Mr. Thumbs (a Hemingway, 6 toed kitty) and FattyMcGee (Mr. Whoo's once-upon-a-time slender kitty, who now tops 20lbs) are a part of our dysfunctional little family. Nevermind that I am pretty well violently allergic to cat dander, I love them, and the cats are here to stay. In our pre-child days, Mr. Whoo was as fond of the kitties as I. Lately, it's been a different story. We've moved several times in Fatty McGee's lifetime, she's older and really pretty well adjusted. Mr. Thumbs, however, has been having potty issues ever since we moved to our new house a little over a year ago. More specifically, Mr. Thumbs' potty problem seemed to arise from a holiday visit from my family. My brothers chose to sleep down in our basement (aka Cat Heaven) during their stay. Ever since that time, even though no one else has deigned to sleep down there, Mr. Thumbs has been leaving solid presents all over the carpet in the basement. The problem became so annoying that we have been enclosing the cats in one of our partially finished basement rooms (it has a lot of space, all of their food, water, litter boxes, and piles of carpet remnants, tons of toys, and it is heated/air conditioned) during the day while we are at work. When we get home, the cats have the run of the basement and first floor. The upstairs bedrooms are off limits by way of the baby gate, which also keeps CindyLou from attempting to end her short life by jumping on the stairs. Mr. Thumbs has taken to using the carpet remnants upon which his food bowl rests as his own private litter box. What kind of animal poops right in front of where it eats?? It doesn't seem to matter if the litter boxes are clean or dirty, he uses the floor just the same. So far, since we've relocated them, it has been confined to the unfinished room, but it is so frustrating! Any cat psychologists out there? What can we do to remedy this problem?
In other excitement, it is a blustery, windy, and rainy day. I am awaiting the FSU/Maryland game with the appropriate amount of dread and gloomy thoughts. We are currently in the process of disposing of the 13, 547 magazines and paper clutter which grace our end tables and kitchen countertops, and I may just get my laundry done this weekend. Woot! Oh, and I got a new car. It is badass. It's the kind of car that talks back to you and will respond to certain voice commands...like Kit from Night Rider. We would not have gotten it, but we got a really sweet deal, way less than sticker, since the dealerships are trying to move their 2006 stock. Mr. Whoo was actually next in line for a new vehicle, but he is enjoying the search too much to settle on one just yet. I am off to have a glass of wine and read 7 back issues of Parenting magazine (how's that for being the model wife and mother?) Hope your weekend is relaxing!
I know it can't be funny for you, but your story of Mr. Thumbs made me laugh. You've got to love the quirkiness of cats! I don't have any advice but you can at least be glad that he isn't eating the poop. I once had a rommate who owned a dog who loved to eat the poop out of my cat's litter box. It was disgusting.
Please take your kitty to the vet and explain his potty issues. There are tons of internal problems not to mention the obvious urinary tract ones that could be causing his behaviors. This isn't normal for a cat, esp for this long.
Oh, Dr. Whoo (incidentally, I have THE HARDEST TIME not shortening your real name here), I completely sympathize with your cat issues. Alex has the same problem. It sucks. SUCKS! The one trick I learned that seems to have worked is to have one more litterbox than you have cats. So, since we have two cats, we have three litterboxes. Also, Alex and Wilman have become friends. I think all along he was protesting Wilman.
Incidentally, my kitties both have new nicknames. Alex is The Hamburglar and Biscuit is The Pawmeister. Wilman says I am now The Dork.
