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Feeling so trapped by my cats

(127 Posts)
VroomOnTheBroom Sun 04-Jan-15 08:02:35

I have three large fluffy pedigree cats, indoor only, and I'm starting to lose the plot. We have had them all from kittens. The 7 year old boy is handsome and well behaved but he sheds like a month-old Christmas tree (this is my fault I know, but I'm pregnant and have a toddler and I work, so something has to give and grooming is one of the losses). The 5 year old girl is sweet and affectionate but she scratches the furniture all to hell. I have those sticky strips on the bed, I keep long throws over the armchair to hide the legs and I have scratching posts round the place - but she still prefers the sofa/armchair/suitcases/foot of bed.

And the most upsetting one is the 5 yo boy who pees EVERYWHERE. No UTI that I know of. He started it about eight months old when we went away for a holiday, we came back to the flat stinking and our bed a lake of cat piss. We were in our 20s then, no kids and the cats slept on our bed. He started to do it every time he felt neglected. We were hungover and he was looking for cuddles? We would wake up to wet feet, mostly DH who is a heavy sleeper. It started being occasional but it's got worse and worse over the years. Now he's an opportunist. If I catch him in time he will run away and straight into one of the litter boxes (DH cleans the poo out daily and changes the litter weekly). He does it on soft furnishings, anything left on the floor (towels, bags, clothes) especially anything of my husband's. He's DH's cat so he craves attention from him more and punishes him when he doesn't get it - that's my theory. I've had to throw out several pairs of shoes, a couple of coats, countless hold-alls and suitcases. I am on my 3rd mattress in four years - the mattress protectors sometimes don't cover the edges well, or shrink in the wash, or leak, and the odour remover has its own odour and it's not pleasant to sleep on. Cats have been banned from the bedroom for the last 2-3 years because of this, but the door is usually open during the day - we are in an open plan flat and our ensuite has our bathroom so we are in and out during the day at home. He won't pee on the bed when we are at work during the day, but if I'm up seeing to our son and my husband is dozing or looking at his phone and not paying him attention, I often find the room stinking when I come back in. Last week after spending Christmas with my family I came home to find he's been using the bathroom sinks as a toilet - poo too, and not just the sink but peeing all over the countertop. At first I didn't know what had happened so I cleaned it up, and the next day caught him in the act again. He hasn't done it since though but in the meantime two bath mats are in the wash, and the single bed in my son's room has had to be stripped and the mattress treated with enzyme odour remover.

I'm so sick of hauling the bedclothes off my husband at 5am because I've been up with a baby and now I can't go back to bed because I have to put the bed linen in the machine. I'm so sick of my home smelling of cat pee and having to track down and work out what exactly has been urinated on this time by following my nose like a grossed-out bisto kid. I'm sick of losing comfortable shoes because I can't keep them by the door. I'm tired of not being able to have floor coverings - rugs and front door mats have all met the same fate. I've spent a fortune replacing sports bags and shoes and bedding.

I feel so trapped. He's only 5 and has a life expectancy of 16-20 years. I can't put down a healthy cat and he can't be rehomed with that behaviour, and I couldn't part him from his beloved twin sister either. I know he's my responsibility for the next 10-15 years. I feel so envious of other people's lovely clean, fragrant, unscratched, hair free homes. Of their black clothes that they don't have to constantly lint roll or dry clean because the volume of cat hair from 3 fluffy breed cats means black clothes look even worse coming out of the washing machine than they did going in.

The right number of cats for me would be one or none. We lost the girl recently and found her trapped in a cupboard after a brief scare. And all I could think was "why her? Why couldn't we lose Mr Pissy Pussy instead?" I would never do anything to further his demise but when I fantasise about leaving my husband so he could keep his two cats and I'd have my own well-mannered boy alone... I mean they are all "our" cats, just happened that over time one of the boys has attached himself to each of us and the girl goes with the younger male cat as they are close sibs.

