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Putting THREE cats down??? :( :( Please help...

I haven't posted here before, but I'm looking for some help/advice.  I have three cats who are all three years old.  When my daughter was born 15 months ago, peeing/pooping outside of the box began, somewhat sporatically, and usually when were out of town for a few days at a time.  Over the past three months, it's gotten a lot worse.  After months of spot-cleaning with every technique, chemical, etc we could think of, we could still smell urine so we ripped up 1200 square feet of carpet throughout the house and found pee ALL OVER the place.  Disgusting.  Obviously, we can't live like this -- especially with a baby who puts everything, including her hands and feet, in her mouth.  In a moment of desperation, my husband and I decided to put all three cats down because we can not figure out who is doing it.  We can't catch the culprit(s).  After we rationally talked about it, we decided that we would try to figure out who was doing it before we put all of them down (please understand that this decision absolutely breaks our hearts and we do NOT want to do it.  They are our babies and we love them). 

All medical issues have been ruled out.  Our vet feels that there are no other medical or behavioral tactics we can try to make this stop, and putting the cat(s) down is the only way to alleviate the problem.  We've been trying to rehome them for weeks ... no one wants peeing cats, though we explain that the behaviors exist because we have an energetic toddler in the home.

We are throwing out all of the carpeting tomorrow and replacing it next week.  So we have until next week (when the new carpet comes) to determine who is doing the peeing.  We just switched to Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract and began using Feliway.  My question is ... once cats pee/mark, do they ever stop?  What has your experience been with improper elimination problems???  I am so hopeful that they will stop once the carpet (and old pee smell) is gone ...... but I fear I'm being naive.  Sad  Thanks for your help.

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Re: Putting THREE cats down??? :( :( Please help...

  • THEFVCK.  No offense but your vet is a whackadoo.
    image
  • Have you tried all of the ideas in the FAQ? 
  • How many litter boxes do you have?  How often do you clean them?  Have you tried a Feliway (sp) diffuser?
    [IMG]http://i43.tinypic.com/al4z7p.jpg[/IMG]
  • 92405:  We have ... we've tried every single thing, including the antidepressants (forgot to mention that in original post).  We just started Cat Attract and Feliway this week, though.  Any idea how long it's supposed to take to work? 

    Thank you for the link.

  • schneider:  We have four boxes and we clean them twice a day.  They are within 20 feet of one another, though.  (We don't have the space on other floors to keep them).  Just started Feliway this week.
  • What the what?!!  First, find a new vet.  Second, you sound like you exhausted all cleaning issues, what about exhausting all the issues that would avoid peeing?  If they were truly your babies and you don't want to put them down, then don't.  It is that simple.  There are a million different things you can try.

    Relitter train them, more litter boxes, cleaner litter box, new litter, feliway and the list goes on.  Putting 3 cats down because you can't figure out which one has a problem???  That is beyond rediculous. 

  • Bigwuhead:  We've done everything you've said.  We've read through every book and website.  We separate them in different rooms (but they don't pee in the other rooms - I guess they don't smell the old urine?), put them in the rooms with the pee and watch them through a baby monitor -- nothing has worked so far.  We DON'T want to put them down.  We feel that we don't have much of a choice at this point.  We can't have our daughter surrounded by cat urine.  It's not healthy or safe for her.

     

    Back to my original question -- has anyone had experience when cats who HAD peed outside of the box, stopped once and for all?  If we replace the carpets, will they pee on the new carpets (if all stressors and other factors are figured out?)  Or is it once a pee'r, always a pee'r?

  • image Bigwuhead:

    What the what?!!  First, find a new vet.  Second, you sound like you exhausted all cleaning issues, what about exhausting all the issues that would avoid peeing?  If they were truly your babies and you don't want to put them down, then don't.  It is that simple.  There are a million different things you can try.

    Relitter train them, more litter boxes, cleaner litter box, new litter, feliway and the list goes on.  Putting 3 cats down because you can't figure out which one has a problem???  That is beyond rediculous. 

    Yes 

    If you go through with this, I would hope that your child pees all over your brand new carpet.

