In a War With Your Cat, Who Will Win?

Love my cat, but I’ve declared war on her frustrating, inappropriate elimination, aka peeing outside the box. In this phase I do the scrub work.

So Monday I declared war on “feline inappropriate elimination,” hoping to bring an end to Butterfly’s peeing outside the box. Okay, I admit it. Thoughts of “appropriate elimination of feline” have passed through my head. Right after I moved Butterfly’s box to in front of the shoe cubby, the spot she persists in using, a workman came to check on something in my house. I was embarrassed and apologetic that he had to step past the cat box. “Well, if it were me, this is when I’d be getting rid of the cat.” 

OKAY. I’d thought of that. It would take care of the problem. On the other hand, when we adopted her from the shelter, we didn’t say, “Until pee do us part.” We promised to take care of our darling kitten and provide a safe environment. I’m not sure what she promised, not being clever enough to speak cat. I think there may have been an escape clause in her contract. Or maybe she had her toes crossed when she signed on. I just remember my granddaughter’s delight, her open arms, and her instant naming of the little gray kitten, “Butterfly! Her name’s Butterfly.” So no, getting rid of the mostly darling adult Butterfly isn’t an option.

But back to the war zone.  After mobilizing for the assault:

Phase I of the Battle: Digging the Trenches

Armed with a whole bunch of recommended products, I scrub an entire section of hardwood floor that seems to be the predominant target zone. First, I use detergent and Borax. I put a bunch of chairs over the spot so it won’t be worth the bother. But then, I’m not a cat. It’s all I can think to do, though. I don’t have any of those mega fans they used in our basement after the water heater broke.

When it’s thoroughly dry, I scrub again with an enzyme product that has an orange smell and comes with a “Guaranteed to Work or Your Money Back” notice across the front.  An asterisk below reads, “For terms of guarantee, see back.” On the back it reads, “If you are not fully satisfied with this product, return it on the third Tuesday after a full moon along with the original receipt. Receipts that have been retrieved from the trash are not accepted.”—No, actually it looks straightforward enough. Besides, the young woman in the pet store who sold it to me looked me straight in the eye without flinching.  She didn’t have her fingers crossed either. I looked. 

Chairs go back over the spot while it dries. I don’t think I really needed that step. The enzyme scrub repells me anyway!  When that is dry, I replace the chairs with a scattering of rosemary and lavender and two small lavender plants. Lavender likes full sun, so after the month of recommended military operations, I’ll move them outside. I need a rosemary plant, too, but there weren’t in at my local nursery. I have to rely on my neighbor’s rosemary for a few sprigs.  

Reconnisance: One of the websites recommended installing surveillance cameras. Seriously? This isn’t a threat to national security. It’s me at war with my cat. You gotta wonder.


The enzyme scrub smells very orangish. Cats don’t like citrus, do they. Do they? Butterfly is observed checking out and reclining on the steps where I have a small bag of oranges stashed. This isn’t going to plan.  
 
Luna walks through the lavender and rosemary. Instead of skirting it like she’s supposed to, she sniffs both, picks up a branch of lavender and walks away with it in her mouth. WHAT? Next time I see her she’s meditating on the meaning of life. And Alistair in all this? He’s the Lion King. He says, “Let me eat cake.”

I think I’ll just go sit by the Pheromone Diffuser.

Inappropriate feline elimination? Aka: “My house is becoming one giant litter box!”

I love my cat, but not when she pees outside the box. I’m on a challenging journey to change the behavior.

Did you know that “feline inappropriate elimination” is the number one reasons cats get relinquished (i.e. turned in to a shelter)? And you thought it was just you and your beloved Moggy’s unpleasant little secret.

I’ve taken Butterfly to the vet, soaked everything but the ceiling with enzyme spray, threatened to hurl her into the streets to make her own way in the world, had the carpets cleaned and cleaned again, moved one of the litter boxes into her preferred location, almost cleaned up the problem when: enter Luna, the aging British Shorthair with attitude. With the death of her beloved owner, we adopted her. Who else was going to take an old cat of uncertain age? More stress, more fisticuffs, more “feline inappropriate elimination” as Butterfly totters on the edge of a nervous breakdown.—make that as I totter

I have this nightmare of all our furniture sitting in 4 inches of cat litter because we can’t solve the problem. One vet said, “Get rid of the carpets.” Are you kidding? I bought most of them from local artisans in Afghanistan and Pakistan. No. Okay, so we put away the main targeted carpet. Butterfly pees on the floor.

Another vet said, “Just use this enzyme spray and you could try one of those pheromone plug ins.”Right. Butterfly pees on the spot soaked by enzyme spray. And sitting next to the pheromone plug in singing “Kumbaya” hasn’t solved the problem either.”

Then yesterday happened. Another lake on the floor and I’m screaming, “I’VE HAD IT! THIS IS WAR!”* 

Strategizing:  Several hours of online research looking at good, solid advice from vets and cat behavior experts—most of which I’ve tried and lots of stupid stuff and quick cures. And NO, I’m not putting pots of Coleus canina around on places where Butterfly has peed. For one thing, the house would like the forest primeval and the plant that may be an aromatic member of the mint family happens to smell like skunk. I’m not the one peeing on the floor. 

Military Spending: I headed to the local pet store and spend more money than I want to talk about, returning with new litter boxes, two kinds of litter for a trial—I have to find out what Butterfly will use. Right now the only thing I can count on (most of the time) is doggie pee-pee pads. But Luna has decided she likes them better than litter. So I have to put one in the box and out of the box because Butterfly won’t get in the same box. (Alistair uses the downstairs facility–such a guy.) Not to mention the negative ecological impact, about like disposable diapers.

So I’m tracking this war. And no, I’m not selling anything. While the battle rages, my blog is dedicated to moaning. [This is what some writers do while they wait for inspiration for the next big story.] If you are bored out of your mind by working from home and living with your dear ones, or your Moggy has similar problems, you are welcome to follow as I wage the war. If it doesn’t work out? I will turn myself in to the nearest animal shelter.