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Tough decisions

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I posted here a while ago about my cat, Aramis, who kept peeing on the floor at our apartments. We bought a brand new house, and for a while she wasn't doing it. Now, all of a sudden, she is.

I talked to my vet, who knows me and Aramis pretty well about our options. He said, take her to a shelter (no-kill), or put her to sleep (I don't know anyone who will take her). Now, while the second option sounds pretty drastic, here are the facts. I've had her for 10 years, from a tiny ten week old kitten. She is perfectly healthy. Now, the vet was trying to talk to me so I could make the right decision.

If I give her to a no-kill shelter, how do I know what kind of people get her? Wouldn't it break her heart to give her away? My family took a kitten to a no-kill shelter and found an older cat who had been stuck there for 13 months!!
But, how can I put her to sleep? I just can't let her continue to pee on my carpet... Not in the house. I haven't changed the brand of cat litter. I have covered and uncovered pans. They have their own little closet. I have three cats and five litter pans. I scoop the litter every day, and change every one or two weeks.

Any help deciding would be great! Any better ideas would be so greatly appreciated. I'm at a loss!


post #2 of 27
I am the WRONG person to answer this post today, but I am going to try. First off, if you take her to a supposed no kill shelter, who would want a cat who pee's in the house plus the fact that she is 10 years old. If you euthanize her, that's on you.
Cat's don't just pee out of the box unless there is something wrong. Is this particular cat the dominant one in the house, or does she seem to be the one to get picked on? Have you tried putting her in just one room with her very own litter box and food to see if she will still pee out of the box. It could be something stressing her out and thats when she pee's. It's possible it's one of the other cats. If you seperate her, you may have an easier time figuring it out. If it's the other 2 cats stressing her out, I would make every effort possible to find her a home on your own. Find an older person or someone who only wants just one cat.
post #3 of 27
Pandabear, I am really sorry that you consider giving up on your cat who has been with you for 10 years and thinking either the shelter or euthanizing an option !! As Sandie said, she isn't peeing for no reason ! Here is a good link about cats peeing :

I don't want to sound harsh, but I think a life shouldn't be that cheap

Shame to that vet
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have actually done everything. I've taken the other two cats to my mom's house for a few weeks, I've spent $550 on 'behaviorial' specialists. I've spent $1550 on vet bills trying to pinpoint a health issue. She's been sedated 4 times for testing. I've bought 12 cat litter pans, and tons of different litter to let her "pick" one. I've tried leaving her in her own little room. I've scooped the cat litter up to three times a day. I've tried changing the litter twice a week. I lock the other cats in a different room for an hour or so everyday so I can spend "quality" time with her. I've bought and tried every pet stain/odor remover. I've tried finding a home, but who wants to take on the responsibility of a cat who refuses to use the litter box for no particular reason? She peed at my mom's house, and at two different friends' houses who offered to take her.

The whole reason I posted that on here, was not to make people think I think her life is that 'cheap'. I posted it on here to get some help. As you can see, I have devoted the past two years figuring out what her problem is. I happen to love my cat and adore her and would be devastated if I had to give her away or put her to sleep. It would break my heart. But why would I risk health issues or have my new house smell like cat pee all the time, or have my husband mad at me all the time? And I'm not giving up on her. I love my cats every bit as much as everybody else loves theirs. At some point, something has to be done. Obviously, I am willing to try anything and everything, but I don't know what else to try. I was hoping someone would help me.

