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Neurotic cat--any suggestions

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
This might be a long post, so I apologize in advance.

Stewie, our youngest cat, is six years old. We rescued him when he was a kitten from someone's driveway in Uptown New Orleans. Apparently, his mother's owners waited until her kittens were old enough to be weaned and then just tossed them out of the house to fend for themselves. Nice, huh?

In any case, he has had "issues" ever since we brought him home. He is incredibly skittish and will run and hide under the bed at the slightest unfamiliar noise. I am the only person he really likes, and even then, he doesn't like for me to approach him or pick him up. He has to come to you. He runs away from my husband, and he yowls in fear when my four-year-old son climbs into my bed if he is there at the time. He is terrified when we have guests over, and he will hide under the bed until hunger or thirst drives him out. All of our other cats have been so laid back and mild mannered, and he has really been a challenge for us. Still, he sleeps in bed with us every night, and he follows me around the house like a puppy.

But lately, we have been having problems with him urinating in the house. I don't know if it's spraying or inappropriate urination, but I am almost positive it is stress related. He did the same thing when we moved into this house a few years ago (I know the experience of the move was extremely stressful for him), but it seemed to get better. We recently had to put our 16 year-old female cat to sleep, and it seems like his peeing behavior started after she was gone. He is physically healthy and does not have a UTI. As a side note, he does have a "brother" who is eight years old. They fight on occasion, but for the most part, they just stay out of each other's way.

We have a preschooler, so having a cat who urinates in the house is completely unacceptable. Our son crawls and plays on the floor, and one of the spots Stew has chosen to pee in is our son's playroom (as well as a spot in our closet and in the hallway--the rest of the house is wood flooring). But with his temperament, he isn't really an adoptable pet. So we have to either find a way to correct this problem or to have him euthanized, which I obviously do not want.

I am going to try the Feliway diffuser and have the carpets professionally cleaned (I talked to one place who can do an enzyme treatment on spots where pets have gone). But I wanted to know about people's experiences with antidepressants for their cats, just in case the other things don't work. Any success stories, side effects, pros, cons? Also, if anyone has any other suggestions other than the Feliway, I would love to hear them.

Thanks!
post #2 of 16
Is he neutered? If not, then neutering may help with the spraying.
post #3 of 16
If he isnt neutered,have him "fixed'.This will cut down greatly on his stress level(He wont have the urge to run after all the lovely ladies he smells/senses outside),also it will stop spraying for the most part if not all of it.There is a litter product in pet stores to help them get back into the litter box,I forgot the name of this I can check tomorrow atthe store if noone knows what I am talking about.It is kind of pricey tho,I think bout 20 bux a jug.But After a bout of cystitis it only took a jug to get him back into the litter.
Thirdly you can plug in numerous feliway plug ins the give out feel good pheromones which will cut back on urinating if its stress related.
But honestly fixing him would be my first choice if not already done.
post #4 of 16
When my husband and I were married his cat Hemmy began spraying when I moved in with my two cats. We were devastated because we thought we'd have to find a new home for him. We also tried the Feliway diffuser and it was like a miracle! It just worked right away. I hope it works as well for you as it did for us.

I'm a professional pet sitter and a client's cat I used to care for was medicated for urination behavior problems. I tried to look up the med but I no longer have that info on file. Anyway, it seemed to have very little success for them, but I've never personally had a need to medicate any cats I've owned for such a behavior so I'm at a disadvantage to expound on it.

Good luck and keep us posted!
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Whoops! I guess that should have been something I put in my opening post. Yes, he is neutered--that was one of the first things we did when we rescued him. So it isn't that.

Like I said, this hasn't always been a regular thing with him, and considering his behavior and temperament, I am certain it is a stress-related thing with him. But the problem is that he is such a nutcase that it doesn't take much to set him off. I can't have him wetting the carpet every time he hears a noise that upsets him.

I bought two of the Feliway diffusers today. At $46.00 a pop, they had better work! I placed one in the hallway, which should reach our bedroom as well, and one in my son's playroom. I retreated the areas with a solid soaking of Nature's Miracle that I know he has been "hitting", and I am going to have the carpet cleaners come and do all of the carpeting after we get back from our vacation next week.

He has actually been acting kind of funny--wandering through the house as though he's looking for something, but he can't figure out what. I also caught him lying down and relaxing in front of the diffuser I put in the hallway. But the box said it might take four weeks to notice any change in behavior. Does it really take that long?