  • And delay your carpet install, your not going to have this solved in a week. Feliway takes up to a month to work. Do you have child free quite areas?
  • image MissusMcElroy:
    image Bigwuhead:

    What the what?!!  First, find a new vet.  Second, you sound like you exhausted all cleaning issues, what about exhausting all the issues that would avoid peeing?  If they were truly your babies and you don't want to put them down, then don't.  It is that simple.  There are a million different things you can try.

    Relitter train them, more litter boxes, cleaner litter box, new litter, feliway and the list goes on.  Putting 3 cats down because you can't figure out which one has a problem???  That is beyond rediculous. 

    Yes 

    If you go through with this, I would hope that your child pees all over your brand new carpet.

    Thanks for your support and help.

  • image jump*tunnel*climb*weave:
    And delay your carpet install, your not going to have this solved in a week. Feliway takes up to a month to work. Do you have child free quite areas?

     

    Thanks, we'll do that.  We'll use Feliway for a month then talk about the carpet install.

    We don't have child free areas, but she's not home most of the week (day care or out with me during the days I have off) -- we didn't think of that.  Thanks for the tip ... we'll try to do this too.

  • Read the link to the FAQs the other girls posted, this is all in there. You can fix this for them but it will take several months.
  • ITA with PP.  It's crazy for a vet to suggest that ( I would totally be searching the yellow pages for a new one) and even crazier for you to entertain the idea if they really are your "babies."  

    Let me share our story.  MH and I have 2 male cats.  Both were neutered as adults (3+ years).  Before we were married, H rented a house where he lived with his cats.  For whatever reason, the cats were stressed and peeing EVERYWHERE.  One was still intact (I believe he was the main culprit...he was stressed beyond belief and hid in a closet 90% of the time) and we caught the other one a few times too.  With the help of a black light we saw the horrific scene of all that had been peed on-basically the whole house.  

    When we bought our new house (right before we got married) I told H that the cat HAD to be neutered-after seeing what the old house looked like he agreed.  In preparation for the move, we installed 3 Feliway diffusers and kept the cats in the laundry room for the first few days.  We agreed that if the peeing started again we would keep them in the laundry room unless we could supervise them.

    We have lived here for over a year now and although we do find the occasional pee spot, it's usually when we are too slow to refill the diffusers (read:our fault) and we just clean it up with Nature's Miracle and move on.  The cats are so much happier and relaxed here and it makes me happy.  Re-homing/euthanizing was never an option.   GL-I hope you find a solution.

    PS-Feliway can take up to a month to work.  Give it time-keep your cats locked in a room if you are not there to watch them on the new carpet.  Give them plenty of vertical space to keep them happy. Set aside time (both you and YH) to love on them every day.   

    [IMG]http://i50.tinypic.com/nmyfwp.jpg[/IMG]

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  • image buggywhips:

    ITA with PP.  It's crazy for a vet to suggest that ( I would totally be searching the yellow pages for a new one) and even crazier for you to entertain the idea if they really are your "babies."  

    Let me share our story.  MH and I have 2 male cats.  Both were neutered as adults (3+ years).  Before we were married, H rented a house where he lived with his cats.  For whatever reason, the cats were stressed and peeing EVERYWHERE.  One was still intact (I believe he was the main culprit...he was stressed beyond belief and hid in a closet 90% of the time) and we caught the other one a few times too.  With the help of a black light we saw the horrific scene of all that had been peed on-basically the whole house.  

    When we bought our new house (right before we got married) I told H that the cat HAD to be neutered-after seeing what the old house looked like he agreed.  In preparation for the move, we installed 3 Feliway diffusers and kept the cats in the laundry room for the first few days.  We agreed that if the peeing started again we would keep them in the laundry room unless we could supervise them.

    We have lived here for over a year now and although we do find the occasional pee spot, it's usually when we are too slow to refill the diffusers (read:our fault) and we just clean it up with Nature's Miracle and move on.  The cats are so much happier and relaxed here and it makes me happy.  Re-homing/euthanizing was never an option.   GL-I hope you find a solution.