Until last year I had two cats, now I'm down to one and both had their moments when the litter box was not their friend. My best advice would be to get rid of all carpet remnents that the cat has gone to the bathroom on. Since he is doing it in front of his food this very well could be an issue that he is "marking" his territory so that the other cat and intruders will not eat his food. No matter how well you clean he can still smell his scent and will continue to mark as long as you use the same carpet remnents. For your first pass replace the carpet remnents that his food sits on and see if that doesn't curtail this behavior. If the behavior still persists try moving his food to a different area in his room, and see if that helps. At the same time you are doing all of this try spending a little more time with him every day like an extra five minutes of special cat time. It sounds like you have had a lot of changes and the company sleeping in his basement last year was for him the last straw, so a little extra love from his people might also help him as well. If at all possible the person that he is bonded to the most should be the one who spends the extra time with him but I think any human will do. At no time should kitty be yelled at after the fact as I believe that this can only exacerbate the behavior, only if you catch him in the act itself should you do anything. I prefer to clap or make a loud noise and this usually redirects them to the litter box. I'm sorry this is so long and I hope it helps. Good Luck! Toni in Oregon
As the lone commenter on you being behind on reading your Parenting magazines......do not fret! I just threw away the last 6 months of unopened Parenting magazines I had yesterday, found while cleaning off my computer desk. I saved only the most current one (still unopened, in the wrapper), perchance I *might* read it sometime in the next few months.
After all....reading blogs is so much more fun :-)
dr. k~ I know, I can totally see how this is funny! My parent's cat was traumatized by a dog eating "kitty treats" out of his litter box, and he never used the litterbox well after that. Wonder why!
anon~ Thank you for your suggestions. So far, Mr. Thumbs doesn't seem to have a physical ailment, just a behavior problem. The vet says that Hemingway cats are really picky about litterboxes anyway. We are working with him.
GG~ I know what you mean, I find myself typing your name all the time and then erasing it out! Great idea on a third litterbox, I think we will put it right near where he has been soiling the floor. I think that Mr. Thumbs is protesting the move to this house and probably a decrease in attention. Mr.Whoo is totally fed up with Mr. Thumbs, so I'm trying to negotiate a truce. It's hard to do a lot of cat snuggling when you are chasing a 2 year old, but he is really a good cat with CindyLou. He really lets her pet him and maul him around.
Love the new cat nicknames! I am The Dork around here, as well. :)
Toni~ You always give the very best advice! Thank you. I fear that his behavior is originating from less attention, too. I am trying to give him more kitty love. Mr. Whoo is a little angry with him at the moment, so I am trying to smooth that out, as well. I will work on rotating the carpet remnants and getting a new litterbox. Thanks again!
Hi Dr. Whoo, my cat did this weird thing with pooping in front of the food until i separated her food and litter into different rooms, now she seems happier. I agree with the extra litter boxes thing too. My cat also pees when under stress in a new environment (hence how she likes to pee in the car) but ths seems like a long adjustment period!
I wish I could have a car like Kit. Oh how he and David Hasselhoff solved crimes together, a match made in heaven. I used to love it when they drove the car in or out of that big tractor trailer that they used as the garage. Is it sad that I loved that show so much?
No advice, but a question. My wife is also horribly allergic to cat dander, which explains why she bought our daughter a cat, who is now one of the darlings of the family (along with three dogs, a parakeet, and a ball python).
My question is how do you control your allergies? The only thing that works for my wife so far is benadryl, whih, while effective, tends to make her less than exciting company... (benadryl knocks her out cold)
Dr Whoo...just discovered your blog and find it great. We had this problem with our cat, too, and found although she was completely symptomless, she had a UTI. The antibiotics cured the UTI but she continued to urinate and defecate on the carpet. We took up that carpet and the behavior stopped. We also found she has some mild arthritis and bought a new litter box (Booda Dome) with a ramp up into the box so she wouldn't have to step high and that has also helps. Good luck on curing the habit.
medstudentitis~ LOL! You are hilarious. (re: Kit) Unfortunately, my car only repeats what I say, like an echo, so no help with fighting crime, there. It is so good to know that I am not alone with the cat toilet woes! Thanks for the suggestions!
disappearingjohn~ The two medicines that make my life with cats bearable (and not comatose) are Zyrtec and Sigulair. Claritin may work for your wife, as well. I love Benadryl, but I can't keep my eyes open after I take it!
maggie~ Hi and Welcome! Thank you so much for the kitty help! We have taken up the carpet, and so far so good (3 days now). We are due for the vet this month, so I will be taking (all 40 pounds of) the cats on an excursion, soon. Thanks for reading and for the good luck wishes, I need all the help that I can get!
atyourcervix~ I totally missed your comment! I just *can't* throw the magazines away until I read them! It is a compulsion. Besides, October's edition is all about *getting organized!* I need to read this! :)
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