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, September 13, 2013

Keko: Needs Lots of Challenge and Enrichment to Manage Litterbox Problems.High Maitenance But Worth It!

Keko is a Bengal cat who pees outside the litterbox when things get to be too much for her. Her problem started with peeing on the mattress (November 2010) , then transformed to peeing just outside her litterbox. The next month she consulted me about waking her purrsons up very early in the morning.  All appeared well until July 2012 when major changes in household routine led to her peeing in many places. She was in good health (no urinary tract infection). Being a Bengal, she has lots of energy and needs lots of stimulation and physical activity. And so she needed a richer and more challenging environment, to reduce her anxiety and give her brain and body a continual workout. She implemented a number of my suggestions and updated me the following year, saying all was going well. In her own words: I'm high maintenance but I'm worth it!


Peeing on the Mattress 

Dear Greyce,
I am almost three years old and am a delightful female, spayed Bengal who came to live with two adult humans in their high-rise apartment about two months ago. Since I used to live in a cattery, this is a step up for me – for I have the space all to myself. In general I am happy and active (I’m a Bengal after all). There is only one problem: I pee on mattresses.

Just after I arrived in my new home, I peed on Themselves’ bed. They were gracious in understanding that it was the stress of me adapting to a new environment and let it go at that. I should add that I sleep with them at night and there are no such problems at that time. They now keep the door closed when they aren’t home and the problem stopped.

Then Themselves had company overnight. I peed on the guests’ bed. Again they were gracious. But after I while they noticed that I’d peed on it again – something I had not done for some time. So now they keep that door closed too, and the problem has gone away.

Before your urge me to see a vet, know that I have a clean bill of health. I don’t have a urinary tract infection of any kind. I also use my litter box daily. My vet said that the problem is behavioural and suggested that Themselves install another litter box and use Feliway. What do you think?

Bengally yours, 

Dear Keko,
Peeing outside the litter box is a time-honoured method of responding to stress. And peeing on a mattress, doubly so - because such an item is a soft, welcoming surface and contains a lot of scent.

Sometimes we pee there because we are so relieved to be safe (surrounded by beloved smells) that our bladder just releases, almost of its own accord. It just feels right. And sometimes we pee there because the mattress is laden with the scent of strangers (like guests) and that makes us anxious and so we need to mark the area. It is our way of incorporating a strange smell into our territory and making it our own.

Humans have a version of this in which they spread things of significance to them about the space they occupy to make themselves feel ‘at home’. They call this interior decoration. Since we don’t carry a lot of stuff with us, we use what we have – our scent. Somehow humans just don't appreciate this one bit. If they only knew what we think about some of their interior decorations schemes!

The usual recommendation is to keep the doors to such rooms shut, at least when you cannot be supervised: If you don’t see the mattress, you won’t think to pee there; in other words, out of scent range, no need to pee mark. However not everyone remembers to keep doors shut and then trouble can begin.

Some humans resent having to keep doors shut in order to help you maintain acceptable behaviour. Again there is a human analogy. You may be surprised to know that female humans don’t like to put their bare bottoms onto the porcelain border of the toilet; they prefurr to be seated on the softer and cleaner toilet seat. But males have to raise that seat in order to do their own version of spray marking. As a result, many male humans have to learn (and re-learn many times over) to put the toilet seat back down once they have used the facilities. So humans have their own version of having to change behaviours in order to accommodate other human(s) with whom they live.

Here are my suggestions.

Insist that your humans maintain closed doors for the rooms which house mattresses that are used infrequently. It is just so much easier that way. You won’t ‘make a mistake’ and they won’t be faced with clean up.

Cleaning up bedding is a bit of a chore but cleaning up a mattress that has been soaked in urine (especially repeatedly) is quite daunting. You see, urine is about 100 degrees F when it leaves your body (in other words, it’s about the same as the temperature of your body) and it does so in a sharp stream, which means it hits the surface with force. This means that it will penetrate deeply and will spread underneath the surface even though it may appear smaller on the top. So cleaning may require injection of a urine cleaner, in large amounts (compared to what the spot looks like) AND leaving the mattress uncovered and able to dry completely before being used again. Otherwise the bedding will keep the damp and smell inside the mattress (so will a human’s body when lying on it) and it will just invite you to pee there more. Many humans who have faced such a problem prefurr to get rid of the mattress; some get rid of the cat but I don’t want to go there.

Okay, so what about Themselves' mattress? This is one on which you sleep (with them) which tells me that you only become anxious about it when they are not around.

Many people think about using a mattress cover and it does have its uses. I don’t like the el cheapo waterproof mattress covers because they are thin and can tear especially if you dig your claws into it. And then, what is the point? There is a more expensive, rubberized version which is thicker and less likely to be damaged by claws.

A waterproof mattress cover sets up a vapour barrier that protects the mattress from pee (or any other liquid for that matter). And since cleaning a mattress is such a big hassle, many people think it a worthwhile idea.
But I don’t purr loudly for this option because it also sets up a barrier between human bodies and the mattress. This means that human water (sweat, etc.) just pools a bit under the human body and the purrson feels like the sheet is a bit on the slightly damp side. If you have ever slept on an inflatable air mattress type guest bed for a night or so, then you know the feeling. I use flannel sheets for those (because they absorb more and feel significantly less damp) but over time, that damp feeling can creep in.

My preferred option is to cover the entire bed with something like an old, thick plastic shower curtain (not an el cheapo from a ‘dollar store’ but something whose plastic is more substantial); and then cover that with an old sheet or blanket to keep it all dry. That way you can still use the bed and if you do pee there, there isn’t much harm done.

Of course, the other problem is bedding. Bedding soiled by urine needs to be cleaned. If the bedding is washable, then it can be cleaned in any detergent that is biological (i.e., has enzymes in it) - usually so marked on the bottle. There are all sorts of brands that have enzymes in them but you have to check the label or the company’s website. The reason for the enzymes is that you want to get the fats out of the urine. Ordinary detergents don't do this, and it is the fats that re-attract you back to the spot.