    PS-Feliway can take up to a month to work.  Give it time-keep your cats locked in a room if you are not there to watch them on the new carpet.  Give them plenty of vertical space to keep them happy. Set aside time (both you and YH) to love on them every day.   

    Thank you for sharing your story.  It's helped to reassure me.  We'll continue to work with them. 

  • Okay, I am going to try to remain calm, but this is my pet peeve issue and I really want to punch your vet in the face. He is a moron. I have three cats of my own, and two of them have had peeing issues. If my vet had ever suggested we put down all three cats, I would have probably physically harmed him.

    To answer your question, yes, peeing behavior can be curbed and stopped. I have one cat who was a behavioral pee-er all her life (four years) until we finally found a vet who knew anything about anxiety meds and took the time to work with us. I have another pee-er who was just diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (which can be aggravated by anxiety) and is being treated with a combo of an anti-anxiety and an anti-inflammatory currently. Eventually she will just be on an anti-anxiety. 

    Ditto the other comments about Feliway; it takes about a month to work, and each plug in only covers a certain amount of square feet. You may need more than you have.

    They also make calming collars. You can find them at Petsmart.

    If you don't know which cats were peeing, did you medicate all of them when you tried the medication? And how many kinds of medication did you try? Amitriptyline and fluoxetine are two common ones. Just because one doesn't work, it doesn't mean none of them will. Just like people, you have to find the medication that works for your cats. Amitriptyline, for example, is a tricyclic anti-depressant (also used for anxiety) while fluoxetine is a SSRI. They don't have the same  mechanism of action and each cat will not respond the same to each  medication. There are more options. 

    They NEED space away from the kid. I have a small house, so I get that it's hard to keep a designated cat space, but it's important. 

    I get that it's frustrating, like I said, I had two peeing cats. Don't put them down. And for the love of baby Jesus, get a new vet. Ask about other meds. Ask about interstitial cystitis if you haven't already. 

  • I'm confused- if you don't know which cat is doing it, couldn't you just lock them all in separate rooms until one of them pees outside of the box?
    image
    No amount of education could convince Betty to be nice to possums
  • As an additional note, and I know not everyone will want to do this, we replaced all the carpet in our house with laminate or tile. No carpet, no carpet to pee on. Just a thought.
  • image ARO1018:

    Okay, I am going to try to remain calm, but this is my pet peeve issue and I really want to punch your vet in the face. He is a moron. I have three cats of my own, and two of them have had peeing issues. If my vet had ever suggested we put down all three cats, I would have probably physically harmed him.

    To answer your question, yes, peeing behavior can be curbed and stopped. I have one cat who was a behavioral pee-er all her life (four years) until we finally found a vet who knew anything about anxiety meds and took the time to work with us. I have another pee-er who was just diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (which can be aggravated by anxiety) and is being treated with a combo of an anti-anxiety and an anti-inflammatory currently. Eventually she will just be on an anti-anxiety. 

    Ditto the other comments about Feliway; it takes about a month to work, and each plug in only covers a certain amount of square feet. You may need more than you have.

    They also make calming collars. You can find them at Petsmart.

    If you don't know which cats were peeing, did you medicate all of them when you tried the medication? And how many kinds of medication did you try? Amitriptyline and fluoxetine are two common ones. Just because one doesn't work, it doesn't mean none of them will. Just like people, you have to find the medication that works for your cats. Amitriptyline, for example, is a tricyclic anti-depressant (also used for anxiety) while fluoxetine is a SSRI. They don't have the same  mechanism of action and each cat will not respond the same to each  medication. There are more options. 

    They NEED space away from the kid. I have a small house, so I get that it's hard to keep a designated cat space, but it's important. 

    I get that it's frustrating, like I said, I had two peeing cats. Don't put them down. And for the love of baby Jesus, get a new vet. Ask about other meds. Ask about interstitial cystitis if you haven't already. 

    Looks like I'll be finding a new vet immediately.  Thanks so much for your tips (and for sharing your experiences).  Two of the three are on fluoxetine (one who we had caught pooping outside of the box at one point - we thought he was being bullied - and the one who was doing the bullying), but we hadn't thought of trying a tricyclic anti-depressant or trying to figure out another type of drug.  I should have thought of this, sure --- but why didn't the vet suggest this?!  Angry  Also, I've never heard of interstitial cystitis or calming collars, so I'll look into these things this weekend.

