How does that saying go? "No good deed goes unpunished." Yes, that's the one.
A few months ago, I had a home with three loving cats. They loved me, they loved each other, and life with my cats was mostly good. Life was so good, I decided to adopt a fourth cat.
Enter Spike. Gone were the good and carefree days! Gone were the days of all litter boxes in one location! Gone were the days of all cats sharing one food bowl!
Spike the 14-year-old, yet amazingly active, cat deserves to be treated like a king. He spent most of his life as a performing animal. As far as I know, this is his first home. Unfortunately, my other cats do not agree with my sentiments toward Spike.
But let me tell you how rewarding Spike Purrs are. Or, how happy it makes me when he cuddles up with me in bed for a few minutes before one of the other cats runs him off and the hissing show-down begins. And Spike loves to play, and he plays hard. Only, the other cats believe all 129 toys belong to them alone.
The Ringleader of Mean is Osho, my youngest cat. Apparently, he’s a litter box bully. I’ve instructed the vet to change Osho’s name on all the forms to Butthead.
Back when life was good – just a few months ago – all the litter boxes were in one bathroom. But now, thanks to Osho, they are spread out all over the house. My Cat-Space Clean-Up Time has trippled.
And here is where the story turns ugly. Spike quickly learned that when he scratches in the litter box, Osho comes running. Spike’s answer to this is to stop using the litter box. My bed makes a nice substitute. I really dislike sleeping on plastic…
Spike has found a few other creative places to pee. Suffice it to say that there can be nothing made of cloth left on the ground if you wish it to remain pee free. By the way, washing bed linens in vinegar helps with the smell a lot.
(As an aside, I came home one day to find that Osho had somehow managed to pee inside a garbage can with a lid. That incident is now referred to as Circus Pee’ing.)
Anyway, back to the matter at hand – Spike. The Spikers.
I have tried everything. I have three Feliway diffusers spread around the house. I tried positive reinforcement with the cats using cat treats. I was locking Spike up in the laundry room while I was away from the house until the roommates started to complain that they needed to do their laundry (And Spike now refuses to be locked up). I used tin foil as my bedspread (That didn’t work, either). I tried water pistols against Osho. I have even hissed at Osho when he misbehaves. (Which scares him, but doesn’t stop the behavior from happening again). I am, quite frankly, at my wit’s end.
The only solution I have found is this one…
Every morning and every evening and whenever I can in between, I pick Spike up, put him in his litter box, and stand guard until he is finished.
I am pee’ing the cat.
I have a few days coming up when I’ll be away for about 12 hours, and I’m not sure what to do. I think I will have no choice but to lock Spike up in the laundry room on those days. The Feliway runs out in a few weeks, too, and I cannot afford anymore. I feel the Feliway clock ticking. Tick tock tick tock; tick-tocking towards aggression.
And don’t think it’s just about the litter boxes. I now also bring Spike his water.
The only behavior being modified in this house is mine.