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Purely behavioral urination throughout the house...

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Kloey

Krazy Klo-Klo
 
 
Purred: Wed Jan 11, '12 7:48am PST 
Hello all,

I have posted on here several times over the years about our cat, Kloey. She urinates outside her litter box, throughout the house. She has done this since we adopted her at the age of 8 months -- she is now about 8 years old. We have tried so many things - new litter boxes, different litters, different litter box locations, different foods, and Reconcile (Prozac). Nothing has helped. We have been to many different vets - all say it is purely behavioral and they can't find anything physically wrong with her.

Right now, she is being kept in our guest bathroom. When isolated in this small room, she does go only in her litter box. We let her out in the evening to spend time with us, supervised, in the living room. My boyfriend feels badly for her and feels that the room is too small. I think she actually likes it. We had kept her in the guest bedroom for awhile - she peed everywhere. Something about this smaller room and she hasn't so far. Our problem will be when we have overnight guests - she won't be able to stay in there.

I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has a cat that has done/is doing this - purely behavioral. Please don't tell me to go to the vet - we literally have been to at least 10 over the years and had so many tests done. I'm willing to try something, but feel like we are running out of options. Anything else to try? Is it "bad" for her to be kept in this small room? Any help would be appreciated.
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Ralphie & Randy

1201140
 
 
Purred: Wed Jan 11, '12 8:59am PST 
It's true that some cats are more comfortable in small, confined spaces. Maybe she feels like the bathroom is "hers", but if she's displaced from her space whenever you have guests, that may cause her stress along with the stress caused by the unfamiliar people in her home.

Is there another small room in your home that can be more dedicated to her, where she won't have to be moved if you have guests? A utility room, or even a walk-in closet? Maybe the displacement, even if it occurs only occasionally, causes her to feel that she can't really get comfortable because her litterbox and other essentials are moved around whenever people stay over.

I would suggest finding a more consistent place for her to stay with all of her essentials, and continue to let her out to be with the family. Once she has a place that she knows will always be "hers" and that she won't be shifted around, maybe it will help her to be calm and seek out her "safe" place when she needs to go. Ralphie doesn't have the inappropriate urination problem like Kloey, but he is perfectly happy to be in his room, sometimes for long periods of time. He seems to feel safe there, whether he's closed in by us for whatever reason, or if he goes in to hang out by his own choice.

Good luck! This doesn't sound like a fun problem, and you are wonderful to stick with her all this time and try to find solutions for her.
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Kloey

Krazy Klo-Klo
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 9:17am PST 
Thank you for your response! There really isn't anywhere else in the house we could keep her at this point... we have a space we could potentially convert but I'm concerned we would do all that work and then she would just pee all over it. We did have her isolated to the guest bedroom for awhile - big human bed, cat bed, two big windows to look out... It also had a little vanity with a shelf and sink and hard floor, where her litter box was. That was the place she peed all over, so we moved her out of there into the guest bathroom - where she still hasn't urinated outside the litter box. I have no clue why it's any different. I appreciate the suggestions! Our last resort would be to attempt to make her an outside cat. We live in a really quiet neighborhood so I think it would be safe as it could be, but I don't think she will like it. But in reality, she could live another 10-12 years and I can't imagine keeping her confined for most of that time or having her pee all over for that much longer... *sigh* I don't know frown
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Ralphie & Randy

1201140
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 11:30am PST 
How very frustrating. It sounds like even the guest bedroom was overwhelming for her. I wonder if it could be the size of the area where her litterbox is located? Like, maybe she feels exposed when her box is in a larger space, so she stress-urinates elsewhere? I'm really just guessing here, but maybe you could get something like one of those wire dog crates and put the litterbox inside of it. It wouldn't be confining like a covered litterbox can sometimes be, but it would be a measure of separation in a larger room, if that's what's causing her stress. The crate could be covered with a blanket to give her privacy, and it would be like her own small, portable room. Start out using it in the guest bathroom, where she's already comfortable, and move it as necessary when you have guests or if you find that another area would be more suitable.

