Territorial Marking: Cat Be Gone?

Roger needed to reclaim his territory

The number one reason cats are given away is due to urinating in places other than the litter box. There can be so many reasons for this and so many ways to stop it, I could write an entire book just on this topic alone.

However, the other day my brother brought his cat home (for the second time) and the cat started to immediately urinate all over the house. Everywhere. To get behind the reason for this, first you have to know the back story.

My brother, Correy, adopted his fluffy orange male cat from me as a foster for a Connecticut shelter (CT Cat Connections) for whom I volunteer. The cat came to me as “Sophie,” a pregnant female. I questioned the friend who brought the cat to me; “You sure this is a female??” I asked. The cat had a head the size of a lion and the most masculine looking face I’d ever seen. I was assured this cat was a pregnant female and I didn’t feel like fiddling through the massive orange fur to check so I took their word for it.
Two months went by and no kittens. Finally, I decided to check. Not only was this cat NOT a pregnant female. HE was a neutered male. By this point, my brother had fallen for the loving cat, who by now was living amongst all my other cats and doing great. So, he adopted him.
Roger, as Correy renamed him…more aptly I might add, settled in quickly. Correy and his wife had 3 other cats: Bella, Gilligand and FC (for Fat Cat). Bella and Gilligan are bother young cats around 2 years of age that they had gotten when they were kittens. FC, however, was an elderly man who had come from my sister-in-law’s previous home in Michigan. FC had a bad habit of urinating outside the litter box, particularly on area rugs, which were fortunately portable and washable. Puppy pee pads were put down in other areas where he liked to go.
Everything went along great for several months until FC began to get very ill. At this point, Roger took it upon himself to try and play veterinarian and put the sickly cat out of his misery; he began attacking, viciously.
My brother and his wife wanted FC’s last days on this earth to be pleasant (it turned out he had stomach cancer, but was still holding his own), so back to our house came Roger, temporarily. He fit right back in with my brood and settled in as if he hadn’t left.
Two months later, FC passed away and Roger went home. The first thing he did was urinate all over the house! My brother contacted me in a panic. So, I explained it to him. The first part of this is simple; Roger needed to reclaim his territory. Secondly, he could still smell FC in the house and, not knowing the cat was gone, only exacerbated the issue.
This is not a common situation, but territorial marking is a common occurance! I told my brother that once Roger had his territory restaked, he would stop. Correy had only to keep a bottle of enzymatic cat urine remover handy. Plus, they were soon to be re-painting the home’s interior, and that would help as well, as it would give a fresh scent to the home that doesn’t smell like any of the cats. They will all have a chance to acclimate to the new scents as the painting is done and no one will feel a need to be territorial.
Roger stopped marking by that afternoon. That was even quicker than I had planned, but a good thing. He wasn’t known to be a sprayer anywhere else so I knew this would not be a permanent behavior. In FC’s case, urinating outside the box had been a habit he had developed a long time before (probably due to the fact he had been declawed. Indescriminate urination is common when cats are declawed). Once psraying or urinating in specific locations is developed, it can be hard to stop. But, in Roger’s case, this was not normal for him. So, I was able to assure my brother itr was only temporary.
So, remember, if your cat is doing something bad. He has a reason! Don’t give him up. Find out what they reason is and what can be done. Is it temporary? It could be something that a slight change can fix as well. You wouldn’t give up your human child simply because of bad behavior, would you? Well, would you? (By the way, if you would, then you better not have kids…or cats!)

Fosters & Lost and Pound Pets on Ch. 3

Scotty is doing very well. As a matter of fact, he is ready to be adopted. I have had several people in petting him and even picking him up with no hissing, no scratching, no biting… only purrs and wanting more pets. He has become quite the amazing love. So, Scotty is now looking for a new home. He has to be either an only-cat or with a less dominant
cat. He gets along well with my non-aggressive and over-friendly cat, Jake. He can also not going into a home with young children, and preferably no dogs.
Stress tends to revert him back to his wild state, but as long as he has plenty of alone time and only gentle pets, he is just fantastic. He sleeps between my boyfriend and I like a child who needs to be with his parents.

Scotty was a throw-away. He was a pet, but the woman who had him and several others tossed him when her house was foreclosed on. He became so wild, the vets who neutered him tipped his ear to mark him feral. But he is anything but. He was just misunderstood. If you know anyone
interested in Scotty, please contact Kitty Angels of Connecticut.

