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10 years of inappropriate urination and aggression

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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Merlin (1996- - 2007)

Secretly Demonic
 
 
Purred: Tue Dec 5, '06 8:09am PST 
I don't know if anyone will have any helpful advice. This is something I've been dealing with Merlin since a few months after we got him - in 1996. Inappropriate urination. He was approximately 4 months old when we got him, and according to the rescue they found him in a box in their dumpster with some other cats, and his whiskers were cut off. Now that I have been living with my fiance for the past 5 months things are getting scarier for my Mer-cat because nobody wants to put up with him anymore.

Over the years he has been tested several times for urinary tract infections, and his litter was changed several times until we finally settled with what we currently use since he seemed to like that the best.

It's hard to predict when and where he will urinate. My mother is a regular at antique auctions and purchases and hand-refurbishes some very expensive pieces. Merlin has destroyed a $700 original condition chair, a $300 slightly newer chair, and some less expensive pieces in their basement.

I'm diligent about keeping his pan quite clean, as well as always having fresh water on hand, keeping him groomed, brush his teeth, etc.

The ONLY pattern I have ever picked up in his urinating is he prefers bunched up plastic bags, and bunched up fabric like an un-made bed or a blanket on the sofa or something.

However now he is urinating on a futon in our spare room over and over again. Fortunately I can simply remove the sheet and the canvas mattress cover and throw them in the wash but this is very irritating. Yesterday he urinated on my bed right in front of me. He never "sprays", it is always a regular pee.

I can no longer leave him unsupervised, even if for only 30 seconds. We purchased a fairly large, 2-level cat playpen that his litter pan and food/water now subside in and he must go in it when we go out, or even if I just go to the basement to do laundry, or anything, really. If I'm in the bathroom taking a shower, he has to be in there with me.

He is also very randomly agressive, despite me trying to re-direct his aggression to his toys instead of my arms over the years. I have 10 years worth of scars up and down my forearms. For a long time people thought I was doing it to myself. He does this completely unprovoked. He has always been disciplined for bad behavior with a stern NO and being put in a 'time-out'....it's hard to even play with him because he gets way too rough too fast. He only behaves this way to people he knows well, i.e. people he lives with. Visitors and people at boarding facilities never fail to compliment on how "nice" he is.

Is there something blatantly obvious I am missing? Merlin is my first cat and with all of the problems he has caused over the years I feel like he's the last. All cats cannot possibly be like this. When I was younger and he'd attack my neck while I was sleeping, there were so many times my father threatened to return him to the rescue or to put him to sleep. My fiance cannot understand why I clutch so tightly to this miserable cat who pees everywhere, bites me, and hates to be held. But no one ever sees when it's just me and him alone and he's been sleeping a while and I lay next to him and squeeze his paws and he purrs.

Has anyone else EVER had a cat like this? What did you do? I don't want Merlin to be doomed to live out his days in his playpen 24 hours a day - it seems like the direction he's headed in. I feel like I have failed entirely. 10 years and I have never been able to help him get better like I always promised I would as a child.

Edited by author Tue Dec 5, '06 8:15am PST

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Tito

Zenmaster Tito
 
 
Purred: Tue Dec 5, '06 5:58pm PST 
Years before catster mom had a kitty with a peeing problem. Her vet at the time suggested she be put to sleep, instead mom's uncle took her out the live on his farm. She was an outdor kitty, after that, with access to a heated garage. Mom has alway felt guilty about giving up on her kitty. Since Catster, I have seen several posts for the "pee problem", the two suggestions that come up frequently are Cat Attract Litter, and spraying the peed on areas with Feliway to keep them from peeing there again.
As for aggression there are products on the market that are supposed to calm cats down, we have used Rescue Remedy and Good Cat, there are many other brand names. These products are all just added to their water.
Good luck, after 10 years, he is worth it!

Edited by author Tue Dec 5, '06 6:04pm PST

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Frost

Stinkerton!
 
 
Purred: Tue Dec 5, '06 7:30pm PST 
Wow. I'm really moved by your post. I think most other people would have given up on Merlin long long ago. I don't have any advice other than what Tito already said, but I wanted to offer you my support. I will ask some friends who might have some better advice. I'm so sorry for what you are going through, but trust me I understand what it is like to have a cat that you love that no one else can understand why!
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Merlin (1996- - 2007)

Secretly Demonic
 
 
Purred: Wed Dec 6, '06 7:15am PST 
Thanks for your kind words guys. I paruse the Erie County SPCA website every now and then (it's where my dog came from) and occasionally click on the Cats page to see the 100 or so cats always there....I point at the screen and say to Merlin, "Look. See how lucky you are?? You ungrateful jerk." smile

I already have Feliway and it doesn't really seem to deter Merlin from much, unfortunately. But I am going to look into the Cat Attract Litter, I haven't heard of it before. I am also going to check out Rescue Remedy. For a period of time when he was younger my parents had him put on this "cat Prozac" for a while but the vet said we couldn't do it indefinitely for whatever reason (I was like 14 or 15 at the time so I didn't have much say or get a lot of details on things then). But I do remember him being much calmer on it. So I'll definitely check out Rescue Remedy.

