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Help me! Or, more likely, save my cat!

May 14th, 2009, 09:13 AM
Dramatic? I guess.

Suffice to say, my cat is a ten year old cat. Who has been an indoor cat her entire life. Ten years. And always had a litterbox.

Litterbox trained from day one

Recently I was having problems with my boyfriend and my father and step mother offered for me to move in with them. My cat, too.

On top of deciding to make my cat a mostly outdoor cat without my permission, although I stated my opinion about her going outside they laughed. They laughed when I said I was afraid she might not a) come home or b) get hurt because she's not exactly young and she's only been out on escape escapades before.

About a month ago my step mom was telling me how they trained her cat, Sumo, to go to the bathroom outside and no litterbox.

That's good, for him. Really. He was raised doing that. Kudos. She basically said that was her plan for my cat. I told her I didn't think it was a good idea. In fact, I may have used the phrase stupid. She was raised, for ten years, with a litterbox. My stepmom responded with 'she'll have to, otherwise she goes'

Last week my stepmom came up to me and said her and dad made a decision to take away my cat's litterbox. They made the decision. I didn't say anything. They weren't asking an opinion. I had said a month previously I thought it was a stupid idea.

So now, today, she went in the house. Obviously I cleaned it. But I'm mad.

Stepmother is still asleep.

I told her it was an idiotic idea to take away the litterbox. She was still using it. That's generally a good sign, no?

She's never, ever, in her entire ten years of life messed in the house. Not even when she was a kitten. She doesn't scratch at furniture, or curtains. She doesn't bite or yowl. And she's never, ever messed. Ever!

So now, my stepmom will try and take my cat away. Put her in an SPCA or something.

What can I do to show her it wasn't a good idea and its THEIR fault she messed?

May 14th, 2009, 09:21 AM
Oh boy! This is a tuff one. Without being too nosey, can you tell me how old you are as this may make a difference with the approach that you may need to take. You sound like a smart young person but since you are living with your dad and stepmom - things can be dicey as to how you need to 'convince' them.

Let's start with your age, and then we can take it from there.

May 14th, 2009, 09:26 AM
3 questions:

1 - How old are you?
2 - Are you buying the litter?
3 - You would of course keep the litterbox perfectly clean so that it never smells right?

Personally taking away a litterbox that a cat has used for 10 years seems like a REALLY bad idea.

May 14th, 2009, 09:34 AM
3 questions:

1 - How old are you?
2 - Are you buying the litter?
3 - You would of course keep the litterbox perfectly clean so that it never smells right?

Personally taking away a litterbox that a cat has used for 10 years seems like a REALLY bad idea.

Your last comment is absolutely correct - it is setting this cat up for failure and may also result in a medical condition due to this cat trying to retain.

Something tells me that it is the cat that is not wanted and this will be the excuse to get rid of the cat.

May 14th, 2009, 09:52 AM
First of all, I'm 20. I've had the cat since I was ten, obviously. Easy math there. I can honestly tell you she's the most well behaved cat I've ever seen.

She's only got one issue that I can think of and that's...she doesn't like to drink water when its on the floor. She won't drink it. It has to be on a counter or a table. I usually put it on my bathroom sink.

Given that I, personally, don't like dirty water... I have no problem with that.

She's always been good at using the litterbox.

I do buy the litter. I even bought the box (So yeah...that's $10 of mine she tossed) I scoop it when I can.

I work seven days a week, I have two jobs, sometimes I don't get home from job #2 til passed midnight. This was induced because my stepmom called me a slacker. Maybe someone can explain that to me, because I'm still lacking an answer for that.

I try to do it every day, it usually winds up being once a week. But I had it in my room, and in my bathroom.

They moved it.

I'd move out, but because when I moved in they said my cab rides were paid for I was taking cabs everywhere (the closest bus stop is an hour away) and now my visa is maxed out from cab rides to and from work. So, all in all, I'm pretty strapped for money.

But I even bought her food. Hell, for the past two weeks we had no cat food because someone wasn't shopping for groceries. So I had to make a midnight catfood trip to the gas station. Every time I offered to get catfood on my way to work the response was 'no no, I'm going grocery shopping tonight'...


May 14th, 2009, 09:59 AM
I'm sorry you're having these issues. Have you in the past gotten along with your stepmom? I ask this because I had the same problem with I was about your age. My dad remarried and at first things were okay, but after a few months, she pretty much brain washed my dad and made my life so miserable I moved out. I wonder if she's trying to get to you through your cat.

Are they complaining about the smell of the litter box? I know you said you have two jobs already, but cleaning the box daily is really the only way to keep the odor down.

I'm guessing you don't have anyone else who you can stay with for a while until you get back on your feet.

