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Discussion Starter #1
I would be grateful for advice from long term cat lovers here. Charlie is a cat I acquired in Qatar when I needed to get rid of rats in my newly built compound apartment. I like him a lot, but I am not really a huge cat lover (I admit it), but I try to fulfill my responsibilities to him and we get on fine together. The thing is, I think about his future. Now, I've been here 3 years (and him with me) and maybe I'll be here a couple of years more at which time he'll be around 5. He is a particular cat and his common behaviour (ever since he came) includes the following:

1. Continuous crying. I think it's normal for cats to take a while to settle after being disturbed, but Charlie really seems to enjoy howling both day and night, though he receives affection and attention. When I go to bed at night he comes outside my door and will howl for hours--sometimes all night. Of course, he often stops me from sleeping and wakes me up (which is not good as I need to get up at 5: 30 every morning!).

2. Profound shyness: Whenever anyone new comes into the house he disappears and nothing is heard of him until we are alone again.

Charlie's behaviour that is REALLY getting on my nerves (besides the howling) is:

1. He has destroyed the curtains, the chairs and routinely vomits on the floor (after eating too much food).

2. He is well trained to the box, but the box itself is very smelly and gives the house an unpleasant odour. Obviously, most true cat lovers won't care about this, but I don't like it.

3. There is one room where he spends a lot of his time that nearly knocks you over with the smell of cat when you go inside.

No doubt none of this is new. However, I find myself becoming more ambiguous in my feelings towards him and would secretly be glad to get rid of him, though my fondness for him and sense of responsibility stops this from happening. I really don't know what will happen when I leave and I'd like to resolve things asap. Can I change him from being a house cat to being a half in and half out cat? My feeling is, however, that he has so little sense about outside that he'd probably get himself killed or wander off and not know the way back on the first day.

I would really appreciate all help given.
 

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Well first of all is Charlie castrated? If not, that would explain at least part of his behaviour..he wants to go out and meet some ladies, his hormones will be driving him nuts.

Secondly, does he have toys and do you play with him?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No he's not castrated. I'm sure his hormones are driving him nuts, but now he's 3 and I don't know if I should do that now. He has been a vocalizer since birth. I think the whole house has become a playground for him, though he doesn't seem to get affectionate about any particular toys (though he's had them). Another oddity about him (or maybe it isn't) is that he will only eat dry food and turns his nose up at all fresh meat.
 

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Yes, you can still get him done at 3, in fact it would probably make life easier for both of you.

As for the toys, do YOU actually play with him? He sounds like he might be pretty bored if he's destroying random things.

A lot of cats like dry food because it is made to smell and taste appetizing to them, sadly it's not the best food for them as I am sure you know.

I would get him castrated and give it a few weeks to see if he has calmed down.
 

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Getting him neutered should take care of the majority of the crying. Not sure about the smelly room, it could just be due to the fact that intact males have a very strong scent about them or because he has been spraying urine to mark scent or a combination of both. If it's the former, it will resolve after neutering. If it's the latter you will need to get a black light and an enzymatic cleaner (Nature's Miracle, Simple Solution, Odo Ban, Urine Off are brands here in the States, don't know what's available to you). You will really need to soak the spots you find and since this has been going on for years, probably apply the cleaner several times. Hopefully the spraying will resolve itself after neutering, but no guarantees. That's one of the reasons it's recommended to get a cat neutered before reaching sexual maturity, so spraying doesn't start. The litter box smells so awful because intact male urine is extremely strong. Again neutering should clear this up. But if course you should be scooping the box daily and cleaning it regularly. Urine allowed to sit for more than a daily will get a very strong ammonia smell. And no, true cat lovers don't like the smell any more than you do.

Once he's been neutered, it may take a month or so for the hormones to get out of his system and some of these behaviors and smells to change.

The crying at your bedroom door is pretty normal for all cats. They hate closed doors, especially when their human is on the other side of the door. Maybe once he's been neutered and some of the issues resolve you'll be willing to let him in. The shyness is just the way some cats are. They all have different personalities when it comes to people. I have one that greets people at the door and is their best friend, she's all over them and wants them to play with her. Another who will greet them and then watch from afar. And my 19 lb male chicken-cat runs upstairs and hides when somebody he doesn't know comes in. He does eventually come down and make friends, but it takes a good hour or more. So Charlie is pretty typical for a cat in that regard.

Destroying curtains and chairs....do you clip his nails? Does he have scratching posts? There should be multiple posts in the house. You need to figure out what sort of surface he likes...carpet, sisal, cardboard, wood etc. And whether he likes flat surfaces, inclined and vertical. Then buy some appropriate posts.

Vomiting because he eats too much....give him less. Don't leave a never ending bowl down for him. Give him 2 or 3 meals of measured out reasonable sized portions. If he still wolfs it down, put a golf ball in the bowl so he has to pick around it and it will slow him down. Giving him reasonable portions will also help prevent him from gaining weight and being at risk for all the diseases that come with it. Wet food is so much better for him. Any you can entice him to eat would be a benefit. Does you still have a rodent problem? Does he eat his catch? That's actually better for him than dry food too.

It takes some work to have an indoor cat, Charlie needs you to help keep life interesting...playing with him regularly with interactive toys (Da Bird and laser pointers are great). Making sure he has windows to look out of, a cat tree to climb on. And toys he can play with himself. Clip his nails, give him scratching posts, clean his litter box. And most of all, he needs love and attention from his human.
 

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There is a whole set of hormone-driven instincts which are tormenting Charlie.
If you get him neutered, he will be a much happier kitty, and easier to live with. He may even stop spraying in your apartment. Don't expect immediate results, though. It will take a while for the hormones already present in his system to get used up.
:wink:
 

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I am REALLY very grateful for these expert and considered responses. I have made an appointment to have Charlie neutered tomorrow and bought a scratching post and toys. The vet will also clip his nails. I'll let you know what happens.
 

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Always glad to hear good news. :) You could also get Charlie a nice, tall, multilevel cat-tree, and place it by a window in his room, so he can see what's going on outside. :wink
Oh, be careful of painted cat toys that are made in China. You don't want Charlie ingesting chips of lead-based paint when he bites a toy.
:eek:rcat
 

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Charlie could be throwing up because he has hair balls. Or could be the type of food he is eating.

Another thought I had about your cat boxes is do you scoop them daily? Or if the poo smells really bad it could be he has picked up a parasite which cause giardia. Does he have loose poos? I would speak to the vet about this and have him check a fecal sample.

Im glad he is getting neutered. You wont regret doing this for him. I hope after his neuter you two will enjoy each other more and grow closer. Cats can be wonderful companions if you give them a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again for all the helpful comments. Charlie was neutered, had his injections and his nails trimmed. He was not in the best of moods and they told me it took 6 of them to hold him down when they took him from the basket! After being neutered, they decided it was best to give him injections too--and Charlie took the opportunity to bite the vet! However, when I got him home he was fine and started playing with the toys I'd earlier bought. Furthermore, all the screaming seems to have stopped immediately. Now he cries a bit but then stops. He is obviously calmer, but perhaps puzzled also himself about why he feels as calm as he does.

Thanks again for your help. I'll post again later and let you know how things are going.
 

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Well, he's still doing fine. Before he was a combination of a nice cat and a rebellious monkey, but now all the rebellion seems to have gone. If anything I wonder how to stop him getting bored. He is not so interested in toys and even wants to always eat the same things (so no treats there). He was whining a little bit outside my door last night--but it was very acceptable.
 

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Glad to hear the neutering helped. "Marinating" his toys in catnip on a regular basis may keep him interested. Do you have any interactive toys so that you can get in on the play as well? I also find that rotating toys seems to help, put them away for a while and when you bring them out it's like they've never seen them before. And sometimes, like children, they're more interested in a box or a wadded up ball of paper. I find I can give mine a paper ball and they'll play with it for a while and abandon it in a corner and never look at it again. But if I give them a new paper ball the next day, they'll play with that one while ignoring the perfectly good one from the day before.
 

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1. Continuous crying. I think it's normal for cats to take a while to settle after being disturbed, but Charlie really seems to enjoy howling both day and night, though he receives affection and attention. When I go to bed at night he comes outside my door and will howl for hours--sometimes all night. Of course, he often stops me from sleeping and wakes me up (which is not good as I need to get up at 5: 30 every morning!).
i had a male cat that would do it in the morning as well, usually its the midnight crazies and he wants to play.

2. Profound shyness: Whenever anyone new comes into the house he disappears and nothing is heard of him until we are alone again.
thats pretty normal. some cats just dont like new things and some get used to the people if they come over alot.


1. He has destroyed the curtains, the chairs and routinely vomits on the floor (after eating too much food).
do you have anything for him to play with and to scratch on? like scratching posts and cat tree houses things like that. he could also be upset or lonely and is giving in to destructive behavior.

2. He is well trained to the box, but the box itself is very smelly and gives the house an unpleasant odour. Obviously, most true cat lovers won't care about this, but I don't like it.
how often do you clean the litter box? have you tried changing litter? do you use a covered litter box? i love cats to death but i dont like the smell of the urine. i got a covered boxes and ive been happy since. i use arm n hammer litter and in the process of using clay litter to see how that goes. minus the dust i like the clay better! i also burn incense alot but its quite unnecessary.

3. There is one room where he spends a lot of his time that nearly knocks you over with the smell of cat when you go inside.
the only smell from cats ive ever smelt is their waste. idk, i can smell dogs all over the place but for the life of me i dont smell cat unless its the liltter box. your kitty may be spraying and thats what your smelling. cats dont leave scents around the house like dogs do. if you clean your house well (and im not saying you arent) and pick the right litter thats best for you and your cat you or your friends wouldnt even notice you had a cat in the house.


cats i think are one step behind from taking care of a child. you do have to put some work into it and you have to give lots of love and pay attention to their behavior and their overall health, just like you would with kids. it would be best to always get a playmate for your kitty unless you cant for health reasons or the shelter says it doesnt get along with others. i have a cat who lost her brother and spent 2 years alone. her behavior changed dramatically and she did a few destructive things. but i was able to channel those things to make them positive.

also id let him come into your room at night to. he will most likely curl up at the end of the bed and sleep. if he tries to wake you up ignore him at all times, try not to even shift positions or anything. it took a few weeks for me to get my girl to stop bugging me at 3-4am, now she gets up when the alarm goes off! lol
hth
 

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catamaran said:
Thanks again for all this good advice. He does like the interactive stick with a bell.
That's very good! Interactive play, besides being fun, will help you bond with Charlie. You can even use play to teach him some tricks, if you want. Cats retain the ability to learn through play for most of their lives.
:eek:rcat
 
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