Aya is a special needs kitty not because of any physical disability but because of her emotional/mental health needs. Since the age of 8 months, Aya has intermittently had issues with inappropriate urination. I have religiously followed all veterinary and forum advice on how to break this habit (prescription food, # of litter boxes, litter type, box cleanliness, etc.)
High Maintenance Cat
Aya has cost me probably over $1000 in terms of bedding and furnishing that I have had to clean or replace. Many owners would not put up with this in a pet. Some people I know have frankly told me they wouldn't. But I feel some sense of responsibility for her as I took her in and adopted her and I know she would not be an easy re-homing candidate. And frankly, we're attached.
A move halfway around the world from Japan to America introduced me to yet another vet who concluded with me that her "whizzing issues" were stress-induced. Not the result of a physical ailment like FLUTD.
After a failed attempt to medicate her with Prozac (she is not "pillable" and recognizes the liquid form however we try to disguise it), what ultimately has worked the best is letting her be an in/outdoor cat. She can burn off her extra energy (she is a "high energy" cat) and decrease her stress levels.
Aya's Journey to Recovery
While I don't consider her cured, as we occasionally have sofa peeing when the neighborhood bully cat teases her, her incidents have decreased to once every 3-4 months. I know some people have strong feelings about in/outdoor cats, or don't have that luxury as they live in an urban or dangerous environment, but it has made a world of difference in her behavior.
We also put up with stuff meant to discourage her that most people would not do for the sake of a cat. I keep my bed covered with a vinyl tarp when not in use. Actually, she likes to crawl in it. Our sofas are covered with laminate fabric covers, a surface that seems to discourage her.
Our local shelter rates adoptable cats like ski trails, for potential owners. I know Aya would be rated as a "black diamond" in terms of her personality and needs.
She also nips and is definitely a "pet-on-her-terms" kitty. Despite her shortcoming in this area, she is one of the most athletic, interesting, and personality-rich cats I have ever shared my life with.
Written by Lyrajean
Lyrajean is a TCS member who reminds us that "Special Needs" can be mental and not just physical with the story of Aya, the neurotic calico.
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