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Not using the LitterBox

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
This is probably in the wrong place, because I know *why* the behavior is occurring. Feel free to move it if necessary.

DH decided to be silly and let the cats meet one another. Big mistake, and one I can't go back and correct. Whisper and Reagan had a huge fight last night (Reagan won, but she's pretty well scratched up -- and Whisper lost his collar -- Thank God it was a breakaway!). I believe that everybody is simply readjusting and trying to figure out where they fit in the "pack order." Reagan's still alpha, Molly isn't challenging it, but Whisper is feeling insecure(ish).

The biggest behavioral change that we're experiencing is the failure to use the litterbox. Molly had one accident, which is understandable. Whisper did too, but at the time he was behind a closed door in a room with no litterbox -- again, understandable. But when we woke up this morning, the entire house smells of cat accidents. We haven't found any fecal material (which is what I'm smelling), and urine is almost impossible to find without a black light, which is an expense that we don't want to pay out right now.

I'm going to use vinegar on all the carpets tonight and tomorrow to clear out the urine smell, and use my nose (pregnant nose at that!) to determine if there is an marking on the walls that needs to be treated, too.

Enzyme cleaners have never worked for us in the past, unfortunately.

Does anybody have any other suggestions a) for getting the smell out and b) making this transition smoother so that we can help to stop them from continuing this behavior?

post #2 of 5
It may be too soon for the intros and you may want to give them some time apart before attempting it again. As for cleaners, the best investment I've made besides Nature's Miracle Just For Cats is to buy a Bissell SpotBot Pet carpet deep cleaner and the liquid cleaners that are made for it. This is a small robotic cleaner that can also be manually operated. It cost around $130 and the cleaners are kind of pricey, around $10 a bottle; but if you really want to clean the "accidents" and make sure your carpet is CLEAN, this will pay for itself time and again, and it's a lot more portable, lightweight, and convenient that the various upright carpet deep cleaners on the market.

Do be patient and loving with your cats (and DH!) and you will be glad.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
We need to get a carpet cleaner anyway, so thank you for the suggestion. Our house drops a lot of dust that traditional vacuum cleaners just really don't pick up, plus the pet hair and everything else that gets deep into the carpets. The previous tenant apparently let her pets pee and poo *everywhere* in the house, and we started out with a marking problem (cats and dog trying to pee over the previous urine stains... Ugh!).

$130 isn't that much for a carpet cleaner, either. The vinegar works *really* well (it gets the deep, set-in odors out of the carpet), but who wants their house to smell like vinegar for a week? LOL!

I'm going to have to try to "Shepherd" Whisper and Reagan back into safe places, since Molly's back in hiding after DH tried to show her the litterbox last night (she didn't like that too much!). Reagan is doing just fine with her for the most part, except that she still wants to show that she's the Alpha.

I think it's probably best if I separate Whisper and Reagan for the time being, too, or at least as much as possible, then let them re-acclimate to one another before introducing them to Molly. Reagan got a decent scratch (being treated with topical antiseptic) in spite of having won the fight.

They do this from time to time anyway (just to establish who is or is still the boss, whether or not something in their environment changes), but I'd like to cut down on any more problems tonight, considering that I hardly got any sleep.

Patience is *so* important in these cases. We've made tons of progress with our two "problem" animals recently (Dozer the dog and Whisper) and Molly's coming along quite nicely, too. It's so very much worth the end result!
post #4 of 5
Feliway, Feliway, Feliway.

Can't stress it enough. It REALLY helps to destress the cats and prevents spraying.

I have a diffuser going in 4 of 5 rooms and just did a successful 24-hour intro/integration, adding a 4th cat to the house.

Lots of folks can tell you how to best clean up the spots that have already been marked, and to remove the smells, but you need to get the cats calmed down - that really is key.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
I wasn't aware of Feliway! I'm doing some research for it now to get all the details, and if I have any questions about the product, I definitely know where to come.

Whisper and Reagan were calm when introduced to one another, so we never had any problems with them. Both were avid litterbox users from the time they came into our care, and therefore we had *no* problems with them whatsoever. However, I think that any nervousness from Molly might be contributing to the overall tension in the house (since I believe that cats can pick up on energy and scents in that way).

I will look into the product and see what we can do to help.

By the way, it doesn't appear to be a marking problem. Whisper had a genuine accident (Meowmy not thinking because she's pregnant and exhausted and "oops, there's no litterbox in this room!" but we are *pretty* sure that Reagan was the one who had the bowel movement on the landing on the steps last night. Other than that, the issues aren't with spraying, but with bowel movements in inappropriate places, and there could be *several* reasons for that, including general nervousness.
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