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Cat peeing problems... sigh...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
So I've had this cat for a year now. I adopted her from the humane society and she's coming on three years old. Ever since I got her I knew she had a urination problem. I'd go to clean her litterbox in the morning everyday, and somedays there's nothing there, and on the days there is a clump, it's one or two small clumps and I know cats should be peeing more than this.

I found her spot on the carpet (or should I say wall) after she managed to saturate the carpet along a wall in the apartment enough to the point that I could visually SEE where she's been going. She's definately not spraying, because it's not on the wall, and I've seen her go, and she always squats to go.

I took her to the vet multiple times, and every single time I take her there the vet doesn't find a urinary tract problem or bladder problem, or anal gland problem, or GI tract problem, or worms, etc etc. She eats well, she drinks, she plays, gets the occasional case of the zooms, sleeps, grooms, everything a normal cast should do. There's just nothing wrong with her health-wise other than she wants to pee anywhere but the litter box.

I've tried moving the litterbox, adding multiple litterboxes, putting carpet scrap on top of the spot she likes to go, but she just goes on the carpet scrap (which was sort of my goal), but othertimes she'll just find another place to go.

The one surefire thing I've found that works (or used to work rather) is confinement. I've confined her to the bathroom for two weeks, and she had a 90% hit rate on the litterbox, and when she does go, she'll leave 3-4 clumps daily. My bathroom is kind of small, so I upgraded her to the kitchen, and kept her there for a month. I felt bad for keeping her in the bathroom because there's no natural light, the kitchen had a window and was more spacious. In the kitchen too, she had about a 90% hit rate, with the occasional oops in some random corner. But my kitchen has no doors, so I had to use boxes to prevent her from coming out, and then it was a game of how did kitty find her way out for the coming weeks. She just didn't want to stay in the kitchen and she kept peeing along her wall again.

The bizzarre thing is, she has absolutely no problems with pooing in the litter box. No matter where I put the litter box, what kind of litter box, or what kind of litter, she WILL poo in the litter box (I just wish she urinated like that). She had only one miss with poo and I think it was because I fed her a little too much canned tuna that day and she wasn't feeling well.

I've tried taking her outside on a leash a couple times, wondering since she was a stray cat, she might like to go on a grassy surface instead of a gravel-ly surface. But she just gets the pants scared off her. She's litterally just hugging the walls with her tail between her legs and begs to be let back in, and I think to myself "this was a stray?". So I stopped doing that.

I've tried different litters to no avail. Scented, unscented, flushable, regular, clay kind, the weat husk kind, "world's best cat litter", dirt cheap kind. All result in the same behavior. I've tried replacing the litter with a piece of carpet scrap since she likes to go on carpet so much, but she just avoids that entirely and goes on her wall.

Tried different types of litter boxes, covered, open, really big, super small. She'll poo in them regardless, but she just doesn't want to go pee in them.

I've tried spraying feliway on the wall she likes to go near, sprayed it around her litter box, has no effect.

I once tried to do a major cleaning operation on the carpet near the wall, and I dumped a couple bottles of urine-off on the urine soaked carpet, covered it up with saran wrap so it wouldn't fly away before doing it's job. But kitty just came over, flipped the saran wrap off, and went. I mean at least it didn't smell as bad because the carpet was still damp with urine-off, but just the tenacity of her made me roll on the carpet laughing for half an hour.

At one point I was reduced to playing "catch kitty before she pees on the carpet". She'll slink over to go, and I'll be hiding in the corner and I'll jump out and chase her away. But she'll just come back when I'm out of the house, or she'll just find another spot.

Now, I've just sort of given up. I clean her litterbox once every 2 days (there just isn't anything to clean), and every morning I wake up to her scratching on the carpet trying to hide the spot she peed on, and I just come over with a bottle of urine-off and spray the area. Confinement doesn't even work anymore, she'll just hold it till I let her out, or she'll just go in the corner that's opposite the litterbox in the bathroom (which incidentally is close to the wall she likes go near).

I think the only thing I haven't tried that I've been contemplating was putting a diaper on her. But knowing her she'll find a way to get out in 2 seconds. I'm just at an utter loss to why she just insists on urinating along that wall. Maybe I have a broken cat... does anyone know how to fix a broken cat? My friends think I nuts for keeping a cat like that and they think I should just send her back to the humane society, but she'll just get euthanized there. Does anyone have any other ideas that I can possibly use to get her to pee in her litter box? I REALLY REALLY want to fix this behavior before I move to a new place. She's only three years old, she's still got 12 years or so to learn how to use the litter box right?

