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Old August 1st, 2014, 04:54 AM
ikur ikur is offline
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Location: Dubai
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Unhappy Howling cat (bonus: he sprays!)

Hi guys,

I'm at my wits end because of this issue. We have a lovely 3-year-old Arabian Mau who loves us to bits and pieces but his behaviour has taken a turn for the worst.
Let me start from the very beginning.

His name is Felix Felicis and this is his story.

Approximately three years ago, we heard this pitiful meowing in the back porch. Being the animal lover that I am, I decided to investigate this sad, little meow and I found the source of it in the form of a severely dehydrated and malnourished kitten.

We nursed him back to health and he soon became the Alpha Male of the neighbourhood. We got him neutered when he turned 6-ish months to prevent any unwanted kittens from happening. He loved his life and he was a mostly-outdoors cat, coming indoors occasionally when he wanted to get away from the heat (he would sleep inside at night, because neighbours complained about him starting fights at 3AM).

When we started restricting his night-time activity, his behavioural issues began. He started spraying around the house and howling (yowling, growling and sounds that seemed to come from the depths of hell) to be let out. This happened when he was approximately 1 1/2 years old.

When he was 2, he got poisoned. The chances of him living were very very slim but his willpower overcame that and he survived! After that traumatic ordeal, I kept him under house arrest for a week so he could fully recover but he wouldnt have any of that. He became Lucifer's Cat once more and we caved in and let him out.

Fast forwarding to the present, we recently moved houses. From a spacious villa with ample outdoor access to a restricted 3-bedroom apartment with a balcony, we prayed and hoped that Felix would settle.
The first few days, he was quiet. Not a single hum and he would over-eat. After a few days, he would start pacing around the house (and settle himself near the balcony and front door) and start yowling again.

The howls are worse than they were when we were in the villa; he pulls his ears back and gives deep, guttural howls. It's quite scary.
This happens throughout the whole day (and at night we have to restrict him to one of the bigger toilets and invested in some earplugs because we were losing sleep for weeks on end).

We fixed a shelf under one of the windows so that he could watch the birds but he just sits on that and gives low, pitiful meows.
One day, I put him in a harness and took him to the balcony (we live on the second floor). That wasnt very smart of me because he tried to jump out of it!
I tried taking him for walks in the corridors outside but he stopped near one of the neighbours' doors and started sniffing at it like crazy. That's when the spraying started.

Even back then, Felix loved to fight. He lived for fights. So I'm guessing he can smell the neighbours' cats and the friendly, building cat two-floors down.
It's been four months now and the howling has reduced by a small fraction (or maybe I got used to it?) but it's still there. My parents are fed up and they want to put him back at our old place (we have a security guard there who used to take care of Felix when we went for the hols) or give him to a family-friend of ours.
They keep telling me that I am torturing him and he deserves his freedom. They've given him a deadline; December. If his behaviour doesnt stop by December, I will have to give him way.


I've tried everything; spraying him with water, playing with him (he hates this; he thinks play-time is for babies and he refuses to react when I try to use the laser-light or feather-toy), making scary noises when he howls and other similar activities.

I honestly dont know what to do and time is running out. I'm truly sorry if I made this such a lengthy post. I love Felix a lot and I hate thinking about what will happen when December comes around.
Do you think he is likely to improve? It's been four-months already!
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  #2  
Old August 1st, 2014, 10:03 AM
sugarcatmom's Avatar
sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Oh boy, do I ever feel your pain! I actually have a very, shall we say "macho", cat myself who also happens to be incredibly vocal (some Siamese in there somewhere) and a bit of a spritzer. Even though he's neutered, he's very territorial and quite obsessed with the cats in the neighborhood that have the gall to trespass on his domain. I'm probably not the best person to give advice on this subject but here are some links that might help or give you some insight:
http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com...aning-of-meow/
http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com...-play-therapy/
http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/why-cats-spray/
http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com...-stressed-out/

Also, not sure if you can get Feliway in Dubai but a couple diffusers and the spray version can really help these situations: http://www.feliway.com/uk

Does Felix have lots of scratching posts in different rooms? Using a scratching post can be a great stress-reliever for cats. I have one near most of my windows and the front and back door and when Carrot starts getting all amped up, I encourage him to take it out on one of the posts.

Calming chews (treats) that contain colostrum and L-Theanine can help relax a stressed cat: http://www.vetriscience.com/index.ph...il&p=900781030

And lastly, any possibility that you could enclose the balcony with wire mesh so that Felix could go out there?

Good luck! Keep us updated on how he's doing (and if you have any pics, I'd love to see them. Mau's are gorgeous!!).
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  #3  
Old August 1st, 2014, 10:43 AM
ikur ikur is offline
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The links are wonderful. I shall try to make him view playtime as a fun, stress-releasing activity rather than a dull, boring one!
We have several carpets that 'belong' to Felix but I shall look out for some scratching posts.

