Rehoming my cat. :(
Hey there. I have a sweet cat who's about 2 and she has been "inappropriately eliminating" in my apartment since April...she uses one or both of her litter boxes each day but is, um, supplementing their use with any penetrable surfaces in my home. I have taken her to the vet twice since then and she's come away with a clean bill of health and a list of behavior altering tips both times. I have tried gradually changing her litter and the amount used, changing the location of each of her litter boxes, gradually changing her food, covering the problem areas with vinyl or plastic because cats are not supposed to like the texture (I suppose she's not one of those cats because she still went on them and...well, went on them), ensuring that she has enough toys and scratchable surfaces to play with, rewarding her when she uses her litter boxes instead of my couch, rugs or bed and plugging a Feliway diffuser near my couch since that's apparently the hottest spot to pee. I have been cleaning up the urine using what I've found (up til recently) to be really good natural, non-toxic odor eliminators but my apartment stinks like urine. I now have to get rid of my couch because it has been so damaged and have to keep my bedroom door shut so she can't use my bed as a litter box. I am so worried my landlord is going to need to come into my apartment for something and end up giving me the boot because of the odor.
I would really like to find a new home for her but have been unsuccessful so far. The latest emails from rescue groups advised me to euthanize her because they either can't take her or won't because cats with that sort of behavioral issue are nearly impossible to adopt out. Details about her are as follows:
1 year, 10 months old
Black & long-haired, yellow eyes
All claws intact
Shy but friendly once she gets to know people
She was abandoned by her mother as a baby and I started feeding her outside my apartment building when she was about 4 weeks old. After a month of feeding her I put her in a carrier, took her to the vet to get checked out and then took her home with me. She is a completely indoor cat and has been since about 8 weeks of age.
If anyone knows of a place ANYWHERE near Kansas City I should contact or a person who would be willing to provide this otherwise wonderful kitty a loving and indestructable home please message me. I'm up for tips too but please keep in mind that I have tried everything I listed above and those were the suggestions given to me by 2 vets and a behaviorist.
I hope you all are having a wonderful 4th of July. Thank you for reading.
My dog Mason used to poop and pee everywhere too (It was stressful, but I love Mason and that's why I adopted him, problems and all)... We would give him a little spank and say "NO!" a few times and put him outside as punishment (on the porch with a baby gate to keep him from wandering off)... He continued this pooping and peeing thing for at least 6 months and finally he learned, after enought "punishment" for his bad actions... I can now tell you Mason rarely poops or pees in the house!
Why would you get rid of the cat? Cats are animals, I'm sorry they might not feel like pooping in a unnatural litter box... You need to train them and if necessary "punish" them for bad actions. I have only had dogs so I don't know exactly about cats...
I hope you don't plan on getting another animal if you expect it to be perfect. Animals to me are like children, I wouldn't give up on my child no matter how many times they "screwed up"
Wow, thank you so much for the useless reply and an attempted guilt-trip. If you had read the post before replying you would see that my cat (cat, not dog) has been peeing, not pooping. Also, she has no problem using her "unnatural" litterboxes every single day, she just additionally goes somewhere else-and yes I do clean them regularly. I said I was open for tips if anyone had any that I hadn't tried...you provided none except possibly "punishing" her...the 2 vets and the behaviorist I've taken her to have told me that what I've been doing for her (positive reenforcement, multiple litterboxes, etc.) is exactly what I should be doing and that punishing doesn't work on cats because they don't understand punishment and if I were to punish her (which I wouldn't do anyway) she would most likely develop more behavioral issues. I do not expect my cat to be perfect, but I can't afford to move into another apartment and I'm pretty sure neither of us would be better off if we were homeless. I posted this topic on THIS site because vegans are supposed to be more compassionate individuals. I'm very glad to know that compassion also extends to our fellow human beings.
I do not have any advice about rehoming in your area, but regarding your cat:
when she pees (inside or outside the box), is it a very small amount?
or, when she pees in the box is it completely soaked (i.e. you've had to change the litter more often than you used to)?
though she has been given a clean bill of health, many cats get PUPD (drinking a lot, peeing a lot) before being diagnosed with kidney disease. Reduced kidney function doesn't show on lab values until 2/3-3/4 of the functional kidney is lost. If that is the case, it is possible that tests come back normal but she may eventually be diagnosed. I think it's unlikely she has this though, because she is so young (they're usually diagnosed around 5-8 years of age), but it's a possibility.
