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My poor unhappy boy

October 20th, 2008, 11:11 AM
Hi Guys. I realize I rarely post, so some of you may not remember me. You all have been so helpful in the past, I’ve decided to ask for your insight once again. Sorry this is going to be such a long post – I’m taking a break from work and will just blast away at our story (no time to edit, shorten, etc.)

My Sunny-Boy is a 3-legged rescue cat we got from our local HS about 5 years ago. He’s a wonderful cat and we couldn’t understand how he ever ended up in a shelter. We realized when we first brought him home (he was about 2 at the time) that he used to be an outdoor cat, but we were going to make him an indoor only cat. After a few months, we did cave in to his crying at the door when we were out by getting him a harness and when we were out in the yard, we brought him along. He loved this and all was well.

Unhappy life changes happened and one of the results were that we had to sell our house. We were lucky enough to be able to buy another one in a different neighbourhood, but in order to do this, my DH (dear husband) and I are working very, very hard. DH is trying to totally re-create himself career-wise (a hard thing to do in your late 50’s) and I’ve increased my workload significantly. Sunny has been unhappy ever since the move. Within 6 months of our move he was diagnosed with FLUTD and put on meds, etc. The vet had us change is dry food to “Preventative” vet-chow, but I insisted that we keep our usually wet food (Sunny has always eaten both) which is Merrick. During this treatment, the vet asked if we were willing to take another rescue cat that had been living in his office for about 4 months. We decided that might be a good idea and we adopted our little Salem.

We did everything we were supposed to do to introduce the two cats. Sunny accepts Salem, but they aren’t in love or anything. Oh well. We knew that might happen. Sunny is the alpha cat and Salem seems fine with this - even though Salem is twice Sunny's size (Salem is definitely a “scaredy-cat”). They do play together – but when Sunny is done playing, he will give Salem a swat and a hiss to signal that he is finished (I think Salem could play for hours). Salem is a little doll and the cutest thing you’d ever want to see and our 13 yr old daughter finally has her cuddly love-bug of a cat – but he’s another story.

One big difference from our old neighbourhood to the new one is outdoor cats. There were virtually none in our old neighbourhood (or they never showed up in our yard anyway). Most of our friends who had cats, kept them indoors like we did. Totally different story here. There are dozens of them. So many, that I’ve even given them names (Nasty Tom, Bell-Boy, Lil’ Orange Girl, Smokey, Kinky-Tail, etc….you get the picture). They are driving our poor Sunny Boy nuts.

About 2 months ago, Sunny ended up with another UTI. The vet is positive it’s because of he is stressed out about the other cats in his yard. We had just scraped up enough money to put wooden fencing around our yard and we all hoped this would decrease the number of feline visitors (it seems to have just a bit). Also, when we have time, we will bring Sunny out (sans harness) for some supervised backyard freedom and he seems to love this and usually spends his time marking his territory (he only rubs all over places – he doesn’t spray – he is neutered and Salem is too). He has to be watched constantly, the Three-Legged Super Cat can scale the back fence in a flash (it is a high chain link – we didn’t put the wooden fence there as the neighbours have a great high chain link, and about 4 bird feeders and bird baths – my guys love to watch “cat TV” from their shelf in my office. Plus Sunny is a little cat with only one hip, so he can squeeze under the wooden fence. So supervision is a MUST.

But Sunny doesn’t want to be our indoor kitty-pet anymore. He wants to be an outdoor tough-guy, king of the street cat. He cries at the door constantly and we can’t take him out all the time! We certainly can’t leave him un-supervised and we don’t want to give in to him being an outdoor cat. We’ve increased playing, cuddle-time, put in 2 Feliway plug-ins (boy those things are EXPENSIVE!). We try to bring him outside for a little back-yard time once a day. Sometimes it can only be for 5 minutes.

About 2 weeks ago, DH had him outside and a Meezer (who the heck lets a pure-bred Siamese cat outdoors???) showed up. Sunny was after this cat (who was twice his size) in a flash – under the fence and in the next yard. By the time DH caught up with them, Sunny had the Meezer by the throat (who was in the submit position). DH clapped his hands and Sunny let him go. DH brought Sunny in (hissing and spitting all the way). DH told Sunny he was a great –tough-boy and calmed him down with lots of loving. We never yell at our cats. The most they get is a clap or a slow, drawn out “noooooo” – they usually stop whatever they’re doing when they hear that (except crying at the door….).