Note however that people who are sensitive to some detergents may experience some irritation if their skins come into contact with items washed with enzyme products. The only solution I come up with is to go ahead and use the enzyme product and then do a double rinse (clear water and absolutely no fabric softener) to get everything else out.

So now lets get on to Feliway. I understand they already have a Feliway diffuser. It will help you lower your anxiety by giving you a sense of comfort. Ensure they plug the diffuser into an electrical socket in the bedroom room and leave it 24/7. It should last about a month.

Covering that bed with he combination of the old plastic shower curtain under an old blanket AND using a Feliway diffuser should help everyone to know if you really have stopped the peeing on the folk's mattress without them having a major clean up on their hands. And if you still continue to pee on the mattress, then they will either have to get used to washing that old blanket repeatedly OR keep that door closed.

Try these suggestions and let me know what works for you. Otherwise the keeping-the-doors-shut option will work best because mattresses house strange smells for long periods of time, making them irresistible for cats like you.

In my house, we'd keep the doors closed to those rooms with mattresses that aren't in daily use because it is just too much hassle to do otherwise. And frankly humans aren't very savvy at guessing when we start to get a bit anxious and could start another pee fest. I knew of one cat who'd only anoint mattresses after guests had left; so his folks just kept the door shut once the guests left - until the sheets and stuff could be changed. For some reason, he'd be fine after that. Guess each of us has our own quirks.

In any event, let me know how it goes.

Best wishes,

Litterbox Problem

Hi Greyce,
Thanks for the advice about my mattress peeing problem. And now, for another request. I use my litter box. I use it daily. I like it. I like the litter. But sometimes I pee on the rug underneath it or on the floor beside it.

Before you get started, know that I have a large, open box. I know you have identified covered boxes as a culprit from time to time, but you can rule this out in my case.

So tell me Greyce, what is going on and what should be done about it?

Inquiring cat wants to know,


Dear Keko,
Thank you for letting me know that you have an open litter box.

Keko's Toilet Area
I've made a sketch based on photos you sent in. Now before I get to the nitty gritty, let me explain the parts of your bathroom to other readers. 1) is the human toilet; 2) is your litter box, 3) is the rug on which your box sits, 4) is the entrance to the bathroom.

When we pee near but not in the box, it means that while we like the location of the box, there is something else about that box that is just wrong. Of course, WE know what is wrong but we just can’t explain it to a human. So the human must become a bit of a detective to figure the problem out.

Here is a checklist of items to have your purrson consider:

1. Box size: We don’t like the box because it is too small and a too-small box means that even if you stand or squat in it to do your business, your butt hangs over the edge and thus your pee goes outside the box. Many litter boxes are too small. In fact, I prefurr some of those longer, under-the-bed plastic storage boxes sold in department stores like Wal-Mart because I can stretch my full length and still be sure that my butt is in the box. This explanation has some potential, so let’s keep it on the list for now.

2. Box sides: The box is fine but the sides are too low for the way we pee. Some of us need boxes with higher sides because we don't always squat when we pee; and if that is the issue I can send you a design your folks can easily copy - adapting a deep plastic storage box. If you were consistently peeing or spraying outside the box then this one would be a strong possibility. For now, let’s strike it off the list.

3. Litter type: We like the box but don't really like what is inside the box. In other words, we don't really like how that litter feels on our paws. This can be a particular problem with declawed cats or indoor-only cats whose paw pads tends to be softer. If you were consistently peeing just outside your box, each and every time, then this one would get my vote. For now, let’s strike it off the list.

4. Cleanliness: The box is dirty. Don’t be so quick to delete this from the list. For some of us, even one use of the box means it requires scooping or we won’t use it again. In other words, it was fine but now has some of our stuff in it (pee or poop) and we don't want to use it again until it is cleaned. This has some potential so it stays on the list.

5. Obstacles: There are obstacles (walls, furnishings) which make it difficult for us to use some or the entire box. This has some potential so its stays on the list.

6. Safety: We don’t feel safe when we use the box. This could be due to unexpected loud noises (like a furnace cutting in), lack of privacy, or inability to escape when cornered. Don’t be too quick to delete this from your list.

What Factors Likely Apply to You

Okay let me put the factors together and tell you what I’ve got that could apply to your situation:
- box size,
- cleanliness,
- obstacles,
- safety.

Size: You have a large box (by pet supply store standards) that may just not be large enough for you – you slinky Bengal. You may have to consider either a larger box (as I mentioned above) or the use of two boxes.

Obstacles: Most humans forget that we have tails which have to be placed out of the way when we use our litter boxes. If the box is very close to a wall or an object, we cannot position ourselves near it because it will not accommodate our tail. To pee, we need to squat and have our tail hang out of back, so to speak. The way in which your box is situated makes about 35% of it (at least) completely unusable because of the wall and the porcelain toilet bowl. Wait for it, there’s more I have to say on this subject.

We cats don’t pee or poop in exactly the same place twice. We need to find a clean spot. Most especially when the box has already been soiled, we need to circle around the outside of it in order to find the best, clean spot for the next job. If the box is up against a wall or toilet (as yours is) we are very limited in our ability to find that clean spot because we cannot circle around it. We need our box to be at least 6 inches (15 cm) away from any obstacle on all sides.

Many of us like to pee near the corner edges of our boxes. The way yours is situated, you cannot do this. You can’t pee in the corner that abuts the toilet because there is no room for your tail. You’d end up spraying down the bottom of the human toilet – IF you were clever enough to find a place to put your tail. The corner that is almost on top of the wall has a similar problem. So my guess is that you’d do one of the following: a) Use that corner near the wall. If unsuccessful, pee over the edge on to the floor. b) Wanting to use the two far corners, you’d back up a bit into the centre, and then your butt would hang off the edges – on to the rug or the floor.

Cleanliness: You may be like my colleague Simon (who was a former occupant of my abode). He was a good pee-er and had very clean toilet habits. He was also a corner pee-er. He would pee in two corners of the box and when they were used up, he assumed the whole box was filled and unusable. You get the picture. For him the solution was to provide two, large boxes near each other. When he felt one was un-useable, he went on to the other box.