May 14th, 2009, 10:00 AM
Pixiequeen it sounds like you have a lot to deal with.

First off you really need to get better at cleaning the litterbox! It will be best for your kitty! Do you think thats another possible reason they want the cat to go outside? the smell maybe?

Its tough when you have to live under someone elses roof! It sounds like to me that you need to get yourself out of that situation or at the very least rehome your cat? Its probably not the answer you were looking for but I have to be honest. Your stuck between a rock and a hard place!

To help you with the cat food I was thinking you obviously have access to the internet so what about ordering it online and have it shipped to your house! save you the cab fare into town and the aggrivation that goes along with it.

May 14th, 2009, 10:01 AM
And what do you think their response would be if you said, "Thanks for helping me while I need it but, she's my cat, and when it comes to her, I make the decisions. I will buy her food, I will clean out her litter daily, she stays indoors, and none of that is negotiable" ?

May 14th, 2009, 10:14 AM
^ They'll laugh.

Since I've moved in, I've been the maid, To the point where my dad noticed and called me Cinderella, but he won't do anything about it.

And, basically, this is the most I've seen of my dad my whole life. Parents divorced when I was a year old. My mom is a pill addict. He and this woman have been together for six years. I met her a week before I moved in. It was her offer.

I had reservations. I didn't want to...but I didn't have much choice. And now my cat is suffering because of it.

I'm emailing the SPCA my cat's picture and an explanation in case my step mom tries to drop my cat off. I had an appointment today but...I think I have to cancel it. Which will probably cost more money.

No, I technically don't have anywhere to go. Not if I wanna keep my job, anyway.

May 14th, 2009, 10:18 AM
I think of my daughter and how she manipulates me when she can....she will always prepare me for a discussion. She knows I am more flexible so she gently voices her concern with me..she is delicate, sweet yet emotional when she approaches something that I may object to. I know what she is doing - but she can melt the hardest of hearts. She prepares her arguement, probably looks in the mirror in preparation and then brings her facts in the most intelligent manner. She does not always get her way - but if it is done in a certain manner without pointing fingers, using foul or disrespectful language or gesture - I will ponder and take all points into consideration.

I say approach the most flexible one and see what happens using a very calming technique in doing so.

May 14th, 2009, 10:31 AM
To me this sounds like a problem that is exclusively between you and your family, I'm not sure it has anything at all to do with your cat. Because of this, it's really hard to make better suggestions.

I asked your age only to know if you could afford to buy cat litter.

If you buy and clean the litter what's the problem? If it smells then THAT's likely the problem. Just guessing here....but I too would not want my house to smell of a dirty cat box. When you lived with the cat before this maybe you just got used to the smell. But your dad and stepmom are probably not used to the smell at all and it is a strong smell. Straight up, scooping once a week is not enough. Even though you have 2 jobs it only takes 60 seconds to scoop out daily. The litter must also be totally changed once a week. If I'm off base here, feel free to tell me.

At the end of the day though I think you want everyone to get along with the cat. IF the smell is the problem and you follow this guideline, your problem should be greatly diminished.
Hope that helps

May 14th, 2009, 10:55 AM
No one has mentioned anything to me about the smell. So if that IS the problem then obviously other measures could've been conducted in a mature manner.

May 14th, 2009, 11:19 AM
You're ina tough position.
Do you have a freind who may look after your cat until you get back up on your feet. It may be hard at first, but you can visit. This would be better than having her at the SPCA.

May 14th, 2009, 11:23 AM
Given what you've written thus far, to me, the smell seems like the most logical issue.

I'd sit down and try to have a calm heart to heart with them and ask them straight out if it is the smell... If it is...then it falls on you (for the sake of your cat, because this cat needs its litterbox imo) to be more diligent about cleaning the litter-box.

The only OTHER idea i have is that the cat might be tracking litter all around the house (and dirty litter at that). In this case a rubber mat in front of the cat box might help.
Again I think a heart to heart is in order. Hope that helps - Marko

May 14th, 2009, 01:15 PM
What type of litter do you use? I've found that anything with the silica base, like the arm and hammer clumping stuff, has a strong perfume smell to it, and in my opinion, is some of the worst litter for tracking everywhere. Also, it can cause irritation and dust. However, the least tracking stuff we've ever used is the recycled newspaper brand. You scoop out the poop, and then mix it every day or two in order for the pee smell to be absorbed better. Then fully change it out every week to two weeks, depending on how big your litter box is. Also, you can buy enclosed litter boxes as well, to reduce the unsightliness of an open one, and it helps reduce the smell.