Thanksgiving weekend we had a house full of out-of-town guests and I noticed Sunny having trouble urinating (he had looked a bit quiet to me). Sunny is an extremely social cat who LOVES company, so I was keeping my eye on him. I rushed him to our vet before they closed and they took all the samples, etc. and found crystals and blood in his urine again. Gave us meds, spoke to us about his stress level (I still do not believe that company stressed him out – he LOVES company). We all agree that he wants to be an outdoor cat though. Our vet is concerned about Sunny and calls us about how he is doing regularly and called each day of the long weekend as well. At about 11PM on Saturday night, Thanksgiving weekend, I’m getting all my guests settled for the night and my daughter discovers blood in the litter box. So, we rush Sunny to an emergency vet hospital and they did tests, give him a shot of something to help relax his bladder, which was as hard as a rock. They told us to continue with the meds the vet gave us, and that they would fax our vet in the morning. They also said that he is stressed out and after hearing about his history, the vet there said that if he wasn’t a 3-legged cat, he probably advise us to let him be an outdoor cat. Also our vet has made a similar comment – more to the point of if we can’t find a way to make him happy indoors that we will have to come to some decision about how to keep him from making himself sick.

Our vet has suggested that he go on a wet-food only diet. He suggested one of the foods he has (Royal Canine Urine SO) and we so we tried it. Sunny ate it at first, but now just goes over to Salem’s dish and steals his Merrick, so I’ve gone back to feeding him his Merrick. He’s also given us “Kitty Prozac” – Apo-Amitriptyline – One pill per day. But this stuff must taste awful (pills are cut in half) – Sunny has a fit when we give it to him. (froths at the mouth and is obviously upset by these meds). Last night I told my husband that we should just stop giving him these – they seem to be creating MORE stress. He also is just finished up taking Phenoxybenzamine – 1 tablet twice a day – no problem giving him these.

Sunny is breaking my heart. We love him, but we don’t know how to make him happy again. He used to be known as the “Prince” of our old street – watching the street from his perch in the front window. Joining all our parties, BBQ’s, socializing with our friends (he loves men!). When our old friends visit, he has an awful lot to say to them – especially my husband’s friends (Sunny can meow full sentences :p ). He’s a talkative guy, bossy, playful and the supreme ruler of the household. Oh yes – he’s not quite as playful as he used to be – we start playing with him, but he’s usually not interested within a few minutes.

Anyone here have some “been there, done that” advice for us?

I may not be able to respond quickly as my workload is quite heavy, but I will be reading your responses whenever I get a chance!!! Thanks again for your time – and if you’re still reading this far – again, my apologies for such a long post!!!!

October 20th, 2008, 11:48 AM
Oh thank you for rescuing your kitties. Glad to hear your cat is only wet only food, best thing for a kitty with kidney and bladder issues.

Have you had x-rays done to look for stones? What about sub q's to keep him extremely hydrated so he will flush his badder often? You can ever do them at home.

Have you considered a raw diet? or supplement his canned with a raw diet? That is really the best food for your cat, it has tons of water and the raw meat keeps their ph level of their urine between 6.3-6.5.

How many litter boxes to you have? Are they in different rooms?

Any vet that would even think of allowing a house kitty outside free would hear my :2cents: I can tell you. It sounds like you do allow your kitty out be supervised only :thumbs up. I have found with my cats who go outside (not Sweet Pea) and my Snowball :rip:, who was a true manly hunter/fighter, that they come to know a schedule. My cats are let outside at the same time everyday, weekends first thing in the morning, and just before dinner 7 days a week. They come in for dinner, then another run until the sun starts going down. If it is raining, they are still allowed outside to check the weather. There is rarely any exceptions to this schedule and they don't ask to go out at any other times of the day once they have learned it. Maybe this can help with Sunny :pray:.

Please DON'T feel guilty about not allowing him outside, he is not aware of the dangers like you are, and you are his guardian. Just like you wouldn't allow your teen to run around at all hours of the night because she wants to.

Soooooooo is it a good time to ask for pics of Sunny and Salem

October 20th, 2008, 12:29 PM
Tough call. Is there any way you can stake him? I've noticed a couple of my neighbours put their cat on a harness and then attach them outside in a reasonably safe spot, with enough line to explore. If you put him out there for an hour at a time, maybe that would be enough to calm him down.
I would take him off the medication he hates - more stress for you and him.
As for getting rid of the strays, I have no clue, other than making your yard as unattractive as possible. I know you can buy sprinklers which operate on motion detectors so the invading cat (and anyone else) gets a good blast and tend not to come back for more. You couldn't use it when it's excessively cold out.
If you are in an area with bad winters, one good thing is that many of those cats will stay indoors or out of sight.