Safety: Most of us prefurr to pee so that we are facing an exit (in case we need to escape). Not the easiest thing to do with your current box location.

What your human sees is a box with lots of available space, that is out of the way and on a surface that is easily cleaned. But your purrson doesn’t have to figure out how to position him- or herself without getting paws dirtied with previous deposits, allow enough room for a tail to hang out the back while eliminating  AND have one's head positioned to keep an eye on any predators or enemies who might suddenly interrupt one during this time.

Your current box violates all these rules. It is located so that there would be no room for your tail up against the human toilet. The corner to its right is also difficult because of the wall; and if you happened to use it, I wouldn’t be surprised if your pee would trickle down the wall or more likely, end up on the floor behind the rug and beside the toilet. Also who amongst us would want her snout up against the wall or, heaven forbid, up against a porcelain toilet bowl? So you back up in order to use the corners closest to the door but now the box (in terms of useable space) is too small, so your butt hangs over the edge and so does the pee. Or you pee just outside the box to try to make your point (to tell them useable portion of the box is too small or the box is too full) and ‘they’ just don’t get it! Even then, you’d probably prefurr to have your face nearest the door (because of the need to be on the alert for predators). Otherwise someone could pounce on you when you least expect it.

So if I were you, I’d do at least one of the following three things:

1. Get another larger box (one of those under the bed storage boxes sold in stores like Wal-Mart) or get one additional large litter box from your pet supply store. 

2. Make sure your new box is in a quiet, private location where all four sides of the box are at least 6 inches (15 cm) away from any obstacle (including walls), and where you can always face in a direction that allows you to be warned of the presence of any predators.

3. Pull your current litter box away from the wall and the toilet so you have at least 6 inches (15 cm) of space around all four sides.

By having two boxes in two locations, you should be able to have enough choice to use the box in a way the suits both you and the humans with whom you live. If this won’t work in your situation, let me know. I don’t want you going back down to one box (no matter how large) AND change its permanent location at the same time. It would be too anxiety-provoking and – trust me - you really don’t want that.

By the way, I understand Herself uses vinegar to clean up the floor. Make sure she rinses it really well or the smell could be annoying to you (who is far closer to the floor with a far keener sense of smell than she). And if she isn’t too thrilled about rinsing, then try club soda instead of vinegar. And don’t forget to remind her about enzyme detergents (like I mentioned in our previous entry on bedding) to clean the bathroom rug.

Keep me posted, Keko.


Waking the Folks Too Early 

Hey Greyce!
Remember me, The Cat Detective?  My peeing problem is solved (thanks for the advice) and I have great news. I have a cat wall! It is a small wall that is covered in carpet from the floor to the ceiling. It’s lots of fun to climb up all the time. And I’m told that Themselves find it quite amusing to watch me.

I’d love to say that things are going well, but . . . “We” have a problem: My very early morning (according to Themselves) energy.

I like to rise around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. When I slept with Themselves in the bedroom, I thought it was a fine idea for them to rise with me. In fact I insisted on it. So what did they do? Stopped me from sleeping in the bedroom!

I pounded at the door. They covered it in tinfoil to discourage me. I no longer pound on the door. But I surely meow.

The good news is that I now get wet food in the evening, since I very loudly demanded an early morning feeding. We Bengals get hungry, you know.

They play with me a lot (that’s A LOT according to them but as far as I’m concerned it is barely adequate); and we do get some extra play time in right before bed. And I get a small spoonful of food just before the bedroom door is shut.

So what’s a girl to do? Meow at the door relentlessly, I say. And I do . . . until Themselves finally rise.

It seems that my idea of a reasonable waking hour is quite different than theirs. What do you suggest, Greyce?

Looking forward to your suggestions,

Dear Keko,
You are certainly a bundle of energy, aren’t you?

If you follow my blog avidly, then you know the advice I’ve given to Stash (Cat Meows and Fusses to Go Outside Late at Night, 11/22/10). And if you haven't, then please give it a thorough reading for much (though not all) of the information will be useful to you.

So let’s do a quick check:
- Locking you out: Done
- More playtime, especially before bed: Done
- Followed by a small meal: Done
- Not responding to your antics: Well . . .

So let me ask you: Are you STILL hungry at this early hour?

I know I sometimes get like that and once I’ve have a small meal, I am fine enough just to parade around and then go back to sleep. And Bengals are known for being persistent, VERY persistent, in order to get their way.

If you ARE still hungry, here are my suggestions (any of which require some modification to you current food plan, so your trim figure stays that way). Try whichever one(s) makes most sense to you:

- Fill your kibble bowl just before bedtime so you have grazing opportunities throughout the night.

- Hide kibble in food puzzles for you to play with (and nosh on) during the night. See that blog entry about Stash, I mentioned, to click directly on a link to food puzzles your folks can make for you. Puzzles keeps you occupied and satisfied.

- Buy a timed feeder (available from pet supply stores) and set it for 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. when your “hungries” hit. Depending on the feeder, it can work with kibble or fresh (even keeping it cool).

In my experience, fresh wet food seems to fill my tummy up faster than a nosh of dry – but you will know best what works for you. This option might be a bit pricey but Themselves are likely to feel it is worth it, if all else has failed.

Under all circumstances, Themselves must avoid responding to your wake up calls. Otherwise you will just continue to do so, because you get results! Suggest ear plugs for them, if need be and/or using a white noise generator in their bedroom (the kind of inexpensive machine that sounds like waterfalls – often found in drug stores or places that sell stuff for human babies because it helps them sleep through the night).

Of course even if your hunger is satisfied, you may choose to continue your meowing entertainment. You are a Bengal and Bengals are persistent. But if Themselves persist in ignoring your calls and instead stay QUIETLY in the bedroom - regardless of how much they might like to tell you to knock it off, then, in time, you will get the message and the early morning meowing will be a thing of the past.

Here's to a good night's sleep for all,

JULY 2012
Peeing Around the Apartment 

Hello Again Greyce,

 In 2010 you helped me adapt to my new home and deal with peeing just outside the litter box and on mattresses.