I am at my wit's end. I don't know what to do.

Hakluyt Sun 04-Jan-15 08:07:59

I suppose the first question is what does the vet say about the one that pees everywhere?

The second question is what about letting them out? It sounds as if they arent't happy indoor care.

JamForTea Sun 04-Jan-15 08:15:10

Your pissy cat is stressed and sounds like he would be a happier cat if he was an only cat. If he was rehomed as an only cat where he could get lots of one to one attention he would more than likely stop peeing everywhere.

Methe Sun 04-Jan-15 08:15:55

I'm afraid that if I were in your situation and the cat had been to the vet and everyhing had been investigated and if it tried letting them outside but it had not helped then I'd be speaking to breed rescue and I'd they wouldn't take him then I'd have him pts.

You shouldn't be living in a cat toilet. It sounds awful.

RoganJosh Sun 04-Jan-15 08:16:25

If you've tried all you can with Mr Pissy (Feliway for example?) then I'd be thinking hard about getting rid of him somehow. I don't think it's fair on your family to live with that level of weeing.

Hakluyt Sun 04-Jan-15 08:21:12

If you have done everything you can to stop the behaviour in the peeing cat, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with having him PTS. It's sad, but it is very unlikely that he could successfully be rehomed, and he is likely to be passed from pillar to post, particularly as I assume he is a beautiful cat, with people thinking they can help him then discovering they can't. Much better PTS than an uncertain and probably unhappy future. An unpopular view, I know,but the only humane and realistic one.

sebsmummy1 Sun 04-Jan-15 08:27:43

I think you need to take a deep breath and see what you can salvage from the situation. The breed rescue sounds like a great starting point. What breed is he btw?

favouritewasteoftime Sun 04-Jan-15 08:32:42

I've been there with the pee issues and have mostly cracked it but it takes time and patience. It is most likely to be stress that's causing the cat to pee everywhere. Do the cats get on with each other? Do they have enough space and resources so they don't feel they have to mark their territory constantly?

Feliway diffusers helped mine a lot with the peeing, as did giving them lots of high places to perch, and food bowls dotted around the house to avoid competition for resources. I also leave food out for them now rather than giving food only at meal times - again, it seems to reduce competition. Telling them off and punishing them only made things worse and created more stress. Also, the pee smell had to be washed completely out of all soiled towels and sheets every time or they were attracted to the place to pee again.

As for the cat hair and washing machine, I have the same problem. The only thing that I can advise is getting a lint roller.

It's very frustrating but I think it can get better. Also I agree with the previous poster that perhaps letting them out into a safe, confined space will be helpful.

gamerchick Sun 04-Jan-15 08:44:04

Well cats don't pee put of spite. They don't think like we do and he isn't doing it to piss you off.

It probably can be sorted but you'll have to put the time in and if you don't have the time to groom I can't see how that can happen.

Maybe a cat run so they can go out?

favouritewasteoftime Sun 04-Jan-15 08:48:23

Don't have him pts - he's peeing everywhere because he's upset by something.

gamerchick Sun 04-Jan-15 08:52:45

Have you tried watching a few cats from hell on youtube or catch up? I've learned loads just from watching that.

juneau Sun 04-Jan-15 09:02:19

I suspect that he's stressed too - most cats don't enjoy sharing their home with other cats and added to that you've got a busy household with little time for this cat, by the sound of it, and another baby on the way which will only make matters worse.

My mother has had umpteen cats over the years and from her experiences I would say that its unlikely that you'll ever change the indoor peeing behaviour long-term. More attention, Feliway plug-ins, etc, can help, but I doubt this situation is fixable and I doubt that re-homing would lead to a complete change in behaviour either.

