Options for our poor cat.....can't deal with this any more

(38 Posts)
shushpenfold Thu 14-Feb-13 03:05:57

We have a 5 yo cat - one of two litter sisters who until the last year has been fine (a little 'odd' at times) but essentially fine. She has over the last year though taken to weeing (and occasionally pooing) in a very obvious demonstration of her dislike of us being out of the house. It started with only doing it when we were away, but is now regular and generally coincides with when we return to the house - it is over our personal items.....coats, bags, gym kit, dirty washing, plain washing, clean ironing, sofas, chairs....the list goes on. She miaows plaintively a great deal, eats too much (if we try to take it away she rips up cupboards and bread bins to try and get to food and then wees even more) and is now fighting with her sister far more.....she seems to be the non-dominant, even though the vet advises me that the fatter ones are usually dominant. Her sister is very slim. They are a Bengal cross and the vet has advised me that they sometimes do have some pretty major behavioural issues. We work and are out of the house from 7.15am to 6pm every day, including Saturdays.

I'm at the end of my tether now and am ashamed to say that I can't cope with the behaviour any more, despite the fact that we love her and that the kids love her very much too. She is quite clearly as miserable as sin.

I've tried, on vets advice, Feliway (the last weeing was 3 feet from a plug in), more 'playtime', locking out of more rooms (difficult in our house as we have a lack of doors!) and she has now said that our last hope is a behaviourist. Has anyone experience of whether this will work? If it is going to need serious time input, I can't do that with work. sad

shushpenfold Thu 14-Feb-13 03:06:35

clean washing, not plain!

poachedeggs Thu 14-Feb-13 03:19:46

I'm a vet. IME feline behaviour problems tend to be treated largely by environmental management rather than by a big commitment to training, unlike with dogs.

My bet is that she's highly stressed and that she isn't coping well with her littermate. All sorts of other factors may be at work here, so a behaviourist would be a really worthwhile investment. Make sure you go for an APBC member for assurance of quality, as anyone can call themselves a behaviourist and there are many inadequately qualified and knowledgeable individuals around. Their website has a geographical search facility.

In the meantime have a look at the Feline Advisory Bureau website (fabcats.org or something) for lots of good advice.

Do you have a litter tray in the house or do they normally go out through the cat flap to wee?

shushpenfold Thu 14-Feb-13 06:30:55

Hi poachedeggs - many thanks for the information - really helpful and good to know that you feel a behaviourist would help. smile I'll get on to it.

thecatneuterer - our vet mentioned putting a litter tray down but then in the same breath said, that she's 100% sure it's behavioural and that it won't help. They last used a litter tray as kittens and have a microchip cat flap (doesn't let in stray cats....we've had problems in the distant past with neighbourhood cats)

Many thanks for all the info....it's not helping my sleeping patterns at the moment!!!

cozietoesie Thu 14-Feb-13 08:00:35

I'd absolutely get the litter tray out of the cupboard and try it. It won't do any harm and in my experience, many cats actually like to pee or poo inside the house. If she has environmental issues it could well help.

poachedeggs Thu 14-Feb-13 09:21:33

Totally agree you need a litter tray asap. If something outside is scaring her she's got nowhere to go, stress city!

poachedeggs Thu 14-Feb-13 09:22:30

In fact, get three (there should be one per cat plus an extra).

Agree with poached eggs. If for some reason she doesn't feel able to go outside then she needs a litter tray inside. It's got to be worth a try surely.

shushpenfold Thu 14-Feb-13 18:17:37

Fair enough...we have nothing to lose! I've tried to find a cat behaviourist today (in amongst work!) and they're all for dogs!!!! Will carry on tomorrow as have a couple of possible numbers/contacts now. Thanks for all the advice, xx

bubbles1231 Thu 14-Feb-13 18:24:41

Litter tray should be well away from her food bowls. You may have to experiment with different litters to fine one she likes- standard litter, wood pellets, sand or soil etc
Some cats like an open topped litter tray, others like the closed in variety so don't be too disheartened if it doesn't work first time.

I would start with a couple of litter trays before you start bothering with cat behaviourists, and as bubbles said, try some different types of tray/litter. I really do believe that that will solve your problem.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 14-Feb-13 18:40:06

Try the ultra clumping cat litters, there finer grained so its softer on paw pads.

AbbyCat Thu 14-Feb-13 18:40:13

Agree w litter tray suggestions. If there is a particular spot she favours e.g bath mats, you can spray a mix of 50:50 white vinegar and water.

shushpenfold Sat 16-Feb-13 12:17:43

Many thanks all....off to buy another litter tray today!

Keep us posted!

shushpenfold Sun 17-Feb-13 07:32:41

Hi all.....there is an untouched cat litter tray in our house!! Having said that, we suspect that it might be more use when we're away this weekend....kids are on half term so lots of company at the moment for little stressy puss. The second tray will be deployed on Friday when we go and the doors to the two other favourite 'weeing spots' will not be open. Will update all next Sunday evening.

FannyFifer Sun 17-Feb-13 07:35:10

Would you not put the cat out when you are not in?

shushpenfold Sun 17-Feb-13 07:37:59

No - the cat flap lets them in and out at will. We're out for so long during the day that it's not fair to expect them to be outside for all that time (in the constant rain, snow, rain and more rain) and if the stressy one is still scared of anything outside we can't put her through that for 12 hours a day.

FannyFifer Sun 17-Feb-13 07:39:07

They always find places to shelter, mine generally get put out for the night

FannyFifer Sun 17-Feb-13 07:43:20

We would put our cat out at night, they always find places to go or shelter if needed.
If we are out for a long while during the day, out as well, it's a cat.
Honestly, if its soiling your house when you are not in, sod that, out you go.

shushpenfold Sun 17-Feb-13 07:45:56

Fanny- thanks for the advice, but I've spoken to a vet and behaviourist and both have said that she needs to feel happier about being able to be in the house without us so I don't think that shutting out of the house is going to help. The main problem is also when we're away from the house for short breaks etc - we have one next Friday/Sat/Sunday so we wouldn't be able to chuck out then anyway.

FannyFifer Sun 17-Feb-13 08:55:45

Oh well, good luck with it then, there is just no way I would tolerate an animal soiling all round my house.

We have had a few cats over the years, some are happy to be left in the house, others I couldn't trust so didn't get free reign.

Where does cat flap come into, my friends comes into her utility room and its the only room cat can access when she not in, door is shut.

Hope you get it sorted. grin

shushpenfold Sun 17-Feb-13 10:21:29

Thanks x

Mrsrobertduvall Mon 18-Feb-13 17:18:26

Good luck...we have a pissing cat at the moment, fortunately just on the bathroom mat.
Bloody nightmare.

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