Also, sometimes (though not commonly) spaying can result in "spay incontinence," where the bladder is more sensitive to distension after spaying (because of the removal of estrogen). If she pees very little at a time, this is another possibility. Unfortunately, this type of thing is diagnosed usually as the last thing left in the list, since there's no real way to test for this. In this case, it's more about the cat feeling urgency to go frequently rather than learned ok and not-ok areas to pee.
Also, it might be worth considering trying different products for urine odor removal. You might not detect an odor, but it may well still be there to the cat. I use Nature's Miracle, which works well for me, but there are a lot of other products out there. You can also check for urine residue with a UV light (it will glow). You can also spray something citrus scented on that area (there are commercial sprays, but it can be as simple as orange oil + water in a spray bottle). If it's possible, you can place double-sided tape (or doubled back packing tape) where she tends to pee; though some cats avoid vinyl, that sort of thing has never worked for me... but they really don't like stickiness. Supposedly they also don't like foil, but I've never tried that one. For your couch, they make rubber mats with soft spikes that you can leave on the cushions or armrests that cats will avoid (and you can just lift one up to sit down). I usually see them at pet supply stores, but they're probably also online.
And, though this might be something you've already done, it might be worthwhile trying out different litters. If it really is just a behavioral issue, then it might be a matter of finding a substrate that she really prefers to carpet/etc. I have noticed that the litters that are really great at covering up odors (pine, large granule clay, and sometimes scented) are less preferred, maybe because of their strong odor, or maybe because they mask odors so well that the cat doesn't associate it with where s/he goes to the bathroom (and then instead pees on whatever smells like urine, like your couch). It looks like you already spent a lot going to the vet, so maybe trying different litters won't hurt so much.
And finally, her peeing location might just be a matter of... location. If you have enough litter boxes, could you move them right where she likes to pee? If it's an inconvenient location (like on top of a couch, haha), you can place it as near as possible, and/or gradually move it from the inconvenient location to a more desired one as she learns to pee in it. If you have a rug (bathmat, kitchen rug, etc) that is so saturated with urine that you're about to throw it out, you can place it (or part of it) in a litter box, and add litter as she learns to use it. Also, I'm not sure how big your place is, but with incontinence problems it might be good to have at least one litter box per room, and to clean them out at least once per day (assuming she ever pees in them...). Sometimes cats with multiple boxes pick some to have for just peeing, and some for just pooping. It's possible she's using the two you have for #2 and considers the rest of your place her #1 box. If you get a new litter box, and happen to have something saturated with pee/there's a puddle somewhere, you can try getting some of the urine in the new litter/box to "mark" it for her.
Anyway, I know many of those things might just be repeats, but may as well try everything, right? It seems like you've been pretty diligent with everything thus far and you want to give your cat the best chance possible. It might mean hanging in there a little longer, but maybe you'll find something that works for you and your cat.
When I scoop her litter (2-4 times a day depending on how many times she's used it) the amount is always about the same, as is with the inappropriate elimination. She only goes (#1 or #2) between 8pm and 7am since she spends most of the day sleeping. I hadn't heard about spaying incontinence but I will ask the vet about it when we go in again (she was spayed a year and a half ago so I don't know if the problem would have started this far from it, but it's worth asking). I have tried Natures Miracle but have found that while it has worked well on items that can be laundered, it hasn't worked on anthing else so I'm now using BioKleen Bac-Out. I'll also check out the citrus sprays to keep try to deter her from things she shouldn't be peeing on as the apartment I live in is a small one bedroom and I can't keep her out of everything...obviously. I'll keep trying different litters too. Thank you for the helpful tips, hopefully something else will work. :)
Has the vet ruled out diabetes, UTIs, kidney disease, or other illness? Inappropriate soiling is often a cat's way of trying to tell you that something is wrong physically. Bloodwork might be a good place to start.
i assumed that a CBC/chem/UA were done because she went to the vet twice, but perhaps not. true.
it would be depressing to find out, after all this, that the kitty has renal disease or the like =/