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Nothing works... Help!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My husband and I have 2 cats that are 11 months old. They have destroyed our house. They have peed, pooped, and sprayed almost everything. We had them neutered and declawed a month ago and the behavior has not changed. We have tried the citrus smell in their favorite spots to go, and the pharamone wall plug-in near their litter box. 2 separate litter boxes and fine grain litter does not work either. They have learned to jump to open doors so closing them off while we are gone is not an option. The real problem is that we are expecting are 1 child in a few months and they have figured out how to open the nursery door and sleep in the crib. This is not ok! I am at a loss on how to train them. The spray bottle of water solves the immediate problem, but doesn't teach them to stop. I love these babies and I don't want to give them away... What else can I do?
post #2 of 16
I hate to say this, but the declawing procedure may have made things worse! It's a painful procedure and leaves lasting effects on many cats.

Are your cats spayed or neutered?

As for peeing and pooping, you should have taken them to the vet if you haven't done so already.

My cats were spraying in the house because they reached the age of sexual maturity, and my appointment to the vet happened to be too late to have no incidents.

If I were you, I'd retrain them. Put them in a large cage with just their food and water, they will have to keep the area clean. Or confine them if you have a spare room to that. Also if they have just been declawed they might be going out of the litter box because the litter might be painful after the procedure. Did the vet tell you to use a special litter until their paws have healed?

Get a black light, and a good enzyme cleaner, most pet stores will have Natures miracle. Please when it is dark or when you turn out the lights, turn on the black light, and any spots that are yellow, take the natures miracle and spray it on the spot until it dissipates (it will). Put a paper towel over the area so you know you have sprayed it. This will break down the smell so your cats won't go in the same area.

Urine is either a sign of marking the territory, or being stressed, and declawing can definitely attribute to that.
post #3 of 16
This was probably a behavior that started prior to neutering - part of why you are encouraged to neuter prior to 6 months of age.

It can take up to 2 months for the hormones to get out of their systems. Spraying them with a squirt bottle I do no encourage. No matter how good your aim is, they could move - you could get them in the eye or ear causing damage. I do not like the use of a can of air, either.

Have you been cleaning up the urine with an enzymatic cleaner?
Have you gone over the house with a blacklight looking for places they've sprayed?
Have you tried putting tin foil when they spray?
Has their urine been tested for a UTI?

Also - are they definitively spraying, or peeing? (Spraying would be backing up, tail erect, to pee - just peeing would be squatting)

Some links to read:

Litterbox location secrets

Combat Cat Urine

More things to think about.....you can try diapers to curb the habit. Some vets have had success with medicating cats to stop this behavior. When did the spraying start? Did anything in the house change that could have caused them to start (other than them being intact)...could be as simple as litterbox location, type of litter, change of food, or something you changed, like cleaner, air freshner, new couch, etc? Do they always go in certain places? Are there certain things that deter them from spraying?

I also agree declawing probably made things worse. What's done is done. And giving them up will not be easy - now that they are declawed they must be indoors cats & most shelters would euthanize them immediately for poor litterpan habits. I encourage you to stick with it, I know it's hard to live with, esp. expecting a child - but the alternative is a fairly likely death sentence. It can be overcome, I've worked with adopters before, but you have to just keep going.....

You have a wealth of advice & knowledge here with TCS - if you are willing to keep trying, we can keep bouncing ideas at you.
post #4 of 16
Why, oh why, did you not seek advice here, or from the vet, or from an animal behaviorist before you declawed them?

The declawing procedure is essentially using a guillotine to remove each 'finger' at the second knuckle.

Would you like someone to do that to you?

No? I thought not.

Ever heard of the Golden Rule, some variant of which is at the heart of every religious/ethical system on the planet?

See Matt 17:12; Luke 6:31.

The great rabbi Hillel wrote: hat which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.

As prospective parents, consider what values you intend to inculcate in your child. Do you want him/her to be compassionate with other living beings? Then what sort of example are you setting?
post #5 of 16
Declawing is an accepted practice in much of the U.S., even though it's now illegal in many parts of the world. My bleeding-heart-liberal sister has it done to all of her cats, in spite of my wheedling. If she didn't, her husband wouldn't let her have cats at all. So how would that help the cats she's rescued off the streets over the years?

Earlier neutering is a practice we really need to encourage, because so many who come here with a spraying problem were later than the ideal age. We've been lucky, in that all of our cats were neutered at an age older than ideal, and yet had not developed the bad habit.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Declawing is an accepted practice in much of the U.S.,
Well, it shouldn't be.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane's Pal View Post
Well, it shouldn't be.
In this big world, we have to deal with what is, not what should be. Making a member feel guilty is non-productive, to my way of thinking.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
In this big world, we have to deal with what is, not what should be. Making a member feel guilty is non-productive, to my way of thinking.
I agree. The cats are declawed and it's done. We need to encourage people to stay here by pointing out errors in a kind way (especially when the poster is expecting!) and keep the lines of communication open so we can help educate people. So many people just don't know the realities of declawing and shame on the vet for not educating you better, Amanda.

Hang in there. I know exactly how discouraging this problem can be but very often you CAN get them to correct the behavior. You're looking for solutions and you've got a good attitude about wanting to keep the cats with you. That's more than half the battle.

