since he was a kitten has lived with many other pets of ours (including 2 different dogs, a bunny who was allowed to roam the house when we let him out) a turtle (again who was allowed out to walk sometimes) a hamster (who was allowed to roll in one of those hamster balls), 2 birds and many fish. He has been in the presence of these other animals and been there as they have come and gone and has never had a problem with any of them. Up until we moved (including when the behaviour started) it was just him and my dog. Now that we are in the new house we have my dog and cat along with 2 more cats (my main fret), a dog and an african grey congo (talking bird). He was still on his meds, has 3 litter boxes available to him and is not really bothered by the other cats... in fact he looks at them as if they are ridiculous and that he owns the place being the oldest. He seemed to be adjusting well, never urinated outside of his box and would use the same boxes as the other cats, as well as having one in my room (puke but it had to be done at first) for just him. He started out with his food in my room too but started going to eat with the other cats downstairs so I moved his stuff there too and again no problem, but he still has one box in my room. Only recently (maybe the past week or 2) has he started spraying different walls in my house for no apparent reason! But we can't let this house get to smelling like the old one as it was disgusting and unbearable. He is still taking his pill once a day but he started spraying openly with everyone there to see! He knows he's doing something wrong as when you call out his naem and run towards him he will run away but I don't know how to stop it! I still clean it right away so thankfully no permanent smell, but what can we do to make it stop?! The only difference I can pin is that the youngest cat (female) has started using the box in my room the past 3 nights (wakes me up otherwise I would shoo her out before and not let her in). I thought this might be the reason but it seems like this started before her coming from what other family members have told me. If anyone has ANY suggestions at all I'd greatly appreciate it. I have NO idea what else to do but my cat is so dear to me and is perfectly fine other than this! :confused: I don't think it's a good reason to have him put down but that's the only suggestion I'm getting! Thanks PLEASE HELP!:fingerscr

vfrohloff
October 25th, 2006, 11:10 AM
Unfortunately, some cats are just more territorial than others. I have had a few cats that sprayed, and oddly, they seemed to be the ones who were the most laid back in the house. Spraying can sometimes be about a cat establishing his dominance over the other cats, however I find it often has to do with a cat feeling insecure in the household. I would put out at least one more litter box, you should have one for every cat, plus an extra and try to put them in places of low traffic where the cat can have his privacy. Peeing standing up is pretty common for male cats whether they're sprayers or not so try to get deep boxes so he doesn't pee over the sides. Covered boxes will help with this too. It may be helpful for your cat to be confined to your room for certain periods of the day, this will allow him some time to relax and be alone without feeling threatened by the other cats. Having several different hiding places or little beds for the cats can also be helpful. That being said, spraying is a very difficult behavior to get rid of and sometimes the only solution is for the cat to be the only cat in the house. Is there a way to keep him and the other cats apart? With my last cat who sprayed I allowed him the upstairs of the house and kept my other cats downstairs. You could also try a product called Feliway, you can get either a spray or a plug-in that releases pheromones to help the cat relax. This worked moderately well for one of my guys.

michellew
October 25th, 2006, 05:33 PM
Dear vfrohloff,

thanks for your reply. I guess my cat could be kept apart but it would be very hard for us as then the dogs and other cats wouldn't be allowed let's say upstairs, leaving the other 2 cats with only 1 litter and the dogs away from their beds upstairs but their food would be downstairs and that's where the windows for them are, etc. I could keep him confined to just my room but I really don't want to do that because he would likely get really depressed/upset and also I don't want him tearing up my room (he still has claws) and will claw at the door and carpet if he is locked in a room that he can't open the door to.

The other problem with this is that he started this behaviour long before we moved in with the other cats and actually seemed to be doing better in this house up until the past week or 2 ago as I mentioned (but was not peeing as far as we know anywhere for the first month and a half that we lived here with the other cats). So I'm not sure if that's going to make a difference or if he will just find new places to go upstairs. :frustrated:
He also does have a hiding place under both my bed and the master bedroom one, as well as he usually stays on my bed throughout the day with little disturbance from any other animals (I try not to have the new pets in here, only my dog if anything and only when I'm here do I specifically allow him in, and he doesn't usually stay in here alone if I'm not there) so the cat is pretty well set for his own space most of the time.


This plug-in thing Feliway that you mention does sound interesting but I've never heard of it before. Do you know places where I could get it? Can you it get in pet stores or is it a speciality order? And how much does it cost approx? Do you think it would be safe to have with all of the other animals if I got the plug-in? And it wouldn't matter if he was still on the medication and that was on? Sorry for all the questions but I'm very interested in trying anything that I can to help my cat! He's been part of the family for so long and I can't see having to give him away or put him down! But he can't ruin the new house either!! :sad:

Thanks for the advice so far, if you or anyone else can think of any other possible solutions or tips I'd greatly appreciate them

Thanks again!:cat: My cat and I thank you! :D

vfrohloff
October 26th, 2006, 07:57 AM
I don't think they sell Feliway in Canada, I got mine off Ebay. I can't remember what it cost, but it was a bit expensive I think around $40 for both the plug-in unit and the refill. Worth it though. It's not harmful to pets and can be used with any medication they're on. It emits a calming pheromone that cats can smell and we can't. You could also try Bach's Rescue Remedy, you rub a drop or two on the cat's head or ears and the smell of it is supposed to make them relax. Some people say you can put it in their water but my vet said not to because long term ingestion of it can cause kidney trouble.

