My cat is destroying my house with her marking.

selpats

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I am desperate for help! I've had my female cat since she was 10 weeks old. She's now 10. A few years back, I was living with my parents after graduating college. My cat starting marking on the carpet, something she had never done before, shortly after my sister's cat peed on our stairs. I spent $100s of dollars getting every test run at the vet, buying different products/medications, etc. I tried everything, and I could not get her to stop. I eventually moved into an apartment with my boyfriend, who already had a cat. We lived there for a year, and my cat never marked there, even when when our other cat got a UTI and had a few accidents on our carpet. Last year, we bought a house. When the weather started getting warmer last Spring, there was a horrid cat pee smell coming from the room we keep our cat boxes in. We could not figure out why the smell was so horrible. As I'm sure you can guess, we finally discovered last month that one of the cats was peeing on the carpet, and after setting up a camera, discovered it was my cat. I immediately took her to the vet to see if she had a UTI, and she did not. Given that she has done this before, her vet believes this is behavioral. We ended up having to tear up the carpet in that room, and the amount of urine against one wall was SATURATED. It was horrible. I bought her a calming collar, and we replaced the carpet in that room with wood laminate flooring. I also purchased another litter box, in addition to the 2 we already had, in the hopes that giving her more options would help. Despite all this, I discovered this afternoon that she is now peeing inside a bookshelf and next to the bookshelf in our living room. We shampooed the carpet and cleaned the bookshelf with an enzymatic cleaner, but given her track record, I'm not hopeful this will make her stop.

The situation is this: Financially, we do not have extra money to pour into renovating the damages she is costing us. I also lost my job in January, and while I have since found another one, the small savings I did have is completely gone. I don't have money to run more tests at the vet, to buy more gimmicks/products, and I especially do not have $1000s of dollars to renovate my home when she destroys every room in my house. In addition to that, my boyfriend is at his wits end. He has told me that if we catch her doing it again, I have to find somewhere for her to go. While this upsets me gravely, I understand that we cannot risk our livelihoods and everything we've worked hard for, for a cat.

I love my cat. She is sweet and friendly, and has been my little buddy for the last decade. She is very attached to me, and the thought of abandoning her in shelter makes me sick. Even if I were to bring her to a shelter, I do not think that she is adoptable. In addition to the marking, she is also an older cat with a heart condition, which requires daily medication. I guess I don't have high hopes that many people will want to adopt an elderly cat with a heart condition who was surrendered because she pees outside the litter box. I'm worried she will spend the rest of her life in a shelter, and I worried her vet might recommend that it would be kinder to put her down.

As I said, I am desperate. Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? Is there anything I can do to save my cat?
 

MissClouseau

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How many litterboxes are there? Are there all the same or different kinds? Do you clean daily or after every use? Some cats do not use the litterbox if there is any smell in it.

If it is behavioral, have you noticed any pattern between the times she did this? Could it be boredom -- as you say it stopped when she had a feline companion? Could it be stressed, was there anything like tension in the house not necessarily from you but maybe a sound coming from outside? Because to fix the problem, you need to first understand the reason.
 
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JamesCalifornia

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~ I will be very practical and objective with my comments. I did meet a nice woman once who also had an aging cat that developed similar problems. Humane euthanasia was the solution. She did not want her kitty in a cage at the shelter with strangers and realized soon things would get worse. For her it was the right decision. Her veterinarian agreed.
Is it possible you could keep your cat in an outdoor patio or enclosed porch ? Other than that keeping her in a large carrier when you are not home would be my only idea. Cats like a safe enclosed space and this tends to calm them down .
Best of luck to you .. 😉´
 

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Hi S selpats I'm sorry to hear you are having this problem with your cat.

First of all, as cats age they get a lot of health problems that elderly people get. I understand that your vet has checked for a UTI. Have any other tests been done? Cats can suffer from kidney problems and even dementia, which cause weird issues like "forgetting" where her litter box is. 10 years old probably isn't old enough to have dementia, but blood work to check kidney and liver functions would be a good idea. This is often done as part of an annual wellness check, so if you use the same vet regularly it shouldn't be too expensive. (I recently paid around $30 to have my senior girl's blood tests done)

Marking outside of the litter box can be caused by stress or by a wish to mark territory. Does she get one well with the other cat in the house? Do your neighbors have pets? Are there feral cats or other animals she could be sensing outside? I've found Zylkene very effective in soothing stressed cats. Feliway works well too.

