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Old January 15th, 2009, 09:51 PM
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Unhappy What to do - grin and bare it or give him away? Long standing problem with urniation

I'm not sure what to do. I have two cats that my husband and I rescued over 8 years ago. And while I love both of them very much, we have been having a long standing problem with the male cat. Ford (thats his name)has a bad behavorial habit of urinating outside the litter box.

He pees on our leather couch (which is ruined now, even though I've cleaned it with special enzyme solutions, every time you sit down - and its our only couch- you get a poof of cat pee smell), even our spare bed. We've had to resort to putting tarps over the furniture to stop him from urinating on them when we leave for any length of time. We keep the litter boxes clean, the food and water fresh and have taken him to the vet for medical check ups. Even the vet told us we couldn't live like that, and that was a few years ago!

We play with him all the time and still he continues to pee. We are at are wits end and seriously considering taking him to the pound or finding him a farm - but hes an older (8yrs) black cat. We feel terrible but what else can we do ? Any advice? Thank you in advance for your support.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 10:21 PM
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Yikes, that's a long time for this to be going on. How many litter boxes (covered or not?) do you have and where in the house are they? What kind of litter do you use? There are a number of reasons cats stop using the litter box and it always means that something isn't right in their world, whether that be medical or psychological. You've ruled out the medical possibilities, so now it's time to look at what else there is. If there is only one litter box, you need to add at least one more, if not 2. Put them in different parts of the house. Try different litters. If the box is covered, try one that isn't.

How do the 2 cats get along? Any tension that you've noticed?

You should also try to find a product called Feliway. It's a synthetic pheromone that mimics the "happy" scent that cats rub on things with their cheeks. Makes them feel at ease and can help if there are stress or territorial reasons for the peeing. Comes in a spray and a room diffuser. I suggest getting both.

Here are some links for you to read regarding inappropriate elimination:
http://www.catinfo.org/litterbox.htm
http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/inappro-elim.html
http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/inappro-elim2.html
http://www.hdw-inc.com/litterbox.htm

Please don't take him to the pound. It would be a death sentence for him and it would be kinder of you to just euthanize him yourself and be there for him while he dies, instead of alone and under traumatic circumstances. But there are still options, so lets see if we can figure something out.

Oh ya, just want to make sure - he is neutered, right?
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Old January 15th, 2009, 10:52 PM
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Re: Urination problem, answer to questions

Thanks Sugarcatmom, let me answer your questions one by one.

1) I have a total of 3 litter boxes in our tiny appartment. One is outside, and two are in the spare bedroom. The one outside is uncovered and the inside ones are covered. They are the largest ones I could find as my cats are really really big. Hubby prefers that they are covered. Although I am willing to try uncovered to save our kitty family.

2) Used to use World's Best Cat litter (corn based) but it was terrible to track everywhere, and really mucked up the balcony (he's a digger and litter flies everywhere). Currently using Dr. Elsey's Senior cat litter as we were having a problem with stool clinging to Ford's rear. This was the recommendation from the vet. Scarlet transitioned very well, but it too time for Ford to 'accept it' for pooping in. I'm not sure that I really like it as I can't clean out the urine, so I may try the pine that everyone has been talking about. I used to use that a very long time ago when I first got my two darlings.

3) Scarlet (the female) and Ford get along very well. He's the dominant cat and they fight, but more often than not very lovey dovey with each other. We often find them curled up together. He's really a sweetheart when he wants to be. But he's also a skiddish kind of cat, if you walk the wrong way or too fast, he freaks out and hides. You can't pick him up and the once a year bath is a nightmare experience as is clipping his claws. Get the picture!?! Scarlet is the exact opposite - a very easy going cat. Much more domesticated then our wild and feral Ford. I do worry about her psychological heath if we were to find him a new home, she'd be lonely and sad for sure.

4) Yes, he is neutered. He used to be able to go out and roam, but after condo construction he can't get down. I believe that is when the problems really started about 5 years ago.

