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New cat having fits - and peeing.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We recently added a new cat to our household (both of our cats were rescued from the local shelter). We had one older male resident cat that we introduced our new, younger female cat to, and we kept the new cat in her own room for a while before allowing the two to interact. The new cat (Joy) is smaller and easily frightened. Our old cat (Leo) is a big, dumb placid type. (Joy is 2 years old and weighs 6 pounds, Leo is 7 years old and weighs 15 pounds). The two cats aren't thrilled with each other, and Joy will often try to swat Leo with no apparent provocation. Leo puts up with quite a bit from Joy, usually responding with nothing more than a "Huh?" (or more likely, a "Duh..") expression. Sometimes she'll swat aggressively enough that he swats back at her. He generally doesn't display aggressive behavior towards her, even though he's the resident cat and we'd expect him to be a bit territorial. They've actually gotten to the point recently where they can be within three feet of each other without freaking out. (Leo's always been to that point - it's Joy that has made the most progress).

Joy came from the shelter with a couple of behavioral problems. She loves to scratch things, but I've managed to train her to a sisal post quite well (with prompt squirting when she tries the couch, and prompt play rewards when she uses the post - she's not super-interested in food rewards). She's been using the post exclusively for a while now. The shelter said that she was a returned adoption because of frequent diarrhea. We took her to the vet, who said she's healthy, and haven't seen any diarrhea from her ourselves. The problem we ARE having with Joy is peeing on things she shouldn't. Generally her target areas have been places that we sleep (so we've had to change the bedding on both our own and our daughter's beds a couple of times). She has also peed on a particular chair (I got up once, and she got right into the chair and peed on it). Fortunately the cushions are removable and easier to clean than most chairs would be. For now, the chair is disassembled, and the doors to our bedrooms are closed at all times.

I don't think this is a general litter box problem, as she uses the litter box frequently and consistently otherwise. We have three litter boxes (one for each cat, plus one) out in the garage that are cleaned frequently, and they access through a cat door. We left the cats alone for a day this weekend, and they had free range of the downstairs (not the bedrooms, which had closed doors). We didn't find any problems, but Joy got into Sarah's bedroom when we came home and promptly peed on her bed again.

We're pretty sure Joy is the main perpetrator here - although we suspect Leo is responsible for at least one incident near his favorite teddy bear.

As I'm getting tired of spot treating and laundering things - anybody have any suggestions? The overall incidence of this behavior has gone down over time, but since it happened again last night when she had access to the bedrooms, I'm worried. (Joy's in my lap attempting to look very cute. Sorry, girl... ya gotta quit PEEING on stuff!)
post #2 of 8
There could be several reasons why this is happening. Some cats are very persnickity and if their litterbox is not cleaned out and scrubbed out regularly, they will pee in alternate places. She could be marking her territory so your older cat will be remindful that she is now in the house and she may want to be alpha cat. If you have had a recent full bloodwork panel done on her and found her to be within acceptable limits, and had her dewormed then there are several things you can do. First you need to buy a good odor contoller like Simple Solution or Odor Out. Remove all the bedding that you believe she has targeted and scrub it good, and let it air dry. Before you put it back into the rooms lightly spritz it with a mixuture of lemon juice and water. Cats will avoid most things that smell like citrus. Spraying her with water shouldn't really happen. Try to startle her out of her behaviour by clapping your hands, shaking a can with a few ball bearings or pennies inside, or whistling, or shaking a sheet of aluminum foil in her direction. You can buy a blacklight and shine it in the rooms that have been targeted, it will show all the cat pee when the lights are off. Start scrubbing out the litterboxes daily, I know, it is a drag, you don't really have the time, but you would be surprised at the difference it makes. Cats mark their territory in two ways, when they scratch (they have scent glands in the pads of their feet) and by spraying. Good luck with her, she really sounds like a character!
post #3 of 8
Sounds like a territorial thing to me. I assume that both cats are spayed/neutered since you got them from a shelter, but if not that should be done ASAP. You could try moving one of the litter boxes into the house so she feels like her scent is inside, too.

Hissy is one of our resident experts around here, so I would follow her advice first and foremost. One thing that she didn't say about washing the bed linens is to wash them in about 2 cups of vinegar (no detergent) to completely get rid of the smell. The vinegar neutralizes the amonia in cat urine. Even if we can't smell it anymore, many times the cat still can and will return to "freshen" her scent.
post #4 of 8
I knew I forgot something........
post #5 of 8
Also, if it is territorial, you might try using Feliway. This puts a frendly cat scent where it is used. So, when she smells the Feliway she thinks friendly thoughts rather than territorial thoughts.

Another way to ensure no more peeing in a regular peeing spot is:

1. Clean thoroughly with an enzymatic cleanser. Place strips of aluminum foil loosly over the spot while it dries, so the cat won't use it in the meantime.

2. After it dries completely remove foil and cover spot with a deep layer of baking soda. Let sit for a week.

3. Remove baking soda and then sprinkle a citrus or other really strongly scented carpet powder over the spot. Let sit another week. Vacuum up after one week.

Now, the urine smell is gone and it has a residual carpet powder smell that the cat will hate which will keep the kitty from peeing in that spot!
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've wondered if that Feliway stuff actually works. The idea of putting pseudo-kitty markings on things made me wonder if the cats would decide they needed to re-mark everything. It sounds like lotsocats has at least had a good experience with it. It's expensive, that's for sure.

The blacklight is a good idea - we've been going around sniffing everything in the house lately!

Both cats are spayed/neutered. When I took Joy for her visit to the vet, a stool sample was analyzed as well, and nothing unusual was found. She was dewormed twice within a couple of months before we got her.

So... we're just going to have to be vigilant and try more cleaning I suppose.
post #7 of 8
Sounds territorial to me. I have quite a few females who had that behavior and I had to make them yard cats because no matter what I did, they wouldn't stop. Your little girl sounds like she was always an only child and she hates having to live with your other cat. Some cats who are used to being the only cat will never accept living with another one. If they accept it by not fighting, they rebel by peeing, and other marking behavior. Correct her verbally with a harsh voice if you catch her exhibiting this territorial behavior. I actually can discourage my cats bad behavior before it happens. When I see it coming I verbally reprimand them and they do know what I'm saying. Does she tend to sniff around a lot? If she does, when you catch her, yell at her to stop and then distact her with a toy or her scratching post.

Good Luck
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
The weird thing about the territorial thing is that the shelter mentioned that she was used to being around other cats, and did okay with them. I don't think it's something where she's always been the only cat around (although I can't be sure). I somewhat suspect that she's just a scaredy-cat and makes her statements by peeing on stuff. The overall incidence has gone down, instead of up, so it's somewhat encouraging.

As far as the water spritz thing goes, I was always told that it was "the humane thing" to do, but found it difficult to enforce continuously. Most often, we just clap our hands. I have to say that the sofa has never been a target after spritzing, but the water hasn't been used in some time. Often times the cats will get down with just a look - as they know they aren't supposed to be certain places.
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