Zylkene® | Vetoquinol USA

Feliway for cats

Is it possible to keep her confined to one room while you try some of these things? As JamesCalifornia JamesCalifornia said, an enclosed catio, a large crate or a room where you can cover the floor in puppy pee pads and leave out plenty of litter boxes might help. It wouldn't have to be a large room, even a walk in closet or bathroom would do.

How does she act apart from the peeing? Is she still friendly and relaxed with you? Does she eat and drink the same as she usually does? Does the peeing occur at certain times, such as when everyone is out or asleep?

There are lots of things you can try before considering surrendering her to a shelter, please don't give up on her yet.
 

dhammagirl

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Is it marking behavior? Is the urine on vertical surfaces, or just on the floor?

I have a cat who we struggled with because of his marking everywhere, and the only thing that really helped was putting him on Prozac. It was a last resort. But the inappropriate peeing was greatly reduced. In some cats it completely stops. If he was an only cat, it might not have ever been an issue, or would have stopped completely, but he’s very anti the other two cats.
We tried all the forms of pheromones, and toys, and Jackson Galaxy’s flower essences, and cleaning the hell out everywhere we found pee, and more. No UTI issues, but he’s a very anxious cat.

If nothing else helps, try prozac.
 

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Hi. Is she using the litter boxes to poop in? If so, cats tend to have different positions they hold for peeing and pooping - perhaps something about the litter or litter boxes is bothering her when she pees. You could try a low sided box (even a cardboard box lid) lined with puppy pee pads to see if she would use that for peeing. If this might be some sort of 'privacy' issue for her, you could also place a box turned upside down with an entry over the box lid/pee pads.

If your home was pre-owned, it is possible there was urine already in that room, and that is what started the new peeing habit all over again. At any rate, having had the issue go on as long as it sounds like it did this past time, it will take much longer to stop. Not that you can afford to replace all the flooring, but you might want to consider buying a black light and look around any other areas of the house that contain carpeting (and, the walls as well) to see if there are signs of pee in other places - it would at least tell you that a previous cat was in the house and went outside it's litter boxes.

Also, given the off-on peeing issue, could it be from stress in her environment? Each time she has done this, has some sort of change or event occurred in the home - it can be things we humans take for granted.
 
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selpats

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~ I will be very practical and objective with my comments. I did meet a nice woman once who also had an aging cat that developed similar problems. Humane euthanasia was the solution. She did not want her kitty in a cage at the shelter with strangers and realized soon things would get worse. For her it was the right decision. Her veterinarian agreed.
Is it possible you could keep your cat in an outdoor patio or enclosed porch ? Other than that keeping her in a large carrier when you are not home would be my only idea. Cats like a safe enclosed space and this tends to calm them down .
Best of luck to you .. 😉´
Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to keep her in an enclosed patio, but it might be possible to keep her in a room, at least until we can manage what's going on. I'm hoping I can find another solution, however, if it does come down to giving her up, human euthanasia might be a be a kinder option. Thank you for you advice!
 
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selpats

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Hi S selpats I'm sorry to hear you are having this problem with your cat.

First of all, as cats age they get a lot of health problems that elderly people get. I understand that your vet has checked for a UTI. Have any other tests been done? Cats can suffer from kidney problems and even dementia, which cause weird issues like "forgetting" where her litter box is. 10 years old probably isn't old enough to have dementia, but blood work to check kidney and liver functions would be a good idea. This is often done as part of an annual wellness check, so if you use the same vet regularly it shouldn't be too expensive. (I recently paid around $30 to have my senior girl's blood tests done)

Marking outside of the litter box can be caused by stress or by a wish to mark territory. Does she get one well with the other cat in the house? Do your neighbors have pets? Are there feral cats or other animals she could be sensing outside? I've found Zylkene very effective in soothing stressed cats. Feliway works well too.

Zylkene® | Vetoquinol USA

Feliway for cats

Is it possible to keep her confined to one room while you try some of these things? As JamesCalifornia JamesCalifornia said, an enclosed catio, a large crate or a room where you can cover the floor in puppy pee pads and leave out plenty of litter boxes might help. It wouldn't have to be a large room, even a walk in closet or bathroom would do.

How does she act apart from the peeing? Is she still friendly and relaxed with you? Does she eat and drink the same as she usually does? Does the peeing occur at certain times, such as when everyone is out or asleep?