On an unrelated note,
Eyewitness 3 has a site called Eyewitness Pets. The site focuses on lost and found pets and offers news pertaining to pets around Connecticut. Check it out!

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P-A-W-Shoppes for your pet needs at low prices.


Progress

Feral Victoria is making progress

I moved the new foster kitten’s cage into the spare bedroom last night. For now, it has become the foster cat room. My two foster siblings, Macy and Siara, have been lving in there over two weeks now. At first, I was a bit worried how they would take to her, as Macy tends to hiss at other cats (even those making nice as my Jake did when they first arrived) and Siara tends to go back into hiding. I finally got Siara to totally trust me and not dash under the bed when the door opens. Taking naps in the room really helped. Now Macy and Siara both sleep on the bed with me. These two are ready to find a permanent home together.

Victoria is much more feral and shy, however. But she has youth on her side. I left her in her cage last night, so they could all get accustomed to one another through the bars. I know she has been playing in there because the toys are all in her bed with her come morning. Since she has been allowing me to hold her and pet her (after hiss fits that are all show and no go), I decided to ry an experiment tonight. I opened the cage door, and after getting her to relax with lots of pets and scritches, allowed her to come out. At first, she slunk around the room with her belly to the floor.  But her tail was not between her legs, which was a good sign. Macy watched her carefully. Siara was oblivious, remaining comfortably lounged on the soft fleece blanket on the bed. So far so good.

A couple of times she came nose to nose with Macy and once he did hiss at her. I feared this would facilitate the same reaction in her, but she just walked away, allowing him to maintain the façade of King of the Foster Room. As she explored, her stance slowly straighened and her demeanor became more relaxed. Macy only hissed at her one more time. Again, she did not seem phased. Instead, she waggled her tail in a mock act of spraying to let him know she could be Queen if he wants to think he is King. He was not phased!

A few times she slipped behind the bureau or the desk and I feared I wouldn’t be able to get her out without trauma as she tends to become quite feral when loose. As I drew closer to her she would slink back, but she did not hiss, and that is tremendous progress. I was able to finally get her in a position to pick her up without incident and she purred and cuddled into my arms. And when I put her back in her cage for the night, she rolled onto her back and kneaded the air. Yes, we are definitely making progress.


Hissing Kitty

It will take time for her to trust.

Her name, as the shelter gave her, is Lightning. But it just does not fit her. As I watched the new foster kitten in her cage (a large dog crate with littler box, food, water and the softest blankets I could find) a more appropriate name came to me. Victoria. She is so pretty and delicate, it seemed a much better name for her.

And so, though her shelter name may be Lightning, that’s not what I call her. In any event, Victoria is a frightened little kitten. They said she was about 3 months old, but I checked her teeth… she is four months. She’s a pretty pretty girl. The hiss she lets out when first anyone goes near her cage belies her beauty. She even spits and bats out with her paw. But stick your hand in and pet her, and she relaxes out and purrs. She even stretches out and lets you pet her belly.

You might wonder why such opposite reactions?  Let me see if I can explain with a true story. My part feral kitten Binx was in the hallway the other day…. Usually this is no big deal anymore; I walk out of the bathroom and he sees me and lays there till I walk by and he either runs if he is a playful mood or he stays put. I shut the bathroom light off and stepped out, down the hall. His eyes must have not fully adjusted and he must not have been complately aware of my presence because as I stepped down the hall (it was suddenly very dark) he let out a hiss that would curl your nose hairs! He rarely if ever hisses anymore. He used to act like the most vicious cat in cat history. But he’s part of the family now, and he follows me around, rubs against me and wants to be pet (still won’t let me pick him up though). But I had startled him and for a second he thought I was a stranger. The feral in him came out. And this is a behavior that can occur on occasion throughout the life of a former feral.

With Victoria it is fear that makes her hiss and spat. She had some very bad experiences, different from those Binx had, but bad nontheless. She knows most humans are okay, but still, instinct tells her to be cautious and let those who approach know she means business. But, hiss or not, the moment I stick my hand in there and start to pet her (she does not scratch or bite), the domestic feline comes out nd she purrs and stretches out.

It will take some time, but Victoria will come out of this. She just needs to learn to trust again. My Binx is getting so much better even with people other than myself. He is slowly allowing others near him. Victoria, in time, will learn as well.