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introduction and question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm new to this forum so let me introduce myself and my family. My name is Amanda and I live in Colorado with two dogs and one cat. The dogs are Samantha (lab/pit mix) and Sydney (pit bull) who are both spayed females about 7 years old. My cat is Kipling and he is a tiger striped neutered male about 9 years old. I need some opinions on Kipling's recent behavior problems. About1.5 years ago, my older cat BC (spayed female 17yo) died of cancer. Kipling and BC were never close because Kipling would often chase her and pester her. About 8months to a year after her dealth, Kipling has become a problem child. He now sprays in certain places in the house and he cries constantly for food, attention and for no reason at all. He has always been very bonded to the dogs and has developed severe separation anxiety when they are gone. I have tried Feliway for the spraying which helps a little and have moved his food bowl to the places he sprays and this has stopped it unless I move the bowl away. My question is this, I've been thinking of getting another cat to help keep him company. Do you think this is a good idea and if so are there any recommendations on male vs female, age etc?
I appreciate any help at all
Amanda Samantha Sydney and Kipling
post #2 of 6
Have you taken Kipling to the vet about this? Whenever we see a change in behavior like this, we always need to rule out potential illness before we try to modify the behavior. When you take him in, please describe all of the behaviors (spraying, yowling, anxiety) so the vet will know exactly what to look for. A typical annual evaluation will not detect the types of problems that will lead to these types of behaviors.

With this in mind, before you think about bringing in another cat, you need to get the spraying under control. I will post in just a minute what worked for me to stop Chester's (my 8 year old male) spraying a few years ago.

Make sure you carefully clean all old sprays with an enzymatic cleanser. If you do not remove the smell, he will keep spraying to "refresh" the fragrance. Use a flourescent black light at night to find the old sprays that you may not be aware of. Then, follow the suggestions in my next post.

My leaning would be to not adopt a second cat. Kipling is pushing becoming an elderly cat, and because he is already displaying territorial behavior and distress, I fear that bringing a new cat into the household will make things worse. My cat Chester never sprayed until we adopted WhiteFoot. Having the new cat in the house pushed him over the edge! (Of course, we have 6 cats which may be the limit for this size of house.)

You will likely find that other members will disagree with me on this, so keep your eyes open to the varying information you will receive from us.

My sympathies on the loss of BC. Losing a furry friend who has lived so long can be devistating.
post #3 of 6
When a cat is spraying he is marking his territory. Basically, he's saying this is my place, not yours!

This can be a difficult habit to break but it is absolutely possible to do so.

This is what I did to stop spraying in the neutered adult male I rescued.

1. Use Feliway to help him not want to spray. Feliway mimics the friendly marking that cats do when they rub their faces on things. When a cat smells a friendly scent, they are unlikely to mark with urine. The Feliway box will give detailed instructions on how to use it....follow the instructions carefully. The Feliway plug-in (Comfort Zone) works wonders with helping to curb spraying.

2. Hang aluminum foil on the places the cat likes to spray. Cats usually will not spray on foil because it makes an unpleasant sound when hit with the urine and it makes the urine splash back on the cat. Each day that the cat does not spray, tear about an inch off the bottom of the foil until the foil is completely gone. Don't remove the whole strip all at once because the cat may interpret this as you saying it is okay to spray here again.

3. If you see the cat getting into the spray position, yell "No!" and then grab him and put him in time-out (in the bathroom for example) for only 2-3 minutes. Do the same if you caught him in the act.

4. Check to see if there are stray cats hanging out outside your house. A cat will often spray in response to strange cats around the house. Make sure you don't walk through outside cat spray and track that smell into the house. When this happened in my house I put a Comfort Zone plug-in at the back door where the outside cats were hanging out and made sure I avoided anything that might bring in their smells. This made a huge difference in controlling Chester's spraying.

5. Be patient and persistent. Breaking the spraying habit can take a while, but it should work.

Good luck!
post #4 of 6
I can't add more advice, just wanted to say Welcome!
post #5 of 6
My friend had 3 senior cats, lost 2 of them within a year and wanted to adopt another. What worked for her was to adopt 2 young kittens that were litter mates. The kittens kept each other company and basically left the older one alone. The older one saw the youngsters playing with each other, didn't feel threatened, and eventually accepted them fully. They now all groom each other and snuggle together.

But I do agree that you need to get the marking under control before you bring any new cats into the house. That will set a bad precedence for the new arrivals, and you will have the next generation of cats having the same issues in your house, which could go on for the next 15-20 years. Cats pick up habits (good and bad) from each other.

Good luck and welcome!
post #6 of 6
Welcome Amanda to the cat site.
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