Sorry for the humongous post btw. I thought I'd better be thorough, since it appears a lot of people on the forums have urination problems too (their cats, not the actual forum members, or at least I would hope not).

-Lemur 6
post #2 of 17
Well, hmm... Holy moly, I think you may have already tried everything I would have said. I was thinking the whole time...*Feliway*, but then you mentioned it, with no effects. So darn, im kind of at a loss here. Sounds like you are too. Hopefully someone will have better words for you.

I have heard that the confinement thing works well though, just be persistent with it. Keep confining her untill you think she's ready. Or untill that 90% hit rate goes up to 98%. Good luck with that. Cuz it sounds like you've got a major pee problem.

My kitty had a major poop problem for a while. It was horrible. It was so so bad. But after a few weeks it stopped. I switched foods, added 2 more litter boxes (did you try that, i didnt notice it), and power cleaned all carpets with the pet oder remover stuff, and put all "stray" poops BACK into the litter box. ugh. I hope that never happens again.

My only other advice, would be to put cat litter ALL OVER your house, I mean all rooms, all carpets. Of course I am kidding, but that sounds like all you've got left to do.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmm... that might be something I haven't tried yet. What kind of switch did you make on food? I feed her Nutro right now, and she doesn't seem to show any interest in any other food unless it's 9Lives canned tuna.

-Lemur 6
post #4 of 17
Nutro is a great brand of food.
Only thing I can suggest but it is such a little minor thing compared to everything you have tried. I have found the Feliway spray to be ineffective compared to the heated plug in ones. Try a few of those plug on in as close as possible to the wall she likes to go at. Plug them in a few other places too.

I dunno, thats all I have to suggest. Everything else, you already tried...heh maybe try the diaper thing too, never know, it might work. they make them for dogs so just get the little tiny toy dog kind and maybe they will work. I can't see a cat being okay with that though. At least none of the cats I know.
post #5 of 17
I think it is to the point where you need to consut with an animal behaviorist. It is likely that the behaviorist will be able to find a cause for the problem and help you come up with a solution.

Also, you might talk to your vet about medications. It is possible that this is anxiety related and that Buspar could help.

Finally, I want to commend you for sticking with this cat. You are obviously a very patient and kind-hearted person. I applaud you for this!
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
So my cat just stopped using the litterbox completely and out of frustration I boxed her up in the bathroom again. I was visiting her couple times a day for petting, feeding, grooming, etc, and I noticed she's been developing these clumps of really... err... fused together patches of fur near the base of the tail. She's had one or two of these clumps for a while, but they seemed to be multiplying as of late. They were in little isolated spots of fur, not one huge patch. I didn't see any bugs that might've caused it, and when I tried to pick a patch apart, seemed like there was some dandruff looking material here and there, but nothing that outwardly suggested some gunk sticking the fur together. Super static? Haha, I dunno.

I gave her a bath today to try to wash the clumps free (she's actually surprisingly easy to bathe for a cat) thinking maybe she got some gunk on her and no matter how much a shampooed the area the clumps wouldn't free, so I resorted to just snipping off the offending clumps with a pair of scissors. Now she's got a bald patch on her butt, haha, looks kinda funny.

Her fur's also been kinda oily lately, especially along her back, like when you don't wash your hair for a real long time and your hair gets all oily, feels like that. I know giving a bath isn't too good for reducing oil, makes it worse, but it was getting to the point where she really needed one.

OK, so here's the real question: what the heck are these clumps? and are they a sign of disease (physical/emotional/stress/etc)? maybe the peeing and the fur clumps have something to do with each other? I would normally ask by vet, but he's on vacation till next week, haha, I think he went to Mardi Gras.

-Lemur 6
post #7 of 17
You are describing matted fur, which is not uncommon. However, the oily feel to her fur is a sign that something medical is going on (most likely). Has she been tested for FIV and FeLK? These can cause skin problems. There are other medical conditions that can cause this as well. Please do take her back to the vet.
post #8 of 17
Some people might not agree with this, but would you consider making your kitty an outside cat? I have a friend with a cat who doesn't even keep a litter box in the house. Her kitty plays in the yard or sleeps under the tree all day, scratches to come in, and scratches to go out. Everyone's happy.
post #9 of 17
Just trying to brainstorm. You said you've tried multiple boxes, was one on top of her "spot"? She may have a problem with doing both in the same box, so if the boxes were near each other in your selected area,say the bathroom, she may not agree that's the place to pee. Have you tried just regular dirt in the litterbox? Maybe that earthy smell would be enticing. You tried a carpet scrap over the spot with some luck, maybe a scrap in an empty litterbox over the spot? Might appeal to her sense of neatness.