You gave us lots of advice about litter boxes. The idea of a second litter box wasn't great; I just peed around it. The Feliway didn't do anything remarkable either. But the re-positioning of the box helped, lid removed. Themselves also put puppy pee pads around the box to catch my urine. It may not be the most elegant solution but it worked for us. 

Then I started howling in the early morning and you helped me again.

All worked well for about a year. 

I used to only have a pee problem when Herself was out of town. And my problems were rare. But for the last 6 months, things have been escalating. I have peed on area rugs, pillows, laundry, Herself's backpack, my favourite lounge, my toys, and areas just outside of my litter box. I do big puddles, not sprinkles. 

The evidence is marked in yellow on the layout.
Keko's Home (Pee Sites in Yellow)
And a few weeks ago, I started to meow loudly in the middle of the night. (Themselves kick me out of the bedroom then, and I go to sleep elsewhere without much fuss, until about 7 a.m.)

So I need help again!

To refresh your memory, I'm now a 5-year-old spayed, female Bengal, living with 2 purrsons (both of whom I adore) in a large apartment high in the sky. 

Being a Bengal, I have lots and lots and lots of energy. So I love to play and play and play. I have a chaise lounge (my jungle gym), a carpet cat wall (a wall covered from the floor to ceiling with carpet), and wicker scratch post with a basket on top and cubby in the bottom. I also have lots of different toys. I like to play fetch. I like to play chase. A dog comes to visit every so often and I love that dog. I love people. I love life!

I enjoy being with both my folks. I am more playful and rambunctious with Himself. I like to follow Herself around more and will snuggle up to or sit near her when I take a nap. I loved being chased around and sometimes yell for someone to come and chase me. I love to play fetch. I'll play with a mouse on the string and various other toys from time to time. Do you get the impression that I like to play? I like being petted but NOT held.

My routine:
- Wake up around 7 a.m., ready to play.
- Eat breakfast (free fed).
- While Herself is at home for the morning, follow her around, watch her in the bathroom putting on make up,  play off-and-on with her, and lie around in the sunbeams. (I'm very energetic in the mornings).
- Themselves return around 5 p.m. and I'm excited to see them because it means play time.
- At around 6 p.m. I get a wet food dinner (which I absolutely love).
- In the evenings I alternate between play and naps and watching TV. Sometimes I disappear for a couple of hours for my own quiet time. I'm also content to play alone.
- Just before bed, I get really vocal. I get a snack at that time.

My box is scooped daily and completely cleaned weekly. My litter (pine pellets) has always been the same. The doors to the bedrooms are kept closed (since I've peed on soft things there). I've been to the vet who has pronounced me happy and healthy.
Now there have been a few things you might need to know about:

We've noticed that the problem seems to get worse when Herself is out of town (she travels several times a year for between 1 and 3 weeks at a time). When Herself is out of town, I am home alone all day except for lunch time.  

Eight months ago, Himself got a new job and now works outside the home. When Herself is NOT out of town on business trips, she works from home in the mornings and is away for the afternoon.

And just in case you need to know, here are the disruptions in the household routine for the past while: 10 months ago: Herself away for 10 days
9 months ago (mid-month): Himself starts new job. No longer works from home.
8 months ago: Themselves take 2, 5-day vacations. During one I have stayover petsitters (loved it). During the other, friends looked in on my every day.
4 to 5 months ago was when Themselves noticed my problems escalate.
3 and 4 months ago, things were a bit harried: Himself was away for 5 days, then Herself was away for 10 and meanwhile there were guests (whom I loved) who stayed for a week and a half, then left for 2 weeks and then returned for another week and a half.
3 months ago, Herself was sick for a week and stayed home.

Okay Greyce, I could figure out that the change in routine with respect to Himself could set me off. But then why was there such a delay, between the time of this change and the change in my habits? Is there another cause? I'm confused.

Please help! Keko - the frisky, affectionate Bengal

Dear Keko,

My goodness you are leading your folks a merry chase! And you are such a Bengal - intelligent, social and high energy. You are a cat who requires lots of physical and intellectual stimulation and challenge on a daily basis. I hope your folks are in good shape because you certainly can run circles around them. And I bet that most times they love every minute of it - except when they have to catch their breath.

It seems that there are two kinds of problems here. One relates (yet again) to your litter box. The other relates to your peeing-around-the house.

Sometimes when cats refuse to use the box, it is because there is something wrong with the box. And you already know that from your previous history. I think we can improve on your box situation and I will get to that later.

But other than the occasional urination just outside the box (which we will address later), you continue to use your box. It's just that you also use other places. And you tend to like soft places or things made of fabric, when you are not using your box.

Cats who are in good health (and do not have urinary tract infections) may pee elsewhere than the box  because they are anxious. In your case I believe that the change in routine is anxiety-provoking for you, especially since you noticed that things seems to get worse when Herself is away.

My Assessment of Your Problem

Here is what I think:

1. You miss the level of human interaction and availability that is no longer. Sure Himself may not have played a strong role in your daytime routine, but he was there. And no doubt his very presence contributed to your sense of well-being. Purrhaps he even played a round or two of fetch if you asked him, or gave your a head scratch. (And yes, I know he is a prime player in your evening routine.) So your human availability was cut in half when Himself took employment elsewhere - especially since it seems that Himself was around all day (whereas Herself left for the afternoon). Oh well, at least Herself was about for the mornings. But then when Herself is out of town for days on end, you are without her usual contact 24/7. And since you really liked to follow her around, that would be a big hole in your day.

Especially when Herself is away, I wonder how frisky Himself is at the end of the work day: How ready is he to play and play a lot with you - because he has a lot to make up for! Poor guy hasn't probably figured out how to compensate to you for Herself's absence. Don't worry, humans are like that and it's part of my job to help you sort it out.

2. You are bored. Human interaction is a BIG part of your life. As an indoor-only, people-friendly, single cat, you depend on it. And even though you are able to entertain yourself, this change in the interaction component is a big deal. Who is going to stir things up for you? Make them interesting?

Besides when I looked at your earlier description of your home, I noticed one other important item: You haven't changed or added to your purrsonal furnishings since around the time you arrived in this home. And that gets me wondering about how old your toys are, too.