There are lots of things you can try before considering surrendering her to a shelter, please don't give up on her yet.
Hi there,

When I took her in to check for a UTI, she had her annual visit. Blood work came back normal. The only other thing her vet suggested, was a bladder ultrasound, which is $200, and I just can't afford that right now. My savings is depleted from losing my job, and I can't put it on a credit card. That being said, her vet does believe it's behavioral, as she really doesn't have any symptoms. That leads me to your next comment. Yes, we do believe her marking in stress related. When she was marking at my parent's house, she was doing it in response to my sister's cat peeing on the stairs first. It was a territory thing. Once she got started, we couldn't get her to stop, even after my sister and her cat moved out. She did it almost daily until I moved out, but she never marked when we moved into our apartment with my boyfriend's cat, who she gets along with. It started again when we bought our house. I honestly do not know why she started doing it at the house. Maybe the previous owners had a cat, maybe she didn't like the new litter box set up, I don't know, and now that the carpet is out, I can't figure out why she's continuing to do it in other places in the house, but I am sure that it's stress related. I got her a calming collar, but clearly it's not working, as she's still marking. Feliway does not work on her either. As other commenters have mentioned, I think she's going to need to be put on actual medications, maybe Zylkene, like you mentioned. I think I may try anti-stress meds as a last resort, but we won't really know if it's working unless we let her have free reign of the house, so locking her in a room won't give us any answers. The only rooms we can confine her in have wood floor, which she won't pee on, so we have to let her out as normal to know if what we're doing is working. Anyway, I appreciate your advice. I wish it was as you said, that "we have lots of things we can try," but unfortunately, that is not the case. This has been an issue with her before, and we have already tried everything, with the exception of medication. We can't afford this to go on much longer. I will speak with her vet on getting her put on a medication. If that doesn't work, hopefully by that time I will have enough savings built back up to afford the ultrasound. However, that comes up negative, there's not really anything else we can do. I do hope the meds work out. Thanks again.
 
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selpats

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Hi. Is she using the litter boxes to poop in? If so, cats tend to have different positions they hold for peeing and pooping - perhaps something about the litter or litter boxes is bothering her when she pees. You could try a low sided box (even a cardboard box lid) lined with puppy pee pads to see if she would use that for peeing. If this might be some sort of 'privacy' issue for her, you could also place a box turned upside down with an entry over the box lid/pee pads.

If your home was pre-owned, it is possible there was urine already in that room, and that is what started the new peeing habit all over again. At any rate, having had the issue go on as long as it sounds like it did this past time, it will take much longer to stop. Not that you can afford to replace all the flooring, but you might want to consider buying a black light and look around any other areas of the house that contain carpeting (and, the walls as well) to see if there are signs of pee in other places - it would at least tell you that a previous cat was in the house and went outside it's litter boxes.

Also, given the off-on peeing issue, could it be from stress in her environment? Each time she has done this, has some sort of change or event occurred in the home - it can be things we humans take for granted.
Hello!

Yes, she does use the litter box to poop. I have tried different kinds of litter, pellets, etc., with no difference in behavior. As my original post states, I also bought her a new litter box, in addition to the 2 we already have. This litter box is XL size and not hooded, unlike the others. So she has lots of options. She does pee in her litter boxes too. I do not believe the marking is a daily thing for her, based on what I've seen on the cameras we set up.

I agree that it's possible the previous owners had a cat. I know they had a dog. It could have been a smell thing. We did buy a black light to look around for other spots, which is how we found out she was still marking after we replaced the floors. She marks on the walls, as well as the carpet. We do believe it's stress related, which is why I bought her a calming collar, but it's not working. I believe I'm going to try asking her vet to put her on medication as a last resort. Thank you for all your helpful advice!
 
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selpats

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Is it marking behavior? Is the urine on vertical surfaces, or just on the floor?

I have a cat who we struggled with because of his marking everywhere, and the only thing that really helped was putting him on Prozac. It was a last resort. But the inappropriate peeing was greatly reduced. In some cats it completely stops. If he was an only cat, it might not have ever been an issue, or would have stopped completely, but he’s very anti the other two cats.
We tried all the forms of pheromones, and toys, and Jackson Galaxy’s flower essences, and cleaning the hell out everywhere we found pee, and more. No UTI issues, but he’s a very anxious cat.

