Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Have some sympathy

Today I saw a cat for annual examination and vaccinations. The woman who brought her in said that she was healthy, except the cat didn't like another feline member of the household and the two of them had been spraying parts of her house. It had been going on for some time, and although she had tried some things (Rescue Remedy, an herbal treatment, and Feliway, a pheromone spray) she said "nothing" worked. These cats had intercat aggression and, although they are female, were marking vertical surfaces in their territory. This is different behavior than inappropriate urination on horizontal surfaces.

After some probing, she told me a lot of these problems started when she got her divorce. The cats even started spraying her books, so she had purchased plexiglass and velcro and put them over her bookcases.

By now you're thinking what I was thinking. Why would she put up with such behavior from her cats? She said her mother and sister said she should just get rid of them, and her eyes teared up. Clearly she loves these cats, and they were quite a comfort to her when she got divorced. It was painful for her to admit they were ruining her house.

Seeing that she was on the road to becoming a crazy cat lady, I talked to her about some pharmacologic ways to get these cats to reduce their anxiety, which should stop the spraying. There are drugs which have studies that prove they actually help with this type of marking behavior (unlike some of the other methods she tried).

For her sake, I hope it helps.

9 comments:

Julie said...

Wow. She's a better woman than I, I think I'd have gotten rid of one or the both of them. Are they anti-depressants, by the way?
Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how that lady can put up with the HORRIBLE odor of cat urine! *yuck*...she must REALLY love those kitties! Love-Bev-

Flabby said...

Help, what are those meds?

My cat has the same problem and we've tried everything!

Please advise, thanks

Emily said...

Pee-yoo! That smell is so pervasive and so hard to get rid of! I feel for her, but I don't know if I would put up with that behavior. What if she just got rid of one of them? Maybe the other would stop...

Grandad said...

Moggies on Meds for mood modification. Mercy!

Bossy♥'s YOU said...

oh no..what naughty kittens...i hope she gets that one figured out..her house will start to smell awful soon..yikes...

cool that your a vet..I wanted to be one at one time..but i guess it passed..love animals though..

btw..i saw you comments on julie site..that is how i found you..:-)

Jennifer said...

In response to Flabby (who has a great advice blog, btw), I obviously cannot give veterinary advice over the internet. I recommend you do talk to your veterinarian. If there is no medical reason for the behavior, there are some good anti-anxiety medications that can help. If your vet can't help, ask for a referral to a veterinary behaviorist. Dr Karen Overall's behavior books are good resources for your veterinarian, also.

OldRoses said...

I hope for the CATS' sake she can solve this problem. I applaud her for hanging in there and not just getting "rid of" her pets because they have become inconvenient.

Sorry, I'm ranting, aren't I? Can you tell I have worked in the animal rescue field?

Rose aka The Baby Fox said...

Seeing so many cats that have to fend for themselves in the streets and the hundreds I see at our animal shelters here in California. I had an old male fixed kitty who used to have this problem would I ever give him up because of this? NEVER! Did I like the way my house smelled? No, of course not but as the vet said there are reasons why kitties do this and ways to fix it. I have rescued one to many newborn kitties from dumpsters and have looked into to many faces of unwanted pets in this world to get rid of a kitty because of the "smell" somethings in life are far more important than material objects.