Now tell me Keko, what human would have the same issue of the same magazine for two years and say that their need to read is satisfied? B-o-r-i-n-g.

3. The bored cat + The cat who misses social interaction = The anxious cat. And one of the ways the anxious cat demonstrates that anxiety is peeing elsewhere in the home. (Believe me Keko, there are lots of other ways to show this, but this is the one you have chosen.) Your peeing sometimes doesn't make sense to humans (like the incident on your favourite lounge), though it does seems to occur in places likely  impregnated with beloved scent.

Sure you go to the vet and are pronounced happy and healthy. Of course you are happy. You are a people-oriented cat and you go to a clinic and get lots of attention. You'd have to be in a very, very bad way to demonstrate anything other than happiness in such a context. No Keko, I'm not suggesting that the vet wasn't accurate - just that in your case, your distress can be easily missed.

Before we get to solutions, I need to make another point: Why did this take so long to manifest? After all it was several months after Himself's new job when it really started to show.

My dear, sometimes we are just like that. Something shifts that makes us less comfortable. We go along with it for a while. There may even be a distraction or two (like that live-in petsitter). But after a while, things start to build to a point where we need to take action.

The Concept Behind My Advice to You

Keko my biggest piece of advice to you is to work on improving your social and physical environment, to give you the intellectual stimulation and physical challenge you need. I've got LOTS of ideas and I want you to consider all of them carefully. But first, I need to set the scene for you and other readers, so you understand why I'm making sure a big deal out of this.

The Importance of Environmental Enrichment

Many years ago we cats used to live outside, largely in rural areas. Some of us still do. In the '50s, when suburbs started to grow and canned food and litter were invented, more people started to have cats live inside houses with them. That was fine because in most cases, we still could go inside and outside to our hearts' content.

With the advent of vaccinations and other medicines along with spaying and neutering, a good portion of the dangers of being outside (disease, pregnancy, fighting with other cats) was lowered - a lot. Still other dangers remained: road accidents, predators, foul play - along with the fact that not every neighbour was pleased by our presence, let alone our activities.

Over time, the attitude toward pets had changed considerably in North America. We are like family members - child, partner and friend. To our beloved humans, we are too precious to go out and about unsupervised. Indeed from a health standpoint, most experts (like veterinarians and cat associations) strongly recommend that cats be kept indoors at all times.

What they have often failed to recognized (until recently) is that this makes us animals in captivity - totally dependent on our purrsons. They control our food, our water, our litter, the toys we get to have, the games we can or cannot play with them. You get the picture. And most of them tend to think that if our basic health, feeding and litter needs are met, we can take care of the rest ourselves.

But think about it: In fact, we have little control over the prime areas of our lives - who we live with, whether or not new pets join us, where we can and cannot go, what we eat and how often, where we drink, what games we play with people, what toys we have, etc. We have little choice.

"It's for your own good!" they say. And to a point, they are right. Yet I ask you to consider the following: Comparisons across countries show that in areas where cats are captive indoors, behaviour problems rise - a lot! And that is because we cannot always behave like cats when we are inside. We have a lot of needs which are either only partially satisfied or not satisfied at all.

Slowly humans are understanding that suppressing or frustrating our behaviour in indoor-only environments (like our standard behaviour of peeing wherever we wish, or of hunting and eating live prey) is not necessarily a good thing. And some humans are working on ways to satisfy both our feline needs and the needs of the humans with whom we live, in indoor environments.

For example, the Feline Advisory Bureau (FAB) has an excellent handout: The Cat Friendly Home - that can serve as a checklist of what to look for in the truly cat-friendly home. I'm going to pick and choose from that list, to focus on the areas in which your home needs improvement. If you want to see the complete list, then consult the handout.

Areas of My Advice in a Nutshell

I will offer suggested improvements in the following areas:

In this entry I will deal with
- ways to make eating more of a challenge for you, and
- some possible improvements to your water.
I'm taking food and water first because the advice I give is relatively easy and inexpensive to implement. And also because your current patterns leaves you with a 5+ hour gap in your day, compared to the hunting activity you would need to undertake in the wild.

Next I will deal with workouts and your need for both strenuous exercise and social contact. I'm offering clicker training and agility (along with other ideas) as possible solutions.

Then I will focus on interior design because, Keko, you need to update your furnishings.

After than I will look at other ways of introducing novelty and sensory stimulation into your world.

Then I will deal with 'last chance' ideas - that is, ideas that could be implemented IF the ones above don't work out, or you and your folks don't like them.

My final entry responding to your letter will be about your litter box and some ways to work on solving the problem of peeing near but outside your box.

Keko, there is going to be a LOT of advice. I want you to read it carefully and look through the references and links I include. Mull it over and then consider what you and your folks can implement. As with all changes, I advise doing only one or two things at a time and then giving it a few days (up to a week) to set in, before trying something else. With big changes, you might want to go longer before introducing another element. There is no need to flood you with change. But you do need some change to make your life more interesting.

So stay with me Keko, and read on!

Let's start with a favourite topic: food and water.

My Advice to You - Restore the Hunt in your Feeding Routine

Of course you are fed and being fed well. It is just that it isn't the same as hunting. Like most of us, you have a feeding routine and it is predictable. If you were in the wild, you'd be out hunting for about a quarter of your day. It would be challenging and you would only be successful in capturing prey about 30% of the time.

So Keko, you do the math. Figure out how much time you spend eating now and subtract that from the estimated 6 hours hunting, killing and eating prey that you would spend in the wild. I'll bet you come up with a large chunk of leftover time! Time that needs to be spend in a challenging way.

In past blog entries I've gone on and on about how we need to exercise our predatory cycle (part of the reason I'm such a strong advocate of interactive play). We are made to have our arousal level rise during the day (to get us out to hunt) and when that level is unable to be lowered in any useful (to us) way (meaning, stalking and catching prey or simulated prey in the form of moving, prey-like toys) then we get in trouble. It stays high and goes higher until we get anxious indeed - an anxiety that can manifest in peeing around the house, self-mutilation, anorexia or a host of other problems.

