Welcome to TCS and kudos for joining this site in a quest to support your relationship. I admire such a caring, courageous gesture
Actually, I think that the problem is workable. My cats are proof that cats can be trained - in fact, I've had 2 houseguests in the last 2 months, both confirmed cat-dislikers, dog-only guys, who are amazed at the socialization of my cats
Here're some suggestions:
1. Regarding the midnight yowls for attention
- that is less a cry for attention (that's a human baby-thing) than it is a sign of frustrated nocturnal hunters. A good evening romp with toys such as feather teasers, "Da Bird", followed by a large dinner, simulating the hunt followed by the feast, should help - by the way, pay attention and see if the cats "take turns" at having a go at the teaser.
2. Excessive Shedding
- investigate the cat food being served. Products containing fish & seafood can contribute to this, according to my vet, who also says that fish can also upset the urinary tracts of some neutered males.
3. Disrespecting territory
- yes, cats are territorial, and they do understand the "no-zones". Cats do accept rules, not out of submission like dogs, but rather out of respect. Our Behavior sections have some great hints. In my house, my DH and I don't mind counter/table jumping so my cats have free run at home but when they stay at my mom's, they totally respect her rules - no one did anything but verbal warnings -"Hey, stay out of my kitchen!" and "no jumping on tables"
3. litter box smells
- there needs to be enough boxes. Trust me, the smells bother the cats more than you. For starters, make sure the litter is UNSCENTED or grain-based, such as SweetScoop, chicken feed/scoopable blend, WBCL, etc. Typically, a cat likes one box for pee & one for poop. Even my ferals are this way, with their outside boxes. The ammonia of their pee enhances the smell of the poo, and cats don't like this because in the wild, that attracts predators such as coyotes
I recently read briefly, in a link that I had followed, regarding emotions, that cats' brains are wired the closest to humans, even closer than apes/humans. Dogs are wired differently, but they do attach to their cats, and vice-versa.
Another interesting fact about cats is that their purrs are in the same decibel range as ultrasound. So a warm, purring cat on those sore spots is as healing as ultrasound at the physical therapists
If a cat does this and it pleases you, tell the cat that & quite often it will continue the behavior. It goes along with the fact that dogs can be bribed but cats must be persuaded. A dog will do a trick for a treat - the cat's attitude is that you can do the trick, keep the treat for yourself & the cat will watch
Anyway, sending mega prayers and vibes that you two work it out, because if all goes well, and you two are meant for each other, this gives you two an excellent opportunity to cooperate on pet ownership-theories which closely correspond to parenting theories
Please keep us posted