Do you know if there was a pet in the apartment before you? Or is her spot near a vent? She may be claiming territory because of something she can smell. You said you knew she had a problem since you got her. Because they told you or she's behaved this way since you brought her home? Does she pee in defiance, making sure you see her? (I have a male cat that wanted out). Does she pee there anytime or when you are leaving, when someone she doesn't like has been there? It was suggested to me to put a Feliway soaked piece of cloth on his collar, but by that time he had won his battle to get outside. But your gal doesn't seem to care for the great outdoors. I hope someone comes up with something for you.
post #10 of 17
Another thing that my vet said to try, (im going through the same problem that you're going through) is to try to put a litter box up high somehow. Some cats like their boxes elevated, so that might be something else to try.

I have to agree, that it might be time to go see a behaviorist. Good luck.

-Jade
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotsocats
You are describing matted fur, which is not uncommon. However, the oily feel to her fur is a sign that something medical is going on (most likely). Has she been tested for FIV and FeLK? These can cause skin problems. There are other medical conditions that can cause this as well. Please do take her back to the vet.
Hmm... I thought that might be the case. Seems she's been nice and soft feeling since I gave her that bath but the oil is sloooowwly starting to return. She seems more comfortable too, been lounging around the carpet more often and soaking up sun in the afternoon, and she's craving the brush a bit more. I know she doesn't have FIV or FeLK since the human society tested her for those and they came up negative. I need to take her to the vet soon for yearly shots anyway, so I'll ask him then, haha, he'll probably comment on the bald patch on her butt anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by julia123
Some people might not agree with this, but would you consider making your kitty an outside cat? I have a friend with a cat who doesn't even keep a litter box in the house. Her kitty plays in the yard or sleeps under the tree all day, scratches to come in, and scratches to go out. Everyone's happy.
No I don't think that's an option, she's outright terrified of going outside, and I live in an apt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna Mae
Just trying to brainstorm. You said you've tried multiple boxes, was one on top of her "spot"? She may have a problem with doing both in the same box, so if the boxes were near each other in your selected area,say the bathroom, she may not agree that's the place to pee. Have you tried just regular dirt in the litterbox? Maybe that earthy smell would be enticing. You tried a carpet scrap over the spot with some luck, maybe a scrap in an empty litterbox over the spot? Might appeal to her sense of neatness.

Do you know if there was a pet in the apartment before you? Or is her spot near a vent? She may be claiming territory because of something she can smell. You said you knew she had a problem since you got her. Because they told you or she's behaved this way since you brought her home? Does she pee in defiance, making sure you see her? (I have a male cat that wanted out). Does she pee there anytime or when you are leaving, when someone she doesn't like has been there? It was suggested to me to put a Feliway soaked piece of cloth on his collar, but by that time he had won his battle to get outside. But your gal doesn't seem to care for the great outdoors. I hope someone comes up with something for you.
Yeah, I tried putting it in the hallway where she likes to go. I think it's about the same, she'll go sometimes, sometimes she'll go next to it. I had multiple litter boxes too, and she'd poo exclusively in one, and occasionally pee in another. Really dirt? Just plain potting dirt? Thas one thing I'll need to try. Yeah, I tried the carpet scrap, and she just avoided that. I don't think there were any pets in the apt before, but the carpet was new when I moved in so not sure. She always pees when I'm not looking, either sleeping or out of the apt. Feliway on a towel on the collar? whoah, haha... I stopped using a collar on her since she kept scratching at it and it looked like a lion's mane, do you know if feliway is non-toxic? Don't want her to chew/bite at it if it's on her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AshleyJade
Another thing that my vet said to try, (im going through the same problem that you're going through) is to try to put a litter box up high somehow. Some cats like their boxes elevated, so that might be something else to try.

I have to agree, that it might be time to go see a behaviorist. Good luck.

-Jade
Hmm... not sure where a good place for that would be. Wouldn't want it in the kitchen anywhere, but on top of a counter, table or a fridge seems like only "high" places stable enough for a litter box to sit in the apt. Where does one start looking for a behaviorist?

Recently, I've been trying a new approach... I've been trying to coax/force her to go in the litterbox, and it seems somewhat effective. Two times a day, I'd sit her in the litterbox and pet her and prevent her from leaving the litterbox till she pees, and sooner or later she'll go. Seems to empty her bladder to the point where I won't have to worry about her peeing on the carpet for a few hours. And I'll time feeding right afterwards so I guess it's positive reinforcement. Think she'll get mad at me for doing this everyday after a bit? Seems to be slightly more wary everytime I come near her now.

