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I'll try to make this as short as I can, but it will be difficult. I have a 6 1/2 yr. old mostly Russian Blue cat who is urinating in the most improper places. As you read my story, I think you'll understand why it's taken me so long to ask for help. I rescued him and his "brother" (actually from two different litters according to my then vet) when he was about 3 weeks old. This was in late 1997. We went through all the classic "taken away from the mother" symptoms and developed a very strong bond. I became his mom. LOL... he even gave me a hickey on my eyelid while I slept one night; that was his suckling spot! When he and his one week older "brother" were a couple of months old, someone was using plastic drop cloths (Hubby was painting) for urinating, but infrequently. I assumed this would pass, and for the next 2 1/2 yrs. it appeared as if it had.

In January of 2000, we had a dog get horribly injured and it was imperative that she be kept indoors while she recovered from her surgery. She loved laying under the dinner table. At some point during the 3 months she was kept indoors, I began to find urine on the table, pretty much directly above where she liked to lay. This happened a few times and not knowing which of the two cats were responsible, I assumed the problem would go away once the dog was recovered and back outside. For a time after the dog went back outdoors, there was the odd ocassion where I might find urine in other spots, totally unrelated to the dog; on a desk, the kitchen counter, etc. It finally seemed to stop or at least I didn't find it anymore. Again, I assumed the problem was done.

A year and a half later, we find another stray kitten. He comes into the home and it starts again, mostly on the table. At this point I realize I have a cat that is pointing out his unhappiness but have no idea which cat it is. I now have three to pick from, although my suspicion is that it's the same cat that did it when the dog was inside. As the new cat works himself into the routine of our home, things seem to level off. It happens less and less often. Last November we took a trip and left the two older cats in the home while we were gone and had the younger one at the vet as he had a health issue that needed to be dealt with. When he came home from the vet, the Russian Blue acted as if he'd never seen this cat before in his life and they had to get used to each other again. The improper urination began again (at this point I felt as if a red neon arrow was pointing at the Russian Blue) and I went to the internet for information. I added a fourth litter pan and that seemed to have helped for a time. I considered containing him at night, which is when I thought this behavior was taking place, but decided against it.

The problem has escalated alarmingly in the last couple of weeks. There are no new stress situations going on. The only difference now is that I know beyond a doubt that it's the Russian Blue doing the deed. I actually caught him in the process of trying to "cover" some still warm urine deposited in a plastic bag with VCR tapes in it. Less than a week after that (last Friday to be specific), I walked into the house at about 2 p.m. for a water break (I had been outside mowing) and there he was... on the table. Saturday morning, a new spot on the table. Today the tomatoes. Now I know for a fact who it is. The question is how do I handle this? Is there any hope of breaking this behavior?

I spoke to my vet this morning. While not a specialist in behaviors, he feels strongly that there isn't much hope of changing this situation since it's gone on so long. He can and will refer me to a top notch specialist in the field (4 hour trip by car) but doubts the success of that venture, again because of the length of time this has gone on. We discussed making the table unattractive (which I in part have already started doing), but he feels that will only make the cat change spots. I concur, especially since after hanging up with him, I went into the kitchen and found a bag (plastic) of tomatoes on the top of my stove soaking in cat urine. I had moved this bag to the stove top last night after using some of the tomatoes for my dinner, so I know this just happened within the last 12 hours.

Here's the sticker. The cat is indoors with the other two because I have 10 dogs (all strays, of course) outdoors. He could not survive here as an outdoor cat. I have considered building some sort of pen outdoors for him and letting him live his life out that way. It sounds cruel to me in its way, but it also sounds kinder than euthanasia. While I don't think I could actually have him euthanized, I also don't think I can continue to live with cat urine on my dinner table and in my tomatoes!

I mentioned to my vet that my son would be willing to take the cat when he gets his own place; perhaps 6 months from now. He thinks that may solve the problem; by changing the environment completely. However, that's 6 months away, and not a definite. My son is currently living with a roommate, and if things don't work out, he may end up back here.

Now that you're read my book... is there anyone out there with any suggestions? I am truly desperate. I loved this cat to distraction, but it's almost getting difficult to look at him with like in my heart anymore, let alone love. Thank you for any input.

lops
 

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One question first off - Is he neutered?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
neutered?

Yes, he was neutered at a little over one year old. Thanks for asking... is there any additional info that you think might be critical to the issue that I may have forgotten to post?
 

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I am by no means a cat expert, but if he loves peeing in that one spot on the table, how about putting a litter box there for a few days, and then slowly moving it day by day through the house until it gets where you want it? Other than that, I know that if he can still smell anything on the table, he may return to that spot in the future - so if any urine has soaked into the table and can't be completely removed you might consider getting rid of it. Finally, keep a water squirter on hand to reprimand him if you get 'lucky' and catch him in the act. Good luck and hang in there - if you've dealt with this little guy for this long, he's definitely in good hands!
 

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I kinda had the same situation with my in-laws cats (when we were living with them) Anyway, Tubby was 3 at that time, and he had always been good at doing his business in his litter box. My in-laws had to take in a friend's dog and that's when Tubby started peeing in different spots where the dog has been. We think Tubby was trying to mask the smell of the "intruder". We cleaned the spot with pet mess odor remover, and put extra litter boxes around. If he can't smell his urine spot, he won't repeat it. (Hope so) And I also agree with CatCaretaker that the water squirter is a good way to teach them "NO" We bought Feliway as well and that seemed to help and eventually in a few days, he stopped that habit. Let me know if that helps! Sorry, that was the best I could do....good luck and patience in the key here! :)
 

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CatCaretakerInHouston said:
I am by no means a cat expert, but if he loves peeing in that one spot on the table, how about putting a litter box there for a few days...
:D ...imaging litter box in the middle of kitchen table...guests will complement you on your centerpiece. :D

It's worth a try though.

Also, It does sound a bit as if he is doing it in an attempt to make a statement. "I'm not happy about this dog" or the new cat, or you didn't give me enough treats, or you went on vacation...lots of statements apparently. You might want to try a feliway diffuser. It's supposed to help deal with stress and such.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Appreciation

I've read the responses so far and want to thank everyone for their input. I can't remember who said what but here are some additional bits of info that your responses have brought to mind. I had thought of and am still thinking of putting a litter pan on the table, just in the hope that he'll get more litter pan oriented that way, although he does use the litter pans in addition to tables and bags of yummy home-grown tomatoes. :wink:

The table is wood, but since this started I had the sense of mind to cover it with a plastic tablecloth. That seemed to deter him for a while, but only for a while. He doesn't seem to insist on returning to the same spot either. The table is about 7 or 8 feet long and he's utilized much of the available space so far; some areas are repeats and some are brand new.

The water squirter is a good idea. I'd heard that before and didn't even consider that I'd ever catch him in the act, so perhaps a trip to the store for a squirt gun is in my future.

Lastly, I'll look into the Feliway diffuser. I've gone this far and long with him, might as well try everything that I can.

Again, thank you all so much for the input.
 

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I had very similar circumstances with a cat that I also had since he was three weeks old. He was very attached to me and as a result, marked every door in my house, closets, walls, you name it. He had his new spots and had his "repeat" spots. I tried every odor-removal, enzyme cleaner product out there. I also tried everything from A to Z with trying to get it under control. I even went as far as talking with an animal behavorist (for a fee of course). She had recommended buying a large crate for him and "crating" him when we weren't home so that if he felt the urge to mark, he would soon connect marking with using the litter pan since a litter pan was in his crate. I tried that for a while but soon discovered he wasn't marking when we weren't home, he was marking when we were home.

I'm not sure how much reading you've done regarding marking but in my cat's case, he was marking his territory and in doing so felt as if he was protecting me since he was so close to me. I live on 3 acres and if he sensed any stray cats outside (which we have occasionally) he would mark all the doors. The animal behaviorist told me he is obviously stressed, running around making sure all the doors are "marked" and I need to try and provide a less-stressful environment for him. She suggested closing the blinds and curtains at night so my cat would not pay so much attention to the outdoors. By the way, my cat was strictly an indoor cat and was not a mean cat at all. He was pretty affectionate at times. Anyhow, going back to the animal behavorist discussion - she also mentioned that this behavior is much more prominent in multi-cat/pet households. I have two other cats but it was not an option to find them new homes since they belong to my husband.

I think I'm rambling here and I'm trying to offer some help as I know, believe me, how frustrating this can be. I also thought of the squirt gun but I wasn't sure if that would really stop him. He was so stressed that I didn't think he needed a blast of water when he marked. I never punished him when he marked but I would always calmy pick him up, take him to the basement and place him in his litter box. For some reason I figured he'd get the hint.

I'm not sure I agree with putting the litter box on the table. But I do know that the stench of cat urine is VERY potent and almost impossible to remove completely. Cats have an extreme sense of smell and my cat always returned to the same spots no matter how well I cleaned them.

I know you PM'd me about the Feliway diffusers and unfortunately, I gave them away the other day. I can't say they worked for me. It seemed like everything I tried, my cat was immune to. I had also discussed with my vet, while bawling my eyes out, about euthanizing my cat. I figured his quality of life was horrible since he was so stressed out and I was obviously stressed to the max as well. Up until this point I was against putting my cat on medication but my vet convinced me to at least try a few. My first attempt was with Elavil. I even had it compounded to a tuna-flavored liquid. My cat hated it and spit it out every time I tried to give him his daily dose. I then tried Prozac. I managed to disguise his half daily tablet into his wet food and it was actually working out great. I really started to notice a difference and believe he wasn't marking nearly as much.

There is, however, a sad ending to my cat's story. :cry: He was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, un-related to the Prozac, and was put to sleep last November. He was TRULY, TRULY my BABY and even with all the trouble I had with him, he is so deeply missed. It breaks my heart to think he was so stressed at times and then ended up with cancer. I was finally able to curb his marking and then the worst thing happens.

Sorry this is so long but this is my "book" regarding my marking experiences. I hated to drug my cat in order for things to improve but I was at my wits end.

As mentioned, I've tried numerous things out there to help the marking situation with my cat. If you'd like to PM me with any questions, please feel free. I can't say what didn't work for my cat won't work for yours but I can certainly try to help you in any way I can.

Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
cheesensweets,

Thank you so much for your response and for sharing your story. I'm so sorry that after going through all of that, your poor baby had to suffer through cancer as well.

As soon as I have the time (it can take me hours to compose things, lol), I plan to send you a PM as you've said that was okay. I have questions and such that I feel would be best addressed in that format. However, I did want to thank you here in the forum as well... so thank you very much! :)
 

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Your kitty may be extremely unhappy or suffer from Urinary Tract Disease..I am not sure if you mentioned whether he has had a physical exam lately.
You will have to disinfect ALL of the places where he urinated with Nature's Miracle since it will clean the areas thouroughly - you don't want him to smell the pee there or he will do it again.
Try getting more litter boxes available for him, different litter. If his litter box has a top to it it might make it uncomfortable for him so he will do it somewhere else
If he doesn't like the texture of the litter - again he will be looking for a different spot.
Also absolute cleanliness of the box is a must - if you disinfect and change the litter at least twice a month you shouldn't worry about it.

Even though your problem seems to be behavioural you might want to see if any of the above mentioned possible causes might be at fault.

As far as keeping him off the table you can try sticky paws :

http://www.stickypaws.com

Dr. Jean will have far better solutions for the behaviour part - she will more than surely recommend flower essences for your baby
 

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On the water gun issue - I don't mean to hose him down whenever he has an accident. I'd give him a squirt the first couple times, but after that just saying "NO" and showing him the water gun should be enough for him to realize he's being bad.
 

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Plan of action

Let me start by thanking everyone for their kind and considerate reactions to my post and for the well thought out replies.

I think I've come to a conclusion here. I'm about 99% convinced that I have a jealousy/possessiveness issue going on here. That's one of the scenarios presented by my vet and the deeper I look, the more it looks that way to me. I'm going to try to cure it with what my son calls "love therapy."

This cat adores me beyond description. My two sons think it's almost creepy, lol. Soooo, I'm going to do my best to make sure that he feels secure about his place in the house and in my heart. I began implementing it yesterday, and so far, I haven't found any new spots (crossing fingers).

Special note to CatCaretakerInHouston: LOL!!! I must admit there's been a time or two when I think hosing him down could have been immensely satisfying, but the squirt gun really does sound like a possibility, so thanks!

lops :)
 

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Using a squirt gun will not work for this situation. It' will only teach the cat to not do a behavior *while you are watching*--if it even teaches them that! In most cases, the cat does not truly understand why the punishment occurs, which makes them more fearful and insecure, leading to even worse behavior problems! For more info on why squirt bottles and other punishments don't work with cats, please see our newly posted article on the subject: http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... tbehavior1

While you're in the library there, you might want to take a look at the 4 litterbox articles that talk about why cats go outside the box and provide lots of suggestions on how to correct it. Flower essences (www.spiritessence.com) and Feliway are very helpful for territorial/marking behaviors. Making sure the cat is healthy is the first step, and requires a trip to the vet. If it is determined to be a behavior problem and the "easy fixes" do not work, I would suggest a consultation with a cat behavior expert (like my partner, Jackson! He is out of town but will be back on the 20th; you can email him at [email protected].)

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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drjean,

Thank you so much for your reply. Having read the article you provided a link for, I have to agree that a squirt gun is not the answer; although I doubt I'd have gotten much chance to try it. In all the years this has gone on, I've only caught him at it twice, and they both happened within a week or so of each other here recently.

Although I haven't taken the cat in for an exam yet, I have spoken to the vet extensively about the problem. The time for a visit isn't very far off anyway, but for now (crossing fingers yet again) things seem to be working out pretty well. I read the articles about litter pans and have made some changes in the placement of them and I'm in the process of trying a new litter.

I've not found any spots where he's urinated in the last few days and am hopeful that we're on the way to a peaceful resolution to the problem. I'm making certain that he gets the affection he seems to crave, and he actually seems happier, if that makes any sense. The escalation that alarmed me may well have been the result of my reaction to catching him "in the act." I didn't beat him or anything like that, but much as I hate to admit it, I was not a very nice owner. I was in his face and yelling; not at all pleasant. The very last time I found any urine (since the "in his face" episode) I wiped it up, put the paper towel in his favorite litter pan, then put him in there with it. No drama, just a reinforcement I hope.

He and I are getting along much better and I'm working to make him feel as secure and loved as I am able. I fear that I have been subconsciously witholding some affection during these high stress times, so I'm now making a conscious effort to not do that. He seems to be thriving on that particular feature of my plan, lol.

If things don't continue in this vein, I may well take you up on the idea of emailing Jackson. My vet also has a couple of behaviorists that he can refer me to.

Again, thank you for the information!

lops
 

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Update

Hiya Everyone,

Just thought I'd drop a quick update into the forum. It's been about 2 weeks since I've found any evidence of another incident; a huge improvement, as it had gotten to be every day or every other day when I first posted my problem.

I'm SO thrilled. The problem may not be solved, but I think we're definitely on the way!

Thanks again to all of you for your input and support.

lops
 

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That is great news - your perseverence is paying off..plus you have a smart kitty that has started to cooperate with you :wink:
 
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