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Ophelia Rose's litterbox issues

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've got a big problem that so far I've had no luck solving on my own.

For 2 months, I've been working on Ophelia Rose who has litterbox issues. She's peeing where she shouldn't. And not even with consistency.
  • Sometimes she sprays, sometimes she squats
  • Sometimes she pees on things, sometimes she pees on the floor
  • Sometimes it's a small amount, sometimes she pees more than I thought she could ever hold!
  • I've got way more litterboxes than cats, with 5 different kinds of litter
  • She poops in the box always - but I haven't seen her pee in the box in a very long time

Things she likes to pee on:
  • couches
  • chairs
  • dog beds
  • clothes
  • blankets
  • anything on the floor
  • cat toys
  • cardboard
  • papers (even on the counters)
  • cat furniture
  • people!
  • pet beds/baskets
  • doorframes
  • walls

We've tried
  • Feliway
  • Rescue Remedy
  • UTI testing (three times, every time negative)
  • She had bloodwork done not long ago, before all this started
  • I tried picking up the things she peed on, she finds someplace else
  • Buspar, we are at the highest possible dose - Amitriptyline doesn't work for her - and my vet doesn't want to use Prozac
  • A variety of litterboxes, and litters - I just add in a new box in a new location, etc - give her other options
  • Enzymatic cleaner & blacklights to find the spots

This started before I brought home the foster kittens, and has remained fairly consistant. She *actually* likes the kittens. Now in the past few days, she has gone back to attacking a few of the other cats. I had to have Lily to the vet today to see if she needed stitches.

I can confine her to a room, like the bathroom, with a linoleum floor - she still pisses on the floor, or sprays the walls/cabinets.

I can't dump her in the shelter, because I'd be making the call to kill her. I can't put her outside as a farm kitty, she's deaf. I can't keep her in the house - I've got too many other cats to have litterbox issues start - I'm playing a dangerous game as is.

I realize it could be a cat on cat issue - and I do suspect the other cats are most of her issue. I tried for years to find someone to keep her as an only kitty, no one would (she's had issues with attacking people, other animals, and now litterbox issues). I won't euthanize her.

I have a small 4' x 4' enclosure off a window on my deck, I'm going to start keeping her in there more. Otherwise I'm going to have to shut her in the bathroom, which can be cleaned up easily. I'm contemplating UTI testing her again, for my sake & hers - I couldn't deal with it if she did have a UTI & I ignored it....but she's been negative every time so far.

Once the outdoor enclosure is built (which is taking *forever*), she can go out there - I hate to make her live outdoors, but unless I can get this under control she cannot be in the house.

Sometimes she's a wonderful cat - but dang.....she is one messed up kitty. She's sitting pretty, watching birds out the window, atop the cat tree she peed on....looking content in the sunshine.

Further suggestions/ideas?
post #2 of 19
Do they have diapers for cats? I agree it sounds like a cat on cat issue. Which, as you say will not be remedied anytime soon. It sounds like either the bathroom will have to be it for now till the enclosure is done. I know it is out the question for you to rehome all your other cats.
post #3 of 19
Have you tried placing a rag in a little box?
(Thrift stores sell bags of them, you're going to need a few)
You can throw a little more litter on it every time you change the rag, maybe she will get the idea?

I do hope you find a solution!
post #4 of 19
Nat - quick question before I put what just started percolating in my head out there.... Our Flowerbelle usually likes to get as high as she can go when just hanging out, and I've noticed other deaf cats seem to share that trait. Is Ophelia Rose the same way?

And another quick question - is using vanilla on all the cats every day (even twice a day) a totally impractical idea?

post #5 of 19
my goodness.. why she do it?.....
one explanation would be for her condition?...(less auditive)...
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
I tried vanilla every other day for awhile - but Ophelia simply has to just see one other cat & she'll be off like a greyhound after a rabbit. It's gone way beyond a scent issue - and just a few weeks ago, I caught Ophelia & Lily (arch enemies) sleeping on the same full sized bed (on opposite corners) but still - together!

Ophelia *loves* Dory - tolerates Molly & Eden. She & Twitch are equally nasty - they sit & stare & grumble at each other (ironic as both are deaf), then turn around & eat out of the same food bowl. Ophelia *hates* Lily & is not nice to poor dumb Margo.

Ophelia doesn't need up high, she's just flighty. I mean - she'll sleep in the middle of a room, but if you touch her - she may nail you or "head for the hills" like a bolt of lightning be gone. She has one couch she hasn't urinated on at all - it's her couch & she sleeps all day on it. I put 3 litterboxes with different litter around it, toys, food & water there. If she doesn't have to leave that lousy couch - she won't.

I think it boils down to her first 3 years living outdoors were not pleasant in regards to other cats - she was continually beaten upon - and she will harbor that hatred for the rest of her life.

This is what I'm talking about - I almost always reach out to pet her & get this response - has been this way for 4 years

Like "don't beat me".
post #7 of 19
I can see why you really feel for her. She has had a rough life and is just scarred by those experiances. I do hope that someday you will find the right person for her that can give her a home all for herself.

I also hope some people can give you some ideas on how to handle this, although it sounds like you have done alot already.

I mentioned the diapers because I know they have stud pants which keep them from spraying, so I was wondering if it would work for a girl cat also. Although it sounds like getting them on her might be impossible.
post #8 of 19
Nat, I wasn't asking about the vertical space in terms of her "needing" it so much as a potential solution. It seems to me the bottom line here is that there are other cats she doesn't like, and that's that. So ultimately the solution is going to be finding a way to provide her her own space. Flowerbelle is deaf, and if we had walls we could put up lots of shelves (boards on L brackets or whatever) - and her litter box and water and food were all up there - she'd probably live up there. So the percolating idea was to get Ophelia her own space, but in a creative and somewhat unusual way. It is not my idea - it is something another member did and has worked out very well.