post #5 of 27
You said you took your other two cats to your mother's house for a couple of weeks. This was a change in routine that probably caused Aramis to be stressed. Cats, especially ones who are older, do not tolerate changes in their routine well. If Aramis has had too many changes recently, that could be part of the problem.
post #6 of 27
Panda, try putting a bowl of her food where she is peeing. Cats won't go potty where they eat so maybe that might help.
Personally I ended up putting the litter boxes where my sick little baby pottied on the floor because I couldn't do anything about him going potty because of his illness. the boxes are still there and I have no problems with either of them, in fact, i just added a couple more in the basement a few months ago, otherwise they two I am talking about are, 1 in my livingroom, and 1 on the bedroom. Niether one stinks unless you happen to catch the cat in mid you know what.
I hope the suggestions i told you can help in some way. How many cats do you have? Maybe the one is being bullied by another one and that is why she has resorted to going on the floor, because she is scared to be cornered in the box by the other cat?
try the food thing first, if that doesn't work, then maybe you can put the box where she is going potty, if not, then move it out of the closet and take off the lid and see if htat helps. Let me know what is going on please. I would hate to see you put her to sleep because of something like that. I also don't want you to take her to a shelter because she could get sick or become depressed and (sorry to be blunt) pass away.
Please keep me informed...
post #7 of 27
Pandabear, I am mostly angry to the vet actually ! A person who is supposed to care for an animal's life shouldn't see euthanization as an option that easily (in my opinion). One must euthanize a pet if the pet is in an unfixable great pain. We don't kill human beings who are dependent on us just because they are causing problems.

I hope you can find a solution both for your and the cat's well being.
post #8 of 27
Panda, is she spraying or just urinating outside the box? It makes a lot of difference in the way you would treat the problem. Have the behaviorists you consulted helped you figure out which one it was? If not you may want to read this article:

I think you should be commended for putting so much time and effort into solving the problem. I also think that like Sandie said, giving her to a shelter in not an option, not at her age and with her problem. I doubt that any no-kill shelter would take her.

I am here to try and help you out and try and help you save the cats life. Let's try and work this thing together.

First things first - spraying or urinating?
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi, Anne. It's definitely not spraying. Actually, she's been doing it for years. I thought it was just because of the apartments, but then she did it here at the new house (with brand new carpet). Only four times, though, and not a lot. So, my husband isn't too mad about it =) We were gone for a couple of days and so the cat litter didn't get scooped for two days. I think she was mad about that. She hasn't done it since. So, I'm hoping she's stopped. I did have the Littermaid pans, but even though it was always clean, she didn't like them. I think they were just too small for her. She's kind of fat, so I was thinking about going to get a huge litter pan that was made for indoor dogs. Then, she won't have to jump or whatever to get in them.

I am still going to the same vet office, but I did ask to see a different vet. That vet was also the one who told me Oliver was a bad "catch" because he has a heart murmur. I had to ask a different vet at that office what to do, and he sent me to a referral vet to do an echo test on him. He's fine. He has a thicker part of his heart, so the blood doesn't pump through as fast as normal. It doesn't seem to affect him, though. Good thing I didn't listen to the vet, then. The new vet is the one who's going to neuter him, so I hope he'll be monitored more closely while he's sedated because of the murmur. I'm kind of worried, though.

Thanks for everyone's help.

post #10 of 27

If you do not destroy and eliminate the odors on your floors or carpet from the peeing, your cat may be going back to the same spot to do the deed. Have you tried and enzymatic odor remover on the spots where the cat has peed?

Also, after removing the odor, maybe you could try putting the litter box(es) on the spot, or spots. If the cat starts using it, over time, inch it back to the spot you wish to keep it in. Kitty may be gravitating toward the smell she left behind on the floor.

Hope that helps.

By the way, I volunteer at a no-kill shelter. The older cats do not do well. They don't get adopted, and they get sick and depressed. I have seen this with my own eyes. It is very, very heartbreaking.

Please try the above advice, unless you already have. I wish you luck.
post #11 of 27
I don't have anymore advice but I wanted to tell you about the shelter that I work at. It is a no-kill shelter. Awhile ago, a 10 year old cat was brought in. He is a sweetheart! His owners didn't want to pay for dental work so they left him at the shelter. He is misearable...he howls and cries. It is terrible to see him so upset. Please try to do more. I realize that you have already dealt with this problem over and over but if your cat ends up in a shelter, it will probably die there.
post #12 of 27
AMEN! Please try and do everything you can before you resort to getting rid of her. I will be thinking about you lots!
post #13 of 27
Ok, Janice, let's keep working on this one.

