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At wit's end...

757 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Jadelyn
Hi all. I'm Jadelyn, 26 years old, living in a (surprisingly large) basement studio apartment with my fiance - and, now, our cat. We adopted Mara, a 1-year-old calico tabby girl, in December, and while we initially all seemed to adjust okay and were fast on our way to becoming a family, well...we've been having trouble for the past two months.

It started with her peeing on the bathroom, then kitchen rugs occasionally. After about a month and some failed attempts at behavioral correction, we took her to the vet. Turns out she had a UTI. So we were given antibiotics to give her - at which point she, I think in revenge for being medicated which she hated, also started pooping on the rugs. >.< She also had started peeing on our bed by that point. So we started wrapping the bed in plastic every day (several shower curtain liners duct-taped together), which I HATE LOATHE AND DESPISE because she spends all day scratching on it, biting it, rustling around on it, and the sound is driving me out of my mind. I work from home, and I cannot concentrate when I'm having to yell at her to get off the d*** bed every two minutes. (Also it sucks because my usual downtime when I take breaks from my work is to go flop on the bed with a book for ten minutes, and the couch is just not cutting it as a replacement relaxation station.)

Well, she finally started using the litterbox more, and this past Friday we went out and picked up Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter, to see if we could encourage that. And it seemed to work! She peed on a rug one more time on Sunday morning, but I think it was just a matter of her still smelling the old spots despite our cleaning, so I gathered up the rugs and put them in a trash bag in our tiny little closet (I'm thinking we'll just get rid of them at this point, I'm not interested in trying to salvage them), and she seemed to be okay, using only the litterbox all day Sunday and Monday. So, thinking everything was all right, yesterday I left the plastic wrap off the bed - especially since we'd finished giving her the last dose of Clavamox Monday night, so the UTI should be gone. And that was fine! No inappropriate elimination yesterday. And we'd been giving her praise and treats for using the litterbox, figuring behavioral reinforcement couldn't hurt, right?

Only then this morning, she went and peed on the (unwrapped) bed again. I thought maybe I hadn't gotten the scent completely out last time I'd washed it after her doing that, so I (following the directions that came with the Dr. Elsey litter) washed it in the washing machine with a cup of vinegar, followed by washing it with regular detergent. I hadn't put it back on the bed yet, so the bed was just sheets over the mattress...and it's a good thing, because this evening, she peed on the bed AGAIN! Not while we were out to dinner, no - she waited until we had gotten home, and after we fed her her dinner, she went and did it.

It was a trail and splatters, according to my fiance (I was in the bathroom myself at the time, so he did the cleanup and I didn't see it), as opposed to a puddle. So we think maybe it's gone from being a medical thing to being a marking thing. Only this is NOT good news, to me! Medical stuff, I can deal with. *Was* dealing with. And I had hoped that, as the UTI cleared up, her behavior would return to normal. Now, I have no idea what to do. And I feel like I'm going to be doomed to spending the rest of my life cleaning up cat pee from my bed. (Dramatic, I know, but I was having an awesome evening and this has really ruined it for me.)

So, uh, yeah. I am hoping to find advice or help or something, anything to keep me from losing my mind and running away from home. Halp?
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Have her rechecked for a bladder infection. She may have had the first one for a long time and require a longer course of antibiotics.
Get rid of the rugs ASAP. You may not be able to smell them, but she certainly can. Cats have amazing sense of smell. Treat the mattress and linen with Nature's Miracle. I would even consider putting the mattress in a plastic matress cover (use a good matress pad and you won't realize the cover is on the bed). And you need something new to cover the bed with - the old one will still smell to her.
I would consider retraining her to her litterbox. Put her in the bathroom with her litterbox, food and water and bed. Spend time with her in the bathroom - reading to her and playing - so it isn't a punishment. Only when she is using the litterbox 100% of the time, would I consider letting her out.
Don't run away from home.
I'm feeling way more sorry for Marah. So far she's been rehomed to a place she doesn't know with a couple of strangers. She had a painful UTI that went untreated and that was treated as behavioral. She's getting yelled at every two seconds for trying to be on the most confortable place in the house, a place that is being made MORE exciting by crinkly plastic...don't know any cat in the world that can resist that stuff.

If she is still eliminating outside the box then she either STILL has a very painful problem or she has been living with a very painful problem for so long that she believes the litterbox is the source of pain. She is certainly not doing this to be spiteful. its's her only way of telling you something is wrong.