    As for having a kid-free area ... we have a basement (playroom), so this won't work obviously; upstairs, we have our bedroom, baby's bedroom, and an office.  The main floor is an open layout so that wouldn't work.  Seems that the office is the only area that we can keep baby out of --- how can we teach the cats that this area is safe for them?  Put food/water/toys/Feliway in there?  Any other suggestions?  (We're also replacing the carpet in there...)

  • image karenttrouble:
    I'm confused- if you don't know which cat is doing it, couldn't you just lock them all in separate rooms until one of them pees outside of the box?

    We've done this, but they don't pee outside of the box when we confine them to a separate space.  We think that they're only going where they smell the old pee ... make sense?

  • image ARO1018:
    As an additional note, and I know not everyone will want to do this, we replaced all the carpet in our house with laminate or tile. No carpet, no carpet to pee on. Just a thought.

    We've talked about this ... we would prefer to have carpet, but it's still up for discussion.

  • I think this has all been covered, but I want to stress that It may require a combination of multiple tactics to solve this issue.  For example, just a Feliway might not be enough, but a Feliway plus a child-free area could do it.  Or, as PPs said, you might have to experiment with different meds/different doses.  I know you're in a small home, but there must be somewhere you can designate as child-free.  The laundry room, perhaps?  Or a spare bedroom or office?  If the cats are constantly worried about an unsteady baby/toddler invading their space, they may continue to eliminate inappropriately. 

    Also, although your vet can certainly speak to medical issues (or lack thereof), s/he may not be well-versed in behavioral problems.  I would seek out a new vet who is willing to work with you to solve this issue rather than jumping to euthanasia for all 3 cats.  I can't even contemplate what my reaction would be if my vet suggested something like that for a fixable issue.

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  • Everyone has a done a really good job covering things already. I'm just going to re-stress that you make a space that is cat only. Even if that means you have a guest room or office where you can clear a corner to put a cat tree and food or a box (I'm sure you know this, don't put a box and their food closeby each other; no one wants to eat where they go!). If they have a nice cat tree to climb up and get a view out the window, they'll use that to escape the reach of your LO. If need-be, put a baby gate across the door so LO can't even get into the room with them. Even if she's not home a lot, they're getting stressed out being unable to get away from her when she IS there. I had to suck it up and put a litter box, scratching post, and food/water dishes in our guest bedroom because the cats really needed their own space after we brought our puppy home. I'd found one of them peeing in the corner on their cat bed...I moved their stuff and gave them their space, and no more peeing. It's not always that simple (as is probably your case), but it says a lot about how sensitive your cats are to very small things.

    Look for Rescue Remedy, too, if you haven't tried it. It doesn't work for all animals, but it might help relax your kitties a little bit while the Feliway takes time to kick in.

    If you haven't already, enzymatically clean the CRAP out of all your floors where you pulled the carpets up to reveal pee. If the spots aren't cleaned adequately, the cats will just gravitate right back to them after the new carpet is down.

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  • image Caz1221:

    I think this has all been covered, but I want to stress that It may require a combination of multiple tactics to solve this issue.  For example, just a Feliway might not be enough, but a Feliway plus a child-free area could do it.  Or, as PPs said, you might have to experiment with different meds/different doses.  I know you're in a small home, but there must be somewhere you can designate as child-free.  The laundry room, perhaps?  Or a spare bedroom or office?  If the cats are constantly worried about an unsteady baby/toddler invading their space, they may continue to eliminate inappropriately. 

    Also, although your vet can certainly speak to medical issues (or lack thereof), s/he may not be well-versed in behavioral problems.  I would seek out a new vet who is willing to work with you to solve this issue rather than jumping to euthanasia for all 3 cats.  I can't even contemplate what my reaction would be if my vet suggested something like that for a fixable issue.

    You're right.  You're all right.  I needed the encouragement that this IS a fixable problem, that our house will not smell like cat pee forever, and that we won't have to spend hundreds of dollars a month on vet bills and carpet cleaners .....

