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My husband and I have an 11 year old neutered male cat. He has just recently decided to urinate in inappropriate places - the mat at the back door, piles of clothes before they went into the wash, and this morning the side of the bed from the bed skirt down. This is not just spraying. I mean, it’s sprayed, but created a huge puddle. Although that is a big concern, it’s not my only one. Please read on.
Re: the urinating, first I thought - What has changed recently. The easiest answer is the litter. We have 3 cats - indoor cats - with 2 boxes. I switched one box to corn husk litter from traditional clumping clay. When they all seemed fine with it, I switched the second one. I have wanted to do this some time for environmental and cat health reasons. We bought good quality, unscented stuff, but one cat is a litter digger and would get a dirty nose. That has stopped with the corn litter. It’s less dusty, and more and more people say the clay is bad. We like it and they seemed to be ok. The problem didn’t start right away, but soon enough after to be a consideration. I’m going to get a third box and some of the same old litter, but I worry - Is that the problem?
Of course the other possibility is a medical problem, and that’s not something I would want to wait on. He’s not straining, that’s for sure. His appetite and general health is just fine. They all get high quality canned food with water mixed in, as well as good dry food. They have a flowing water bowl with bottled water, since our water is not the best. I don't drink it, so why should they. The real problem is that I can’t just take him to the vet....
Before I get to that, here’s some more background to explain.... I’ve had him since he was a kitten and years before I met my husband. He was always in a multi-cat household. He’s always gotten along with the other cats. Right now he is the oldest and the one we’ve had the longest. The three will play and chase then end up sleeping in a row on the back of the sofa. He lets them know if he’s had enough. No one ever gets hurt and there’s no flat ears or growling. The other two are more affectionate than he is, so they ask for, and receive, more attention. Lately he’s been asking me for more attention... up on the side of the bath tub, or bathroom counter. He almost seems jealous. So I am trying to pay more attention to him and reassure him he’s loved. So could this be a part of it? He's good with me. He does accept my affection and will head butt me and purr in return. Our cats are our babies, a huge part of our lives, and very much interact with us.
He’s always been an anxious, easily stressed guy though. When I moved in with my husband he hid in a corner for a long time. Adjustment was not easy. He took quite some time to warm up to him too, although now they’re good. He’s a Mama’s boy for sure. In fact, he hates strangers, men in particular. The larger the man the worse it is. I have no idea where this comes from. He’s never been abused. When we have guests he checks them out and hisses and growls. We have to tell people to ignore him and to certainly not try to pet him for their own safety. It’s a little embarrassing, and a worry. I’ve often wondered if they messed up when they fixed him and left him a bit intact. We have had the same pet sitter for years now and now that he knows her he’s good with her. He is getting a wee bit better in general, but...
The vet visit is a HUGE ordeal. He never used to be too bad, especially if he was sick (that calmed him) as opposed to routine stuff. However last time I had him in to the vet’s (because he had stopped eating and become lethargic), the vet was taking his temp and he FREAKED out. He was growling and went mental. I couldn’t hold him and he turned and bit me very hard in the palm of my hand. It was deep and painful. I had to have a tetanus shot and go on antibiotics. But at the time I ignored that and just tried to calm him. The vet had to sedate him and we waited while he growled in the back like a wild animal. The vet would go back to see if he was calm and came forward with wide eyes. I doubt he’d seen anything so crazy. Finally he took the blood test (and everything was fine - naturally). The trauma to both of us was the worst part. The mere thought of going through that again - for me or for him - causes my heart rate to increase and fills me with anxiety. I know he’d sense my stress and it would be even worse. So vets are for emergencies only for him. I don’t want to drug him for the visit unless I absolutely need to, and no, I will not consider drugging him for his anxiety. I did try a natural remedy once, but he won’t eat food with anything drug or non-food in it. Getting anything into him is a nightmare.
Has anyone had success with Feliway for issues like this? I have never tried it.
I am really hoping the urinating is behavioural. Even if reverting to the old litter helps, I realize I need to get this inability to bring him to the vet solved before I have an emergency.
 

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Definately try a litter box with the old litter (or a clay litter - I use Dr Elsey's regular clumping litter & it's not bad with the dust).

Feliway might help anxiety in general but I doubt it would help going to the vets. But you can get the spray type and spray it in the carrier. In my opinion, he would still probably freak once you took him out of his environment.

What kind of carrier are you using? Lily has alot of anxiety with vet visits too (not as bad as yous) but the sherpa carrier I am using now seems to work better than the hard plastic one I first tried to use. I keep their carriers in the bedroom now so they get used to being around them. Harli even sleeps in hers sometimes.
 

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I’m definitely getting a box of the old litter tonight. It’s not really that dusty. I’m also going to try a brand new box, that hopefully he can call his own.
I suppose it never hurts to try the Feliway, but I do worry that nothing will help with the vet problem. He’s actually not that bad about the carrier and the trip. I use a hard plastic one, but with easy clips so you don’t have to dump them out of shove them in.
Last time he was even ok for the first bit. Maybe I’m blowing it our of proportion and it’s really all about the thermometer up his butt. I can’t say I blame him for not enjoying that! Even worse that it has to stay in there for a bit. His patience wore out. I’d certainly want to bring my husband. He’s more able to stay calm. I am really dreading it, but I know I’ll have to deal with this vet thing eventually. Oh, and to make matters worse, the vet I had who, other than that ordeal, was wonderful with my cat with cancer, has now left the clinic. I’m not familiar with the new vet as I’ve only been once with another of our cats (who loves vets... and everyone on the planet, for that matter)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have had another thought. Tell me what you think....
I used to take my cats, including him, to another clinic where I used to live. When I moved I eventually changed vets (I hated to after so many years, and for awhile kept going back with my diabetic girl who didn't mind drives). They have a very good, soft spoken, mild mannered woman vet... but the drive is about 20-30 minutes of mostly highway.
Would you chance the longer drive for possibly a better vet experience?
P.S. I have nothing against male vets, but as I stated above, this cat has an issue with men in general and is always more tolerant of women.
 

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Heck, yes I think it's worth trying trying your old vet, or look around for another woman vet, especially with you saying that he has an issue with men.

Has he made the drive before without issues?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No, he's never made the long drive to the vet. The last long drive he did was when I moved from that area to the area I'm in now.
Luckily he's always been a healthy guy... touch wood!
I'm going to look for a new, female vet in our area. Now that the vet we liked is gone anyway, it's as good a time as any. I'm going to be upfront with them about his issues though. If they don't want to deal with it I'll take him back to my old stomping grounds.
Thanks Nan for all your help.
P.S. I posted some photos in my album. Not sure how to share them yet...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I bought a nice new litter box and some of the same old litter. We kept the other 2 cats at bay and I brought M to it and put him in. I expected him to jump out, but figured at least then he would know it was there. However he didn't jump out. He immediately dug a whole and had a poop like he'd been holding it in waiting for the bathroom.... and then he leaves in his traditional manner without burying it, leaving it to Tiggy to jump in and do that for him. Nice.
I'm also lavishing him with lots of attention and he's lapping it up. Odd, since he used to like affection so little. Funny what having other, super affectionate cats in the house can do.
I also cleaned the pee spot really well, and so far so good. Fingers crossed....
 
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