Take her BACK to the vet and them rule out medical issues and IF she checks out fine try what mom of 4 suggested about retraining her. Cleaning those spots with enzymatic cleaner is a must.
Well, we already had a vet appointment for this afternoon - our vet had said to call back when we finished the antibiotics so she could be rechecked for an all-clear. So we will see how that goes.

I hope, MowMow, you don't think I'm unsympathetic to my baby girl. I know she's unhappy about something. We're trying to figure out what so we can fix it, because we don't want her to be unhappy or hurting. It never crossed my mind that any of this was out of spite - well, okay, with the poop on the rugs, yeah, I think that was revenge, because she *hates* being medicated. It took both of us with her wrapped in a towel every time to get a dose into her. But I don't really blame her for feeling vengeful about it, either, cause it's not like we can explain to her that we're tormenting her (from her point of view) for her own good to help her feel better, so for all she knows we were holding her down and forcing this liquid into her mouth twice a day just for giggles. :-/

Anyway. Thanks for the advice, Mom of 4. We were using *a* Nature's Miracle product, but apparently not *the right one*, because all the sites where I'd heard people recommending it, they just said "use Nature's Miracle" with no further specification and N'sM makes like a dozen different products. We got the "no more marking" spray, as opposed to the Urine Destroyer that apparently is the one to use. Which explains why it didn't work as well as we'd hoped. (I wondered why the only active ingredient was SLS - that didn't exactly sound like special enzymatic anything to me.) Oy. We'll be going out to get the proper stuff later today, I think. (I'm glad I found this forum, as it was someone on here that specified which N'sM to get, which nobody on Twitter or Yahoo Answers or anywhere else had done!)

I hope we don't have to try the confining to the bathroom retraining thing, though. Our bathroom is *tiny* - literally barely enough room for one person to stand, when you sit on the toilet your knees almost touch the sink and your shoulder brushes against the shower door - and I would feel horribly guilty leaving her in there for any length of time.

Anywho. Thank you both for your advice - I'm sure I'll be back on tonight to report back after the vet visit!
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Welp, we're back from the vet. Our Dr. said there were still traces of blood in her urine - much less than before, but still some there - so she gave Mara an antibiotic shot and us another bottle of Clavamox, and they're doing a culture and will give us a call in a few days if it looks like we will need a different antibiotic or more of it or something. She was actually very kind and did the antibiotic shot for free, when it's normally kind of expensive, so we appreciated that. Poor Mara, though, she was *not* happy at having to go back to the vet, and when they brought her back into the room after giving her the shot, her little paws had barely touched the table before she was climbing into my fiance's lap and hunkering down against him to hide her face under his jacket. Which was adorable and heartbreaking at the same time.

We tried to get some of the good N'sM stuff to use on the mattress, but the local pet store didn't have any, so I'm going to have to make a trip one town over to see if their Petco has it. Oh, I am so not looking forward to having to medicate her again! She's gonna be mad.
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Hopefully once this lot of antibiotics are finished, the infection will be cleared up and fingers crossed she stops going outside the litter tray.
I hope so! This situation isn't pleasant for *any* of us.
I hope this round of antibiotics will do the trick this time. I know how frustrating it can be with a cat peeing in places other than the litter box. Just another mention you're in a basement apartment and that you adopted "Mara" in December. Do you have a window(s) that look outside? and if so can Mara sit on the sill to see out? If she can't I would get a tall cat tree that would reach the window height so that she could see out. It may be a view outside that she's missing.
Oh, yes, she has the run of the windowsill. We are in a basement, but it's the basement of a hillside house, so it's only below ground level on one side; most of our "downhill" wall is taken up by a huge window. Seriously, it's like 8 feet wide or something ridiculous like that. With a nice wide sill. And we keep two of the three sections of blinds in it always pulled up to "cat height" - high enough that she doesn't have to wriggle through them to get to the glass. We've also placed a small cat-pedestal to one side sort of "leading up" for ease of getting there. She likes to hang out and "chitter" at the birds and squirrels that play on the telephone pole and wires right outside. Oh, and we also got our landlord to install a quality (metal mesh) screen door, so when the weather is nice I open the door and she goes and lays in front of the screen, too.

Ahem. Sorry for the novel. The short answer is, yeah, she has plenty of ability to watch the outside world. :-D
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