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Spraying...enough's almost enough!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have an 11.5 year old neutered male Siamese/tabby cross, that I rescued at 3 mos of age. About 8 years ago, he began spraying after the birth of my daughter. It was messy, but I cleaned up the occasional mess and went on. BTW, we have abundant, clean litter boxes, etc.

As time went by, the spraying became more frequent, and I noticed he was spraying around windows, indicating he was having anxiety when "stranger kitties" were in our yard (we're semi-rural). BTW, he's an indoor/outdoor cat and uses a pet door to go in and out as he pleases. I addressed the window-peeing by keeping all the windows and blinds closed for many months, to try and decrease his anxiety---to no avail.

About 5 years ago, it was really getting bad. I talked to the vet and he prescribed oral buspar. It worked fairly well, but it became increasingly difficult to get them INTO him and he began fighting and biting whenever it was pill time. He's not a very friendly kitty in the first place.

Shortly after the oral buspar, I discovered Feliway. I started out with the spray and then added diffusers upstairs and downstairs. We'll have a few periods of relative calm, followed by a rash of spraying. I've noticed whenever I run the vacuum, move anything in the house, if we have visitors, or it becomes winter time, the house is sure to be soaked with smelly cat spray.

Last year, we had prozac compounded into cat treats. It was marginally effective, but after a few weeks, it again became a struggle to get him to eat the treats. In May, when my FIL was visiting, he sprayed down the bedding in the guest room. NOT a good thing for an 81 year old man to have to find out when he lies down for sleep at night.

This fall, I anticipated the cooler weather with dread. Right on cue, the spraying began to accelerate. This winter, it seems that my dh's clothes are the choice target. Again I took Harry to the vet for bloodwork, exam, etc. Everything is completely normal, and the vet said that it is likely completely anxiety-driven and pharmaceuticals will likely not work with a habit so deeply ingrained. I should mention also that Harry also masturbates compulsively and goes onto our roof to poop! Nevertheless, I am currently trying transdermal buspar.

I thought things might be getting a bit better. However, yesterday I vacuumed and today was greeted by the following: Pee on all the shower curtains in the house, a pee-circle around my daughter's bed, pee in the master bedroom, pee on the leather sofa and on the floor beside the sofa. I've HAD it. It NEVER gets any better and with a special needs child and health issues of my own, I don't feel I can continue to clean cat spray for hours each week as well as spend the money on ineffective products.

My options, as I see them: 1. Keep going like I'm going, and resign myself to hours of time spent cleaning and many dollars spent on cleaning products, with frustration increasing by the day/year. I will not be able to buy new furniture, hang curtains or leave bedrooms open until the cat is no longer with us.

2. Turning Harry into a full time outside cat (we're in Texas, so weather's not too cold.)

3. Re-homing Harry. Tried this as well, but who wants to voluntarily take in a pisser?

4. Euthanasia. My dh votes for this one. My neighbor, who breeds Birmans said I should not think of it as giving up, but "giving him peace" as he obviously has so many psyche issues.

Any comments are welcome. Thanks for reading.

post #2 of 14
Oh honey!!!! And I thought I had problems.

This is not going to be easy for you. If you try to re-home him you will have to be honest and tell the new owners about the seriousness of the problem, which will probably turn them into no-shows, no-calls.

If you feel that you can let him into the house to eat and rest, you will have to keep an eye on him to watch when he goes into his "gotta go" attitude and gently but firmly show him the door.

If NOTHING works, your last alternative may have to be seriously considered.

I am sure that others will be along to help further, just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.
post #3 of 14
Would you consider speaking to a different vet? Perhaps a second opinion from a fresh mind is in order. Honestly, I'm surprised that your current vet hasn't referred you to a behaviorist. That may be another option for you to explore; perhaps a behaviorist would be better able to pinpoint the cause of the spraying. If those possibilities don't pan out, then perhaps being a strictly outdoor kitty is the best thing for him, as long as he is physically in good health. I personally would only consider euthanasia if I was completely positive that the animal has absolutely no quality of life. Good luck, and I hope that some of the more knowledgeable members of this site can give you better advice than me.
post #4 of 14
I'm sorry you're going through this.

Have you tried contacting a professional behaviorist? I'd try that before any more drastic measures.

I agree rehoming is an unlikely option. He might be subject to abuse at the hands of someone less patient.

Does he enjoy being outside? Perhaps outdoors is an option, but only if he would be happy that way.

