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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. I need some opinions/suggestions for a problem I (or more specifically, my parents) have been having with my 17-year-old kitty, Princess (see my avatar). A few months ago, she had a minor stroke and has thankfully suffered no permanent problems as a result, except for one. She's totally stopped using her litter box. We've tried: stress relieving cat meds (sort of like kitty prozac), that stuff you put in the litterbox to attract the cats, and putting plastic over her frequent urination spots. None of these have worked.<br><br><br><br>
I moved to Michigan, and when I came back to visit, they admitted to me that they were keeping her in the basement because the smell on the carpet was getting overwhelming and they had had it cleaned three times to no avail. I, too, smelled it as soon as I walked in and it wasn't pleasant. But, our basement is unfinished and not very home-like, with dirt floors and whatnot. My parents assure me they visit her daily but I still feel like she's not getting enough human interaction down there (she's an affectionate cat). She's in the last years of her life (heaven forbid, maybe even last months) and it kills me that she has to spend them in the basement away from the people she loves. My mom and I just cannot come to an agreement about this. Is there ANYTHING other than what I've mentioned that we could try? If it were up to me, I'd deal with the smell and keep my baby comfortable, but then again, I don't have to smell it every day.<br><br><br><br>
Help me, please. This whole situation is so heartbreaking.
 

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I am sorry to hear about this. Have you tried putting litter on something very shallow, so she doesn't have to step up to get into it?<br><br>
When my now deceased cat was old, I eventually put newspaper right outside of her box because sometimes if she needed to push, she needed the stability of the floor as opposed to the liter which made her feel unstable. They get the same physical problems that cause anxiety that people do.<br><br><br><br>
Perhaps you could try the diapers they sell for menstruating dogs while you figure out what the issue is. Has the vet been asked about this yet? If not, you need to.<br><br><br><br>
Old pets are very special, and I totally agree that at the end they should get extra love and care, not less!
 

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I would try puppy pads or something, she just may not be able to get into the box without discomfort anymore
 

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My kitty went through the same thing - I totally understand how sad and frustrating it is... and I wish I had some great solution...<br><br><br><br>
Unfortunately our vet said it wasn't anything she could control - she sorta just 'dribbled' wherever she was at...which made it really hard to have a specific place for her to 'go'.<br><br><br><br>
For several months I confined her to my bedroom and sorta dealt with the smell - and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned...but much as I loved her I got to a point where it was too much - so we kept her in the garage when we couldn't be right with her...<br><br><br><br>
It was heart breaking to put her in there, but she did enjoy sitting on the couch or our laps (on a towel) in the evenings while we watched TV and I made her comfortable with a kitty heating pad (which she LOVED!!!) and lots of water and treats in the garage.<br><br><br><br>
The vet said (and I noticed it was very true) that she would just spend most of the time sleeping anyway so probably didn't 'miss' us as much as I thought...<br><br><br><br>
None of this may be true in your kitty's case - but just thought I'd pass on my experience...
 

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I don't know - at some point if she's been ousted from the family, it may be kindest to put her down. I would never do that, because I would deal with the smell, but you may not be able to sway your family. Isn't there just one common room that they can dedicate to her? Put in a large, inexpensive area rug that they can eventually throw out? Being confined to the basement alone is not really a great way to spend the last years of her life... You know, realistically, that your parents are not spending any amount of time in the basement with her on the dirt floor. She's probably spending all but about 10 mins or less per day alone.<br><br><br><br>
Can you take her with you wherever you are living?
 

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Get some Anti-Icky-Poo and Zero Odor to remove the smells.<br><br><br><br>
I was going to suggest the same as Thalia, to try spreading out the litter into a less invasive configuration. Perhaps laying down cardboard and sprinkling a thin layer of litter over the top of it, and removing the box completely.<br><br>
Also how many litter boxes do you have?<br><br>
It's hard telling if it's a medical issue (uncontrolable bladder), or a behavioral issue (negative association with the litter box)... so I can't really say what if anything will work. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/">
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just to answer some of your questions--we have taken her to the vet, which is where we got the three suggestions I listed. She said that, as far as she could tell, there were no internal problems such as a urinary infection. She suspected anxiety because my parents were undergoing some remodelling (hence the stress relieving meds). But the work is done but her tendency to avoid the litter box isn't <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br><br><br>
Irizary -- I've thought the same thing about putting her down...but, I just cannot advocate that. If she were in pain, it would be a different story. That's why I'm desperate to find some solution. As far as moving her with me, I've definitely thought about that as well, but I live 8 hours away and she is terrified of car rides. I've been weighing whether it's worse to take her out of the environment she's known her whole life or leave her here.<br><br><br><br>
kpickell--We have one litter box. Should we get another? She was doing as Thalia's kitty was--going RIGHT outside of the litter box.<br><br><br><br>
I'm going to definitely try putting a piece of cardboard out with newspaper and some litter on top of it. Maybe she was just having trouble balancing herself in the box. The diaper idea was good as well.<br><br><br><br>
Tofu-n-Sprouts--It's true that she does seem happy down there. My parents put out her favorite rug and a little carpeted bench that she loves to sleep on. But I still feel like she must feel lonely.<br><br><br><br>
I knew you guys would have some suggestions we didn't think of. Keep your fingers crossed; I'll approach my parents about this tomorrow.<br><br><br><br>
Oh, and just as an update, my parents are open to the idea of bringing her up for a few hours in the evening and putting up a baby gate up so they can keep an eye on her in the family room.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks again everyone.
 

