Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Let us Spray! What is Going on?

In the 44 years I have shared my heart and home with felines, I have been owned by only one intact Russian Blue male who sprayed. This happened once! Algernon was was in the middle of a show career as an adult. He was 14 months old and had never displayed a proclivity to spray. Of course, he was neutered the next day. I would far prefer to show a cat in Premiership classes ( for neutered cats) than have my house reek of cat urine. Neutering was an instant cure. There was never another episode of this undesirable behavior.

Now I am in a total quandary. We have three cats. They are all altered and indoor cats. Trouble, our 8 year old white Oriental shorthair is slightly neurotic so is presently under treatment with the anti-anxiety drug, Buspar. He tends to over-groom, pulling out large chunks of fur, resulting in a motley appearance. His disposition is very sweet and always easy to handle. His favorite past time beside eating is being doted upon with love.

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Our lilac-point Oriental shorthair, Hush Puppy, also 8 years-of-age, is the gentlest of cats and loves to play with toys. His favorite activity is crawling under the covers with me, or to sit on my hip while we watch TV. Although he is the shiest of the three, Hush Puppy's purrs can be heard from quite a distance. He loves to bask on the hammock in front of the window in our bedroom, soaking up the sunshine while he naps. His rank in the hierarchy of our feline residents is the bottom of the totem pole.first pictures 111

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Lucyfur is the youngster at three years old, in our house. Spayed and microchipped at three months-of-age, she was adopted from our Veterinarian's clinic. Lucyfur has a very strong personality. The word, "determined" comes to mind, in describing her disposition. While she is an affectionate kitty, when she makes up her mind to pursue a project, nothing in the world gets in her way. We think she is the dominant cat in our household, and strongly suspect that she is the culprit in our recent dilemma.

All of a sudden last week, we discovered that one of the cats was spraying the side of the bed, mattress, box spring and its metal frame. The carpet under the bed is impregnated with the pungent stench of cat urine. Our eyes water upon entering the room. We don't have a clue about what is causing this sudden aberrant behavior.

There is nothing new going on in our home. Schedules have not changed. We continue to have regular playtime with the cats and their favorite interactive toys. There have been no variations in feeding schedules or food. Our veterinarian examined the cats this morning so we now await anxiously for urine test results.

We are aware how deeply territorial cats are in nature. Since there have been a few noisy stray cats roaming the neighborhood recently, it is possible that this has triggered territorial marking behavior. Every window in the house is now closed.

And yet the spraying continues in spite of our using a pheromone product designed alleviate this behavior. We are at our wit's end with frustration, and truly hope that the cause is medical.

Update: Veterinary results of urine test: Struvite Crystals (FLUTD) which requires dietary change to higher protein, low carbohydrate ( no grain) food.

Thanks to everyone for the excellent comments and suggestions offered. It really is crucial to check for possible medical problems that may be the cause of inappropriate feline elimination behaviors.

I am so relieved that this is not territorial behavior raising its ugly head. I will post an update following her course of treatment, and results of her follow up exam in two weeks.


Kathryn Levy Feldman (Kit) said...

Although I have never had cats, my mother has male pug dogs who are notorious for marking their territory--which tends to be the sides of furniture or drapes. For a while, she covered the bottoms of all her drapes with the plastic bags that came from the dry cleaners. Then she had the males neutered--which helped immensely. Until you figure out what it is, you might consider covering the side of your bed with plastic. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Most of my boy cats issue a PSSSST or two in the spring. I think Mouse is going to be a sprayer even though he's been neutered since a VERY young age. Try buying some FELIWAY difusers...they plug into the wall like an air fresher but have feline pheromones in them that have calmed mine on several occasions (not cheap, but effective.) It seems to be this time of year when females are probably coming into heat that they'll give you the most problem...even though they're neutered, their brain still thinks their male. If you need a good solution to put into a steam extractor carpet cleaner get NILODOR. It's an all purpose cleaner that really does the job. I've used it for years and even have Tree House Shelter up in Chicago using it. Get the cleaner, mix it a bit stronger, and you may have to go over the really strong areas a few times. It's what I clean my carpet with it's what I clean my floor with. Go ahead. Step inside my door...and unless you SEE a cat (or Mouse just pooed and didn't cover it) you'd never know I owned even 1 cat. :) Hope that helps

Leo said...

It very well could be the straying cats outside that are triggering the spraying inside. Females that spray are very rare. If her vet check comes back negative then you will be dealing with territorial issues.
If the spraying is just in one room you may want to refuse use of that room by your female cat. I know it is hard to refuse a cat entrance into a room but sometimes it is necessary.
We have used a product called Natures Secret to clean up urine marks and it works well in eliminating odor. Once you get it cleaned up you may want to rent a rug steam cleaner to do some deep cleaning of the rug. Another trick is, once you get the offending spot cleaned, pin a dryer sheet over it. The pungent odor will repel the cat and people enjoy the scent.
Hope some of this helps.

renegade cowgirl said...

oh no! What a terrible thing to go through! We will be interested to find out what is happening here! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Harley did the same thing this past fall. He has struvite crystals in his urine. We changed his food to the Royal Canin Urinary SO. I also put a litter box where he was spraying. At first I thought he just didn't like where I had the vacuum cleaner as that is what he was spraying, so I thought. It turns out that the vacuum was just the unfortunate victim of his spraying that area because I moved the vacuum and the spraying continued. We tried Prozac and that was a DISASTER. The liquid was a nightmare, he would drool and hiss and fuss and vomit and carry on terribly. So we got tuna flavored chews which he absolutely refused to eat. Sigh. But, as I said, I put a small litter pan where he was spraying, put a plastic runner under the box with a towel on top of it and a plexiglass sheet behind it to protect the wall. The spraying has stopped, he is using that litter box. I wash it each day and change the towel under it each day. Now I defy anyone to smell cat urine in my house. Even my mom who can smell cat urine from 5 miles away says that there is no more smell in the house. To initially get the smell out of the carpet, I used the Hoover pet solution for my steam cleaner after soaking the area with STAZKO's waterless shampoo. The waterless shampoo can be purchased at STAZKO.com. It smells like apples. John Stazko is great friend of mine and that stuff really works even though it isn't intended for that purpose. LOL Good luck and keep us posted.

kneadstoknow said...

reno, I can't believe that immediately prior to reading your comment, my veterinarian called with the diagnosis of Struvite crystals.

So she is off all foods with containing any grain for now, and is on Baytil twice a day, in addition to giving her an herbal calming product twice a day as well.

She will be re-checked in two weeks to see if the pH is returning to normal. At least she is more relaxed with the herbal treatment as they also say that stress can be one of the causes of this problem.

It is indeed reassuring that this is not a behavioral problem and that medical management may end this very unplesant event.

Thanks for your comment. I am just so glad I took my own advice by calling my vet and not just assuming that the cause for spraying was behavioral.


Anonymous said...

WOW...it's been my female cat with the crystal problem too, but fortunately she only leaves puddles where I can find them or thoughtfully on the rug next to the kitty litter box. I notice her playing a lot more, so I'm sure she's feeling better. It took two rounds of meds to clear her though cause she ended up with two types of crystals. UGH