October 20th, 2008, 01:04 PM
Does Sunny "mark" his territory when he does go outside? Wonder if he is holding his urine hoping he will go outside to spray?

October 20th, 2008, 01:15 PM
Two males and no females? Go get a female. Preferably an older (female) one that can control them. Are they both Neutered?
Don't let any of them outside. It will be hard for you. A male that wants out! He will cry and all that but after a years or so he will respect your wishes and when he does on occasion get out will not run far.

I guess that I am old school but a cat with FLUTD has a dietary problem not stress. It sounds to me like your Vet is telling you what you want to here. And isn't recommending a great diet, although I don't know what a great diet is.

If you are absolutaly In love with your Vet ask for a change in diet and see what he/she sais.

An indoor cat is a happy cat even though they sometimes want to go outside. An indoor cat lives a heck of a lot longer than an outdoor cat.

A big move like you have done and the cats are stressed. Leave them inside all the time. Much less stress.

A male cat with other males outside is about 1000 times more stressful than an indorr cat.

Sorry just my opinion is to not let the cats outside. they will live a lot longer.

October 20th, 2008, 01:18 PM
Two males and no females? Go get a female. Preferably an older one that can control them. Are they both Neutered?
Don't let any of them outside. It will be hard for you. A male that wants out! He will cry and all that but after a years or so he will respect your wishes and when he does on occasion get out will not run far.

I guess that I am old school but a cat with FLUTD has a dietary problem not stress. It sounds to me like your Vet is telling you what you want to here. And isn't recommending a great diet, although I don't know what a great diet is.

Same Vets jsut recomment diets on what the can make money on.

If you are absolutaly In love with your Vet ask for a change in diet and see what he/she sais.

An indoor cat is a happy cat even though they sometimes want to go outside. An indoor cat lives a heck of a lot longer than an outdoor cat.

A big move like you have done and the cats are stressed. Leave them inside all the time. Much less stress.

A male cat with other males outside is about 1000 times more stressful than an indorr cat.

Sorry just my opinion is to not let the cats outside. they will live a lot longer.

ps. my current vet is an *******, he tells it like it is! I'd rATHER HAVE HIN TTHAN ANY OTHER1

October 20th, 2008, 03:30 PM
Hi Guys!

Thanks for the replies!

Love4himes - I really like your schedule idea - I know that my guys are creatures of habit. At our house, our busy schedules vary from day to day, but I think we'll try to work something out between the three of us (may not be perfect at first, but maybe in time, it will be).

We have 2 litterboxes, but they are in the same room. Maybe we should move one to another room. Thanks for that suggestion as well.

Sunny does not spray when he is outside. As a matter of fact, he asks to come in to use the litterbox if we are outside for an extended amount of time. He marks his territory by rubbing. We often see him rubbing an area where he has seen another cat.

Love4himes - What are/is sub q's? Re diet - I'm not sure a raw diet is the right thing for us, but I was reading on another thread about cooking some chicken and freezing cut up bits for treats. I love that idea - both my guys love chicken and turkey and are not fond of dry treats (or any commercial treats for that matter). That with the all wet food diet will hopefully help. Sunny does drink a good amount of fresh water everyday - do you (or anyone) have an opinion on cat fountains? (I don't want to spend the money if folks don't think they are worth it)

Badger - We do stake Sunny with his harness, especially if we are out for a long time (gardening, BBQ's, etc.) but we would never leave him alone. He would not be able to run away if something bad happened (what if Nasty Tom or a racoon, or the neighbourhood hawk went after him -- that hawk caught and killed a kitten on a street near ours in the spring according to a neighbour -- Sunny is a small (but tough :thumbs up ) cat. I agree about the medication -- I don't want him to have any more. Don't think we can afford the fancy watering system you described (but I'm sure my husband would LOVE it). The new fence is helping (Nasty Tom couldn't get in to our yard his usual way and boy did he kick up a fuss! I never heard such screaming from a cat before. He's a very big cat, but I'm sure he will figure out a way to get in eventually - but I hope not!) -- The neighbours countless bird feeders and birdbaths, while providing my guys with continuous entertainment, does attract a lot of cats to our yard on their way to their yard.

Hazmat - I agree with you opinion on indoor cats and don't understand why you would think I wanted to put him outside (i.e. you said that our vet is telling me what I wanted to hear - it's the very LAST thing I want to hear). No matter what, Sunny will remain an indoor cat (with his outdoor supervised visits). And unfortunately, another cat (female or male) is out of the question -- money is tight and we've made our committment to raise our two boy cats to the best of our ability; we can't afford another (no such thing as a free pet). Both our cats are neutered.