So the dilemma continues. I'm making another appointment with the vet to make sure everything is okay medically before we make any final and devistating decisions. I don't want to take him to the pound, I'd rather find a home for him on a farm, he used to be a real mouser!

Thanks again for your input.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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4) Yes, he is neutered. He used to be able to go out and roam, but after condo construction he can't get down. I believe that is when the problems really started about 5 years ago.
If Jasper doesn't get outside to spray his territory when the stray kitty comes into our yard (I call him Mr C Tabby, tried to trap but have not been successful ), then he will spray our leather couches. I am not suggesting that you allow your kitty to go free, but perhaps if all medical reasons are ruled out for his urinating, then perhaps you could walk him outside so he can leave his scent outside.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Take him for walkies

This is a longstanding problem with "Ford" that started when he could no longer go outside. My suggestion is to get a harness, let him get used to it in the apt. When you decide he's accepting of the harness, make sure it's snug on him, and take him outside. It's not that he doesn't know how to use the litter box, he does occasionally, but he wants to go outside. Let him guide you where he wants to walk. Since he's high strung & skitterish, take a towel with you to wrap him up if he throws a tantrum if you're trying to get him back to apt. Perhaps with 2 short walks a day, this will relieve his frustration, and hopefully he will be content to use the litter box. At times when you're away for any length of time, confine him to a medium dog-size crate with litter box, or the bathroom. Worth a try.

http://cats.about.com/cs/behaviorali...leashtrain.htm
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Old January 16th, 2009, 04:19 PM
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Your problem sounds all too familiar. We have 2 cats as well, a male and a female. Our male has had urinary issues most of his life (1 bout of FLUTD and ongoing inappropriate urination). The last year has been the worst. He prefers to pee on clothing though (easier to clean than furiture, lol). This past summer he peed on both of the beds in the spare room (although I think my friends' little girl may have peed the bed before Angus decided to add his own pee to the mix and then he got locked in there all day accidentally and relieved himself on the second mattress ).

Anyways, our approach has been:

1) To eliminate all previous urine scents that might attract him to urinate in the same spot again. We got rid of the mattresses, replaced them with new ones and put mattress protectors on, so far so good. Since Ford has urinated on your bed many times, perhaps getting a new mattress might be in order (expensive, I know, but getting the scent of his urine out of the house is important. And purchase a good mattress protector (we got Protect-a-Bed covers) that is water proof.

2) Any clothing that has been urinated on has been soaked in enzyme stuff and triple washed with white vinegar. I've even went so far as to throw some clothes out that don't seem to lose the faint smell of his pee. We've also learned not to leave clothes lying around. I bought a hamper with a nice solid lid and we keep the closet door closed at all times.

3) Feliway diffusers and spray. Our vet recommed that we spray a collar down with Feliway and put it on him so that the calming aromas are around him all the time. It seems to make a difference and is way cheaper than putting diffusers all over the house.

4) Since his problem is definitely behavioural or idiopathic cystitis (recurrence of FLUTD has been ruled out several times), we switched the cats to exclusively canned food. Again, it seems to have helped.


I think our best move was to get rid of things that he's peed on, even the faintest odour that we couldn't smell, he defintely could and would pee in the same places over and over. Unfortunately, your Ford has been peeing on some big ticket items in your apartment that aren't as easily replaced. Could you get rid of your couch and replace it with a used one until you get his issues under control? Maybe having an environment free of his own urine scent will help him? Believe me, no matter how well you try to clean furniture or mattresses, the smell is still there and cats will always pee where the smell of urine is, guaranteed.

I think the key is diet and environment.

Goodluck!!
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Old January 17th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by catlover2 View Post
My suggestion is to get a harness, let him get used to it in the apt.

http://cats.about.com/cs/behaviorali...leashtrain.htm
Funny thing is, a number of years ago I bought a harness and attempted to get him into it, as that was a miracle in and of itself - but once leashed he went crazy, flipping around everywhere mewling like he was in pain (but mostly scared). I had even let him walk around with just the harness on prior to leashing him and he ran round and round crying - poor guy, it tramatized him way too much.