Another thing, are you sure he's spraying and not just peeing? There's a difference between missing the litter box sometimes and territorial marking. With spraying they usually back their hind end up to something and jerk their tail around a bit and spray. I just find it a bit odd that he was fine in a new house for the first several weeks and then suddenly picked up this behavior again. Is it possible that he has a urinary tract infection which is making him pee outside the box?

michellew
November 1st, 2006, 11:46 PM
Hi there,

It's definitely spraying... he seems to do it strategically after either he is not fed when he wants, or after another cat uses the box in my room. He is not just simply missing the box as his spots that he chooses are nowhere near any of his litter boxes. And I'm also sure it's spraying because it's the same as he always does, backs up against a wall and flicks his tail as he's going... it never leaves a round puddle... just a streak up the wall and the excess that then comes down. He has 2 places, in this house now: the wall in the family room and the wall in the stairwell (seems to use this one more). I'm going to try keeping him locked in my room at night so that the other cat cannot get in and use this litter box at night but I'm not sure if that's even what it is. :shrug:

I don't think that he all of a sudden would've developed an infection as he doesn't seem to have any pain and he is still spraying and only at specific times and in those 2 places only. :frustrated:

I do think it's weird as well that he just started this behaviour again but since he has only lived in my other house all of his life I was thinking that maybe he was just too scared before but now that he's used to this new house and roams freely (he used to hide upstairs a lot more at first and had a box, food & water in my room but now he eats downstairs with the other cats, lounges downstairs, etc) he got used to this new house and is simply claiming it as his whenever he is annoyed with us or another animal.

The other thing we were concerned about when I mentioned the Feliway ... would it affect the other 2 cats? How about the dogs?:confused:

Anyways, thanks for your continued support and ideas, I greatly appreciate them!

If anyone else has any thoughts, information or suggestions, please feel free to post them, I would greatly appreciate them!

Michelle:pawprint:

heyjude11
November 3rd, 2006, 12:42 AM
I'm almost positive I've seen Feliway in Petsmart (I live in Toronto). There is a lot of info on the internet re Feliway. If they don't carry it at Petsmart perhaps you could call some of the larger pet store chains to see if they carry it.

chico2
November 3rd, 2006, 06:35 AM
Michelle,I know of the frustration you feel:sad:
I too have a neutered male(Rocky)who sprays and has for many years.
He's now 11yrs old,other than on meds for hyperthyroidism(recently diagnosed),there is nothing wrong with him.
I too had him on calming meds for a whlie,but stopped after I noticed no improvement.
Since he is on meds for his thyroids,things have improved somewhat,but not totally.
My cats go outside supervised for a while every day and smell different smells,but if Rocky sees a strange cat outside through the window he'll start spraying his regular spots.
There is no stress in the relationships between my 3 cats and I love Rocky very much,he is a laidback big sweet tabby and getting rid of him would never be an option.
I bought a"black light"to find out where he is spraying(usually the same spots),use Natures Miracle to clean up and get rid of any smell.
We also keep him out of the livingroom,the only room that is carpeted..
With Rocky it comes and goes,sometimes he'll spray for,what seems to be,no reason.He too knows he's doing something wrong by the tone of my voice,but it does not seem to be a deterrent.
I have 2 BIG Rubbermaid boxes with higher sides,since I have 3 big cats..
Spraying is a problem,one I have been trying to solve for years,we even took out all the carpeting and replaced it with laminate floors on top of the old hardwood,since laminate does not stain the way hardwood does.
So for now,all I can do is clean up the pee with Natures Miracle and hope he'll stop this behaviour one day.:sad:
Sorry I could not offer any help..

michellew
November 4th, 2006, 01:16 PM
Hello everyone!
Thanks for all of the support so far and I look forward to hearing from any other people too!

heyjude - I will definitely check petsmart next time I am there... I just want to make sure that it won't affect the other cats... perhaps if I do find it I'll ask my vet if it's ok

chico - I bought the black light as well about a week ago along with some other spray that it came with... he is also going in the same areas but the good news is if he does pick new ones i'll be able to find them now! Anyways, just keeping up on the cleaning does seem to make the situation a little better but he's not stopping...
It seems like we basically have the same situation. Shadow (my cat) is also a tabby and he is also allowed outside (he doesn't go every day but I do let him out on a leash in the backyard every so often) and has no problem with anything outside. He does start spraying randomly sometimes maybe 2 times a day at times then won't spray for the rest of the week or something. Unfortunately though I can't keep him out of the carpeted area because one of his 2 spots in this house that he uses is carpeted but it's the stairwell (why there is only carpet on my stairs I'm not so sure... i guess less slippery?) but either way, we can't really block off the stairs and my house is open concept so i couldn't block off his other spot either because he'd be able to jump in from the kitchen.
Best of luck with Rocky and let me know if you get any new tips or have any good news! :highfive: Thanks again everyone for all of the posts so far!
Michelle

chico2
November 4th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Michelle,if you have not already,get Natures Miracle,it's a great product,removes any odor and even works on carpeting.
I just bought a spraybottle to try it,but I am going to go and buy a big bottle next.The spray was about $12,but the 3L bottle around $30,well worth it!!
I honestly would not bother with any calming meds,they did not work on Rocky.
He is currently on meds for Hyperthyroidism and I am hoping his spraying will lessen once the meds take effect.
Good luck with Shadow and thank's for not"dumping"him as so many others would.