Thanks again guys! I knew I could rely on you. Any addition suggestions are very, very welcome!!!

October 21st, 2008, 12:08 AM

Is there some way u could live trap the wandering cats outside and take them in to the shelter? Or if like in our town, cats are no longer allowed to wander, call the animal control? Put paper along the bottom of the windows so Sunny couldn't see the cats outside?

Do u have a cat tree for him to climb up?

We have now 3 cats, 1 - 6 yr old and 2-20 wk old kittens. I have build shelves close to the ceiling in one of the spare rooms, higher than the windows, so the cats can climb up and walk around the ceilings. They love it and it keeps them busy. I also have a couple of cat trees that they climb too.

I don't know if that would help Sunny or not.


October 21st, 2008, 02:00 AM
Have you had a blood test done to check for HyperThyroidism?

Have you had x-rays done to look for stones?

I'm wondering the same thing. There has to be more than crystals unless they are reoccuring at an alarmingly rapid rate.

October 21st, 2008, 07:17 AM

A scheduled outing is perfect for cats, they know when they will be going outside and when they won't be. It really eliminates stress on both us and the cats, lol. It is difficult in the beginning though. It is very important to be 100% consistent.

Raw diet, is exactly that: raw meat, it contains a very high moisture content, whereas cooked meat has had some water evaporated from it. It also gives the kitties perfect ph balance in their urine.

You can buy prepared raw, or make it yourself. I find cats prefer fresh meat that you have prepared yourself. I get mine from a local butcher that saves and freezes chicken backs and beef fat that has been trimmed off roasts which still has a lot of meat still on it (super cheap :thumbs up). I cut the meat off with meat scissors and some chicken back bones with it, put daily portions in small freezer bags and freeze them. I just supplement my kitties with raw, as I don't have the experience to ensure they are getting all their nutrition.

Sub q's are fluids that are inserted by syringe just under the skin at the base of the neck to provide the cat with extra water. It is normally done on sick dehydrated cats or those who are going through kidney failure.

I would try having one litter box in one room and another in a different room. We have three (when there are no fosters in the house) two in the basement and one in our ensuite. I find they like to have their "privacy".

You didn't mention whether you had xrays done. I would spend the money.

October 21st, 2008, 12:21 PM
You asked about a fountain. If you want to try, my mom picked up a cheap water tower($5-$10) from I think pet smart or petvalue (I do remember the price, even if not the store!:D). it is basically a water dish with a square rectangle tower at one end that holds water and gravity refills the dish as the cats empty it. The gurgling noise startled thema bit at first, and Dr. Seuss spent a few days trying to dig the tower out, but now they all like it better than the just plain water dish we also have out. We still have to fill it every day, but ther is a lot more water available if we are gone for long periods of time, and they seem to like the gurgling sound as it refills.

October 21st, 2008, 02:53 PM
I've found that since my guys have been on wet food exclusively they rarely, if at all, drink water on their own. I keep it out for them, anyway, but to make sure they get water, you can just add it to their wet food.

Sounds like you are doing a great thing for your guys and you really care about them, which is great to hear!

I agree that he won't be happier outside - if he's mad at the cats he sees through the window, he'll be worse when he encounters them in the flesh (as you've already witnessed!) I know it's hard when they cry constantly. A schedule is a great idea, or you can just try to distract him when he does it - cats are of course creatures of habit, and eventually they learn a new routine.. it's just a rough couple of days before that happens.

Good luck and keep us posted! (and seriously, give us some pictures of your three legged wonder! :lovestruck:)

October 27th, 2008, 12:07 PM

Sorry I haven't responded earlier - I've was buried under work and life commitments!

Yes - Sunny has recently had X-rays and has had blood tests to determine what is causing this problem. Both his vet and the emergency vet have determined that he is stressed out as he wants to go outdoors. However, that is not an option for us. I wish it was different and that it could easily be "fixed". But, it doesn't look like that is the solution so, we've got to find a way to make my big 'ol boy happy again! It's been just over 2 years since we moved, and he has not been happy ever since that time. Probably too many changes (new house, all the outdoor cats, then the arrival of Salem). Unfortunately, we can't move back to our old house/neighbourhood, we can't control the neighbours and the fact that they put their cats outside (they are mostly pets, as almost all of these cats wear collars) and we would never give our Salem away (he is the happiest rescue cat - whenever anyone asks me about adopting a shelter or rescued cat vs. from a breeder - he's the ultimate example of why you should adopted a rescued cat - I get sheer joy from the obvious fact that Salem loves us - I can only describe him as "sweet, sweet sweet!")