  • image LuckyAngel07:

    Look for Rescue Remedy, too, if you haven't tried it. It doesn't work for all animals, but it might help relax your kitties a little bit while the Feliway takes time to kick in.

    If you haven't already, enzymatically clean the CRAP out of all your floors where you pulled the carpets up to reveal pee. If the spots aren't cleaned adequately, the cats will just gravitate right back to them after the new carpet is down.

    I'd never heard of RR before -- I just ordered some online. Thanks for the suggestion.

    We were planning on using Natures Miracle (or something similar) on the wooden/concrete subflooring, then painting over it with Kilz before placing the new carpet.  Hopefully this will be enough?!

  • Everyone has good advice -- even though I thought you were a troll at first. Really? Putting down 3 cats?

    Anyway, I'd just like to add -- if you truly feel that 3 cats is not going to work for you home, PLEASE look into a shelter alternative or re-homing them. Don't just kill them because you don't want to deal with it, or because your vet is an as$. 

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  • image JillianGoe:
    image LuckyAngel07:

    Look for Rescue Remedy, too, if you haven't tried it. It doesn't work for all animals, but it might help relax your kitties a little bit while the Feliway takes time to kick in.

    If you haven't already, enzymatically clean the CRAP out of all your floors where you pulled the carpets up to reveal pee. If the spots aren't cleaned adequately, the cats will just gravitate right back to them after the new carpet is down.

    I'd never heard of RR before -- I just ordered some online. Thanks for the suggestion.

    We were planning on using Natures Miracle (or something similar) on the wooden/concrete subflooring, then painting over it with Kilz before placing the new carpet.  Hopefully this will be enough?!

    Nature's Miracle has ALWAYS worked well for us. I know others have different products they prefer, but you find what works in your situation and go with it. I have no idea what Kilz is; if it's some sort of sealant, though, I think you're in good shape.

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  • While the carpet is up, you need to prime all the floors with a product like kilz. These has been going on long enough it's into the subfloors, I'd lay money on it.
  • image darkling_glory:

    Everyone has good advice -- even though I thought you were a troll at first. Really? Putting down 3 cats?

    Anyway, I'd just like to add -- if you truly feel that 3 cats is not going to work for you home, PLEASE look into a shelter alternative or re-homing them. Don't just kill them because you don't want to deal with it, or because your vet is an as$. 

    right. Because everyone wants a cat with a peeing problem. There is a cat explosion going on. Kitten season is just about over so the shelters are very full. OP has already tried rehoming and found it to be very difficult, as we would have predicted. I agree with PP to rethink carpet, at least until you get this figured out. 
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  • I'm just curious, if you could put 1-2 of the cats in a bathroom (with a litter box etc) and keep them there for 24+ hours... and rotate and see if you can pinpoint which cat is out and doing the deed.  Did you try that?  I just feel like there must be some way to narrow down which cat it is.  But I could be wrong, as I only have 2 cats and it's easier to do since we have plenty of room.
  • image JosiePosy:
    image darkling_glory:

    Everyone has good advice -- even though I thought you were a troll at first. Really? Putting down 3 cats?

    Anyway, I'd just like to add -- if you truly feel that 3 cats is not going to work for you home, PLEASE look into a shelter alternative or re-homing them. Don't just kill them because you don't want to deal with it, or because your vet is an as$. 

    right. Because everyone wants a cat with a peeing problem. There is a cat explosion going on. Kitten season is just about over so the shelters are very full. OP has already tried rehoming and found it to be very difficult, as we would have predicted. I agree with PP to rethink carpet, at least until you get this figured out. 

    I don't care. It's not an excuse. Those cats didn't always have peeing problems. So, something happened that made them have these issues. There is a good likliehood that they wouldn't have issues if a) separated or b) in another home. 

    When you sign up for a pet you make a committment to take care of that pet for the rest of its life. Not until you decide you don't want to deal with it anymore and kill it. 

    That's sociopath. 

    And I know that shelters are overrun with all types of animals - I volunteer and my own dog is a rescue. But I don't think killing cats you don't want to put up with anymore is EVER a good response. 

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