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Cats peeing- not about children! (bit long)

(13 Posts)
tallulah Fri 14-Mar-03 22:38:54

Can anyone help before I go mad?
We've got 4 cats who are having a permanent battle for dominance since the youngest turned 1. The eldest 2 are mother & son, aged 5 & 4, & they get on OK. Then there is an unrelated female aged 2, & an unrelated male. The 2 boys get on OK & the 4 year old is OK with the 2 year old. BUT the younger one is picking fights with everyone else all the time.
We had a problem before that with the odd "accident", but I'm sure it's now more than being caught short. Their favourite target is clothes. Unfortunately we have a lot of washing & I usually pile it on the kitchen floor while I'm doing it. Unless I get through it straight away one of them will pee in it. 1 used to climb into the dirty linen basket & go in that, so I've had to stop using it. They also go on the children's bags & coats if they leave them on the floor (& it's almost as hard to train the kids to pick their stuff up as the cats not to pee).
I'm getting to the point where they are going to have to go out if I can't watch them. DH wants to get rid of some, but I'm worried we'll do that & still have the problem, as it isn't just one of them doing it. I've found some great stuff to get rid of the smell but I want to stop them doing it in the first place!
They are all good at "asking" to go out, & all are neutered. We don't have a litter tray because with the layout of our house the only place to put it was in the dining side of our kitchen (behind my chair) & they ALL made a point of climbing in to use it (& not to pee!) EVERY time we sat down to eat!
I would welcome any suggestions because with 4 kids it's 1 more stress I don't need.

Cha Fri 14-Mar-03 23:35:20

God - dredging my memory here, but I remember seeing a programme about 'problem pets' where they had the same problem as you. The one and only thing I remember about it was that using detergents etc to clean the wee up (the logical thing to do) is actually the worst. These cleaning products all have ammonia in them which to your cat/s smells just like someone else has peed on what they just did - so, guess what - they pee on it again to cover up the 'other cat's' smell. Can't remember what alternative product they said to clean it up with though - sorry. Maybe you know all this already. Anyway, what I would do is a search on Jeeves or something - you're bound to come up with a petsnet or the like with helpful people there to give you advice. Another thing would be to contact Battersea Dog's Home (if you're in the UK) - they have a behavioural helpline that deals with cats as well as dogs and is, as far as I am aware, open to everyone to use.
Good luck anyway!

miggy Sat 15-Mar-03 10:26:18

There is a product you can buy from the vet called Feliway. Its a bit like a plug in air freshner but produces cat happy hormones not smell! It lasts about a month and you can buy refills. Some clients that have had this problem swear by this and come in every month for a refill. sometimes it doesnt stop the problem though but well worth a try.

Jzee Sat 15-Mar-03 13:01:36

I know this will probably sound wacky, but apparently cats don't like citrus or foil so you could try leaving either of these near their favourite spots. Cat spray is the worst smell and fortunately I don't have this problem with my two cats, but now and again I have a stray come inside the house which sprays so I do sympathise.

janh Sat 15-Mar-03 17:17:28

Hi, tallulah. There are a lot of cat people on another MB I use so I posted your problem there (hope you don't mind) and have these 2 replies so far:

1) Don't have a full answer for you but we've had 3-4 cats in varying groups over 30 odd years.Strikes me as a territorial dispute ,and marking out constantly as all together.Don't know if they have their own baskets ,but that helps if spaced in groups or alone.We found placing feeding bowls together ,or gradually moving a new cats bowl in, did lead to a truce.
Finally, a water pistol is the best thing to stop misplaced cat P.You need time & to hide if you can but its a good job for a child or if you are feeling jaded!
Seriously ,petting and giving treats at the same time if they don't fight is helpful too. Cats are fond of a close pal and if you did split them try not to split a pair.

Good luck!

2)This is a horrible problem, and I did once have a cat who made my life a complete misery - destroying a fax machine once by peeing into it (I told the insurance company I'd spilled orange juice). Nothing electronic was safe, and he would also pee liberally all over the duvet.
I sought out an animal psychologist, who told me that it was a problem more frequently found in highly strung cats, like Siamese and Orientals (he was a beautiful cinnamon oriental). They're not peeing, apparently, they're trying to get closer to their humans by sharing their smell with them (!). The psychologist told me that he was probably suffering a kind of separation anxiety because he couldn't bear to be left alone, and also didn't like sharing the house with another cat. I tried valium, and all the other behavioural things he prescribed, but in the end I thought it was best to rehouse him with someone who could give him the attention he clearly craved. (I told the Cats Protection League exactly what the problem was, so his new family would be aware of it) I was dreadfully sorry to have to let him go, but in the end we were both very distressed! His feline housemate, who had also starting peeing in inappropriate places, settled down once he had gone.

