An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Progress for Cat Who Pees Along Periphery of Rooms

Dear Greyce,

I am doing much better now, having followed your advice. Here is what you suggested and the progress I have made:

  • Keeping separated from Misty (who hates me) and very much later attempting a very much slower re-introduction. Misty and I now time-share space so we don't get into one another's whiskers. This has made a BIG difference. I am much more relaxed.

  • Educating my folks about cat communication. Not much to report here, yet.

  • Getting more play and stimulation. I'm getting more play. I really, really like one fishing pole toy in particular.

  • Using Feliway on my spray spots. I'm using it on all pee spots. And I'm peeing outside the box less. I used to pee about 2 or 3 times a day. Now I'm down to about once every 2 or 3 days.

  • Doing something about my relationship with Indy - but later. We'll deal with that when you give me advice - later.

Where I still like to pee
Now, I need more advice. I still have one favourite area in which I like to pee, as shown on the accompanying layout. Can you help me stop peeing there?


Dear Meeka,

Congratulations on your excellent progress. I think much of it can be attributed to two factors:

1) your folks taking you to the vet; once urine crystals were found and you started your new diet, your spraying (vertical surfaces) went to zero.

2) time-sharing with Misty. Once your rival and you are no longer in a position to have contact, it significantly reduced your need for territorial marking.

As for continuing to pee along the living room window, first let me explain why you like that area so much.

Windows, especially large expanses of window, can be big problems for us cats. Humans see the glass and think of themselves as protected from the outside. Though even they feel the need to cover many windows with blinds or drapes to provide a sense of privacy and security.

We cats look at windows and see the transparency as making us vulnerable to invasion.And some windows seem more vulnerable than others.

Take your situation for instance. You are have very large window that looks out to your front yard - a place with roaming cats come to visit. Well we already know what you think of cats who invade your territory (like Misty). So it comes as no surprise that you'd feel the need to top the area with your scent, both to let them know you are there and to relieve your anxiety.

Clearly action is called for.

We can attack this on several fronts (depending upon the level of human cooperation you receive).

1. You seem to like Feliway and if you wish to continue using it on those spots, who am I to say otherwise - even though it is specifically made to work on vertical rather than horizontal urine marks (for reasons too complex to explain here). HOWEVER, I would also like you to purchase a Feliway diffuser.

This is a version of Feliway that you plug into an electrical socket. It works 24/7 for about a month. (It takes refills, so don't throw the diffuser away.) One diffuser should be okay for about 650 square feet. Since we are dealing with a relatively compact area - even in a open plan layout - I think 1 diffuser should be just fine.

Plug it into a socket in the room in question. Make sure it is NOT behind curtains or drapes or furniture. It needs open area through which to circulate and it that means moving a piece of furniture a bit, so be it. Besides, you don't want a warm socket heating up fabrics!

2. Install a NEW litter box right in your pee spot area by the window. Yes I know the folks will freak out, but tell them to be patient. If you start using the box instead of peeing on the carpet, you will be making great progress. And there are ways to disguise a litter box in this location - but we will deal with that bridge when we need to cross it.

2. As a short-term measure, consider blocking up the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the window. It should still allow light to come in, but will prevent staring contests between roaming cats and yourself.

You can use cardboard unless the lady of the house has in interior design fit - in which case I recommend a trip to the hardware store for some Corplast - a plastic covered corrugated paper that comes in colours and frankly looks nicer than ordinary cardboard. But who am I to judge? Select whatever you can live with for a while.

4. In the long-term, you might consider a TALL cat tree installed in the front window, so you can be in a superior position when roaming cats advance. This will help alleviate anxiety.Yep, I'm directing you (again) to that entry A Cat Tree for Every Cat. But cat trees are expensive, so you might want to hold off of this measure for a while and see how other measures are working.

5. Roaming cats can be discouraged from your property, depending upon the measures your folks take. See my entry, The Invading Stranger (1/17/10) for more information. NOTE: I don't recommend the motion detectors that give off high-frequency sounds in your case - because you (and your household cat companions) could also be in a position to hear them. And that would be very anxiety-provoking for you. So in your case, I'd recommend the motion detectors that spray water.

Play and Stimulation

It's wonderful that you are getting more play opportunities. Make sure your folks to read those other blog entries I mentioned when I first addressed your situation.

And don't forget to rotate your toys. If you play with the same thing over and over and over, it will eventually bore you to death. Better to have something for a week and then give it a rest and let something else take over!

If your folks have a few extra dollars burning a hole in their pocket, suggest they buy that book, Boredom Busters for Cats which I recently recommended on my blog. Since it is about $7.00 on the Net (Amazon) a local bookstore would have it for not much more. Tell them it would be about the price of two lattes, and let them take it from there.

Communication Education

Remind your folks to start learning cat talk, as previously recommended. The Net entries I gave should help them out.

I checked the Calgary Public Library's holdings (because that would be nearest your location) on cat behavior books (such as I recommended) and was terribly disappointed. Don't they have cats in Calgary?

Keep up the good work, Meeka!


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