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Wit's End!!

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by andie66, Jun 2, 2010.


  1. andie66

    andie66 PetForums Newbie

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    I really hope that someone has some useful/helpful advice on the following topic, which judging by the forum is quite popular.

    Our 10 month old male kitten/cat who has been castrated at six months will not stop spraying. There are a number of factors to consider:-

    1. We have recently moved (about 2 months ago). In the old house we did not let him outside because he was so young and did not want him to get run over or lost. He lives with his brother (who is completely cool) and our other stray is who is about 6 months older. He has always been very cuddly and friendly and relaxed. In the old house and our new house they all get on very well, but Tigger (the problem cat) does not seem to play as much in the new house.
    2. He was making a lot of noise, painful mewing sounds, spraying randomly around the house, against the sofa, walls, water bowl, clean laundry, bed and even me!
    3. We took him to the vet as we were concerned about his mewing and he didn't seem to be using the litter tray correctly - standing in it, then spraying outside of it instead of squatting. Turns out he had struvite crystals, hence he was obviously in pain. He was treated at the vets and we were advised to change his diet. As cruel as it sounds, the one night he spent in the vets was lovely and relaxed in the house as we were not on spray alert.
    4. Tigger returned home and we thought he was better. Using the litter tray properly, still spraying a little bit but the vet said it would take a little time for the crystals to completely disappear.
    5. Since then he still sprays. We can't invite anyone around because of the smell and the fear that he will spray on them. He still mews, especially at night, in the garden and we are concerned about the neighbours as its quite loud. We have taken to keeping him in the basement with his litter tray, his cardboard box which he likes to sleep in and of course water. He doesn't seem to spray down there. But as soon as he comes upstairs he wanders around then - boom - he's sprayed.
    I have just been downstairs to see him and he was very affectionate, purring, seemed calm but then he came upstairs, very warily, wandered around then sprayed against the table and carpet. We don't want to keep in the basement as he's a cat and should be allowed to wander around.
    As mad as it sounds could he be agorophobic?
    Could he be bored?
    Are we not paying him enough attention?
    Is he stressed?
    What signs of an unhappy can you look for?
    Any cat therapeutic advice would be gratefully received as we don't want to get rid of him but our stress levels are very high and ultimately we want him to be happy, preferably with us but if not with someone else.
    Andrea::(
     
  2. The Twins

    The Twins PetForums Senior

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    Several things... I would take him back to the vets if the spraying is still happening - perhaps the crystals have not fully gone?

    Secondly - what are you using to clean the affected areas? You must not use anything with bleach or amonia in it as this will make things worse. You must use a BIO washing liquid or powder etc as this will kill the smell.

    I would try a feliway plug in and also some rescue remedy in his water.

    I would not keep him in the basement - sorry, but I dont agree with this. I know it must be awfully stressful for you but he would be better of in a large outside pen - if you cant have him in the house or even consider rehoming...?? He isnt doing this to upset or stress you out - however much it might feel like it. Unfortunately once a cat starts to spray it can be an awfully hard habit to break.

    I dont think he sounds agoraphobic but stressed - does he go outside at all on a harness? This might give him some stimulation if he is bored. If he is inside only he'll need an activity centre/tree to climb/play etc.

    Also, he will be picking up on your stress levels too - viscious circle i know.

    I would also 'mark' his scent around the house for him - do this by gently stroking a clean tea towel over his face/whiskers/back/tail and then wipe this tea towel over the furniture, skirting boards, doorways etc - you'll need to do this several times (ie wipe the tea towel over his face/body and then wipe this onto one chair and then repeat etc). This will then make him feel more comfortable when he is in the house - he must be feeling very wary from being confined in a basement (however large) to then being allowed up into the house...
     
  3. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Poor boy he's been through alot recently with the move as well. I would agree with the advice above & take him back to the vets as the crystals may not have cleared up.
    My cat has recently suffered a bout of cystitis & started to use a plant pot to wee in. I'm sure she started to associate the litter tray with pain so was reluctant to use it. Once treated she still was doing this so we've had to move the plant completely & place a new litter tray in the spot for the time being. How many litter trays do you have? Maybe buy a few more & put them around the house. He sounds very stressed & I really don't think it's fair to keep him in the basement despite the problems you are having.
    I would also reccommend a Feliway plug-in; I've not used it myself but have heard alot of positive reviews about this.
    When he howls at outside at night could this be due to another cat coming in to his territory? Bullying him? If he was always indoor previous & is now outdoor ois this through his choice or is he put out? He may be scared outside, one of my cats hated being outside. I used to try & sit with her to calm her down but had to accept that she was an indoor cat & was happiest that way.
    I really hope he starts to get back to normal soon
     
  4. lizward

    lizward PetForums VIP

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    It sounds as if he is scent marking, which suggests he feel insecure.

    Liz
     
  5. andie66

    andie66 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank for all the replies. I will try and cover the main points raised:

    I know puting him in the basement sounds a bit cruel but it not really that bad. It has a small outside terrace and is where my office is. In the last house he spent a lot of time in my office and, here, the basement is the place he chooses to go to sleep during the day anyway, By closing the door all we have done is stop is several trips upstairs to spray/wee. I do agree though: it is not ideal by a long way.

    Going outside has always been his choice. We just started leaving the doors open and they started going outside. I don't thhink he minds it too much because the three of them spend a lot of time playing out there when he is not having a bout of mewing/spraying. They can't get out of the garden as it is surrounded by very high smooth walls. Neither can any other cats get in.

    The places he sprays are places where he is fine 75% of the time. He might have 3 sprays on one sofa in the morning and then spend most of the evening curled up on it with us. He might spend all night asleep on our bed and ten wake up and have a couple of sprays on it. He might spend a couple of hours in the garden and then have 10 minutes of mewing/spraying etc... It really doesn't "feel" like it's as cut and dried as being unsure or insecure.

    We use a biological urine elimiator on fresh sprays and NEVER bleach or bleached based cleaning products.

    We have been through 2 feliway refils in our plug-in with no noticeable benefits or relief of symptoms.

    We have two large litter trays which are kept very clean and emptied very regularly. The other two cats have no issues with them and nor did he before.

    He actually began spraying during the time we were packing boxes at our old house.

    We have tried spreading his scent using the tea-towel method but it made no difference.

    I suspect it is still an issue with the crystals. The vet did say it can take up to 2 monts to clear. Some days he seems better and then he seems to decline again. Does anyone have any personal experience of struvite crystals in their cat? How long might it go on for?
     
  6. The Twins

    The Twins PetForums Senior

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    I agree - i think you should go back to the vets...

    Also, i dont think that 2 trays is enough for 3 cats - the general rule of thumb is 1 per cat. Also, it might be that he doesnt like the positioning of the trays? And he could be associating them with painful urination. Have you tried rescue remedy - or i think the vets can prescribe zyklene (not sure of spelling) for stress as personally sounds like it has been brought on by the stressfulness of moving house...
     
  7. GreyHare

    GreyHare Guest

  8. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to jump to conclusions - the word basement just conjures up some dark, damp, lonely place!!
    My older cat Basil had crystals & a couple of re-occurring bouts but he didn't spray. Winnie, mild bout of cystitis & continuously peed on the plant even after she was ok - we just got rid of the plant!
    See what the vet recommends but it might just be a case of giving him time to re-adjust. I really hope things go well for you all
     
  9. kelly-joy

    kelly-joy PetForums VIP

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    I have pmd you:)
     
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