Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Better Living Through Chemistry! The Cat's Meow?

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Trouble: White Oriental Shorthair Neuter: Photo J. Singer

Just to keep everyone updated on the "spraying" issue to which our household has been plagued, I have some news.

After administering an eye stain in a capsule, which will glow day glow green when checked with a black light to both Trouble and Lucyfur, our domestic shorthair spay, we feverishly continued trying to ascertain which of these felonious felines have been the spraying culprits, with only  questionable result. I continued to pull my hair out trying to find out which of the cats were the culprits.

Yesterday morning, Trouble sidled up to the box spring, lifted his his tail and with the force of a fire fighter's mighty hose, let go with a powerful spray, right before my eyes.

After I got over the shock of finally being able to witness the action, I immediately called our veterinarian, who compounded the anti-anxiety drug, Prozac, with which she has had some excellent results.

Of course this drug will take over a week to really take effect, but we are so hoping that this will end this nightmare, once and for all.

Inappropriate elimination is one of the most difficult things to treat. Finding out the cause of the behavior is a major task. So while I have caught him in the act after months of guessing, we still are not out of the woods. We think that Lucyfur is also adding to the problem, and soon she will be given the drug as well.

So I am not throwing my black light away just yet. I daily search under the bed for those glowing green spots that always present on the carpet and under the box spring. Thankfully we have preserved the plastic wrapping in which the new bedding arrived.

I guess it is time for me to ask my doctor for a prescription. The anxiety is making me crazy.

Has anyone else had a problem like this? I sure would love to hear from you to help me with this incredibly difficult and upsetting problem.  Thanks for any feedback.


Vicki said...

I know this must be very frustrating. I would not know the first thing about how to stop it, but I guess I would once again turn to the vet for more answers. I would be ready to pull my hair out by now.

lynn said...

I am guessing that the vet has ruled out urinary tract infection.
Have you moved box, changed litter, had new visitors? Some of my cats will not use a closed box. We used to have one cat who would urinate wherever and someone suggested putting a few sheets of paper towel in a clean litter box. It worked. For years we had litter boxes with litter and one with paper towels.
I also keep the litter boxes in a kid's wading pool. Some have used the pool for elimination but it is easily washed.
Have you changed brands of litter?
Meanwhile be proactive and keep doors to bedrooms closed. Why do more laundry than necessary?
Good luck.

donna9331 said...

Have you tried Feliway yet? I get it on Ebay at Timsdiscountpetsupplies.com (I'll send you a link). After you make the initial purchase of the plug in contraptions, the refills are worth the money. I've used them with success here.

my peepee cat, Wheezel (a female) will probably "trip" every day on AmiTRIPtiline...there have been very few accidents since she's been on it. I don't know what the valium is costing you but check with your vet to see if a 'human' drug like Wheez takes is available at one of your local drug stores that offers $4.00 RX's (Kroger has over 300 drugs on that list, I know WalMart does too)...and then get the drug at the drug store. Valium WON'T be on that list because it's a controlled substance. I don't see any harm in trying him on the amitriptyline, Wheezel takes 10 mg. each morning. That, and the Feliway would be my suggestions. Also, try putting carpet runner...NUBBY SIDE **UP** where he frequents as they don't like stepping on those little spikes. Two sided tape on the carpet will discourage him too cause he won't want to stick to it. But the real answer is going to either discover "WHY".

If you HAVEN'T changed litters, change one of your boxes (or add another in the bedroom) to a very fine sand called BETTER WAY. That's what I use for my second box that is in the hall bathroom... it's flushable, so it's pretty convenient for box #2.

Beyond that, I'd give the Feliway a try. With my house, I have two diffusers...but you might just try one in the bedroom to start out.

20kats said...

There is nothing inappropriate about a male cat spraying except to humans. This is a very natural activity for them. As an outside cat he would be marking everything he sees as being in his territory and that he owns. It's his way of talking to the next cat that walks by and takes a whiff, that he's the "big dog". I've had cats that marked me directly on my leg. I didn't like it, but understood what he was saying. I live in his territory and I think of myself as his owner, however, he views me in the same way only he's the owner and I'm his toy.
I wouldn't treat spraying with drugs, but train the cat where it's allowed. For an inside cat, just letting him outside each day would help. Make sure he is in a safe environment. If that is not an option, try attaching a puppy pee pad to an inconspicuous wall in your house and train him that's the only place spraying is allowed. Change the pad when soiled.
Personally, I've taken Prozac myself and would not give it to my animals for any reason. I am a bit curious that your vet did so for just spraying. If he isn't sick and all other aspects of his life are normal, then he's just doing what male cats do. He's not sick and doesn't need meds to change his behavior. He just needs training and cats are very easy to train. There's plenty of online advice and information. I also liked what Donna9331 said about Feliway. Good stuff. A bit expensive and it doesn't work on all cats, but since you are a multi cat house it might be just the thing they need. It will distract them and eventually Trouble won't feel so pressed to tag his property with Lucyfur around. Love that name, by the way. Be patient, use the KISS method and lots of praise and remember we cat lovers all have a spot in the house somewhere we have yet to clean and frankly don't really care when we get to it. I guess you haven't stepped on a gigantic hairball yet. Please rethink the drugs. You might wake up in the middle of the night with kitty sitting on your chest starring at you strangely.

Anonymous said...

I may be opening a can of worms here, but I'd like to respond to 20kats' comments. First of all, the prozac will not be a permanent medication for Trouble; it will be taken only as long as it takes to break Trouble of the bad habit of spraying in the house. Prozac is not a magic potion; Trouble's owner has a lot of work ahead to break Trouble of this habit, and prozac is only one part of the solution. She's a smart lady, and she'll do whatever is necessary to gently lead Trouble back to his litterbox only use.

I know Trouble's owner personally, and I know that she's lived with him for many years. The spraying is a new behavior and is most likely a response to something that Trouble is stressed out about.

Yes, I agree that spraying is a natural instinct for cats, but when cats began living with us inside of our homes (which I believe is the safest life for felines), it became necessary for them to abide by a few rules that we set out in order to comfortably coexist.