Whitecatlover and Libby'sMom gave you great advice. I'd add to it that a vet check by a second vet might be in order. If a health problem is causing the behavior problem, you'll never get it corrected until they're well. Also, one of my boys can open doors so I know what you're going through. Still, I'd confine them to one room by locking the door (make sure you have the key of course) or putting a latch on the outside. That way you can sterilize room to room with the enzymatic cleaner and limit the damage.

This is something else important to think about. How clean do you keep their boxes? Some cats are extremely fickle about cleanliness and will go out of their box if it's not clean. You need at least two boxes, preferably three and they should be scooped daily. I'd do twice a day if you think cleanliness may be a contributing factor. If so, you should see a change soon. Also, be sure to dump and change old litter. This is very often a culprit of going outside the box and since expecting mothers don't scoop I've seen dads really drop the ball on this.

Let us know what else we can suggest!
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well... We have taken them to the vet multiple times and the vet recommended de-clawing them. And why is neutering so encouraged when you chop off their testicles...That's sounds less humane than declawing... you wouldn't want anyone to do that to you (Zanes pal)?! How dare you tell me how to raise my child just because I had cats declawed. I did not come here to be mocked and scorned. I did not come here for moral/ parenting advice... I came here because I have 2 insane cats... I came here for help because I don't want to give them up...(believe it or not, Zanes pal, I DO have a heart). Thank you everyone else for your help... I will try these ideas!
post #10 of 16
For a male mammal, there are two ways to avoid prosatatitis--regular sexual activity and castration (some old medical books call it "The Monks' Disease" for that reason). Get some man who has prostatitis to describe it to you.
post #11 of 16
Neutering for a pet is a kindness; it makes life easier on the cat, and on the owner.

However, as to the cat litter: Some cats are very finicky. There are all sorts of litter out there, and while some cats will use anything, others have very definite preferences. I always start off with the finest clumping litter I can find when I see a cat that appears to dislike his litter. This is the closest the the dirt or sand they prefer outdoors. It also seems to be the most comfortable on their paws.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
In this big world, we have to deal with what is, not what should be. Making a member feel guilty is non-productive, to my way of thinking.
I agree with this 100%. If someone comes here and asks if declawing is a viable option by all means tell them how you feel. But when someone comes here with an already declawed cat, attacking them is not going to help the cat at all. The cat is ALREADY declawed, you can’t put their claws back on after it has been done. All you are going to do is drive the poster away, and there will be no help for the problem they came here for at all. I see no benefit to that.

Now on to the OP’s inappropriate elimination problem…

Along with the other suggestions here, I would also identify where/what they are going on. I had a cat who for years would go on any blankets/towels/clothes that were left on the floor and that progressed to carpet later on. I had some success with confining her in a small room with hard floors (no carpet) and her own litterbox with CatAttract litter (have you tried that?). Once she began going in the litterbox regularly that way I let her out and as long as I kept the blankets/towels/clothes off the floor she used the litterbox well.

As far as the doors issue, you may have to start locking them or using some sort of barricade so the cats can’t push them open. Especially on the baby’s room if you don’t want them in there. All of my doors in my apartment are blocked off with spring loaded shower curtain rods up near the top to keep my cats from pulling them open. A simple latch or lock will keep them out too.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanda29 View Post
Well... We have taken them to the vet multiple times and the vet recommended de-clawing them.
Many vets usually will, they have a business to run and money to make (and maybe even school loans to pay off). Talking customers into procedures or items that aren't really needed is one way to make more money. Some human doctors will do this, too, so with anything medical concerning your pets or yourself/family I suggest research. Knowledge is power.

I suggest you try renting a carpet shampooer, get a good enzyme cleaner for it and thoroughly clean all the carpets and furniture. Or even hire someone to come in and do this if you don't have time to yourself. You'll need to wipe down walls too if they really are spraying. This should take care of that part of the issues.

Everyone else has covered possible health issues, litter type, amount of boxes/placement, and retraining the cats.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
I suggest you try renting a carpet shampooer, get a good enzyme cleaner for it and thoroughly clean all the carpets and furniture. Or even hire someone to come in and do this if you don't have time to yourself. You'll need to wipe down walls too if they really are spraying. This should take care of that part of the issues.
I've done this with success. I use the Bissel Pet Odor Eliminator. I truly don't know if it's enzymatic, which most TCS posters agree is necessary so the cat's don't smell the odor, but I've found it to be very successful so suspect it may be.
post #15 of 16
I have seen child safety door knob covers similar to this one. http://hardware.hardwarestore.com/28...er-204289.aspx

Most hardware stores should have a variety. Maybe that will deter them. We put a simple hook and latch up high on our door. Easy.

I also have the Bissel Pet carpet machine. It does a good job. Before you do that I would encourage you to use the black light (found in most pet stores) and a good urine removal product. Use the black light when it is really dark and mark the area with tape so you can see where the spots are. Remember to look high and low on your walls and carpet with the black light. You will be surprised at where you will find their spray! I had great results with www.weecleaner.com and many good remarks heard about www.antiickypoo.com I keep a spray bottle ready for the occasional throw-up. Great for all the bodily function clean ups.

Hang in there and be as persistent as possible. It will get better. Sorry you are going through this.
post #16 of 16
Just to let everyone know - I was referring to a big professional quality carpet shampooer. One that has a lot more strength and heats water hotter than a commercial one for average home use will. Chances are all the carpets could use a good cleaning anyways.
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