First, please let us know what the other vet said. Some cats are prone to UTI's that can trigger improper eliminaion habits outside the litter box (the pain and discomfort when urinating creates a negative association with the box). As she had stopped and then started again, I'm thinking maybe she's having another breakout. This could very well mean you would still need to apply behavioral modification techniques to get her back on track, but of course the first thing to be done is treat the infection until you make sure there are no traces left.

I need you to answer some more questions, to get this going:

1. How many cats in the house + ages.

2. How many litter boxes - please describe (open/covered, sizes and locations).

3. Which type of litter are you using (clay or clamping, deodorized or not etc)? Which have you tried in the past and what was the reaction?

4. How often do you clean the litter box?

5. Where does she prefer to go outside the box? You mentioned carpets - is it only carpets? Which rooms? Where in the room on the carpet (near the litter box, far away? different locations everytime or does she have favorite locations - if so, describe those locations).

6. What do you do when you find the urine stains (reaction to the cat)? What do you do if you catch her in the act?

7. How do you treat the stains? What type of cleaning solutions and how do you go about the cleaning?

8. You said you had behaviorists check her. What were their suggested solutions, how effective were these solutions (the more details the better )

I know these are a lot of questions, but it's hard working long-distance like that. I would have prefered to make a house call But let's give it a shot. Do not despair! Urinating outside the box is a common problem and can almost always be cured. I am quite hopeful as it's not spraying (which can be alot more difficult to manage) and you say she has stopped in the past. There must be a trigger somewhere that we need to discover and turn off...
post #14 of 27
I hope all those questions were not too overwhelming... Are you still there?
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi! Yep, still here! I answered the questions once already, but my computer died and they all got lost... I've been really busy, but I plan on sitting down tomorrow and answering them. She hasn't actually done it again since my first post on this thread =)
post #16 of 27
That's great news!

A little tip re long posts - you may want to type the whole thing in a text editor, saving the file along the way and then copy and paste it as a post.
post #17 of 27
Does she pee in the same place everytime? My daughters kitty that was 20 years old would poop in front of his box. He did this even when he was young. So she just used old towels to put in front of his box. Now when he would pee he would back up to the litter box & squirt inside of it. It had a hood. I have a cat thats 9 years old. He will go on the throw rugs in front of the doors. If the boxes are just cleaned he will go in them. I have 5 cats in the house & 3 big litter boxes. Tupperware Big Totes. I change them out every 3 days. Wash them & put Baking Soda in there before I put the litter. The kitty that goes on the rugs is a shy kitty & one of the others will chase him away from the boxes. I just deal with it & wash the rugs often. And buy 10 -25 pound bags of litter often. Hope it works out to where you do not have to get rid of her or put her down. I work with a local Humane Society. Trust me its hard to find good homes for kitties or dogs with a problem. Its harder with the older ones. Good luck...Prayers
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Okay, I lied! She has done it again.

1.) Three cats Aramis = 10, Padme = 3, and Oliver 5.5 months. (she did this for the two years or so that she was an only cat, too).

2.) Four litter boxes. Three in their closet in the cat room = 2 big ones that come with tops (1 with the top and 1 without) and 1 medium size one with no top. 1 in the downstairs bathroom, medium size with the cover on (she goes in that one - but when I tried the cover on all the pans, she still peed on the floor).

3.) I am using the Everclean scoopable unscented low-dust. 2 pans are mixed in with the Crystals and two pans are just the litter. I tried once to fill up a few cat pans with different litter to let her pick one, which she still used the scoopable - maybe I should try this again?

4.) I scoop the boxes every day, and change them once a week. I did have the Littermaid pans - 4 of them - but they stopped working for whatever reason (I had them for a while), and I couldn't afford to get new ones (my husband got laid off and money's been so tight lately). But anyway, she did it when I had those too.

5.) She goes pretty close outside the box. She only goes on carpets and throw rugs. In this house, only in the closet with the cat litter. In the old apartment, only in the dining room (where I had the litter boxes), in the apartment before that, in the corner in the hallway (litter box was there), and I don't remember where in the apartment before that.