If you have been reading my blog, you know I'm a strong advocate of food puzzles because they make us work for our food.  Basically, such puzzles will hide your food and you will have to work to get access to it.

The Zig n Zag Ball and the Play n Treat (food puzzle) Ball by Go Cat Go! is an entry-level food puzzle; you can also look at Trixie's Cat Puzzles. The alternative to bought puzzles of this nature is a  homemade food puzzle which can be made at varying levels of difficulty. Also have a look at the suggestions in the (FAB) handout I mentioned above and figure out what might work for you.

I'd vote for inexpensive, home-made ones first. Then graduate to well-made bought ones that can be made to increase their complexity (that is, they start out easy but can be made more difficult as you master them).  

Alternatively your folks can divide portions of your daily ration of kibble (other than breakfast - or purrhaps reduce the breakfast portion) and hide them around the house - on shelves, behind the couch, etc. That way you have to hunt for them. Again the FAB handout has more advice on how to do this.

All the suggestions are relatively easy for your folks to implement (for which they should be grateful). Just have them try one at a time, each for at least several days or up to a week. If it is a hit, then it can be part of your feeding repertoire. If not, just move on.

And if they do it right, your folks can leave puzzles, etc. for you to complete when they are not at home - thereby relieving some of your anxiety.

My Advice to You: Put the Wild back in your Water

Where is your water dish? Bet it is by the food bowl. Did you put it there? Of course, not! But it is so convenient for those humans to have everything in one place.

The problem is that they don't realize that we cats prefurr to have our food sources kept separate from our water because in the wild, we look for each of them at different times. Did you know that if you keep your water bowl next to your dry food, you are less likely to drink enough water?

So here is my advice. Re-evaluate your water bowl. If you like its size and shape then by all means keep it. If you seem satisfied by its current placement then do keep it there - at least for now because we don't want to introduce too many changes at once.

However, I would like you to add another source of water somewhere else in your home. If you like still water, then another bowl (or tumbler) will be quite fine. If you prefurr running water, then I strongly recommend a cat water fountain. Some brands to consider are Catit, Drinkwell and Petmate.

Hang in there Keko. More advice is on its way! It's all about workouts and new ways to connect with your folks.


Exercise and Social Contact

Dear Keko,
Here is Part 2 of my advice to you. Simply put:  Get More of A Workout, Girl! 

In your original letter to me, you explained how you play fetch and chase with Themselves. Obviously this is something you love. I think the issue for you is the reduction in such play time, given the new routine. I'm not going to chastise your folks about play time right now because I sense they may be feeling guilty already. Instead I'm going to ask that they expand their repertoire of social contact with you.

Social contact includes predatory play, grooming and talking to you; sorry, cuddling and lying near them doesn't count - important though it may be. I'm looking for ways to increase your bond with them, ways that will make think.

Being Bengal, you are very intelligent and thus easily bored. Coupled with your high energy level, you can be quite a handful. And I know that your folks can only spend so much time playing with you because they have work to do in order to provide you with kibble and treats. So here is the deal:  I'd like you to enhance your relationship with them through clicker training. In other words, I want them to teach you to do tricks. Because tricks will give your brain a good workout.

Try Clicker Training

Clicker training is exactly how it sounds. Themselves pair the sound of the clicker with a food treat while shaping your behaviour in a specific way.

There are lots of resources available to learn more about clicker training and its possibilities for cats. 
Karen Pryor who is famous for clicker training various animals has an extensive website that is worth visiting. Behaviourist Marilyn Krieger has experience clicker training her Bengal cats and is the author of a book on clicker training, entitled Naughty No More!

First Clicker Training, Then Agility

After you have mastered clicker training, you might consider agility training which basically trains you to run an obstacle course. You mentioned how much you enjoy games of chase and running about the house. Agility would take it to the next level, and then some.

You can learn more about this from your local Bengal breeder, Bengal rescue group or cat fancy organization. I'm sure they could put you in touch with the right people, oops, I mean, cats. Also try the  Cat Fanciers Association Agility Website  or Cats Center Stage for more information.

But before you become an Olympian athlete and engage in competition, consider the ways in which a tunnel, ramp, or hoop (etc.) could be added to your furnishings and make your own obstacle course - which can be varied from time to time. Of course, try this AFTER clicker training.

One thing at a time, dear! I think that clicker training and agility training are wonderful possibilities for you. Both would involve your folks and so also count as social interaction time. And it could very well be fun for all of you.

Let the games begin!


Dear Keko,
We've looked at changes to your feeding and drinking routines as well as improved social contact through clicker and agility training. Now let's turn to interior design.

I don't have to tell you - a Bengal - about the importance of high resting places to keep you safe and give you an unobstructed view of your territory. Or about the importance of having high corridors, ramps and bridges. Have a look at  House of Cats International for example. 

Now let's have a look at your current feline interior design. Your folks are more than familiar with your gymnastic skills and your need to keep agile. In fact they built you a carpeted climbing wall which is a wonderful addition for one of your purrsuasion. Many cats will envy you!

However nothing in cat furnishings has been added in the two years you have lived there. And it is time to consider some additional things.

How about a shelf system (definitely with non-slip covering) that enables you to prance about the house without touching the ground?

How about a very tall cat tree?

And yes, I know you live in an apartment and may not be able to drill into the walls. Never fear, I've got a solution. Try a cat tree like the Whisker Studio Cat Tower which is fixed to floor and ceiling with an adjustable suspension system.

Now Keko, don't get your charge card out just yet. You need to carefully think about what could really make your place even better and more interesting than it is now. Think "optimize" not just adding willy nilly. I want you to look through the website Hauspanther because it is filled with ideas for your consideration.

Some of the design ideas from that website were recently featured on the TV series My Cat From Hell with behaviourist Jackson Galaxy, whose own website has a new Catification Column which is worth checking out.

And once you have decided, do share your design ideas. I'm sure other cats would want to know.



Dear Keko,

Yes, sometimes Keko naps
Are you that bored with my advice that you have to nap on the desk? Just kidding. I must admit that you look awfully content in this position.