I just posted this link in another thread, and the idea wasn't to buy these things, but ideas for how to build a vertical "world" for her since it can be done cheaply with other stuff. Anyway - here's the link. http://www.katwallks.com/customerphotos.htm

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
You've got the wheels in my head turning, Laurie....it's just a matter of getting things done. See, I tend to think of things on a grand scale, I just need something, even temporary, for *now*!
post #10 of 19
Nat. you'll find something you can make work for her (and you!)

post #11 of 19
I think my sister still has claw-marks in her arm from the last time we were home, she was sitting at the table petting her cat when out of NOWHERE the cat took off across the table and out of the room fast as a bolt of lightening, gouging both my sister & the kitchen table. No noise, no sight, no idea why she did it! Although that cat has always been off (literally bouncing off walls) so I don't think Opheila's behaviour is deafness related
post #12 of 19
What kinds of litters did you try, and have you tried things completely out of the ordinary? I'm thinking of where I've seen the ferals go outside and their preferences are: garden mulch, sand, and in the middle of the grass. And have you done full strength Cat Attract (which btw, when I switched over to the full strength version a few months back, my sink pee-er of 10 years now goes into the Cat Attract box 100% of the time. He didn't do that with the boxes where I only put in the additive).

Other than that, all I can think of is total isolation from any of the antagonist cats.

I had a pariah cat in my house that when she got really old and decided to live on my kitchen counter (a small spot that I never used), she started to pee on the stove to avoid the walk to the litter box. Don't rag me for sanitary issues here (no food prep done in this area), but I ended up putting a litter box next to her on the kitchen counter, with her food/water bowls. She slept in one spot with her litter pan on one side and the food/water on the other side. So similar to Laurie's suggestion, I gave her the spot where she was comfortable and she did fine there because she was away from all the other cats.
post #13 of 19
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
If she doesn't have to leave that lousy couch - she won't.
I don't have anymore suggestions for you - most have been covered or tried already, but this bit struck me as odd. I have a female I recently took in who does this. She still gets put in the bathroom at night or when we're not home, but the rest of the time she's out and pretty much keeps her butt planted on the couch. She gets down for food, that's it. She will even hold her pee and poop for hours, unless I shut her in the bathroom with her litter box. My biggest worry concerning her couch behavior is UTI issues and the fact that she's already a bit fat...

I have no idea what makes a couch a comfort zone as it's not a particularly high or unused surface in my home. Luckily she shares it (with humans) and loves laps...of course she also bites for various reasons. Being stray seems to severely traumatize some kitties, and you feel so sorry for them.

May I ask what some of your enclosure hold ups are? Labor/time? Weather? Building issues? I and others may have some suggestions if you're stuck. Such as: if you have hard or clay soil and you need to dig post holes, just go rent an auger. It will save time and sanity.

I hope getting her outside alone for a bit gives you some peace and mellows her out a little.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hold up on the enclosure is we are building it ourselves, I work mostly nights, dad works days....we are on an off schedule, never home to work at the same time. No one else in the house can help build it (due to health), and it's a 2 person job. I've got the holes dug, the area is squared off now....hopefully can make some progress sat, as both dad & I will be gone Sun.

As for the couch - I'm going to keep her set-up so she can stay there. I'm trying to see if someone who she loves (she loves one person in the family specifically) will let Ophelia live in her bedroom. The LB in there could be a problem, but I'll keep pestering.

Amy - I have used the Cat Attract additive, I figured it was as good as the litter. I have to go to one of the pet store an hour from me to get the litter, so I will pick some up Sunday. Maybe it'll work. I've tried 4 types of chicken feed, bentonite clay, crystals, yesterday's news, feline pine pellets & scoopable, every kind of clay (both scoopable & non-scoopable) I can get locally, Swheat, & one other kind that escapes me right now.

She is such a bi-polar kitty.....I went upstairs this afternoon to find her like this....does this look like an unhinged kitty who doesn't use a litterbox??

She was sleeping in one of the dog beds - which she has *never* peed in - so I'll check Sunday to see if I can get more just like that one & put away the ones she likes to pee on for now.
post #15 of 19
Oh Nat that's so sad...
Question: is there a medical reason why your vet doesn't want to put her on Prozac? It seems to me this could be the case where Prozac would be very beneficial.
post #16 of 19
Hey Nat - as per Amy's suggestion.... what happens if you put a litter box with Cat Attract litter in it ON HER COUCH?

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
So far, she has pooped in the LB on the couch, but not peed in it (this is with regular litter in it). I've been putting tin foil on what I can't move she pees on, which is slowing her down some. If I put a cloth in there she drags it out to pee on it on the floor.

I have to talk to the vet again about Prozac, I have seen some improvement in the "friendly" department since she's been on Buspar, but she can still be wildly unpredictable.
post #18 of 19
She drags the cloth out of the box to pee on it. That is one determined cat.

OK. Another idea. Can you buy a bunch of carpet remnants - something similar to the carpet in your home (at least in texture?) Get a shallow plastic box, put carpet in the bottom of it, and put the cloth on that. Maybe that will be confusing enough she'd pee on the rag on the carpet in the box? Then throw out the rag and the carpet, and wash the box. OK - major PIA, and you'd have to stock up on carpet remnants and rags, but.... ?????????????

Or.... what if you sit the new concoction on the floor right next to the couch?
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
She's in the bedroom now. I left a shirt on the floor to see if she'd pee on it & she did. Otherwise no accidents - but there's nothing left to pee on. Will get the cat attract litter tomorrow.
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