We are going to take some of the great advice we've received here and we'll let you know how it turns out in a few weeks. In the meantime, Sunny is due for his regular annual vet visit (and I'm sure we'll do follow up on everything that has been going on recently), so we'll ask more questions when we are there.

As I mentioned earlier - the toughest thing will be letting him out for daily supervised visits on a regular schedule (our family schedules are anything but regular!!!!) It may take us a little while to get it right, but we are working on it!

In the meantime, here are some pictures of my boys:

First we have my "big 'ol boy" Sunny Boy in all his beautiful glory (he is a beauty) (aka Bossy Boy, Mummy's Boy, Lt. Dan, Sunshine,Boykins)
Next is my cute little (not so little) guy Salem "helping" me work (aka, Meepums, Squeakums, Forrest, Thunder Paws, Little Lover)
And Lastly - the two brothers sleeping on their shelf in my office last winter - it's rare to see the two of them together up there! "Little" Salem is the big one on the right. (he is twice Sunny's size) Salem's main objective in life is to eat all his food like it's his last meal and then steal Sunny's (who is a dainty nibbler) We have to pick up Sunny's food when he's done his little nibble and be try to around when he wants it again - another thing that I am sure causes Sunny more stress!

Jim Hall
October 27th, 2008, 12:16 PM
beautifull cats they are good luck with sunny

my manda girl wants out too but she is getting to realise that the schedule is the scehdule fortunatly she doesnt want to fight the outdoor cats just hang out woth them

October 27th, 2008, 12:21 PM
OK - now that I'm here, I'll give you some more of Sunny (Salem is actually quite camera shy).

First off here is Sunny, the way he usually looks if Salem wants to join him on the cat shelf in my office:
Next - here is Sunny last Christmas..."I know there is a present for me somewhere!"
Lastly, I like this toy! Last look at it before I kill it!

October 27th, 2008, 12:29 PM
And one more - our camera shy, chubby Salem sleeping with my daughter (as you can see - he is one big cat!) My daughter is a very, very tall girl and so you can see how long (and wide :o) Salem is. Good thing he doesn't mind letting Sunny rule the roost! My husband always says that is Salem just sat on Sunny, he'd probably win one of their fights.

By the way, we do have a cat tree in our living room (I believe someone asked this question). The boys will race to see who can get to the top and the winner gets to swat the loser. 95% of the time Sunny wins this race and then enjoys swatting and spitting at Salem (who enjoys trying to grab Sunny's tail). On the rare occasion that Salem wins and makes it to the top first, Sunny just walks away from the game in disgust (poor loser!!!). Salem will usually jump off the cat tree, and then Sunny takes advantage of the situation and jumps on top.

October 27th, 2008, 12:37 PM
Your kitties are gorgeous!:lovestruck: And so sorry to hear about Sunny's stress, I'm not sure if someone suggested this already, but, I have had great success here with hormone diffusers, both with my self-mutilator(chews his skin and fur off) and my stressy gal (hates all the other cats). My brother is also having some success with a diffuser and his guy that has urinary issues and also gets stressed out and ruins all their woodwork. I agree with you and everyone else that he is always always better off staying indoors, too many dangers lurking out there.

Oh and do you ever meow back at him when he's at the door meowing to go out? I know this sounds well :crazy:, but I do that with my 2 former strays, I use my tone of voice as if I was talking telling them they don't really want to go out, only in meows. (Oh ya I'm nuts I know- but sometimes it's almost like they 'get it'.... or get tired of me meowing at them and give up! :rolleyes::laughing:)

:goodvibes: that you find a way to ease his stress and yours! (It's important for you not to stress too, here Fagan is my little stress-o-meter, whenever I start to get stressed over money or whatever, he starts to pull fur off his it's very important that I learn to de-stress myself!)

October 27th, 2008, 12:48 PM
I not sure if I really agree that these issues are caused by him not going outside. You mentioned you moved 2 years ago? Was that to your current home? I suspect there is a cat that ventures into your yard that gets him upset, but I would think that would cause him to spray to mark his territory, not to hold his urnine for extended periods of time.

I would consider adding water to his cat food, or syringing some water daily to keep his kidneys and bladder flushed so the crystals can't get too big.

Have you moved the second litter box? Is one covered and one not so he has a choice?

October 27th, 2008, 12:49 PM
Your kitties are beautiful :cloud9: :lovestruck: :laughing: Sunny rules Salem and Salem is soooo much bigger. Kitties are funny.