When I replaced him with a new kitten, I made sure that one I chose was confident and self-possessed - she's still with me ten years on, and the perfect feline companion!

I think I would seriously think of rehousing two of these cats, since it sounds as if the problem has only arisen as the youngest has reached adulthood. The Cats Protection League will not put down a healthy animal, so the owner can take them both there knowing that they're likely to be happily rehoused. It does sound as though the whole household is rather unhappy with the status quo. >

As you said your DH wants to get rid of some I wonder if you could rehome the 2 unrelated ones? It does sound from the second reply as if the original 2 should settle down OK without them?

Jzee Sat 15-Mar-03 18:04:05

'getting rid' of animals should really be a last resort as imagine how stressfull that would be for your cat. Too many people are keen to just dispose of unwanted animals and really we should all think mores seriously about getting them in the first place.

janh Sat 15-Mar-03 19:57:51

Jzee, I know "getting rid of" is a horrible expression but I couldn't think of a better one.

I'm sure if somebody had told Tallulah that her latest cat would upset all the others, and then they would all pee all over her house, she wouldn't have got it. However since you can't predict that kind of thing, and it is obviously upsetting her and probably everybody else too, surely "finding another home for" the youngest cat is the best solution for the largest number of individuals.

Many people have more than 4 cats without them peeing all over the laundry etc - this is just bad luck. No fair to criticise helpful suggestions. (Not mine, so I can say that! )

tallulah Sun 16-Mar-03 17:58:11

Thank you all for your help!
I'm going to conatct the vet tomorrow about this Feliway & see if that helps. Will keep you posted.

Alibubbles Sun 16-Mar-03 18:10:26

I have two feliway diffusers one upstairs and one downstairs. I have three burmese cats, dad and two sons. a lilac, chocolate and a blue. Dad and one son keep beating up the blue and dad keeps spraying everywhere.

Whilst we back on to farmland and they have acres of land to explore there is a ginger tom who seem to keep terrorising them all, hence markingtheir territory all the time.

I have been using the feliway for about three months, it takes a month to work but is worth it, you must also remember to replace it as soon as it runs out or you are quickly back to square one!

janh Mon 17-Mar-03 09:51:02

Hi, tallulah - 2 people from my other MB have just recommended the hormone plug-in things - thought you might like to see what they said:

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1 May I recommend a quick visit to the vet to buy a de-stressing feline pheremone dispenser. These plug in to a standard electrical socket, and look just like one of those new-fangled room fresheners. They dispense a pheremone (odourless to humans) which calms and de-stresses cats, so that they are less likely to make anxiety puddles.

I had a similar problem - four cats and one suddenly started to mark in the house from stress (one of our other cats had started to bully her, after he had been attacked by a stray in our garden and soundly trounced - guess he just wanted to take it out on somebody). One plug in copes with the average sized living room, and lasts about a month. They are a bit pricey, but you can get cheaper refills the second time around. On our cats it was a complete success. Puddle cat stopped making puddles, bully cat stopped bullying. After a couple of months we stopped using it as an experiment, and lo and behold, no recurrence of problem. I'd guess that was long enough to break the habit.

I didn't gather whether your cats were free-roamers, or confined to the house. If the latter, I fear you may just have too many cats for the area they live in and may have to let a couple go. In my experience, having an odd number is never v successful - there's always an odd one out that gets picked on.

Good luck, and hope this may have helped.

2 Can I second this endorsement of the feline feromone dispenser. I have been astounded by the calming effect it has had and would never have believed it (still keep asking myself can it be some fluke or coincidence). It has done wonders for my elderly cat with heart, digestive and general stress problems and he is now back to his old `chilled` self.

(have asked vets if they could get one for me) >

I think they should make one for mums!

Good luck, anyway, tallulah.

tallulah Wed 19-Mar-03 20:57:53

I managed to get a plug-in from the vet. It was £23. So far, so good. They do seem calmer & we haven't had any fighting or spitting since I plugged it in yesterday. Could just be coincidence but I'm hopeful. Thanks to everyone who recommended it.

Alibubbles Wed 19-Mar-03 22:13:26

tallulah, they do normally take a while to work, but if your cats aren't as neurotic as mine it may work sooner. It needs to be replaced after a month and you can buy just a refill for about £15, a lot cheaper!

Olivia001 Tue 10-Sep-19 12:11:06

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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