I really want to try Feliway diffusers but because it's imported, the price is ridiculously steep. The Anti-stress sprays are relatively cheaper though. I shall give those a try and hope they help. I shall hunt around for calming cat-treats as well! I honestly thought he would settle in a month or so but it's about time I tried these erm 'cat hacks' haha.

Regarding the balcony, I really wanted to border it with mesh but apparently we could get in trouble for doing this ourselves (we need to contact government officials or some silly thing like that). But regardless, I will try and find a way through this so-called rule.

Thank you for the help! I shall update this forum in a few weeks with Felix's progress after I try all these things.

And have a picture of Felix being his smug, little Royal self <3
He really is the king of the house!

And another of him using his shelf as a throne
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Old August 1st, 2014, 10:55 AM
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marko marko is offline
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welcome to the forum Ikur!What a cool lookin' kitty Felix is!
SCM has given you great advice. I just wanted to add that if you can do a balcony enclosure, cat grass (or other cat safe plants) might be a nice thing for kitty to munch on while in that enclosure. Toys with catnip might also be fun in there.
Good luck!
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  #5  
Old August 1st, 2014, 12:20 PM
ikur ikur is offline
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Thanks, Marko!
Luckily for us, Felix loves catnip so I shall definitely keep that in mind once we build the enclosure. I was thinking of sprinkling some dry food in various places in the balcony so that he could have a little adventure when it came to his lunch time
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Old August 1st, 2014, 01:43 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikur View Post
The links are wonderful. I shall try to make him view playtime as a fun, stress-releasing activity rather than a dull, boring one!
We have several carpets that 'belong' to Felix but I shall look out for some scratching posts.

I really want to try Feliway diffusers but because it's imported, the price is ridiculously steep. The Anti-stress sprays are relatively cheaper though. I shall give those a try and hope they help. I shall hunt around for calming cat-treats as well! I honestly thought he would settle in a month or so but it's about time I tried these erm 'cat hacks' haha.

Regarding the balcony, I really wanted to border it with mesh but apparently we could get in trouble for doing this ourselves (we need to contact government officials or some silly thing like that). But regardless, I will try and find a way through this so-called rule.

Thank you for the help! I shall update this forum in a few weeks with Felix's progress after I try all these things.

And have a picture of Felix being his smug, little Royal self <3
He really is the king of the house!

And another of him using his shelf as a throne

I can see why he is called Alpha Male of the neighborhood . He is so handsome . I have heard of cats having a hard adjusting to new homes , my daughter had a cat that started pissing on the floor when they moved . I hope things will work out for you , I just love your cat. How much does he weight ? I had to come back and admire your cat some more.

Last edited by Barkingdog; August 1st, 2014 at 03:37 PM.
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  #7  
Old August 1st, 2014, 01:50 PM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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I, like SCM feel your pain. I have a male that is a howler and a sprayer too.

I don't live in an apartment so I can take him outside (supervised) when I see he is getting anxious and wants out to spray his territory if a unspayed female or male cat is around, otherwise he will do it inside.

As for the howling, my Jasper will carry a stuffie in his mouth while howling and it sort of mutes the sound a bit. It's just a 2 inch x 2 inch cloth pouch that had catnip in it. Maybe if your kitty is carrying that around it may mute the sound a bit too.

It sounds like that apartment that he sniffs at may have an unaltered cat that he is smelling. Does he have a particular place that he sprays that you can rig up something that will stop the urine from getting to the floor and wall? Does his litter box have high sides (or covered and high enough for him to stand and spray)?

Have you had his hormones checked to make sure the neuter is successful?
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Old August 1st, 2014, 01:52 PM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Oh another suggestion is a playmate if he's social kind of guy.
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Cat maid to:

Jasper, male Ragdoll ?? (approx 10 yrs)
Rose semi feral, a cpietra rescue, female tabby (approx 7 yrs)

Sweet Pea RIP (2004?-2014)
Puddles RIP (1996-2014)
Snowball RIP (1991-2005)

In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats.-English Proverb

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey
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  #9  
Old August 1st, 2014, 09:49 PM
lindapalm lindapalm is offline
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You might no like my suggestion, but if all the other ones have failed, you might want to try meds for awhile, or forever. We have a cat that is the same way, but I think his problem is that I have too many cats. No matter what we tried, he would howl and spray. We put him on Fluoxetine, and when we got the dosage at the right level, he was perfect. Our vet suggested several months ago that we try giving him the med every other day, instead of every day. Not a good idea, I now have to buy a new couch, I have tried everything to get the smell out. I know medications aren't a good answer, but sometimes they're the only answer.
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Old August 1st, 2014, 09:56 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtua...ng-and-yowling


I found this web site , it might help .
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