Last edited by Aniroc; January 17th, 2009 at 11:47 AM.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 10:50 PM
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Wow, tough one. Does he pee in front of you or only when you're not watching? Does he pee on the floor or just on the furniture?

Does he ever pee in the litterboxes? Have you tried changing their location or the type of litter?

Feliway is a great idea. You never know what's going on in their little brains.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 10:58 PM
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Wow, tough one. Does he pee in front of you or only when you're not watching? Does he pee on the floor or just on the furniture?

Does he ever pee in the litterboxes? Have you tried changing their location or the type of litter?

Feliway is a great idea. You never know what's going on in their little brains.
Actually I use the Feliway products all the time, I have the diffuser and spray. Hubby caught him peeing on the bed today, he just looked up and stared as he finished his business. So far, its only been on furniture - our lone couch and the bed. Sometimes he pees in the litter box, other times he doesn't. When we go to work, we use tinfoil agains thte creases on the couch and when we go away for a weekend, we tarp EVERYTHING.

I can't really change the location of the litter boxes as our apartment is really small and tight, and I've put them where I can. This has been very frustrating and heart wrenching. We've talked at length about what to do, and we keep giving him more time and more love and more energy...
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Old January 15th, 2009, 11:06 PM
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There is a product called Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract that you can add to the litter, have you ever tried it? It does sound like this may be a stress related issue though. I'm not usually one to recommend drugs but there are some available which you may want to ask the vet about. Good luck at the vet and let us know if they find anything.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 11:11 PM
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The litter I'm using has Cat Attract embeded in it, but I know there is a separate product you can buy. I could try that as well.

I had thought about asking the vet for an antianxiety medication for him to see if that would help him. It would have to be in shot form as he does not take pills at all. The vet tried to give him a steroid pill once (for a URTI) and he told me not to try, he's just not one of those kind of cats. I can give shots no problem, and the vet has showed me before how to give them (and I have lots of experiencing giving shots to humans)
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Old January 15th, 2009, 11:14 PM
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Going to call the vet first thing tomorrow morning for an appointment, and I'll let you all know how it turned out. I'm really crossing my fingers and holding my breath. Already getting teary thinking that if I won't be able to find him a home I may have to euthanize him....
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Old January 15th, 2009, 11:32 PM
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The litter I'm using has Cat Attract embeded in it, but I know there is a separate product you can buy.
Ah, okay. Well my suggestions at this point would be to try the boxes without their covers, maybe try a different cat litter (offer a "buffet" of a different kind in each box) and see what the vet has to say.

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It would have to be in shot form as he does not take pills at all.
I know what that's like. I would way rather give my guy a shot than a pill any day! Are Pill Pockets an option? Or if the meds aren't terrible tasting, perhaps they can be mixed into some wet food. I'm getting ahead of myself here, but that makes me think of one last thing: what do your cats eat? Diet plays a huge role in the overall health and even mental well-being of cats and I'm a big proponent of feeding cats species-appropriate wet food (ideally a balanced raw diet). Maybe something as basic as a diet change would be helpful.

Gosh, this must be frustrating and traumatic for your whole family. I really hope you can find a solution. Check out those links and perhaps there will be something useful to go on.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 08:59 AM
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The vet tried to give him a steroid pill once (for a URTI)
For some reason I missed this part before. Do you mean a UTI, as in urinary tract inflammation, or are you referring to an upper respiratory infection? If it was a UTI, that could be a very big clue. In that case, it's of utmost importance that you feed him wet food. This could be a case of cystitis, which might be making it painful for him to pee.

There are a couple of main reasons for cats to pee on things like couches or beds or clothing. One is because their owner's scent is concentrated there, which is comforting to the cat when they're feeling lousy. The other reason is that this scent, even after washing, still has a bit of an ammonia base to it, which can instigate some cats into marking over top of it. I would be more inclined to think this is a comfort thing for your cat rather than a marking thing. Definitely get a urinalysis done.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 05:42 PM
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Okay, here is the update on yesterday's visit to the vet.

First, was the experiencing of cornering Ford to pick him up and drop him into the towel lined crate, poor guy didn't like that too much! He cried and cried as we carried him down to the car, peeing in response to his fear. I just kept talking to him, hoping to calm him down.

We go to Allondale Animal Hospital. The staff and Vets there are phenomenal, I've always been so touched how they go the extra mile. They really take the time to listen and are always genuine in our discussions and suggestions. Its more than a business to them there, you know they care and I really appreciate it. Dr. Searle was wonderful with us and Ford.

She performed a full examination and after a thourough discussion about signs and symptoms along with her observations, she doubted there was any medical issues. However, on my request she did take blood and I am to obtain a urine specimen using a no-absorb litter.

As I suspected (as some of you) the problem seems to be behavorial. We had a long discussion about environments, cat behavior, diet and of course litters. One interesting thing she said was that Ford might be stressed out from being the dominant cat and may need to be relieved from those duties. We decided to try clomicalm, an oral antianxiety medication that I tried with some pill pockets she gave us. Thankfully, Ford took to the hidden medication with no problems (a few hours after we got home), what a relief! No needles or pill rockets required! I really appreciated Dr. Searle advising that Ford may not need to remain on the medication forever, that eventually he could be weaned off. She wants us to report back in two weeks and advised that if he didn't take the medications we'd get a refund.

When we talked about diet needs, she agreed like many of you, that kibble isn't natural and that a more natural diet could help. She didn't try to upsell us on any of the brands they sell at the hospital but suggested we try to find a brand the cats like and to slowly transition them.

After the vet, I stopped by the local pet store to find some more natural food and to look at the litters. At $1.99 a can (ouch!) I purchased a few cans of Go! Natural, grain free wet cat food. Ford and Scarlet really took to the Fresh Water Trout flavor, but I'll head to the big box store next week to check out some ingrediants and brands. I'm feeling really hopefull!

Also, while at the store I came across a new litter I'm excited to try in one of our 3 boxes. Its called Hygenicat, and its all natural, super absorbant and lightweight - made out of lava rock particles. I've read the reviews and it all seems positive, so I'm including a YouTube clip for you all to check out too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q48JbjGd6RY

I have given Ford his second pill today, an while I know I shouldn't expect to see any results right away (these things take awhile for a positive effect) he seems a bit recluse today. I think he's still upset with me for putting him in the crate. He won't purr when I pet him and he turns his body away from me. I'm sure he'll get over it, I just hope its sooner than later. Scarlet, we'll she's her cute lil self as usual. I'm including a few pictures of our cats below. Ford is the all black cat and Scarlet is the furry white and black lioness They are always so lovely dovey with each other.

I'll keep you all updated on how things go and the results of the lab tests.

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Last edited by Aniroc; January 18th, 2009 at 05:49 PM.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Awww they are beautiful, Ford sure loves his Scarlett.

I wonder if Ford is like my Jasper. He loves his girls and I think he marks his territory inside in part because of them.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 05:55 PM
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Awww they are beautiful, Ford sure loves his Scarlett.

I wonder if Ford is like my Jasper. He loves his girls and I think he marks his territory inside in part because of them.
I thought about that too, but who knows...and yes, they love each other very much. Often we find them curled up together, or licking each other or chasing one another, lol. I can't imagine life without either of them! I made a scrap book just of them too, so cute!
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Old January 18th, 2009, 06:36 PM
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Your vet sounds like a great person. I'm so glad she agreed with changing his diet and didn't give you a hard time. I don't know about the pricing where you live, but Wellness makes a grain free that many members here feed their cats. I've been feeding mine Innova, Merrick and Evanger. Yes they are all a bit pricey, but in the long run it's so much better for them than dry.

Ford and Scarlett are just lovely. I love those pictures of them together.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 06:48 PM
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[QUOTE=ancientgirl;733857]Your vet sounds like a great person. [QUOTE]

Dr. Searle and Dr. O'Grady, really are wonderful. When I took Ford in because of his constant wheezing, we decided that xrays were needed. Ford was a difficult client, and they had to take numerous xrays before they could get a clear picture. Even though many films were taken, they only charged me for one. This is the kind of vetrinary office that is more concerned with the client then their bottom dollar. I have nothing but good things to say about them.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 08:32 PM
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Thanks for the update, and for showing us just how cute your 2 kitties are. Sounds like you have a good plan worked out (and a great vet!). I look forward to hearing how Ford does over the next while.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 08:59 PM
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just reading all of this now and I just couldnt wait to say something!! I am glad that your kitty seems healthy though!

I have had many many many cats in the past, and foster mom cats and kittens often, have a mother and babies now.. So I have seen this problem before, YAY for you for sticking through it this long, I have been the recipient of many people not sticking it out like you!

I am glad you will change the food, I wanted to say that after I read your first post, neutered males and grocery store kibble... not a good combination! A good canned all meat food is what he should have.

Also I think it is behavioral, I had a cat once that never wanted to use the litter box again after the washing machine went into spin cycle when he was in the box, lucky I was there and saw so I could connect the dots, If I had not seen it I would have never known why he refused to go in there. Something like this could have scared your kitty at some point when you were not around and now associates the litter box with this traumatic event. I would try some positive reniforcement with the litter box and maybe research online some other desensitizing training methods, I really really hope that something works for you and your kitty GOOD LUCK!!
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Old January 19th, 2009, 07:13 AM
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Aniroc,Scarlet and Ford are beautiful and sooo cute cuddling together.
The dominant issue seems a really valid one and Iit will improve with the meds
Having a good vet,who really digs in to the problem and one you can trust is certainly more than half the battle.

Is it at all possible Ford sees other cats outside,if he has access to a window??
A strange cat would really get my Rocky going,protecting his home,even if the strange cat is outside and Rocky safely inside.

My new vet,also does not question my choice of food for my 3 guys,any vet must know,that kibbles is not what neutered male kitties should eat.
Mine are doing great on Wellness no grain,but I also have Eagle Pack,Innova Evo I will try.
Hubby grumbled at first about the cost,but it has eased off
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Last edited by chico2; January 19th, 2009 at 04:18 PM.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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About the Feli-Way,it was taken off store-shelves here and I was told it was not FDA approved,that happened just as I was starting to see positive results
Pet Value,Pet Smart were selling another brand but it did not have the same effect.
Now I get 4 Feli-Way refills every 2 months off E-Bay,at a good price.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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Update on Ford and Clomicalm

Okay, so its day 4 for Ford and his new medical regime. So far, I think Ford has been a little doe-eyed from the medication, he's not quite himself but today I think he's coming around. I was a bit worried that maybe the medication doped him out, but I wanted to wait as long as possible to ensure that the medication is working through his system instead of asking the vet to reevaulate the dosage - I know these things can take a little while to work.

But I have noticed positive changes already - such as he doesn't freak out when I walk by him. On the downside, he won't cuddle or come around for pets yet, but he could still be getting over the visit to the vet.

For the dietary changes, I'm still offering their traditional kibble but upping the wet food capacity. I've been reading lots about what is appropriate for cats, so finding a wet food choice may be difficult since we humans tend to attribute our needs to cats - such as fruits, veggies and other stuff we like and is healthy for us, but not necessary for cats who are obligatory meat eaters. So far, a raw meat diet looks like the best option but I don't think I could switch them just like that. Besides, I need to find somewhere that offers it and see if Ford and Scarlet like it. Baby steps.

The litter situation has been good too, the new litter is working very well so far and I praise Ford every time he uses it offering a few treats after he goes. So far no accidents, but the tinfoil and tarps will remain in place for a while, a few months at least.

Still waiting for the lab results on the blood, and i'm going to get the no-absorb litter this evening.

Thats all for now!
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Old January 20th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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So, he hasn't urinated in 4 days? Is this normal? Let's hope the medication is helping

What new litter/litterbox? are you using? Why do you think no absorb will be better?
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Old January 20th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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So, he hasn't urinated in 4 days? Is this normal? Let's hope the medication is helping

What new litter/litterbox? are you using? Why do you think no absorb will be better?
No, he's urinated..just in the box, like a good kitty boy should! And we praise praise praise when he does...you can tell he's suspcious though..he's like ...well ya, so what?

I mentioned in my previous update that I was to collect a urine specimen with a no-absorb litter, specfically made for that purpose. I'll close him in a room tomorrow to help him along and so Scarlet doesn't use it.

The other litter is a lava rock formulated heavy absorb type that I reviewed and talked to the people at the pet store about. It has some really good reviews and I'm trying to see what type he likes...I have a few on the go, lol. Hope that clears it up Khari
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Old January 20th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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No, he's urinated..just in the box, like a good kitty boy should! And we praise praise praise when he does...you can tell he's suspcious though..he's like ...well ya, so what?
Ooops sorry, I meant urinated outside of the box....
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Old January 20th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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for Ford!! It will take a while for him to get over the vet visit. Hopefully after that he will get back to being his regular lover self.
Great that the litter is working well. Hopefully it will continue to.

Is it possible to not close him in a room tomorrow to use the no absorb? He could possibly misconstrue it as punishment for something and backslide a little.

Good job so far for Ford and you!!
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Old January 20th, 2009, 06:20 PM
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I had Czari on Prozac for about 6 months. The first few weeks she was on it, she was very wary and it did take a while for it to get into her system. I imagine he'll be okay with a few more days. You should check places that sell ready made raw. I know one of the places I buy my gangs food sells Nature's Variety Raw food, and they have small packages that cost around $4. If you can get that then you can see if they will like it and nto pay a lot. But, I can tell you from my own gangs experience, it takes a while. My little guy Maks at first loved it, then stopped eating it. His sister, Kiska, wouldn't touch it, but I put some down not long ago and she dug in.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aniroc View Post
I've been reading lots about what is appropriate for cats, so finding a wet food choice may be difficult since we humans tend to attribute our needs to cats - such as fruits, veggies and other stuff we like and is healthy for us, but not necessary for cats who are obligatory meat eaters.
Ya, that's definitely the case with many pet foods. I know that some of them, like Wellness or Nature's Variety, don't really contain that much of the fruits and veggies because the "as fed" nutritional analysis shows the total carbohydrate content to be quite low.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aniroc View Post
So far, a raw meat diet looks like the best option but I don't think I could switch them just like that. Besides, I need to find somewhere that offers it and see if Ford and Scarlet like it. Baby steps.
Baby steps are good. Do you ever offer them pieces of fresh meat, say some lightly cooked chicken breast? That would be a good way to start gradually introducing them to raw, if you haven't already tried it.

There is a fantastic premade raw food that's made right in Vancouver from a company called Red Dog Deli. The chicken and turkey are complete (includes ground bone) but the venison and buffalo need additional calcium if they're to be used for more than intermittent/supplemental feeding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aniroc View Post
Still waiting for the lab results on the blood, and i'm going to get the no-absorb litter this evening.
That No Sorb stuff is pretty pricey, and they only give you a miniscule amount. You could use clean aquarium gravel instead, if you prefer. I usually just stalk my cat with a shallow jar lid (a ladle or spoon also works) and slide it under his butt after he's started peeing. That wouldn't work so well if you have a shy "pee-er", though.
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