6.) When I find the spots (which I've been checking for with a big black light), I usually just holler her name in exasperation. I would never hit her or do anything that would hurt her. In fact, if she's anywhere in the room, she'll just look at me as if she's saying "what is your issue..." I only have caught her in the act of scratching on the carpet (but only at the old apartment) and if I yell at her and come towards her to put her in the pan, she runs off.

7.) If I catch it when it's wet, I use a paper towel to pick up the wetness, then will use Simple Solution.

8.) The solutions the behaviorists gave me were just everything people have said on the forum. Nothing works.

My mom just started putting her litter on the carpet, but right under the pans, she puts extra linoleum. Maybe if I put linoleum all over the closet floor, she won't do it anymore? Or she'll just move to a different room? Any help is great!
post #19 of 27
How about the cheap litter. The plain old clay litter. Here in Texas there is a company that sells just clay litter. Plus you can get it at Wal-Mart. I tried the good stuff with the smell good in it. My kitty that had to be put down 2 months ago was allergic to it. made his feet swell. Maybe she does not like the smell of all the strong smelling stuff. Its worth a try if you have not tried the cheap stuff. I have 12 cats and 8 big boxes. Like I said 5 are in the house & 7 are out in a 20x30 screened building with lattace covering the screen. None of mine liked the hooded boxes. So I got tall ones due to the reason I have several that were large kitties. Hope the cheap litter works. Good Luck Prayers
post #20 of 27
If she goes close to the litter box why not just put down a large towel or a throw that can be washed daily if needed. One of the Humane Society members told us to never put plastic down. She said cats like the odor of the plastic. She worked for Chevron chemical & they made plastic. She said cats will pee on the plastic. Maybe you could put down plastic & cover it with a towel or throw. Maybe this will work. Its trial & error. Prayers
post #21 of 27
You say you need to look for the spots with black light. Does that mean they're very small puddles in lost of places? How do you know it's her and not one of the other cats? I'm thinking maybe some cat (possibly Aramis but could be another cat) is suffering from some sort of UTI.

Because she goes right outside the box, I'm thinking maybe she feels trapped inside the box. This is very common with hooded boxes but can also happen with regular boxes that are placed in a corner. Perhaps you can try moving the box she goes next to just a little bit. No drastic change, just to make sure that it doesn't feel cornered. She may like the sense of security that a covered box provides, but she needs to feel that she has an open escape route out of the box. This is especially important if the other cats hang around when she goes.

How did she do when you tried confinement? Did it make her use the box while confined? How about right after?

Also, never try to put her in the litter box. Cats don't like that and if she does have a sense of being trapped there it will only increase her fear of the box.
post #22 of 27
I cannot believe a vet would even suggest you putting her to sleep! I would maybe go to another vet to see what they have to say.
post #23 of 27
I can not believe a vet told her to put the kitty down. My Vet has suggested to put one down when there is no hope of living. No cure No treatment. It is a hard decision to make even then. A Vet usually does not suggest that because your his livelyhood. I would be hard pressed to put one down for peeing on the floor. I have a Pom (dog) she is on Lasix & pees like a running faucet. I just deal with it. I do have hardwood floors & thats alot easier than carpet. Hopefully it all works out for her & the Kitty..Prayers
post #24 of 27
Is it possible that the smell of whatever you clean the litterboxes with is too strong smelling? That could cause a cat to avoid using a littler box.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
I only clean the litter boxes with water and baking soda. Once every two months or so, I will use dish washing liquid.

I am going to get some linoleum and put it in their closet. Maybe she'll stop then. Or move to a different spot. We'll have to see. I might try drugging her if she doesn't stop.
post #26 of 27
If her problems is stress related, using drugs to relax her may actually help. One clue to telling how stressed she is: if her pupils are constantly or very often dialated, even when there's nothing there that should make her frightened or excited, she may be overstressed. Of course, you would need your vet to help you there with deciding on the right medication and the dosage.

Can you please go back to my previous post here and see if it makes sense and if you can let me in on some of the details.

post #27 of 27
I am glad that you are trying to deal with this problem instead of giving up. Last week, the kitty in our shelter passed. Poor guy was just too he is free. Good luck.
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