If nothing else helps, try prozac.
Hi there,

It is marking behavior. It's on the walls, as well as the floor, and it's usually just a small amount of urine. I really think you are spot on with your suggestion. I'm going to call her vet today about putting her on some anti-anxiety meds, as I think it's her best option at that point. Like you, we have tried everything. We ripped out the carpet, bought a calming collar and a new litter box. We've tried putting the litter boxes in different positions, we've tried different types of litter. We tried "aversion therapy," putting tin foil and that spiky computer mat stuff where she was going. Nothing has worked, so I think treating this aggressively is our best option. Thank you!
 

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I agree with the anti anxiety meds as this is a serious problem and it sounds as if you have really tried to tackle it as much as anyone could. I hope that they help her.

I do have a newly brought in former feral who immediately refused to use any litter box; however, her twin sister was thrilled to find indoor facilities and immediately took to them. She made a couple messes and I put a new, clean box with new clean litter in that spot thinking that she chose it because it was private and she immediately refused to use it. She then moved to another private corner and I put the top of an old photocopy paper box there with pee pads in it and she immediately used it. I have no idea why. Even buying the Dr Elsey's attractant litter did not help with her problem, although the other cats loved it.

One other cat I still have, Chelsea, was a wetter in corners of the kitchen...at least on tile, but still it went on for years although she did use the litter boxes when she felt like it. The day that another cat Billy died ( I knew she did not like him) she instantly stopped peeing in the corners and has never done it since.

I really do understand your frustration and would try the meds.
 
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selpats

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I agree with the anti anxiety meds as this is a serious problem and it sounds as if you have really tried to tackle it as much as anyone could. I hope that they help her.

I do have a newly brought in former feral who immediately refused to use any litter box; however, her twin sister was thrilled to find indoor facilities and immediately took to them. She made a couple messes and I put a new, clean box with new clean litter in that spot thinking that she chose it because it was private and she immediately refused to use it. She then moved to another private corner and I put the top of an old photocopy paper box there with pee pads in it and she immediately used it. I have no idea why. Even buying the Dr Elsey's attractant litter did not help with her problem, although the other cats loved it.

One other cat I still have, Chelsea, was a wetter in corners of the kitchen...at least on tile, but still it went on for years although she did use the litter boxes when she felt like it. The day that another cat Billy died ( I knew she did not like him) she instantly stopped peeing in the corners and has never done it since.

I really do understand your frustration and would try the meds.
It is so frustrating when they do that. I feel for anyone who has ever been in this situation because it can be so hard to make them stop. That's why inappropriate urination is the number 1 reason why people end up surrendering their cats, despite how much they may be loved. I just want my girl to feel more comfortable, and I'm hoping meds will help her with that. Thank you for offering words of encouragement and supporting that I really have done what I can, and am using meds as a last resort. It's not something I do not do lightly.
 

moxiewild

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It actually seems like you're still far from having tried everything (though you’ve definitely tried a lot!), and while your finances do limit you, you still have quite a few options at your disposal. I rescue/foster/hospice cats specifically like yours (seniors with health and behavioral issues - often including marking/peeing), so hopefully I can help.

Some (okay, a lot of) questions -

- You said you began to notice the urine smell in spring. Have you noticed any neighborhood cats in your area? Ferals, strays, or even neighbors with cats who have outdoor access? What about wildlife?

- If not, you said you have cameras - is it possible for you to set these up outside for a while? Do they have motion detection? What is your set up?

- Are you close enough to your neighbors that you could see a cat hanging out in their window?

- What all have you been able to learn so far from your cameras about your cat’s behavior?

- Sorry if I missed it - are there any other cats or pets in your house?

- Has she been spayed?

- How much “cat furniture” is available to your cat? Specifically where vertical space is concerned (tall Cat trees, cat shelves, etc).

- What all enzyme cleaners have you tried?

- If you are US based, do you know if you would qualify for Care Credit?

Barring going to the vet, a cat behavior consultant should be high up on your list for something to save up for.

And as someone who works with cats like yours, I will be honest with you - a senior cat with health issues and inappropriate elimination/marking issues will not fare well. This is an immediate euthanization at a municipal or kill shelter. Most no-kill rescue’s will not accept your cat. Of those who do, they might actually have a “stipulation” that they will euthanize a cat that meets a certain threshold of unadoptable that your kitty would very likely meet, and they may not make that very apparent to you. A sanctuary may be able to help, but they are difficult to get into.

