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Spraying and bullying with 6 cats

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
We have 6 cats. Morris is 14, Lukie and Tabitha are around 12, Grace is 5, Katie is 1 and Dexter is 5 months. Katie and Dexter were feral cats that I caught and socialized and are very loving. They have not exhibited any undesirable behaviours such as spraying and bullying. However my other older cats especially Grace are displaying these behviours. We have an old farmhouse so there is enough space for them to be away from each other. We have ample litter boxes which are all large and cleaned twice a day. During the summer months we let the older cats out into the garden. The peeing started in earnest when I began rescuing/neutering local feral cats in an effort to reduce the population in our village. Late last fall I rescued Josephine and that is when the peeing really started ( probably from multiple cats) and Grace started being a bully. I did not have Katie and Dexter at that time. I found Josephine a home in January but the peeing and bullying have continued since then. Katie joined us in March and Dexter in early June - they were both going up for adoption but we had them too long and became too attached so now they're permanent. Every single one of our older cats has peed in the house at some point - we know this because we've caught each one of them in the act at some point. We have figured out some trends in the peeing (plastic bags, baskets or containers, things made of wicker, clothing left on the floor, cushions) but there are always deviations. The problem is that we don't know who is doing it more than the other and we don't necessarily know when they've peed. By the time we find the pee they have done it more than once and/or more than one cat has marked it.

I know this is territory and possession issues we have and I just want to know how to stop it once and for all. In Grace's case she also does it as a 'policy' statement if she is angry. We have ruled out medical causes for the peeing. Last winter we used Feliway diffusers but it seemingly had no effect on Grace. When we shut the windows for winter I will use the diffuser again. All the cats actually do get along - they don't cuddle up and sleep together and never really have. At times Grace will brush up against the other cats with no intent to smack them or sleep near them. Actually prior to becoming a bully, she was one of the most sweet, affectionate, gentle and even-tempered cats I have ever had the pleasure to have. I have started to try and use an oral relaxer for her (BioCalm) so she doesn't attack the others. I know she is stressing them out but if she is the cause of the stress then I should try and get her more relaxed so she doesn't attack the others and then their stress level will be reduced without having to give them medicine. I am also trying to give them all more attention which is pretty difficult when I work full time but they get depressed and angry if I don't. My husband also tries to give them lots of attention. What else can I do to stop this behaviour?

Desperate for your advice,

post #2 of 3
Are you still rescuing ferals? If so, where are you putitng them? Are they in the same building as your resident cats?

Also, what are you using the clean up the targeted areas?

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
I'll begin to rescue the ferals again (my salary has been cut by 50% for the last 5 months so I couldn't afford to get them fixed and vaccinated but I have just got a new job) and when I do I will place them in our mainfloor bathroom until I can get them vaccinated, fixed, socialized and adopted or release them if they cannot be adopted/socialized. ( For the ones I release I will try to keep them in our barn where I can set up a heated environment with food and bedding so they don't freeze to death (we're in Canada). I have 3-4 moms that need to be fixed as well as a 5 month old female (Dexter's sister). There will likely be more. ) I will not be introducing the ferals to my cats. After following this routine each with Katie and Dexter, segregating them in the bathroom doesn't seem to increase the amount of peeing from the other cats but it does increase the bullying by Grace.

I find that cleaning up with Lysol antibacteria kitchen counter spray, diluted vinegar or diluted Dettol and then spraying the area with Nok-Out (the best anti-odour we have found, and I think we've tried everything) is the best way to go. If the cat has sprayed only once then this cleanup routine seems to keep it as a single spray and they don't go back. But if there have been multiple sprays or if they sprayed in the area before we figured out our current cleanup then its more of a habit and they may return to the area. I have been using motion detector spray cans to keep them away from areas when they have habitually been spraying in that area.
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