So the question is, can you cope with this behaviour for as long as this cat is alive? Because you've come on here saying you're at the end of your tether (not unreasonably - I couldn't cope with the situation you describe - its disgusting), yet you don't want to get rid of the cat. So I think you have a hard choice to make. You sound overwhelmed and fed up and if it was me I know what choice I'd make.

juneau Sun 04-Jan-15 09:03:50

P.S. Changing the cat litter once a week is not enough - if these are indoor cats that use the litter all the time it needs to be changed daily (with poos removed asap).

isitsnowingyet Sun 04-Jan-15 09:04:31

I've read somewhere that each cat needs it's own litter tray (this may have been on a thread here). Even with each with their own tray, some fastidious cats would need the litter changing daily.

Quite intensive work with 3 cats and a toddler. Any chance of letting them out?

Failing that, with a new baby coming along, maybe Mr Pissy Pussy will have to be re-homed.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 04-Jan-15 09:06:25

Why are they indoor only?

a2011x Sun 04-Jan-15 09:24:47

Don't know a lot about cats but I do know wee cat doesn't seem happy/ comfortable/ stress free. I would personally rehome him to a good home, either that or stair gate the place and keep them shut , I know it's a pain but ensuring he is kept out of the problem rooms is half the problem solved. Is he castrated ?

RoganJosh Sun 04-Jan-15 09:29:02

I missed that the litter is changed weekly. I agree that's not often enough. I'd try every other day.

crapcrapcrapcrap Sun 04-Jan-15 09:31:38

Cats generally don't tolerate sharing a small territory with others. He's stressed. You would do well to get in touch with a member of the APBC who might advise rehoming the stressed one, but can probably give you some help to address the scratching behaviour more successfully too.

If you don't want to spend money on behaviour assistance then just rehome the peeing one. Nine times out of ten these cats are completely different individuals once they're homed away from other cats.

OldIrving Sun 04-Jan-15 09:36:48

I don't think cats appreciate sibling bonds like humans do - chances are he'd be happier away from the other cats, twin sister or no.

InanimateCarbonRod Sun 04-Jan-15 09:51:02

I can't believe that there are people sasayinhave him PTS for a behaviour sad It makes me angry that a life can mean so little. It's a life for fuck sake. His life deserves as much respect as any life.angry

OP it sounds like he wantS to be an only cat. They aren't pack animals so are happy alone. I would try to get him rehomed. In the meantime change the litter every other day, make sure that you have a litter tray per cat in various rooms and feed him in a different place to the other cats. Even if it's just on the countertop. Don't give up on him.

Waxlyrically Sun 04-Jan-15 09:58:44

That sounds awful for you and I don't think I could handle it at all. I've never had indoor cats but three sharing one house with only one litter tray does sound crowded and stressful especially as you have two tom cats. I agree with all the suggestions about rehoming the younger boy cat. We've had pairs of cats in the past and when one has died the remaining cat has really changed in character and become more relaxed and friendly. I don't think many cats like sharing space. With patience and in a new home without other pets he should settle down and be much happier.

juneybean Sun 04-Jan-15 10:02:58

Probably indoor only as they're Persian or similar.

marne2 Sun 04-Jan-15 10:04:39

I couldn't have indoor cats, I have a relative that has a lot of indoor cats, their house stinks, they can't open windows to get fresh air ( as the cats would get out ). I have one outdoor cat, he would hate to be indoors ( though he does spend a lot of the winter in, goes out to go to the toilet ). If I was you I would consider letting them out or building a cat run in the garden so they can go outside and get some fresh air.

Hakluyt Sun 04-Jan-15 10:04:45

"I can't believe that there are people sasayinhave him PTS for a behaviour sad It makes me angry that a life can mean so little. It's a life for fuck sake. His life deserves as much respect as any life.angry"

He's not happy. The OP is not happy. The chance of changing this behaviour is vanishingly small. He is not rehomable-the chances are he will spend ages in a cattery. Yes, he deserves respect. And sometimes that means making hard responsible choices. Better PTS than a miserable life.

Methe Sun 04-Jan-15 10:05:25

carbon perhaps you could offer this cat a home then?

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