Especially during this pandemic where adoptions and donations are WAY down and volunteers must stay home, I struggle to imagine any rescue being willing to take on an unadotable cat.

So, here is my best advice for a more immediate “band aid” given your financial constraints -

If she has a tendency to go in predictable places, use puppy/pee pads. In the long term, investing in reusable puppy pads will be cheaper. The cheapest substitute if you cannot afford those options currently, would be news paper and/or cardboard.

There are pee pad “holders” on amazon that you can buy to attach a pad to the wall, but there are also ways that you could do this using various things around the house too. We currently do this for our cats with “elevator butt” in the litter box.

Similarly, look into options for male dogs and puppies going to the bathroom indoors or being potty trained. Male dogs lift their legs and stand while peeing, so there are various products that protect walls for owners who prefer their pets go indoors, or for whenever they’re out of the house for long periods, or just for potty training.

They sometimes involve a fire hydrant, for example. But otherwise, they protect the walls and have a drainage system below to collect the pee. There are also DIY versions that are cheaper. The pet market is much larger for dogs than it is cats, so I would look into solutions available for male dogs/pups where this is concerned - again, if she usually sticks to the same places, that is.

As has been mentioned, if you have a spare bedroom or are willing to allow her to stay in your bed room, you can make her a “room cat” until you can afford more diagnostics or a behaviorist. At the very least, it is less to clean and repair.

You said she won’t mark where there is wood flooring, so this seems to be your most immediate option. If you go this route, plenty of users here can help advise you as to how you can make this confinement easier for her.

Medication and other supplemental therapies are also options. But it may still take a while for them to work, to find the right medication or the right dose, and it may ultimately only reduce behavior if it even works at all.

It should not be a problem to let her out in the house to see if something is working. Most options that actually work to alter behavior will not work overnight. So if your boyfriend seriously cannot deal with any more trial and error, then you two need to have a serious discussion about expectations here.
 
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selpats

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It actually seems like you're still far from having tried everything (though you’ve definitely tried a lot!), and while your finances do limit you, you still have quite a few options at your disposal. I rescue/foster/hospice cats specifically like yours (seniors with health and behavioral issues - often including marking/peeing), so hopefully I can help.

Some (okay, a lot of) questions -

- You said you began to notice the urine smell in spring. Have you noticed any neighborhood cats in your area? Ferals, strays, or even neighbors with cats who have outdoor access? What about wildlife?

- If not, you said you have cameras - is it possible for you to set these up outside for a while? Do they have motion detection? What is your set up?

- Are you close enough to your neighbors that you could see a cat hanging out in their window?

- What all have you been able to learn so far from your cameras about your cat’s behavior?

- Sorry if I missed it - are there any other cats or pets in your house?

- Has she been spayed?

- How much “cat furniture” is available to your cat? Specifically where vertical space is concerned (tall Cat trees, cat shelves, etc).

- What all enzyme cleaners have you tried?

- If you are US based, do you know if you would qualify for Care Credit?

Barring going to the vet, a cat behavior consultant should be high up on your list for something to save up for.

And as someone who works with cats like yours, I will be honest with you - a senior cat with health issues and inappropriate elimination/marking issues will not fare well. This is an immediate euthanization at a municipal or kill shelter. Most no-kill rescue’s will not accept your cat. Of those who do, they might actually have a “stipulation” that they will euthanize a cat that meets a certain threshold of unadoptable that your kitty would very likely meet, and they may not make that very apparent to you. A sanctuary may be able to help, but they are difficult to get into.

Especially during this pandemic where adoptions and donations are WAY down and volunteers must stay home, I struggle to imagine any rescue being willing to take on an unadotable cat.

So, here is my best advice for a more immediate “band aid” given your financial constraints -

If she has a tendency to go in predictable places, use puppy/pee pads. In the long term, investing in reusable puppy pads will be cheaper. The cheapest substitute if you cannot afford those options currently, would be news paper and/or cardboard.

There are pee pad “holders” on amazon that you can buy to attach a pad to the wall, but there are also ways that you could do this using various things around the house too. We currently do this for our cats with “elevator butt” in the litter box.

