Friday, October 5, 2012

Living in Quiet Desperation

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Last fall, we lost our beloved Bonnie cat.  Someone told me that we might see a shift in the cat hierarchy at our house.  We have two male cats who have lived with each other for 8 years with no problem.  But in May, something happened.  We took both of them with us to our summer cottage for a weekend.  We used to take the girls (Bonnie's sister, Betsy, is still with us), or one girl and one boy.  But we didn't want to leave one cat home alone.  So we took all three.

It's a small cottage, and as Mr. L predicted--there was tension.  That tension erupted into the boys starting to mark their territory.  And guess what?  When we got home, they started marking their territory at our home, too.  Each of them wants to be Top Cat.

We've spent the summer (and now the fall) with Comfort-Zone Feliway (pheromones) that's supposed to calm the cat(s) and stop inappropriate marking.  They're also wearing calming collars. (Which are purple and smell like grape -- but artificial grape.  Ick.)

We disinfect the places where they mark, and we spray stuff that's supposed to mask the smell and stop them from marking their territory.

Needless to say, I wouldn't be writing this post if we didn't still have a problem. 

I've had cats for nearly my entire life.  Why is this happening now?

Does anybody have any tips for me?  Or do I have to keep scrubbing and spraying chemicals and ultimately replacing my wall-to-wall carpet?

I'm desperate.  Can you help?


Kaye Killgore said...

I'm having a similar problem, I have 2 adopted female cats who are sisters 10 years, and I'm fostering 2 male cats who are about 5 and 2. There is inappropriate peeing, not so much spraying, but not being well trained (the males). So I'm also using Feliway, Cat Attract Litter, and Natural Balance. Do the collars work, I haven't found them. I also tried putting calming stuff in their water. My biggest problem is that the two girls don't like the two boys and their are frequent fights. So if anyone out there has an answer to Lorna/Lorraine's problem, I'm interested too.

Nanc said...

Look online for a product called Nok-Out. It works wonderfully. Does not have an odor of its own so you aren't perfuming the air. It is used in hospitals, nursing homes, daycares and veterinary offices. We have 4 dogs and use it regularly.

Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nanc. Just ordered some.

Lisa M said...

Hope it works! We finally had to put my cat on meds; it's worked wonders with his aggression. Feliway Comfort Zone has never seemed to work for us, but we loved Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter. I've also learned that catnip makes some of my cats more aggressive, so I've limited their exposure to it. Good luck!

Kaye Killgore said...

Thank you too

Anonymous said...

I have had this issue before and had cats all my life. I refuse to medicate my animals and prefer to train them and gently allow them to show me with the problem is. Usually with terrority its that the balance is off and one who is marking is threatened. How I solved it is keeping them seperate for 6 months and slowly teaching them to live together again. I put one outside and on the back porch barn area (in at night) and the weaker of the two got to stay inside. The next 6 months were hard but eventually they learned to both come back in and be together with out spraying. Sometimes you just have to seperate them for a while.

Sandee said...

I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your baby. I lost my Sunny about a year ago and it I am still devastated.
You should take them to the Vet. and make sure they don't have any physical problems. Your Vet. knows your cats and she/he should be able to give you the best advice.
Maybe taking 1 male and 1 female with you and leaving 1 home alone for a while might work.