Like I say, I'm just guessing and throwing out possibilities of what I might try if it were me. I understand not wanting to keep her confined for the rest of her life, and you certainly can't have her peeing all over everything. But I would hate to think of her being put outside after being an indoor cat for such a long time. I hope you'll try EVERYTHING before even considering such an idea. You've been very patient to have dealt with her issues for this long and trying to help her, and you obviously love her very much.

I hope someone with more experience can post some suggestions for you.
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KuJu Ku

Bobtails Rule!
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 11:55am PST 
Do you have a garage?
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Kloey

Krazy Klo-Klo
 
 
Purred: Thu Jan 12, '12 12:12pm PST 
Well, right now we have her littler box in the bathtub in the guest bathroom. I think you are right, that even the size of the guest bedroom felt overwhelming for her. I don't know how much this impacts things but when we adopted her at 8 months, she had been at the shelter for four months - so four months in a tiny kennel... makes me wonder if she feels used to that or likes it more. And if she was never fully litter box trained. I also honestly think she's mentally ill.. if cats can be smile Anxiety...

Thanks for the thought about the wire dog crate. Definitely worth a shot. We do have two other cats, and I think she also likes having her "own" litter box, so the challenge is keeping the other two out.

I really hate the idea of putting her outside, too, because I know she would hate it. (one of our other cats would love it! haha). We are definitely willing to try whatever we can. We do really love her, and I take our commitment to adopting her seriously. I also admit I was young and naive when we did adopt her and had no clue a cat could have a problem like this. Thanks for your tips and concern, I appreciate it!! smile


KuJu Ku - Yes, we have a garage... it's pretty full of stuff, I park in there, and it's also a work space for my boyfriend, so I don't think we could convert that unfortunately.
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Arthur

610161
 
 
Purred: Fri Jan 13, '12 2:38am PST 
This might sound strange, but would you consider trying her in a diaper? My Mom used special kitty diapers for our friend Priscilla when she lived with us(Priscilla is at the bridge now). The diapers had a tail hole so Priscilla could still poop in the litter box (which she always did) but they would catch any urine she passed. My mom used to put half of a human incontinence pad in the diaper and that would easily hold any urine Priscilla passed while my mom was at work. The diapers were made of cotton fabric so my mom was able to wash them in the machine with the regular laundry.
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George (AKA- "Monkey")

1227467
 
 
Purred: Fri Jan 13, '12 7:06am PST 
You may also want to try some kind of calming product, like the Feliway spray/diffuser or "calming collar".

I have heard good things about both products, and both are designed to eliminate spraying/behavioral urination as well as anxiety.

Feliway is more expensive than the calming collar, but both products are supposed to be helpful for your kind of problem smile
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Ralphie & Randy

1201140
 
 
Purred: Fri Jan 13, '12 9:46am PST 
I'm so glad Kloey found you after her rough start in life. Not everyone would have stuck with her for so long and tried so hard to help her.

I wonder where she was for the first 4 months of her life? If she was a "street" kitty, she may have felt unsafe and insecure in the big wide world. The small enclosed cage at the shelter may have been comforting to her, although a shelter environment would have its own stresses. I understand that those early life experiences can inform behaviors later in life, so it may all be kind of an "imprint" on her psyche.

We sent Kloey a present and a friend request.
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Kishi

Mommy said my- name means Bow- of God :)
 
 
Purred: Sun Jan 15, '12 4:38pm PST 
Hi. I had the same with my cat when she first arrived here... Maybe you might want to try putting her in a big room but put the litter box not in a corner but somewhere very private that she could have access too. Like what I did, put Kishi's litter box between two drawers, away and hidden from the door but easily accessible for her. This will provide her that little space she could go to and that she knows only she can access because it's too small for a human to fit in but just enough for her to do her business. It's like a mini-open-toilet for her.

Or, get a lot of litter boxes and put them all over the bedroom where you want her to stay. Each litter box must provide her a feeling of security, meaning that each box must be contained in a place wherein it's placed between big drawers or something. Observe for 2-3 days on which litterbox she uses most often and try to remove, one by one, those she hasn't peed on.

Hope this works and goodluck! smile
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