Similarly, look into options for male dogs and puppies going to the bathroom indoors or being potty trained. Male dogs lift their legs and stand while peeing, so there are various products that protect walls for owners who prefer their pets go indoors, or for whenever they’re out of the house for long periods, or just for potty training.

They sometimes involve a fire hydrant, for example. But otherwise, they protect the walls and have a drainage system below to collect the pee. There are also DIY versions that are cheaper. The pet market is much larger for dogs than it is cats, so I would look into solutions available for male dogs/pups where this is concerned - again, if she usually sticks to the same places, that is.

As has been mentioned, if you have a spare bedroom or are willing to allow her to stay in your bed room, you can make her a “room cat” until you can afford more diagnostics or a behaviorist. At the very least, it is less to clean and repair.

You said she won’t mark where there is wood flooring, so this seems to be your most immediate option. If you go this route, plenty of users here can help advise you as to how you can make this confinement easier for her.

Medication and other supplemental therapies are also options. But it may still take a while for them to work, to find the right medication or the right dose, and it may ultimately only reduce behavior if it even works at all.

It should not be a problem to let her out in the house to see if something is working. Most options that actually work to alter behavior will not work overnight. So if your boyfriend seriously cannot deal with any more trial and error, then you two need to have a serious discussion about expectations here.
Hello!

1. To answer your first question, we do not have any stray cats in our neighborhood. That being said though, our cats don't even have any access to windows where they could see a stray cat, even if we did have one. The cameras we have are indoor only, but again, our cats don't have access to a window where they could look outside if they wanted to, so this probably isn't the issue, although I appreciate your creative thinking!
2. What I've learned from her behavior while watching the camera (we have them set up to look at the litter boxes, and notify us when there's movement), is that she doesn't seem to visit the litter box very often. This concerns me. The room their litter boxes are in recently underwent a major construction when we ripped up the carpet/pads and put wood flooring in. That's when we put in the cameras, so we could watch her use the litter box, and it's only been a couple weeks. I don't know if her infrequent trips to the litter box are recent because of the major change to the room, or if it's been this way for a while. I haven't found her marking anywhere else but the bookshelf, and even that has been mark-free for 2 days, and I can't find urine anywhere else!
3. We do have a dog, who she hates, and one of the reasons why we believe she may be marking.That being said, the marking has been going on well before we got the dog, so I can't be sure. Even so, I'm not sure what I'd do, even if I knew for sure it was the dog. We also have another female cat. They get along well, and that cat does not mark.
4. We have a lot of cat furtature in our upstairs area. Several cat trees and scratching posts, as well as elevated beds/tents, etc.
5. We've used Nature's Miracle, which I didn't much care for, as well as one that's made locally that our vet recommended. It's never worked to stop her marking, although it gets rid of the smell for us humans.
6. As far as Care Credit. I've had one for years, and it's been a huge help paying for the procedures pertaining to her heart condition. However, that won't be an option for a while, as my dog required a major surgery and several follow-up procedures in December of last year. That card is about maxed out, and I took a 30 point hit on my credit score. I also used it to pay for her last visit so I could test her UTI, so it's not an option anymore, and won't be for months.

To be honest with you, I do not like the idea at all of putting pee pads around my house. I don't want to encourage her to not use her litter box or get used to peeing all around the house, not to mention my dog would probably eat them before she could use it anyway haha. I'd much rather confine her to one room if it comes to it. She was only peeing in the bedroom we have their litter boxes in up until we replaced the flooring. I'm troubled after finding the urine by a bookcase in a carpeted area of the house because it seems like she is seeking out carpet to pee on instead of using her litter box. I left a message with her vet today, so I'm going to update her on my findings when she calls me back tomorrow, and also request that we put her on medication. I'm really hoping the medication works because I don't see any other options besides locking her in a room, which doesn't seem fair. As you mentioned, I am aware she is not adoptable, so if I can't find a solution, things don't look good for her. The problem isn't necessarily that my boyfriend or I "can't deal" with more trial and error, it's that we genuinely cannot afford it. This cat is burning a hole in a bank accounts. Total over the last 3 or so years (because remember, this was a problem before I moved into this house), I have literally spent $1000s of dollars on this issue, and I just can't spend anymore.
 

FeebysOwner

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it seems like she is seeking out carpet to pee on instead of using her litter box.
Took note of the above comment, and wondered if you could buy washable rugs (most of them mimic the look/feel of carpeting) and either replace the litter with the rugs or place a rug over the litter. Perhaps, one box like this located with the other litter boxes you have and another box set as close as possible to the bookshelf. If she would use either/both, it could be a starting point to getting her back to using a litter box full time.