Thanks again guys. And thanks for the Rosette Tito!!

Edited by author Wed Dec 6, '06 7:15am PST

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Hunter

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy
 
 
Purred: Wed Dec 6, '06 7:53am PST 
Merlin, check w/ the vet again about the kitty prozac, as it can be used long term. Many cats are on it long term. Periodic bloodwork may be necessary, but that should be done regularly anyway. Good Luck!
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Sasha (now- terrorizing- heaven)

I vant to be- alone
 
 
Purred: Wed Dec 6, '06 10:15am PST 
My kitty, Sasha, was like that. Very tempermental, peed outside the litter box, aggressive towards other cats and disinterested in the affections of anyone but me. She bit the vet on several occasions and also would lose control of her urine and bowels at the vet's office. When she was younger, not enough was known about prozac and when she was older, she had developed a hyper-thyroid condition and I didn't want to put her on any additional meds. It was stressful because my husband and she hated one another and he was always wanting me to find a new home for her. But she was my girl, even with all her crazy behavior. She would have been miserable with anyone else. I just put up with the behavior, tried pet therapy, multiple litter boxes, etc. I believe prozac would have helped her and wish I could have done that for her. Overall, though, she was a happy kitty - as long as she had her mommy. She lived to be 18 1/2, and I dealt with her issues for most of that time.

I hope you can get your kitty settled down. It certainly makes life much less stressful (and will cut down on tension in your relationship with your fiance).
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Frost

Stinkerton!
 
 
Purred: Wed Dec 6, '06 11:19am PST 
kitty prozac might be more affordable now, as it is available as a generic...could be helpful!
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Emma

Adopt an adult- cat!
 
 
Purred: Wed Dec 6, '06 11:52am PST 
I am my mom's first cat, and the only time I had a urination problem was when I had a UTI, so I don't have much advice other than what everycat has already said.

One thing I thought of, though: if Merlin seems to like balled-up bags or fabric, could you ball some up and put it in his litterbox along with the litter? I know that sounds a little crazy, and it is sure to smell, but at least the mess would be confined to the box.

Just a thought. Lots of luck, and purrs to you for staying committed to Merlin despite his problems. A lot of other people would have given up.
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Merlin (1996- - 2007)

Secretly Demonic
 
 
Purred: Wed Dec 6, '06 2:39pm PST 
Thanks guys. I'm going to try the Rescue Remedy first I think, and if it doesn't help him I will inquire to my vet about the cat Prozac. Maybe I misunderstood and he wasn't on it indefinitely because it was too expensive at the time, not because of some side effect. Knowing that he can safely be on it for a while is good to know.

Thanks everyone for your compassion, and it makes me feel better that I have not given up on him yet. I think I've gotten some great suggestions and I really am giving this my best shot. I know my fiance would never actually get rid of Merlin because he knows it would just break my heart (especially since Merlin and I moved from our hometown of Baltimore all the way here to Buffalo...left everything we knew but I was comforted in the fact that Merlin was with me to start this new chapter in my life), but I'd love to just stop getting so many comments from the peanut gallery about my poor derranged cat for the rest of his life, which may be quite a while. smile
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Tito

Zenmaster Tito
 
 
Purred: Thu Dec 7, '06 4:52pm PST 
Oh dear, I know how a complaining daddy in the house can make a tough situation unbearable. When daddy first moved in with us, oh he was not at all happy about letting us cats sleep on the bed, or our begging for food or running around at night. Now he has calmed down, because that is just the way it is, that is the normal pattern to our home life. He was given permission to lock us out of the bedroom, but ONLY if they were naughty. Besides making a concession like this, for one he has gotten used to us, and for two mom doesn't take it as personally any more. At first it just crushed her to her evena tiny compliant. Now when he says something like we are "acting crazy", mom usually just say, yep we are, so what? Combining househoulds is hard. So even if Merlin doesn't change too much, it is possible that both you and your fiance will just not see it as a crisis anymore.
good luck to you Merlin! you little devil!
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