Rescue brothers - litter problems

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Rescue brothers - litter problems

Post by donna_2004 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:49 pm

I am feeling very sad and hoping someone out there might be able to help me. We rescued two brothers, 4 years old, in August last year, through a local cat rescue charity. For the first 2 or 3 months we had them, we confined them to a small area of our house, as they were very timid. We had one litter tray and no problems at all. They grew in confidence, and we opened up the whole house to them in October last year. Since then, we are getting wee everywhere. It started with the odd 'accident'. And now it is a regular occurrence, and every day I seem to be finding new wee in different places. Some places are hot spots and it happens over and over again. Other places are completely new. Some rooms in our house have never been wee-ed in. Some get wee-ed in over and over again.
I can think of two possible reasons. 1. October was when we started potty training my daughter - and for the first few weeks she had some accidents around the house. She is fully trained now, but could this have been the spark? 2. they came from a very small flat, where they were mostly confined to just one room for their whole lives. Is living in a big house just too different and stressful for them now?
This has been going on for 4 months now and we have tried all sorts of things - to no avail. They have been to the vets to check for problems. We have multiple litter trays. We have feliway plugs everywhere. We try and shut them out of rooms which are hot spots for accidents. We have tried tempting them out to the garden this past month - one will go out but the other is too timid. We have tried used various sprays for cleaning which I have bought online, which are meant to stop repeat marking. We have tried deep cleaning and using surgical spirit.
I feel so sad, firstly because I am the biggest cat lover in the world, and these two are lovely, lovely boys. But I feel like I can't go on like this, and I worry that this is a problem that can't be solved. They are timid, one of them in particular, but they are loving and friendly, seemingly happy and relaxed, and seem to have settled in with us so well in every other way. Secondly, I feel so sad because this is the second set of rescue cats I have had, and I still miss the first ones so much. We had them until they were 18 and 19 years old and they were everything to me. I know you can never replace a cat in your heart, but for some reason it makes this failure all the more upsetting for me. I can't help but compare them.
I don't know what to do. Can anyone help me?

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Re: Rescue brothers - litter problems

Post by lilynmitz » Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:53 pm

I'm sorry to hear about your problems with your two boys, and having had a piddler in the past myself, I know how distressing this is. A few things stand out for me. The first obvious one, are they neutered? If not, get them done.

But otherwise this sounds very like stress behaviour. They are both very timid cats with very little life experience to enable them to build up their confidence, and it shows in how they are so scared of going outside. They've just started adjusting to being in a bigger space, which is a very new concept for them and it sounds like they're finding it quite hard. But on top of that, and most particularly, you have a very young child in the house, and it sounds like she's getting much more mobile now. Cats often see children (particularly toddlers) as beings who make loud noises suddenly and frequently and whose actions are also unpredictable. I doubt that your timid pusses let her get close, but if they do, small children find it very hard to understand how to interact with cats, and there may have been a bit of rough handling involved. This scenario will put a nervous cat into meltdown, and the peeing all over the house is a stress reaction to that. (This is why most rescues won't rehome cats to households with small children.)

Usually the most effective way to address this is to remove the source of the stress, ie your daughter, but this is very obviously not a possibility! While in the short term you could confine your cats to an area that's "safe" for them, that won't work in the longer term as your daughter is going to eventually have access to the entire house, and really it's not much of a life for them shut up in one or two rooms. Otherwise at the very least they need safe places to hide away from her - under beds, high up on furniture etc. But it sounds like this may not be enough, and I'm certain you're sick of the smell, and worried about the health and hygiene issues.

So I'm going to say something you may not want to hear, and that is that the best option for everyone may be to rehome these boys into a quiet adult only home. If they are finding life in your house so stressful that they pee everywhere to express how hard they are finding this, they're clearly pretty unhappy, and so are you, so the kindest thing for everyone may be to find a place that better suits their needs.

I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but do give it some consideration. In our case it was our blind cat who sprayed by the front door if anyone knocked on the door, but he was fine if they rang the door bell. So we put a sign up asking people to ONLY use the bell (and why) and it pretty much cured the problem unless visitors forgot and knocked on the door again. It was a simple solution, but yours is much more complicated, and in the short to medium term I can't see how else you can get round it. It's not the cleaning up that's the issue, it's addressing what's upsetting them, and that's going to be a lot harder.

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