Thanks again for your input.
post #6 of 16
I know you said he doesn't ahve a UTI. does that mean you have taken him to the vet, or examined his urine for crystals?
post #7 of 16
Was he particularly close to the 16 year old cat? Or maybe he was just "used" to her? It seems that in some way for some reason he may be missing her. A very wise lady on this site takes her kitties in her lap when another kitty passes on and tells them about it in her own words, and she swears that it helps the surviving cats cope better.

Regarding the antidepressant, I've heard of them working well for aggression. I know one person here, White Cat Lover, has one of her cats on Buspar, and it seems to be helping a lot...
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
We took a urine sample in to the vet. It's just too hard to get him there--he takes off and hides the minute he sees the carrier (and he doesn't let anyone approach him without running off).
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kluchetta View Post
Was he particularly close to the 16 year old cat? Or maybe he was just "used" to her? It seems that in some way for some reason he may be missing her. A very wise lady on this site takes her kitties in her lap when another kitty passes on and tells them about it in her own words, and she swears that it helps the surviving cats cope better.

Regarding the antidepressant, I've heard of them working well for aggression. I know one person here, White Cat Lover, has one of her cats on Buspar, and it seems to be helping a lot...
In all honesty, I really didn't think he was all that close to the older cat. They never really played or hung out together. But since he's like a raw nerve ending, it might not take much of a disruption in his routine to set him off.

The funny thing is that he didn't do any of this when we brought a new baby into the house, and you think that would have been quite a shock for him.
post #10 of 16
I would get an appointment with the vet ASAP! It could be something medically wrong, and you don't want to wait until it's too late! You also need to neutor him! I know everyone else has already said that, I just wanted to tell you Good luck, and I hope you get it figured out! I know sometimes cats can be a pain in the butt, even though you love them soo much!
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bailezra View Post
In all honesty, I really didn't think he was all that close to the older cat. They never really played or hung out together. But since he's like a raw nerve ending, it might not take much of a disruption in his routine to set him off.

The funny thing is that he didn't do any of this when we brought a new baby into the house, and you think that would have been quite a shock for him.
That's interesting you say that. We just adopted a cat who was apparently very depressed and starting to act strangely because his buddy had died. He was starting to be scared of weird things, and wouldn't sleep in the bedroom anymore because of the ceiling fan. But he came to our house, and immediately fit right in - all the other cats want to be next to him, and he's sleeping on our bed already. So maybe it is just losing the other cat - just enough to throw him over the edge.

We had another cat who was formerly feral who got really crazy when we added a puppy. She didn't eat for quite some time (much, anyway) and got really skinny. So I started paying more attention to her, and showing her ways to get around where the puppy couldn't follow her, and she's fat and happy now!
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mybabyphx View Post
I would get an appointment with the vet ASAP! It could be something medically wrong, and you don't want to wait until it's too late! You also need to neutor him! I know everyone else has already said that, I just wanted to tell you Good luck, and I hope you get it figured out! I know sometimes cats can be a pain in the butt, even though you love them soo much!

Like I said, he has been neutered since he was a kitten, and there is nothing wrong with his health.

I know he is doing this because of stress and the change in the routine around here. I'm not wondering about the cause, but rather how to fix it. With his temperament, there is really no way to prevent him from feeling stressed and upset from time to time, but we can't have him peeing in the house every time something sets him off. If the Feliway diffusers don't work, then antidepressants will likely be our next step. I was just curious about people's experiences with either or both of these methods.
post #13 of 16
Did you PM Whitecatlover? If you can't PM yet, let me know and I'll hook you up. She's got a cat on Buspar and it seems to be working well!
post #14 of 16
Some of the members on here have had success with drugs like buspirone and fluoxetine for stress-related behaviors... I would look into it if you can afford it. They both should be relatively cheap. Good luck! I hope you can find a way to keep your kitty... he sounds sweet! I have a little girl who has a similar personality. It breaks my heart, but it's just the way she is and she does have kitty friends to play with.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the input.

I was browsing on PetMeds about the various antidepressants, and strangely enough, it would be cheaper to put him on happy pills than it will be to buy two Feliway refills every month! If it comes dow to that, I will ask you about PMing the other member. Thanks.

But we'll give this a go and see what happens. My son would be heartbroken if we lost another kitty, but I have to think of his wellbeing above the cat's, and obviously living in a home where a cat is eliminating in the wrong places is not healthy.

I'll check back in a few weeks and let everyone know how the Feliway is working.
post #16 of 16
One of the things I forgot to ask is how many floors are on your house, and how many and where are the litterboxes? Have you changed litter recently?
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