We’re having some trouble with our cats, and it’s causing unneeded stress in our home–even arguments between J and I. Mostly, we’re having trouble with one cat, and we’re a little beside ourselves.
This is Cleo of belly-lovin’ fame. She’s been my close companion for ten years now, and she’s one of the most sensitive felines I’ve known. Unfortunately, her sensitivity can lead to some very undesirable behavior. Cleo is a binge-eater. She eats and eats and eats and then vomits. She does this when she feels she doesn’t have regular enough access to food. This means that if we feed on a schedule, she gobbles it up in seconds and then it’s back up again in moments. Because we have a baby on the way, and because we had noticed that when free feeders are out, she tends to moderate better, we decided that we’d just start feeding the cats via free feeders all the time and give up on trying to control their portions. This has been working for awhile, but then Cleo decided that with all the changes in the house, she’d like to start going outside. Enter food panic.
Now, when Cleo has been outside for any period of time, and especially if we’ve been gone, she comes in, eats as much as she can as fast as she can, and then–you guessed it–brings it right back up. Last night, when we came home late, she did this three times, even though we tried to distract her, remove her from the food area, etc. She’s so sneaky that she very stealthily went over to her dish when we weren’t looking and proceeded to eat very quietly. I think this meant swallowing the food whole. It was a nightmare.
We’re beginning to wonder whether we should let her out, since it brings on such frantic behavior, but it also seems good for her to have some independence (and it’s good for us to get some time away from her).
And then there’s the other issue: the pee. In this apartment, we have to do what I never wanted to do, and that is keep a litter box in our living quarters (before, it was in the garage). It’s in a bathroom, and it’s cleaned by my wife at least once a day. One day, about six months ago, Cleo squatted outside of the bathroom door and peed right in front of me. She has been a peer for some time, and she does this when she’s been slighted. If she can’t come into our bedroom in the morning, and she finds a rug on the bathroom floor, she pees on it. If we have guests that are taking up what she sees as her space, she’ll go into our room and find something on the floor to pee on. Now that we’ve removed rugs and never drop an article of clothing on the floor and have denied any entrance to our bedroom, she goes back to that spot in front of the bathroom. We have poured over a gallon of Na.ture’s M.iracle on the spot, but to no avail. J cleaned the carpets with a steam cleaner last week. The piss odor is still there.
I’m at a loss. We both are. This cat is very dear to both of us. She comes to us when we’re upset, intervenes when we’re having an argument, nuzzles the baby, gives us kisses, and generally protects us from any harm she can. But she’s driving us mad. If we lived where we used to, she would turn into a primarily outside/garage cat with only supervised visits into the house. Here, in a large apartment complex, that simply isn’t possible, and we’re feeling very much at the mercy of this cat. We’ve tried every veterinary and behavioral intervention we can think of, we’re frankly just tired.
Short of finding her a new home, what would you do?