Any tips on potty training a Mature Boy with FIV

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Tiger Mum
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Any tips on potty training a Mature Boy with FIV

Post by Tiger Mum » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:47 pm

Hello everyone

Been searching for a friendly cat forum and giving this a go. First time post and I want to share my story of Four Socks (FS)

An older stray cat who didn't trust humans came into our lives nearly 3 years ago. It took that long to earn his trust and he has now bonded with me. He will tolerate my husband, even though my husband built a makeshift shelter for FS in winter. A year ago, he started coming into our house and now comes home to eat and sleep most nights. He truly adopted us.

He was not neutered and has been in fights. Real tiger warrior. Scrape and wounds but he would heal miraculously quickly. Winning then but he got injured badly in March this year. We managed to get him into a cat cage (borrowed from the vet) and cleaned. No microchip. He is approximately 8 years old. Has lots of war wounds and scars. One loppy ear but he has soul. A gentle soul when he is with us. We were going to book him to be neutered. Covid 19 arrived. Surgery cancelled.

Meanwhile he has been fighting again with a new tom, also not neutered. We don't know who he belongs to. FS is taking longer to recover from his wounds. We spoke to the vet and he said that the neutering was now deemed as necessary surgery. Vet suggested we do a blood test for FIV and explained FIV to us. Neutered at end of May. Blood test confirmed he is HIV+.

Vet says we must keep him indoors. Easier said than done. How do you restrain a mature outdoor street wise cat indoors?? We managed to contain him for one night with constant meowing from him and no sleep for humans. I got litter trays in wood chip and the white sand stuff. Carried him to smell the trays. He just walked off. Didn't know what he was meant to do. Next pick up and he hissed at me. He contained his wee until he couldn't anymore and drenched the carpet in spectacular fashion. To be fair, he did warn us several times to open the outside door for him.

Next day, we let him out to the back garden for wee. He loves the garden and has niche places to snooze. In a matter of weeks, his behaviour certainly changed to being more affectionate, even towards my husband. His wounds were healing nicely. We left the patio door ajar one evening to collect the patio sofa and the escape artist in him managed to climb over the fence by the shed. I was so worried for his safety. He came home in the early hours of the morning ok and has been doing so until this week. He limped through the cat flap, cried out to me and I immediately sensed he was hurt. Left leg had several deep gashes and he was not in a good way. I brought him to the vets. Our usual vet was not on duty. Another locum berated me and said that he should have been kept indoors and how I was so irresponsible. If I continue to let him get injured, FS will have to be euthanised. His cutting remark really hurt me. He has no idea of our history and what we have done for FS.

FS was sedated and cleaned. Brought him home drowsy and slept most of the night. The after effects of the anaesthetic this time caused diarrhoea. First time was constipation. He had a mishap in the bathroom mat. I started to train him on the litter trays again. Even tempted him by holding treats the other end of the tray to entice him to walk into the trays. Not having it. I got him into the tray and held him still until he fidgeted. Still not getting it.

Surprisingly he slept through most of the night with us. Woke me at 4am and I checked the trays. No action. Let him out in the garden. Had a wee. Came back in and an hour later, decided to pee and poo on the carpet. Still had diarrhoea. The meowing started. He kept asking me to open the outside door to the world. Then the escape artist in him was eyeing the shed exit which I distracted him by shaking a tin can. He eyed the apple tree and had a strategy to climb over the neighbour's fence. Again I shook the tin can. He came away. He meowed at the side gate to the outside world and planned his escape. I distracted him with cuddles. The underneath of the side gate is blocked to prevent him from going under the gate and other cats from coming into our garden. Been an effective deterrent.

Later in the morning, he did a big poo in the back garden. Hurray!! He certainly felt better as the farts stopped and he went to sleep. I am dreading how he would behave tonight.

Does anyone have any tips on what else I can do to potty train him?? I have soaked a small tissue of his wee and tucked it in the layers of wood pellets and sand so it smells of him. If he keeps defecating on the carpets, we won't have any decent wool left. I need a ton of patience and perseverance. Any advice or tips would be gratefully received.

We only want the best for him and want him to be with us for a while. Euthanasia is not the answer right now as I believe in karma.

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Re: Any tips on potty training a Mature Boy with FIV

Post by Mollycat » Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:08 am

First thoughts, is there any way you can secure part of the garden for him so that he can go outdoors but not meet other cats?

Secondly to wean him onto litter I would drop the wood chip and mix in some soil from the garden with a sand or grit litter, gradually decreasing the soil proportion. If he only knows natural earth for burying he needs to learn this stuff indoors is what is expected of him and the smell and feel of familiar earth should help.

For wee, I don't know if this would work but it's an idea - as you should not use bleach to clean up wee because the ammonia reminds them of pee and makes them keep going in those places, could you clean the litter tray with bleach as a signal to him that this is where we go?

Tiger Mum
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Re: Any tips on potty training a Mature Boy with FIV

Post by Tiger Mum » Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:32 am

Dear Mollycat
Thank you so much for your advice.

I have this morning topped up the soil content in the sand/grit tray and replaced the wood pellets with the soil and sand formula too. Fingers crossed.

The garden is enclosed by fence panels to neighbouring houses. During the day and even before he was neutered, he would sleep in a few hideaways in the garden. He loves the garden and he feels safe. At the moment, we are on guard duty to ensure he doesn't head towards the shed or eye up the apple tree leaning towards the neighbour's house. He didn't do it this morning. We use the patio area during summer, so he is used to our presence and would sometimes sit with me. Other cats do not visit during the day.

At night and during the early hours of the morning, other cats visit our garden by climbing over the fence panels. The girl visitors are neutered. The un-nuetered tom also visits by poking his head at the cat flap which is now sealed (this is a separate entrance to the house) and he climbs over the wooden gate or fence panel. It's like he wants to make his mark and is missing his sparring buddy. Whenever I see the tom during the day outside the house, I shake the tin very loudly and it sends him dashing off. Although deep down I would like to befriend him, I have to be cruel to him to be kind to my FS.

I have ordered 2 starter packs of Feliway on the advice of the nurses. Will have to see if it really works.

As for carpet cleaning, I learnt the hard way. After soaking up the wee (which was pungent before neutering), I used diluted dettol to clean the carpet. Then sprinkled bicarbonate soda. Didn't realise the soda dissolved into the damp carpet and it lightened the colour of the carpet. Should have sprinkled the soda when carpet is dry to absorb excess smell.

This time, I cleaned it with the usual dettol and soft toothbrush. His wee after neutering is more bearable. After soaking up all the moisture, I spray the area with the enzyme infused stain and odour remover. This really works. He has not done a repeat in the area and the colour of the carpet is retained.

I didn't think that ammonia would remind cats of pee as that is what I would use to disinfect the trays. Let's hope he starts using the trays soon.

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