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VERY destructive cat... I can't take it anymore!!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am completely at my wits end, and I just don't know where else to turn. I have a 4 year old cat named Mica who has a serious problem with inappropriate peeing. She is also extremely destructive and has shreaded an entire couch, carpeting, suitcases, etc.

She pees in the bathtub constantly, and if I let her anywhere near a rug or a pile of laundry she inevitably pees on that too. She has been to the vet, and they ruled out any physical problems. I've tried different litterboxes and types of litter. Essentially I've tried everything listed in the "Inappropriate Peeing Problems Answered" thread on here.

The vet said that it must be an emotional problem that causes her to do this. Mica has always been an extremely "clingy" cat. She goes nuts when I leave her alone, and even when I'm with her she always whines and cries and seems upset. This seems to have gotten worse over the past year or two. She used to be playful at least part of the time, but now she always just seems so miserable. She also seems to do her destructive scratching primarily when she wants attention, like right when I get home from work or when she knows I'm about to leave.

The only thing the vet suggested was putting her on antidepressants. I actually tried those for a couple days, and she acted so drugged-up and dopey that it just seemed cruel to keep her on them.

This problem is getting really serious right now because I'm about to move into a brand new house that my parents are renting to me. They are already very unhappy about Mica living there because they know about her issues. We just can't think of any real solution to this problem. Like I said, over the past 4 years, I have literally tried EVERY possible solution that I have read about online. I'm also about to pay hundreds of dollars to re-cover the couch that she destroyed because it looks so awful, and I know she's just going to destroy it all over again. And yes, she has toys and other things to scratch... and I've tried every anti-scratching remedy I could find... except getting her declawed, which I've heard is always a terrible idea.

I don't know what to do!! The cats I had when I was younger were always so calm and quiet and low maintenance... Mica just seems like such a complete basketcase in comparison. I'm not looking for a miracle, but I just thought someone here might have some advice...

thank you,
post #2 of 16
Hi Sara,

Sorry to hear about your problems with your cat.

It there a room that you could isolate Mica in for a while? Instead of having her having the run of the house, just give her one room.

If you go and spend time in there with her several times a day it would be great.

Many people don't realize how little time they spend interacting with their cats, but if you have to go visit your cat you might spend more time with her.

post #3 of 16
Have you consulted a behaviourist about this problem? If not I suggest asking your vet to recommend or refer you to a reputable, behaviour therapist who can come to your home and discuss the problem in detail with you.

The fact that you're moving could be a good thing as a new house won't contain any lingering smells that attract her back to the same places and could help to break the habit. Get lots of feliway!

Do you think she might be bored? Maybe she'd benefit from a companion?
post #4 of 16
I can honestly say that in your situation declawing is not going to help. Yes it is frowned upon, but in this instance it will most likely cause more stress and negative behavioral issues. Do you spend time with her daily? Did this start suddenly, progressively, after some change, possibly feeling ignored or lonely.........This with out a doubt sounds like a behavioral issue, I wouldn't say depression as much as stress/ anxiety. There are different medications that are available now but really require physical interaction along with...
post #5 of 16
My cat gets destructive (although not with the inappropriate peeing) if she gets too bored. I need to play with her lots and I can't just wait for her to want to play I have to initiate play with her as well. If I just let her come to me for play (even though she does that a lot) she won't get enough interaction and stimulation.

I would first of all clip her claws if you're not doing that already. Claw trimming doesn't prevent scratching but it can make it take longer for a cat to ruin things if they're determined so it might buy you a bit of time.

Then I'd try to have lots of "constructive" interactive sessions with her. Where she's getting all your attention and she's getting to do things. Petting and cuddles doesn't count there. Getting boxes for her to explore, playing with her with all sorts of different things (chilled out play in boxes or trying to catch things from beneath a door to mad running after laser pointers or whatever works for her). You could even use the stop watch on your phone to time exactly how much time you're spending interacting with her like that.

Basically it's sounding to me like she's needing more stimulation, do you live alone or have any other pets? Anyway basically think of your flat as a zoo enclosure and there's a fully grown mini tiger living in it and that mini tiger needs "enrichment" or she'll go nuts like tigers in zoo often do.

This is of course not guaranteed to solve things but it might be an opening into what the real problem might be.

Btw I had a problem with my cat where she overgroomed and licked a spot raw on her inside foot and it got infected. Basically she was also not getting enough stimulation (I was playing with her plenty and interacting much more than people often do with their cats but it just wasn't enough for her because she's the type of cat that needs a huge amount of interaction and stimulation) anyway she got destructive inwards rather than outwards like your cat but my hunch is that it's the same thing bothering both of them.

I solved things with my cat by waking up half an hour early to play with her for 30min before going to work and then clocking up atleast 2 hours of intense one on one play in total during the day. Also adding boxes and things for her to explore as a part of my living room and put a big cat stair in front of my biggest window for her to look out of etc. and I have her trained to a harness and take her outside and that really helps as well.