Now I want you the Wake Up and Perk Up Your Ears! We are going to talk about other ways to enrich your environment and keep you stimulated. You may wonder what they may be since we've already talked about food, water, clicker training, agility training, and a host of interior design additions and modifications.

Well, sit up and take notice of these . . . .
- Toys
- Novelty
- TV
- Olfactory Stimulation (smelly things)
- A Digestif
- Fresh Air.

Let's start with toys. 

You told me that you enjoy playing fetch. You also love chasing paper balls and candy canes; you like to dip them in your water and then play with them when they are sopping wet. Since you love splashing around in water or drinking from a tap, a water fountain would be lovely and you wouldn't have to depend on your folks to turn it on. Remember that list of fountain makers I mentioned in a previous to you?

You also chase after a catnip-filled beaver. You ignore balls and other toys you have been given. You will play with a mouse on a string. From time to time you will indulge Themselves in a game of laser pointer.
That is quite a list and it seems to be that you have a good supply. So my suggestions are supplemental.

Of course I'm sure your get new paper balls on a regular basis and that would introduce you to slightly new smells. See if Themselves can make some balls out of different weights and textures of papers (preferably unbleached, undyed). They might have to go to a paper or art supply store for these. I'm thinking rice paper, butcher paper, corrugated paper, and the like. Not large quantities - just a sheet of each to allow for some variety.

And variety could be introduced once and a while. Before you tire of a new one, Themselves could put it away and bring out another (even another that was previously put away). This is called toy rotation and if done on a regular basis (weekly to so) helps keep our interest up.

That catnip-filled beaver sounds great. Consider putting said beaver into a plastic bag with some catnip; close the bag and let it marinate for a week or so. Of course, the bag has to be locked away so you don't get it. But after that week, the beaver may smell even more wonderful and encourage you in chase and fetch even more. In fact, any toy can be marinated in catnip if you wish.

Now for that mouse on a string. I have two suggestions here - both string toys that have really caught my interest. One is The Kittenator because it is so prey-like and the other is Da Bird - which doesn't look extraordinary but has been given 4-paws-up ratings both by myself and many of my colleagues. There is something about that whizzing sound and the shape of those feathers that really turns me on.

Also consult my tab (top of my blog) called Interactive Play Therapy


A girl like you can get bored pretty quickly. The trick is to have the next new thing at hand. And that doesn't have to be expensive at all.

Think boxes (like a cardboard carton from the liquor store) or big paper (never plastic) bags (handles must be removed) with the opening rolled over to form a collar that will help it stay open. These are excellent for hiding a toy or for diving in. They may be particularly fun toys if a viewing hole is cut in the bottom of the bag before it is propped open. You can also use empty disposable tissue containers - especially with a toy inside. Crumpled tissue paper (again unbleached, undyed prefurred) has a host of uses. I really like it when the folks hide a toy in it and I accidentally find one during a pounce and chase session with a fishing pole toy.


If you are a cat who responds to television (or to the computer cursor), then this might be for you. Some of us really like watching animal programs or sports that involve balls being tossed back and forth (like tennis). There are also videos made especially for us; but they don't appeal to everyone.  If you go this route, view free videos by doing a Google search under "videos for cats to watch"; it will direct you to a host of ones offered by You Tube along with sites for longer videos you can purchase.

If you enjoy this concept, ask Themselves to put the TV on a timer on so that 'your program' comes on at a time when they are away from home (the afternoon sounds about right). Of course, you will need some program variety too.

Great Smells

You have already admitted to a pronounced taste for catnip - just like 70% of our species.

My Golden Retriever cousin, Ryley, sent me some marvellous catnip from California. And about once a week, I have a catnip party. I like to eat it but many of my colleagues roll around in it. I know of cats who have rollover parties the night before their folks plan to vacuum the house. The catnip is sprinkled on the rug and some furnishings and they have a wild roll until they are 'snoggered' and mellow. Just remember: If this happens more than twice a week, catnip begins to lose its effect.

According to the Feline Advisory Bureau, valerian can also have the same effect. You can probably buy it in the form of teabags at any place that sells herbal teas - just remove the string and staples.

A Digestif

Like most cats, I love to chew on grass to help my digestion. And yes, I do admit to throwing it up. But it feels good. And I recommend it. Though your folks will be less impressed.

You can buy pots of cat grass at pet supply or garden shops. But if you like this, I recommend getting the seeds and growing them from scratch (really simple and much cheaper by far). I use a heavy flat saucer (the kind of heavy clay saucers - not plastic - that are sold to go underneath clay plant pots). Heaviness is important or the whole thing will move around and you will make a mess.

And now for the ultimate: Fresh Air

Breezes carry all kinds of scent news. And the wind rippling through our furs and through our whiskers can be most stimulating, with its different velocities and directions.

I know you live in a high-rise. It would be far too dangerous to keep a window open (if even windows do open in such buildings these days). And I notice that the balcony is off-limits to you (and a good thing, too, under the circumstances).

However, depending upon where your building is located (or the proximity to some parkland) I wonder about the possibility of a leash walk. Is there a relatively quiet (and nice) area to which you could be carried (say in a cat carrier) and then taken for a leash walk?
If this is a possibility for you, consult my entry of April 26, 2010 - Harnessing Facts and then of May 3, 2010 - Going for a Walk. 

Well Keko, that wraps it up for now. But my advice to you will continue in my next entry.


"LAST CHANGE IDEAS" - Just in Case

Dear Keko,
We've gone through a lot of possibilities for ways to enrich your living experience and thereby resolve your anxiety.

To review:

My first entry to you dealt with changes to the way you are fed and how you get your water.

The next entry was about ways to improve you social connection with your folks through clicker training and agility training - a sure way to strengthen your bonds while, at the same time, giving you a great intellectual workout.

The third entry was about interior design - ways to enhance your home through the addition of cat-friendly furnishings.

The fourth entry focused on toys, way of introducing novelty, smelly things, cat grass and the possibility of leash walks - all ways to stimulate your senses.

And now, I will write the last of my ideas. These are not my priority ideas which is why I have saved them for last. And I won't describe them in great detail, unless you write back and want to explore one or more of them further. They are in no particular order.