If a professional behaviorist can't help, and you've tried everything at the vet, and he always seems unhappy and upset, perhaps letting him go would be the kinder choice.
post #5 of 14
oh my...
I don't really know what to tell you. It is obviously a horrible decision and situation for you.
The one I vote for least is turning him outside but as for the other two, the decision must be exhausting and full of anguish. I can't imagine.
I want to congratulate you for obviously really trying so very hard to make this cat a happy cat. You see so many people who would have given up on this cat years ago yet you continued to seek out alternative solution after alternative solution and for that you really deserve big
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yes, I've been honest in my attempts to re-home him. I only ask trusted cat-lovers as well. I just wouldn't let someone have him to get him out of my hair. Needless to say, an eleven year old cat with psyche issues isn't very adoptable.

Well, problem is, there isn't a "gotta go" attitude that he gets. In all these years, I've never actually caught him "in the act." I've seen him spray on the back porch, etc, but never in the house. I just walk in to dripping furniture or an awful smell.

He enjoys being out in the sun for a few hours a day, or up on the roof at night. He used to do a fair amount of roaming through the night, but hasn't done that in years. I'm afraid with his age and so forth, it might be more cruel to force him to stay outside, especially since he is so anxious.

Thanks for your input. I feel like I'm in the twilight zone so needed opinions of others who deeply love and respect their pets.

post #7 of 14
What I am wondering when I read your account is do you block off your cat door at night?

Several years ago, I got an email from a woman who was totally teed off at her cat for spraying "everywhere." She was ready to throw in the towel and take her inside/outside cat in to be put to sleep. The pee areas were around the front door, the hallway and the living room- no other parts of the house. Through emails of suggestions and detective work, it was discovered that late at night when the humans were asleep, a stray Tom was coming into the house, spraying the heck out of the place and then leaving. Her resident cat would hide in the basement and then come out and try and cover this scent with his own. Because a Tom has such a powerful urine smell, the resident cat was frantically trying to cover up the offending urine and not being successful.

It took some time and a lot of elbow grease with enzyme cleaners and some floor stripping. But the resident cat is today happily living just indoors, and there are no spray issues.

My point is that cats do things for reasons. It takes a lot of time sometimes to figure it out, but some vets just take the easy way and say it is problem that only sedation will curb.
post #8 of 14
You mention that your neighbor is a breeder. What is her cattery set up like? Having a number of unneutered cats in such close proximity may be exacerbating the situation.
post #9 of 14
Oh, dear . The only things I can think of are a couple of longshots. Although neutering is a simple operation, performed even by students, one wonders if it was properly done. Testosterone levels could be checked perhaps? Another longshot is I ran across a mention some time back of someone who was having problems with her neutered cat spraying around her front entry (inside) and come to find out that the scent of the ornamental boxwoods apparently made him think there was another male cat outside (boxwood apparently smells like cat urine.) They replaced the boxwoods with something else and had no more problems.

Whatever your decision, I wish you the best.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
No, no chance of strays coming in at night. And it's certainly Harry who is doing the spraying. I've seen him leaving a room with dripping furniture behind him. Just haven't ever caught him mid-stream. And he does it upstairs, downstairs, anywhere he can go.

My neighbor is a block up the street, and the cattery is in a big room toward the back of the house. She is the resident "spayer and neuterer" of the neighborhood and no stray remains sexually intact long around here.

post #11 of 14
What a tough situation!!! Maybe an outdoor life will be better than putting him down. I really don't know. Certainly a behaviorist woudl be great if you could find one.
post #12 of 14
I think I would try keeping him outside first and if he is miserable out there or not getting along well,then I would put him to sleep. I don't think you will find someone to take him....maybe a large farm?
I have to give you credit, I love animals,but there is NO WAY I would be able to do what you have done with your pet! I don't have the tolerance level!!!!!
If it wasn't medical,I would have tried different things for a month or two and I would have been done.......not even taking into account that my hubby would have been done WAYYYYY before me. We live on a farm and have outside cats so that is what your cat would have become if it lived with me. I think you have went above and beyond all that you can do!
Good luck.
post #13 of 14
If you have never seen him spray, how do you know that he is spraying, and not perhaps just urinating?

I have heard of another aged cat that seemed to forget where he was and what the litterbox was for, then his owner spoke to several vets. They eventually used an experimental drug that had been successful for the same problems with dogs and humans, and the cat mad a full recovery.

I would not consider pts unless he is miserable. He could probably live happily outside.

I applaud what you are doing for this cat. You obviously have love and compassion for animals.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Joe cool,

As I mentioned before, I've never seen him spray in the house. However, I have seen him spray all overy the back porch and our gas grill etc and it's definitely spray. And it's kind of hard to miss the large "starburst" splatter pattern all over the walls, picture frames, windows, etc.

Also, he's been doing this since he was 3 years old. It's a mental thing.

Yes, I do love animals and have never "given up" on a pet in any way. My pets have always lived well into their teens, but this is straining me beyond my ability to be patient. Our lives are literally ruled by his hair trigger urethra at this point.
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