Anyway good luck with her, it's hard to break bad habits in cats when they have formed. I was lucky to catch Nikita's overgrooming very quickly and nipped it in the bud and it's not come back.
post #6 of 16
since you say you've tried everything you've read about online, i'm assuming you've tried the Cat Attract litter? if not, please do - it really works! otherwise, i can't add any suggestions that haven't already been made - sorry! i would agree that declawing would probably only exacerbate her problems.
post #7 of 16
I think she desperately needs a friend to be there when you're not, another cat who she can relate to and not feel she is just rattling around on her all the time. It's amazing what a difference it can make and if the other cat used the box appropriately (which is likely, after all, though you'll actually need a separate box for each cat), she may well stop acting out and begin to 'copy cat' the new one too.
post #8 of 16
Sounds like she's bored and peeing and scratching is a way to get attention.
post #9 of 16
Since it seems to be an "attention" thing, I think a nice playmate would be the key. I'd choose a confident outgoing and energentic young male (neutered) for a companion.

You might try the Soft Paws nail caps and keep her nails trimmed short. Do you have a good sturdy treehouse - minimum of 4 feet tall? With lots of shelves? If not, consider buying one - Petsmart and Petco have them for under $200 and its well worth the money.

Also you could cover some of the furniture with sticky tape on the sides or some plastic to discourage her.

But I think she's bored and wants more attention.
post #10 of 16
Our cat Enzo has some issues of tearing things up and peeing in clean clothes. He was also very aggressive and would bite and scratch us all the time. We finally got him a playmate because we just couldn't stand it!!! We talked to the vet about him also and they told us young cats don't do as well without a friend because they have so much energy and no where to put it. That's the only advice I have for you other than what was said. It worked great for us! Good luck!
post #11 of 16
I would just note that, in your original posting, the peeing was as big an issue as the scratching, and obviously declawing won't address the peeing issue at all, so that on its own should rule out declawing as a solution; if anything, it might aggravate the situation by making her even more upset!

Will you have a garage at the new house?? If so, I would suggest putting her in the garage while you work on solutions; at least she won't be damaging the rugs and furniture. You could put some beach towels on the ground so she had something to pee on that isn't an approved litterbox (since she's feeling contrary).

I truly hope you can find a solution for these problems; I know how sad it is to have unhappy companions in the house... my thoughts and prayers will be with you.
post #12 of 16
My suggestion would be to keep her confined to one room for a few days with the Cat Attract litter and Feliway diffusers running, and have lots of interactive sessions with her, and see if that helps with the peeing. If so, then slowly introduce her to other parts of the house again, taking it very slowly, and keeping up the play.

One of my cats gets destructive as well (but thankfully no inappropriate peeing), and it's only when she's bored and wants attention.

One cheap toy that the girls LOVE is 2 foil helium balloons with a toy mousie tied to the bottom of them. The foil balloons last for ages (up to a month), and have the string at a height so the mousie bounces a bit higher than knee high for you - so your kitty has to jump up to get the mousie, and can bat it around. It's a FANTASTIC interactive toy!

Good luck
post #13 of 16
How much time does the cat spend alone every day? It does sound like the neurotic behavior and unhappiness could be caused by loneliness and lack of stimulation... particularly since she started out well adjusted and has gotten worse over the years.

So since you're moving to a house with more people to give her attention, she might improve. A companion cat might work even better. A cat with that kind of clingy, affectionate personality may not be able to stand being alone, ever.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
thank you all for your help... I'm sorry I haven't posted again sooner, but I just moved into the new house and have very limited internet access for the time being.

anyway, my game plan so far is to keep her shut in the spare bedroom (which is mostly just boxes since I'm still moving in -- not too much there that she can destroy yet). I bought one of the Feliway plug-in things yesterday and had it in there last night when I brought her over from my old house. She seems a little more mellow now than usual, especially considering the circumstances. In the middle of the night she started meowing and didn't stop for at least an hour, but aside from that it's been fairly uneventful so far.

The last time I moved to a new place with her, however, she didn't start her innappropriate peeing for several weeks... then once she started, it was CONSTANT. So I'm not sure how long to keep her in the spare bedroom before letting her into the rest of the house.

And I know several of you suggested getting another cat... Since she seems to hate everyone and everything in the world except ME, do you really think this would help? To me, it just seems like she would view another cat as something else that is taking more of my attention away from her!

Thanks again for all your responses, I really appreciate it.

post #15 of 16
It could help. So far she's clinging only to you because you're the only companion in her life.

If you managed a cat introduction and it went well, she'd have more company and stimulation. Since you're looking for a strong bond and a playmate who would help use up her energy (to keep it from being used destructively), a kitten would be your best bet, I think. Kittens are more quickly accepting of other cats, and older cats tend to not see them as a threat the way they might with an adult cat. I've even seen some (female and male) bond to the kitten as if it were their baby.

There would be some upheaval at first, but once things settled your cat might be happier and more well adjusted.
post #16 of 16
maybe an older kittn, 5-6 months? a very young kitten will be too rambunctious for her. even a 1-2 year old might be good. look for a non-dominant male - most shelters can tell you something about the cat's purrsonality.
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