As for the family dynamics, as painful as it is, you need to sit them both down and hash this out. If it's not the smell, and it's not the tracking, you need to get to the bottom of why there's such an issue, and be specific with your questions. Another question, do both the cats have their shots? Because if they don't, they shouldn't be outside, and it can be dangerous for them if they're not vaccinated. Where were you living when the cat was growing up? I'm assuming because of all these rules, it wasn't with your dad and stepmom. Otherwise I'd be asking why it's a problem now when it wasn't before. Regardless, I think you just need to explain to them that it was hurtful for them to take away the litterbox when you are so against it, and that you'd appreciate it if you guys could sit down and talk about it instead of them just making decisions about the well being of your pet without talking to you first. Maybe there's a compromise that can be made, but prepare yourself for the fact that maybe there isn't, and you need to try and think of a better option, even if it means finding your own place, a couple roommates, and moving out.

May 14th, 2009, 01:16 PM

..Apparently now the litterbox is a non issue because my stepmom found a kitten last night in a parking lot (poor guy) and brought him home. He's...maybe a week or two weeks old. cat is really territorial. So its like...the wild kingdom over here. She's not attacking the poor thing, but she's growling like a demonic possession and hissing like a lion. I've had my door closed off and on. With me and her in it.

My poor cat is so stressed :sad: Between her litterbox and now this?! I'd be quacking...

And my cat was socialized as a kitten. She was raised with another in her litter but he was hit by a car when they were a year old. Since then it was just her. And then, in the last four years, there was a dog named Mack. A really biiiig dog at that.

And now of course, here is Sumo. But a large difference was she was going into Sumo's territory...this kitten is coming into hers.

May 14th, 2009, 09:09 PM
What about if you got a different kind of litterbox? self cleaning would they go for that? Or else ask if you can have a longer training period, maybe we need to try compromises.. Like say you will gradualy start moving the box toward the door? then into a porch if you have one, or basement or something? Do you think you could work a compromise? Or what about a trade? You keep your cat the way you want and in exchange do something they really need done regularly, what about confining the cat to the level of the house you are on? Just trying to think of ways to let the cat stay long enough until you are ready to go again. If they MAKE the cat leave do you have someone it can stay with until you move out instead of the spca?

May 15th, 2009, 11:49 AM
Wow PixieQueen that's a tough spot. I don't think it's the litter. Yes, you could scoop more often but it's not the litter or your cat. It's interpersonal dynamics. I had a friend in a very similar situation. Stepmom said "C'mon, you're finished school, and you're looking for work and transitioning. Move in with your dad and me".

Friend expressed concern about her cat, pretty much stating that she couldn't leave her cat behind. She's had this cat all through undergraduate. Stepmom says, no problem, bring cat. Then she packs up and moves in. Cat and girl are in basement. Far from everyone. Then it becomes an issue of "I put a roof over your head, pull your weight". But she was already pulling her weight, and to avoid conflict, took on more. She was working 50+ hour weeks, cleaning house and started an art class.

She still doesn't know what the problem was. She scooped and kept kitty confined to the basement (it was a HUGE basement) with lots of toys etc. Stayed out of the parents way, but all hell still broke loose, with the parents demanding that this cat was soiling the place, stinking up the house and that it had to go. Parents actually listed the cat on Kijiji and our other friend saw the cat and wondered by Friend was getting rid of her. Calls up Friend who just about had a heart attack. She moved out the same night and bunked with others.

Now, it looks like you are in a rock and a hard place. Maybe you could give a family meeting another shot. Just lay out the facts with some research. Explain again that your cat is strictly an indoor cat and that she has been trained for the last 10 years to use the litter box. When they remove it, it leaves her open for emotional distress as well as physical manifestations and illness due to her trying to not go to the bathroom on the floor. You could also offer to keep her confined to your bedroom while you are out and only have her out when you are home and in the room with her. Explain also that when you buy products for her and they throw it out, it stretches your already thin resources and you loose money. Finally wrap it up and affirm how grateful you are that they took you in (validation), and stress that your kitty has been a stable part of your upbringing for the last 10 years, that you are committed to her and that you want her to continue being a stable part of your life as your complete your transition etc.

Also, I think its good to talk to the SPCA yourself. Go in and talk to them. That way when you are at work and they dare to bring your cat in, the SPCA will know your story, recognize your cat and contact you.

At this point, you are at their mercy....and I don't know what your other options are. My friend moved out in the end, and normally I would suggest asking "Am I the problem. Are you not content with me living with you temporarily? Because I'm working really hard to be self sufficient, but I just need a little help and a little more time"...but to be honest, On your behalf, I'm afraid of the response from them and I get the impression that moving out is just not an option for you.

Please keep us updated... :grouphug: