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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, 10:50 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, 10:52 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 15th, 2009, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by badger View Post
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, 11:31 PM
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So, when he pees in front of you, what do you do? This happens with one of my cats from time to time and my reaction has always been to bellow loudly, grab him, and put him in the litterbox. Of course, he's finished by then The fact that Ford is a bit skittish is in your favour, your disapproval will make a deeper impression.

Ask the vet to check the ph of his urine. Maybe it burns or something and he has to go immediately, not necessarily an infection but some kind of imbalance? I'm grasping at straws here.

Don't get weepy just yet. You'd be surprised the number of 'intractable' problems we solve on this board...
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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 15th, 2009, 11:48 PM
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The Pill Pocket is definatly not an option, Ford almost took out the vet when he tried it and which is why shots are probably the best option. If there is another thing I could try...it would be changing their diet. I have to admit that I'm probably not using the best food (a grocery store kibble) but I've been a FT student so the wallet has been a little tight these last few years. But in the end if that means staving off an agonizing death for all of us, I'd rather become a little poorer. Now that I think of it, he really likes his wet food, so it would probably be an easy transition for him. I was reading in some other posts about your recommendations and thoughts about dry vs. wet.

And thanks for the links, I've done research on and off for years about the problems which is why I feel there is not much else I can do - since I have tired most ideas (except the food). But you're suggestions are well thought out and between that and the vet visit, I hope we can find some success...even if its only temporary it will be a reprieve - I've cleaned cat pee on furniture 3 times this week (sneaky guy pushed the tinfoil off) and I had to keep visitors away while the couch was still a stinkbomb.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 11:56 PM
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So, when he pees in front of you, what do you do? This happens with one of my cats from time to time and my reaction has always been to bellow loudly, grab him, and put him in the litterbox. Of course, he's finished by then The fact that Ford is a bit skittish is in your favour, your disapproval will make a deeper impression.

Ask the vet to check the ph of his urine. Maybe it burns or something and he has to go immediately, not necessarily an infection but some kind of imbalance? I'm grasping at straws here.

Don't get weepy just yet. You'd be surprised the number of 'intractable' problems we solve on this board...
Well, I've learned not to yell at him...that just makes him hide from us and he becomes more skiddish. We do talk loudly and he knows were upset, but we don't spray or spank him or rub his nose. He's very apt at reading our reactions and emotions. I know they say cats aren't vindictive, but when we used to get really upset and mad...we'd find that he'd poop in the house and pee even more. So, we do our best with showing our disapproval but not too much. Its very hard - hubby now growls at me instead!

When I take him to the vet, he'll likely pee in the box as I transport him (he'll be upset and frightened, as he hates the box) and I'm sure the vet will take a sample to check for infection and the like. I'm crossing my fingers and really appreciate all of your well wishes and support. Will let you know how it turns out.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 12:49 AM
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I am so sorry u are goin thru this with your kitty. I have a 6 yr old male cat and he has stopped using the litter box for the simplest reasons. One he pooped on the floor cause I had turned the opening in his litter box cover in the other direction. Once I put it back he was fine. The last time, about a week or two ago he peed on the floor right in front of me! I couldn't believe it! He was about six inches away from the litter box too. I went and looked at the box and the bath bench I had over it, wasn't "quite" touching the wall...so he didn't want to go into the box. The bench is over the box and he would have to duck his head another inch to get in it. He still had lots of room but it was different and he did have 3 other boxes he could of used. So I fixed it and he was fine afterwards. My point, all though it be a long winded one, cats can be very fussy if things have been changed one inch.

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Old January 16th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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I am so sorry u are goin thru this with your kitty. I have a 6 yr old male cat and he has stopped using the litter box for the simplest reasons. One he pooped on the floor cause I had turned the opening in his litter box cover in the other direction. Once I put it back he was fine. The last time, about a week or two ago he peed on the floor right in front of me! I couldn't believe it! He was about six inches away from the litter box too. I went and looked at the box and the bath bench I had over it, wasn't "quite" touching the wall...so he didn't want to go into the box. The bench is over the box and he would have to duck his head another inch to get in it. He still had lots of room but it was different and he did have 3 other boxes he could of used. So I fixed it and he was fine afterwards. My point, all though it be a long winded one, cats can be very fussy if things have been changed one inch.

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Old January 16th, 2009, 06:36 AM
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My sister has two male brother cats. The dominant male has done this for years.....he started doing this when she moved back home with her cats and my parents had cats in their house in the past. The scent of the former cats made him crazy we think My sister has found that he will pee on her stuff when she hasn't been around or hasn't given him much attention??? Could you close your bedroom door when you go to work? She has tried many things as well but one thing she won't do is take him to the pound....it is behavioural and this is not his fault. Some cats are more dominant then others. He is kind of a loner cat as well....not skiddish....just a loner! So, his outcome would definately be put to sleep and so this is not an option for her.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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The Pill Pocket is definatly not an option, Ford almost took out the vet when he tried it and which is why shots are probably the best option.
You might be thinking of a pill gun. Greenies makes a moist treat called a Pill Pocket that you can wrap around the pill and hopefully the cat likes it enough to eat pill and all. Doesn't work so great for cats that chew their food though . Couple other options, just so you know that they're out there, are having meds compounded into either a transdermal gel that you rub on the insides of ears, or a flavoured chewable treat or paste. Only mentioning those in case it does come to trying an anti-anxiety drug and it isn't available as an injectable.

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If there is another thing I could try...it would be changing their diet. I have to admit that I'm probably not using the best food (a grocery store kibble) but I've been a FT student so the wallet has been a little tight these last few years.
It's worth trying, if possible. I totally understand how finances can be an issue and you can't get blood from a stone, so to speak. Not sure how you (or your cats) would feel about a raw diet, but this can sometimes be the cheapest option, even more so than kibble. Just takes more time to sort out.

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And thanks for the links, I've done research on and off for years about the problems which is why I feel there is not much else I can do -
It certainly looks like you've covered all the bases. I'm glad to hear you're not yelling at him when he does this as it would only make his own stress worse, and I really think that's a big part of his issue. My one other last ditch suggestion would be to talk to a holistic vet, but this could be quite pricey. Another member on here, growler, also lives in Vancouver and takes her cat to one which she loves. Sometimes they have other treatment modalities in their repertoire that can be very useful, plus they tend to look at the whole animal, not just the ailment.

Good luck!
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Old January 16th, 2009, 06:53 AM
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Good advice about the holistic vet Sugarcatmom.....I was going to recommend a holistic vet or homeopathy. Homeopathy focuses on the one problem (my holistic vet recommended homeopathy for my cat with stress issues because this may be a problem leading to her constipation issues)
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Old January 16th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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have you tried using get off spray on ur carpets and areas u do not want him to pee?? You can get sprays which smell quite nice too. things like egg shells, & citrus rind are supposed to stop them going in un wanted areas, however this would be difficult in your situation as i am sure you dont want to sit on egg shells! Do you work full time?
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Old January 16th, 2009, 07:19 AM
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Oh no, poor you. I understand your frustration with cats peeing on your furniture, Jasper does this, not as often as your kitty though, only when there is a male stray in the area.

Have you noticed any cats wondering around outside? Could they be un-neutered males? If so, he maybe marking his territory???

I am surprised your vet has not recommended the transdermal gel. I use some on Sweet Pea for her aggression against Puddles as she is IMPOSSIBLE to pill, and is very easy to do. I am currently using amitriptyline. It does come with regular vet monitoring/bloodwork though, so it is not cheap.

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_amitriptyline.html

Good luck.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 07:28 AM
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My Rocky is going on 13yrs,he's been spraying since he was about 6 yrs old.
There is an alternative to pills,my vet gave me a transdermal(I think that's what it's called)gel,that goes on the inside of the ear,
It was a calming medicin,unfortunately Rocky developed a rash,so I had to quit,but maybe your Ford can tolerate it.
It's a great alternative to pills.
He is now on pills for Hyperthyroidism and I mash up one pill in a teaspoon of his favorite food(Wellness no grain canned)and he licks it up with no problem,then gets the rest of his food.

I too have been using Feliway diffusers for quiet a while and they have worked really well,I'd say the spraying is now only occasional.
I know when he starts pacing that he would spray,but since his meds for HyperT and Feliway,he is much calmer.
I know the frustration,but please,no HS or farm
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Old January 16th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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I'm sorry you are having this issue, but thank you for trying to figure out how to solve the problem and not just dumping him in some shelter.

You have some great suggestions. Since you seem to have covered most of the bases, hopefully going the medicated route will work. Feliway is certainly something you should try. As Chico mentioned, it's been working very well for her. Also, I'm all for medication. I had my Czari on prozac for about 6 months while trying to integrate her and I found the easiest thing to do is either get a pill pocket, or I found Pounce treats work well too. They have some moist ones you can mash together and put the pill in there and they also have a little pillow type one, I used to slide the pill in there. Czari never knew she was having a pill.

I wish you the utmost luck. Ford should be spending his senior years with his family.
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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 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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  #26  
Old January 16th, 2009, 04:40 PM
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We have kind of adjusted our house to Rocky,I suspect that the others too have sprayed on occasion..though.
No more carpeting in the house,bed-room door is closed in the day-time,we don't leave anything laying around that could be a marking spot.
They still have lots of room to fool around in.
I have 2 Feli-Way diffusers,in the rooms they are the most,I have been buying Natures Miracle,but got a recipe for home-made stuff,I think Sugarcatmom gave it to 14+ and I am going to try that,much cheaper than Natures Miracles.
I am surprised your leather-couch smells like cat-pee,usually leather is very washable,we have leather too,but spraying rather than peeing is mostly done on vertical surfaces.
After cleaning with NM,did you clean with a leather-cleaner?

Before you do anything drastic,make sure he does not have UTI,my Rocky has caused me all kinds of problems,but it's something I have to live with,I love him,I got him from a barn-cat momma as a baby and he's here to stay no matter what.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chico2 View Post
I have 2 Feli-Way diffusers,in the rooms they are the most,I have been buying Natures Miracle,but got a recipe for home-made stuff,I think Sugarcatmom gave it to 14+ and I am going to try that,much cheaper than Natures Miracles.
Good memory chico. Except it was our lovely Frenchy that gave me the recipe.

It is:

1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

Mix together in a spray bottle and spray. Of course you need to clean the spots as usual first.... blot the area as much as possible to get up as much of the urine before using the spray.
I have been reading this thread closely. It seems to me there has been tons of great advice given. I would for sure try to eliminate everything out of the apartment that has the smell of urine. If you can smell it Ford sure can. I am surprised your other kitty hasn't taken to using the couch and bed as well.
Uncover the litter boxes. Change litters if necessary. Place them apart, not close together. Feliway spray on the collar is great. Even the plug ins but they are pricey. Have him checked for UTI's. Change him to a high quality grain free food. All great suggestions!

One more thing.....
Make sure the other cat isn't sabatoging Ford when he is trying to use the litter. That would be enough to put him off using an enclosed box.
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Last edited by 14+kitties; January 17th, 2009 at 09:14 AM.
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  #28  
Old January 17th, 2009, 07:32 AM
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Oh,Oh sorry Frenchy,my memory is often in la-la-land
Aniroc,like 14+ mentioned,it is very likely your other kitty is also peeing,we used to blame Rocky all the time,until I caught my Chico in the act

Realizing you are in a smallish apartment,it's not possible to limit access for the cats,like I had to do,but hopefully you can at least keep the bed-room closed.
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  #29  
Old January 17th, 2009, 08:43 AM
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Khari Khari is offline
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Quote:
1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

Mix together in a spray bottle and spray. Of course you need to clean the spots as usual first.

Is this mixture to be used after you clean the problem area? If so, what would be suggested to clean it with first before spraying this mixture on?

Also, where do you get mattress protectors from? or furniture protectors? Her cat has also been known to spray on her dressers as well.

I am glad this thread has been started b/c my sister will be moving in the next couple of months into an apartment with her 2 cats (one male dominant sprayer) and I will pass along some of these great suggestions from this thread. I have 3 feliway diffusers that I will give her to use right from day one. And the collar idea is a great idea as well.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khari View Post
Is this mixture to be used after you clean the problem area? If so, what would be suggested to clean it with first before spraying this mixture on?
So sorry. Guess the proper wording should have been "Blot the area as much as possible to get up as much of the urine before using the spray." It wouldn't make any sense to just spray it on top of the urine.
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