-Lemur 6
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
I took my cat to the vet for her annual checkup and mentioned the uncontrollable urinating again, vet did a urinalisys and found nothing, but perscribed some antibiotics just in case. Kitty was on antibiotics for about 10 days. It sort of seemed to work for a little bit, she was using the litter box a little more often (2 - 3 clumps a day instead of 1 or none at all). I've also been feeding her a lot of water with canned tuna cat food mixed into it so she'd drink more and pee more. But as the days passed I kept smelling a stronger and stronger urine smell from the apartment even though I've been religiously cleaning the litter box. Well, I found her new spot and it was real bad. The carpet is normally a beige color, and the spot was orange brown and about a foot in diameter. It was just awful, completely saturated with urine.

So my vet decided it was time for some valium. Kitty's been on valium for several weeks now and there's been no change. I find her pee spots and scrub them with Urine-off, but either I was finding them too late, or the Urine-off didn't work, I just couldn't get the smell out or keep up with her finding new places to pee. So I resorted to confinement again, but it kept eating at me because she'd meow and bark constantly and I think it was making her worse.

I started taking her outside more and more since the weather's getting nicer. I don't use a leash anymore though, and I just follow her around. She seems to be getting bolder, but she'll always meow intermittently, I guess for reassurance, or tell me where she is. Whenever I take her outside she gets excited now, and I'll bring her back in and she seems pretty happy. But she's still peeing everywhere.

I also started moving my stuff to my new apartment (I still stay at the old apartment with Kitty). But I'm worried what to do at the end of the month, because I don't want my new apartment to smell like cat pee. The new apartment is also smaller than the old one and the bathroom is REALLY small. I really like my cat but I just can't stand her peeing everywhere. I don't want to send her to the humane society because they'll definately kill her (no one will want a peeing cat). I know it's a horrible thing to do, but I'm thinking of making her an outdoor cat. The new apartment has a back door that comes out to a big grassy field. I don't know... I just don't see any other alternatives. I took her there today and followed her around for a good two hours, she went exploring everything, even went around the building to the garbage dumpsters and poked around and came back to the back of the building. I wish I had a yard so she can be a yard cat, or someone with a yard would adopt her from me, I just don't understand why she's so nuts about peeing everywhere.

I'm wondering more and more if euthanizing her would be the best choice or if she could live OK outside, she'll probably be completely infested with worms and all sorts of bugs, but she can pee to her heart's content out there and no one would care. I wish I had more time, it's just almost the end of the month and I can't seem to make a decision...
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmm... That brings up something interesting. When I adopted my cat she was in heat, and they spayed her while she was in heat also. Everyone at the humane society reassured me that it's perfectly ok for the cat to get spayed in heat and it won't cause any complications, but now I'm wondering if her peeing has anything to do with a botched spay. She also seems to have this squatting thing every time I pet her near the base of her back (she really likes it when I scratch and knead along her entire back). When I scratch her at the base of her tail, she'll do a squat and occasional kind of shifting, which reminds me of her hind leg kneading when she was in heat.

Do vets check for hormonal imbalances for blood work? How would they know that a spay wasn't successful?
post #14 of 17
She could live OK outside. I know it's not popular, but it is possible. A friend has 2 cats that were kittens of a stray around her house. The mother died but the kittens were old enough to have learned from her to be afaid of people. She left food out for them, made a place for them in the garage to sleep if they chose to and talked to them when she was outside and they were around. Eventually they got use to her and she could pat them. That lead to taking them to the vet to be neutered and shots and all. That was seven years ago and they are still there. Last winter she was able to coax them into the house at night but they were at the door in the mornings, ready to go.

If you put the flea and tick medicine on her ( I think it's called Advantage), get her all the shots, feed her regularly so she's not eating (all that much of) what she hunts or finds and take her to the vet regularly for check ups, she should do OK. At least you will be giving her a chance.

