I had an uncomfortable conversation with an adoption applicant today...
Carol · Apr. 6, 2015
lets just say, I am not a favorite person.
but here is the thing, rescuers live in 2 worlds. we live in reality but we also live in the ideal.
so when someone tells me they worked hard for over a year to cure a house peeing cat. that they did all of the vet diagnostics, they did all of the common sense things like trying new litter, more and varied litter boxes, different food, pheronomes and anti-anxiety meds without finding a solution and finally in bleak desperation, took the cat to a no kill shelter...I get it.
I would be hard pressed to find many people willing to live with a chronic house peeing cat. I know this is true because we have many wonderful chronic pee'rs here that will never find good homes.
but..the fact of the matter is sometimes cats do become pee'rs, for lots of different reasons. some of these reasons are medical but a vast majority are emotional. and once a cat slips into the emotional down ward slide of house pee'ing..it is virtually impossible to bring them back.
this is for a couple of reasons..one..healthy cats who pee in the house, pee in the house because they are upset and their humans can't always determine why they are upset. and two, once pee'ing becomes an ingrained habit, good luck in getting them to stop because they won't.
most folks truly do not understand cats..they really are an alien species. folks like them because they seem independent, they seem self sustaining, strong and fearless, they seem like they own their special worlds.
but in fact..this is all an act. cats are physically quite frail..their bodies are small, their immune systems are weak and they are extremely susceptible to injury and illness. emotionally cats are fragile, everything is good until suddenly it is not. and when it is not, way deep inside, where we cannot see it, they literally fall apart.
it can be anything that knocks out their confidence that all is right in their world...a temporary illness or injury, painting a room, workman outside repairing the street, a thunder storm, a trip to the vet for their annual check up and vaccines, a move, a new puppy or kitten, a new baby, boyfriend, girl friend, a new cat in the neighborhood hanging out by their window, the unhappy negative energy of a loved caregiver who is going thru an emotional or difficult phase, ...it can be pretty much anything that all of a sudden gets them questioning their safety, their place in the world.
and cats are like elephants..once they are feeling vulnerable, once they feel their world shift beneath their feet... they do not forget.
so they pee. pee'ing to them is like putting up an invisible force field to you and me. that is how they communicate, that is the action they take to protect themselves...this is my space, this is where I am safe, this is where I belong and am supposed to be so please do not bother and frighten me.
it is sad really..they pee because they are upset and then they lose their homes over their pee'ing and that makes them even more upset.
so how do you fix it?..well frankly most times you just can't. my advice is learn to live with it by managing it and minimzing it the best that you can.
there are some things you can do in the early stages to re-build your broken cat's sense of security and well being. like first of all..ignoring the pee'ing.
the pee'ing is a symptom..it is not the problem. the problem is the cat is sick or upset. if the cat is sick, deal with it with your vet. if your cat is not sick, then take care to rebuild your unhappy cat.
give them A LOT of affection, talk to them A LOT...give them A LOT of fun play, especially letting them win at all of the fun games. stick them up on your counter and feed them roast chicken and hand peeled shrimp, let them climb high on any surface..high up cats have power and power makes them feel safe. give them cat nip and new toys and make toys for them from tin foil balls to chase and paper bags and cardboard boxes to play in..laugh with them, love them, make them feel like they are greatly loved kings and queens in their world again.
help them find their happy again.
and if they still really need to pee in your laundry basket or the pile of clothes you left on the floor by your bed..then give them a basket of old clothes to pee on, wash them every day and put them back. put a rubber bath mat under a pile of old clothes to protect your floors and carpet and let them pee on that..just pick it up and wash the pile every day and put it back. if they are peeing on your furniture and you don't want the couch wrecked..put tin foil disposable pizza pans on the couch when you two are not cuddling together, the cat will stay off because they will not like that.
this might work..or maybe not. but guaranteed if you do these things with your cat, he or she will be happier and so will you. and if these things don't work..figure out a kind and gentle way to manage and minimize the problem because taking a peeing cat to a shelter is not going to get them some imaginary perfect home..it is going to make the rest of their lives however long..miserable (but if they are in a shelter that euth's unadoptable cats, it will be a very short time before they are euth'd to make room for someone else.) most "no kill" shelters have too many cats. if you don't want your pee'ing cat..you can bet your bottom dollar that no one else wants him or her either and they may well spend their rest of their lives in a shelter with too many other homeless cats. the alternative of putting them to sleep at your vets is not very nice because all creatures really WANT to live, even cats who inappropriately spread urine.
so anyway..the conversation was uncomfortable because while this person thought she had done everything possible and had not given up on her cat until the very bitter end..i would not adopt to her because I never want my cats to ever be in a position of ever losing their homes again. I want homes that will do all of the right things to "cure" a problem..but I also want homes that can and will find compassionate and respectful ways to happily live with "incurable" problems.
I always feel so sorry for pee'ing cats..to them in times of trouble pee'ing seems so reasonable as a solution but to us it is a completely intolerable solution. cats are from venus and we are from mars.
poor, poor cats.