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Because she has "frequent urination spots," it's not completely random and uncontrolled. This makes me think that something could be done, even if it's just putting down several more litter trays (maybe in places your parents wouldn't prefer - like over her "frequent urination spots" - but it could be a solution). How committed are your parents to re-incorporating her back with the family? If it did happen to be a choice between a move, but being around someone who loved her vs. the rest of her life alone in a dirt basement, I'd go for the move, no question (and your vet may be able to prescribe something to calm her for a car ride). Hopefully something can be worked out. It sounds like you're going to have to stay on top of this, as it seems like your parents kind of abandoned working on trying to fix this when you left. I'm glad she has you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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If she's peeing right outside of the litterbox, she probably has an aversion to it. My first question would be: Did you parents change the type of litter being used? How often do they clean and change the litter?<br><br>
Second, yes I'd definetely recommend having two litter boxes. Some cats hate having to poop in the same place that they pee (cat pee smells even to cats!).<br><br><br><br>
And I'd say if things aren't working out for your parents and they still have to keep her in the basement, then I'd agree with Irizary that an 8 hour car ride is much preferred to a life without much human contact.<br><br><br><br>
Sounds like your cat is lucky to have you watching out for it. Good luck!
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kpickell</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Some cats hate having to poop in the same place that they pee (cat pee smells even to cats!).</div>
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Interesting. I have two boxes now and noticed that they tend to #2 in one box and #1 in the other.
 

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If she had a stroke, then a portion of her brain has died. She is at the maximum of a cats life span. I think isolating her in a "dirt floored basement" is similar to abandoning a dying elder in a lonely old-folks home-- cant they at least get her a wire kennel and put her near the family? She probably only has a year or so to live, so at least they can be humane while she is alive.
 

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If she is going in the same spot(s), put litter boxes where she is going. You could get the "dog" litter boxes, which have one side down so that she doesn't have to step into the box.<br><br><br><br>
If she is just going at random all over the house, is there someone home who could put her in the litter box frequently in case she had to go and just couldn't make it there? Or could she be kept in a large crate sort of thing where the people are so she could at least be around people, and then be taken out when folks are sitting around watching TV etc... ?<br><br><br><br>
another way to rehousetrain a cat is to put them in a large crate with litter EVERYWHERE. Their food and water is in there, but wherever they go, it's a litter box. Slowly you reduce the percentage of crate bottom that is litter until you just have a litter box in the crate that she's using. If you've taken away too much litter box, you put more back until she's using it again.<br><br><br><br>
You might also try buying several different types of litters and putting them in different boxes around the house. You may find she prefers one to the other. If her current box is a covered litter box, I would recommend taking the cover off of it.<br><br><br><br>
You could also try buying feliway diffusers and plugging those in around where she goes to see if it helps. Thats all I can think of for now, other than diapers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just wanted to give you guys a final update. After a conversation with my mom that left both of us in tears (her because she felt awful and me because I hate seeing other people cry and also because this whole situation sucks), we came to an agreement. The basement door will be open all the time as long as someone is home and can keep an eye on her (which is a lot of the time--my mom only works for three hours in the morning) and they'll bring her up in the evenings (carry her up in case the stairs are too daunting for her). They're going to put a cardboard litterbox upstairs, too, and see if she uses that.<br><br><br><br>
So the basement door was open all day today, she came up about 3 or 4 times on her own and I carried her up once the evening. She walked around, rubbed against my shoes (she has a shoe fetish--just like her mommy) purred at me, and then headed back downstairs by her own volition. My mom was all, "I told you! She loves it down there!" So we'll see how it all pans out.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks everyone for the suggestions!
 

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I don't know exactly what you were cleaning the spots with. I would advise Nature's Miracle or a 1 to 10 bleach solution. The 1 to 10 solution shouldn't effect the color of carpeting but you should probably try it in a remote spot to be sure. As long as the smel still lingers the cat will keep going back (as I'm sure you already know) and cat's senses are much stronger than ours.
 

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Sounds like Princess needs a few days to readjust to having upstairs access again. She is so beautiful, I have to mention, all of those gorgeous colors and golden eyes... I am so glad that your mother agreed to this. What is a castle without a Princess?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Faerie Green</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Sounds like Princess needs a few days to readjust to having upstairs access again. She is so beautiful, I have to mention, all of those gorgeous colors and golden eyes... I am so glad that your mother agreed to this. What is a castle without a Princess?</div>
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That was so sweet! Thank you.<br><br><br><br>
Princess is doing great now. Before her stroke, her favorite spot was my dad's lap. She would scurry into the living room as soon as she heard his armchair squeak as he sat down. After her stroke, she stopped jumping up onto his lap and jumped right off if you tried to put her there, but every night now she's been on his lap for hours at a time. And there have been NO pee accidents.<br><br><br><br>
I'm so thankful my parents chose not to be stubborn asses about this.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks again everyone!
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Acadia</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
That was so sweet! Thank you.<br><br><br><br>
Princess is doing great now. Before her stroke, her favorite spot was my dad's lap. She would scurry into the living room as soon as she heard his armchair squeak as he sat down. After her stroke, she stopped jumping up onto his lap and jumped right off if you tried to put her there, but every night now she's been on his lap for hours at a time. And there have been NO pee accidents.<br><br><br><br>
I'm so thankful my parents chose not to be stubborn asses about this.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks again everyone!</div>
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You can always try this in case of any setbacks:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FDr-Elseys-Cat-Attract-Litter%2Fdp%2FB0009X49IC%2Fsr%3D8-2%2Fqid%3D1161888994%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_sr_2%2F102-3677365-0558508%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dhome-garden" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Elseys-Cat-...&s=home-garden</a>
 
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