Take her with you to the new apartment. If she pees out of the box then that is just the way she is and you have proven to yourself that you have tried everything to change her and it just isn't going to happen. You can make a bed out of a covered litter box to keep her dry and put it outside by the door and she will just be an outdoor cat. It's a tough decision but the choices are so limited. I wish you so much good luck and I hope it work out.
post #15 of 17
I really feel for you. I know exactly how helpless you feel; I have the same problem with one of my indoor kitties. Well, not exactly totally the same... instead of not peeing in the litter boxes, she's not pooping in them! I don't know what's worse, but I understand where you are coming from. I've gone through all kinds of idea too... and still trying to re-train her to poop in the litter boxes after almost 5 years! Sometimes my friends tell me that she's only a cat, is it worth it to go through so much trouble and use up so much energy cleaning after her, etc..., what they don't understand is that my kitties are like my babies! I don't think if I had kids, I'd give up on them... so, all I can do is to keep on loving her and be patient to continue with finding solutions. I really do understand your frustration... (read my post if you have time) because just the same, I am boggled as to why my Milukhu will not feel comfortable pooping in the boxes, she does the peeing fine though. But, know what? Look at the bright side... at least they are using the litter box for one thing. I am thankful that at least my kitty isn't doing both on the carpet!! Wouldn't that be terrible? I really wish you the best of luck and also in your decision making on what to do with her. By the way, Frontline works better to prevent fleas and ticks. So, if you decide to let her become an outdoor kitty, please help her be flea-free. I hope everything works out for you.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well... I don't think it's going to work... It's been a bit cold lately, but during the daytime it's warm enough that I can let her out and she won't freeze to death. I've been letting her out more and more, but she's just terrified of being alone outside. She yowls and barks and makes all sorts of sounds and I'm getting strange looks from the neighbors too... sigh... I'll spend hours with her outside and she'll be fine and follow me around like a magnet (she followed me over a block away and I had to go back and "lose" her so I could go back to my old place to pick up some stuff).

I've also been cleaning the carpet like nuts. The carpet's been scrubbed so much it's coming apart in places. I'll pour boiling hot water on the spots she's peed on and suck all of it out with a wet vac, and once the water stops coming up yellow I'll use urine-off to get rid of the smell, and then one more time with the boiling water. I've been at it for days and I've been even finding super heavily soiled spots I've not seen before. The water would come out brown at first it was so bad and after about 10 pot fulls of water the water would come out slightly yellow. I also found a couple fresh spots that she's been using the last couple days that were still damp, probably when I let her in during the evening. Yesterday I let my cat in because she was causing so much of a racket, and she did the most horrible thing. She went over to the spot I just freshly cleaned, I spent the last 2 days cleaning and didn't show anything with a black light, and she let out just a huge amount of urine, and she had a litter box just on the other side of the room too. I even put moth balls and sprayed a citrus smell on the spot so she'd avoid it. And this was even after I gave her her favorite canned tuna that evening and spent 2 hours petting her. I was soooo mad at her that I snapped right there and packed her into her carrier and immediately ran off to the humane society. I was really just looking for someone to talk to, and I started talking to a lady there and about all the trouble I've had with Kitty and just venting on her. She was really apologetic and understanding, and she just answered all the questions I had. She actually said she'd wished I brought her in sooner so that they could track her previous owners and question them because people bring in animals and lie that their pet doesn't have these kinds of problems and put their pet up for adoption. She confirmed that incorrect spaying wouldn't cause urination problems, and that if she isn't sick, or having bladder stones, or kidney stones, that it's a behavioral issue and no amount of drugs or training is going to fix her behavior. and then I just kinda gave up... I felt so broken afterwards I didn't even call a cab back to my apt and walked back (I don't own a car)...

And the whole day today, ever since I woke up I'd see dark clumps of objects and expect my cat to be there. I saw my slippers and thought it was my cat and reached down to pick them up. I'd go an talk to my friends about my cat as if she were still with me and come home to find her not there. I think I must be having cat withdrawal symptoms or something... I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't be venting on the forums... I half wished I was a little more patient and not gone to the humane society, but I also feel a big weight come off my back... well... I have to get back to scrubbing these urine stains off, I have to vacate the apartment by sunday...
post #17 of 17
oh, Lemur 6 I feel so sorry for your situation. we have had difficult and troubled cats over the years (all our cats were strays, rescues, or from shelters/humane societies); you do your best for them, but sometimes they need to be somewhere else, in a different situation ... maybe your girl could have been a yard cat if she had had a kitty companion, or maybe she would fare well as a farm or barn cat, with other animal company and good shelter ... maybe not. there are getting to be more no-kill shelters, and more supported colonies, so cats who can't do well as house pets can still have good lives, although such places are not everywhere to be found.

it's strange the way we fall in love with them, though, and try and try to get it to work, even when we can't afford the costs ... can you check back with the humane society to see if they've been able to place her elsewhere? there are people who actually seek "special needs" cats and dogs, and have their homes well set up for such adoptions. often local groomers and/or pet friends organisations can match the animals with such folks.

at any rate, our hearts go out to you and your girl.
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