I have purchased rugs like this for as little as $5 and washed them over and over again before they began to wear out.
 
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selpats

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For those who are interested, I think I may have discovered a potential cause for the inappropriate urination. While I don't know why she originally started, I do think I may have had a breakthrough in why she continues. After monitoring camera footage over the last couple days, I realized that when she tries to use the newer litter box, our other cat is "ambushing" her. It's not really what I would call litter box aggression, because she's not being violent (no biting, swatting, hissing, etc.). It almost seems more playful than anything, but I recognize it has territorial/dominating behavior. I've never seen her do this before, and I think it's stemming from the fact that she prefers the newer litter box to the older one. It's bigger, has no hood, cleaner, etc. From what I've seen, she's only showing signs of territorial behavior towards the new box, not the older ones, but I think it's enough to make my sensitive cat feel uncomfortable. I've been playing phone tag with their vet, who I plan on updating on this new discovery to see what her thoughts are. In the meantime, I think I'm going to replace the old boxes with the one that they seem to favor, since that's the box that seems to be causing the issue. I'm hoping if ALL options are appealing, instead of just one, our other cat will feel less territorial. Currently all boxes are in 1 room because our other rooms have too much furniture. That being said, I'm also going to try moving some furniture around to make room for a box in another room. Hopefully spreading them out a bit will help with the litter box ambushing. We haven't seen any marking since cleaning the bookshelf area, so I'm feeling hopeful about this discovery. I think I may also try getting a calming collar for the other cat. Can't hurt for them both to chill out a bit. Anyway, thank you all for your help! I'm hoping to be back with a positive update soon!
 

Norachan

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It's not really what I would call litter box aggression, because she's not being violent (no biting, swatting, hissing, etc.). It almost seems more playful than anything, but I recognize it has territorial/dominating behavior.
Oh, that makes sense. One of my boys is super possessive of his litter box. If he hears any of the others scratching in the litter he rushes over to check they're not using his box. Maybe you could get a couple of new boxes? I use those big plastic storage bins as litter boxes. I have a lot of cats and some very big lads, so the bigger the box the better.

I hope this is the answer, please keep us posted on how things work out.

:goodluck:
 

dhammagirl

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For those who are interested, I think I may have discovered a potential cause for the inappropriate urination. While I don't know why she originally started, I do think I may have had a breakthrough in why she continues. After monitoring camera footage over the last couple days, I realized that when she tries to use the newer litter box, our other cat is "ambushing" her. It's not really what I would call litter box aggression, because she's not being violent (no biting, swatting, hissing, etc.). It almost seems more playful than anything, but I recognize it has territorial/dominating behavior. I've never seen her do this before, and I think it's stemming from the fact that she prefers the newer litter box to the older one. It's bigger, has no hood, cleaner, etc. From what I've seen, she's only showing signs of territorial behavior towards the new box, not the older ones, but I think it's enough to make my sensitive cat feel uncomfortable. I've been playing phone tag with their vet, who I plan on updating on this new discovery to see what her thoughts are. In the meantime, I think I'm going to replace the old boxes with the one that they seem to favor, since that's the box that seems to be causing the issue. I'm hoping if ALL options are appealing, instead of just one, our other cat will feel less territorial. Currently all boxes are in 1 room because our other rooms have too much furniture. That being said, I'm also going to try moving some furniture around to make room for a box in another room. Hopefully spreading them out a bit will help with the litter box ambushing. We haven't seen any marking since cleaning the bookshelf area, so I'm feeling hopeful about this discovery. I think I may also try getting a calming collar for the other cat. Can't hurt for them both to chill out a bit. Anyway, thank you all for your help! I'm hoping to be back with a positive update soon!
Hey, that’s great to have caught this behavior! Changing the style and location of the litterboxes could make all the difference :clover::goodluck:

Regarding pee pads, I get the human underpads, for folks with incontinence issues, to put on spots that have proven to be repeatedly peed on. I tape it on the wall, or bookcase, or whatever, and it’s big enough to also cover part of the floor. Being for humans, there’s no attractant like with puppy pads, and they’re cheaper. You can use them to protect areas as well as verifying vertical marking, even with small amounts of pee.
 
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