An Exercise Wheel 

This is a very big version of a hamster wheel and gives you an equivalent workout. In my view, it might be more suited to a home that has several high energy cats - largely because it is quite expensive ($200 and up; and for a decent one, purrhaps around $500). You have to get a good one or it will be money down the drain. It must be large enough, stable enough and reliable enough.

If you want to pursue this, I suggest you contact your Bengal breeder for advice. Jill Yotz's blog also has a review of many of those on the market along with what to look for.


Cats with high anxiety levels are sometimes given anti-anxiety medication to help them cope. Usually it is given for a period of time while other behavioural changes are being made, to which the cat needs to adjust - to learn new behaviours in stressful situations.

I would be more inclined to advise going this route if you were part of a multi-cat household and huge fights were involved. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against medication, when used properly. But too many people medicate their animals and don't do anything else. So you never learn how to otherwise cope with the situation. And since the problem is 'out of sight' the folks keep it 'out of mind'.

You are a healthy cat. You have high energy and intellectual needs. Surely there are other ways to meet them. If not, then this is a 'fall-back'.

A Cat Companion

Having company of your own species might be helpful. After all you spent the first years of your life in a cattery so you must be used to other cats.

Three things would be important to keep in mind if you were thinking about this route:

1) Can your folks handle two of you? You would definitely need MORE cat furniture!

2) You would need a companion whose energy level and intellect is similar enough to your to keep you interested. Not necessarily a Bengal but someone of compatible demeanor (a Savannah purrhaps?). No mellow, sluggish cats need apply. Consult Bengal websites and/or your breeder for further advice.

3) You would need a VERY CAREFUL introduction process (as per my entry, May I Introduce? A Cat!). A proper introduction process is absolutely essential.

A New Home

If all else fails and your problem cannot be resolved, it may be in everyone's best interest to find you a new home: one in which the family routine is more compatible with your needs.

Now I know, Keko, that some of the advice in this entry won't be very popular with you. But I just wanted to be as thorough as possible. So now the choices (from all the entries) are yours. Meanwhile I'll get to work and prepare that advice about your litter box.

Whisker kisses,


Dear Keko,
For the benefit of other readers, I want to review your history first before I offer advice on your latest litter box dilemma.

To the left is a sketch of the situation. 1 is the toilet. 2 is the box. and 3 is the area rug on which it sat. The location was far too cramped and so
I made the following recommendations at that time:

a) Get a larger litter box than the one you were using (since Bengals tend to be long and you might not have enough room) and install it in another private and quiet location. This extra box could be useful if your standards of cleanliness were such that once a box was used a few times it was, in your mind, no longer usable. two boxes might be best.

b) Re-position the current box (cover removed) so that it is not up against any walls (at least 6"  or 15 cm away) - so you would have room for your tail.

And all seemed to be fine when you contacted me a couple of months later.

Well things have changed and you started to pee - from time to time - beside/just over the box edge. Your folks decided the easiest solutions were twofold: a) removing a urine-soaked area rug (item 3 in the sketch) that seemed to be re-attracting you, and b) putting puppy pee pads around the box to soak up the excess.  The second box was not a success (really didn't make a difference) and was abandoned.

Now we know that you pee around the house AND pee over the side of your box from time to time. So I asked for a photo (shown below) to help me figure the problem out.

You have one, large box (21" x 15" x 9"). It is located in a bathroom. You have the same kind of litter (pine pellets) you've had since being a kitten. And it is scooped daily, with the box being fully cleaned weekly. You tend to pee over the sides - not always, but often enough for it to be a problem.

My Assessment

Keko, you need to re-think this box. While it is large by the usual standards of what is available in pet supply stores, it isn't wide  enough to accommodate your needs - obviously.

My guess is that you may pee at the back of it, say, once; but then look for another clean spot for the next pee.

Now readers, a human could argue that she should just reverse herself and pee while facing the wall - but that would make her vulnerable should an invader happen to pass by and try to jump her when she is in the act. (Remember that we cats still think as if we are in the wild.)

Using one's litter box puts one in a vulnerable position. One always wants to be able to see the enemy in advance AND have a suitable escape route. So your alternative is to position yourself sideways which means that while your paws are in the box, your bum hangs over the side.

Surely 9" in height should be sufficient, you may wonder. But trust me. Bengal cats are long and tall. Obviously 9" doesn't do it for you - especially if (as is very likely) you cannot position yourself in a full squat when you are sideways. Then you must stand to pee and that would make it highly likely to go over the side.

My Advice

Keko since you have not been caught in the act of peeing, I cannot be certain of exactly what is going on. So I would like you to try each of the following - one at a time, until you meet with success.

1. Try changing the orientation of the box by 90 degrees, leaving a 6" (15 cm) space between the box and the wall. In other words, face the box so that the one really high side (considered the back of the box) is parallel to the sink. For now, continue putting the pee pads around the sides. If this is successful it means that you position your body in line with the overall room and your safety exit. So as long as the box is oriented so that you can use the length of it while positioned for safety, rather than the width, all will be well.

2. If that doesn't work, get a bigger box. By bigger I mean one that is at least as long as the one you have AND is about as wide as your current one is long. Not making sense? Well consider this. You have a box that is 21 x 15 x 9 inches. I'd like you to find a box that is at least 21(preferably a bit more) long x 21 (or thereabouts wide) x 9+ (high)".

3. Still going over the side? Then you will have to make your own, high-sided box from a plastic storage container. Some of the clearest instructions for how to do this are from the Pet Project blog. Just make sure to get a container that has a generous length (say 21" to 35") and generous width (19+") and nice high sides (14"+). And unlike the instructions given, take the top off! I want you using an open box.

Please also note: Some cats pee over the side of the box because they no longer like the feel of the kind of litter they are using. Since you really like to pee on soft things, you might want to try a really soft litter, like one made of compressed newspaper such as Yesterdays News

Keko, let me know what works for you. Inquiring cats want to know,

Dear Greyce,
Thanks so much for all of your advice. I took a lot of your advice and things are going well. In fact, they are great.

Here is a list of the advice I took from your entries to me (in no particular order):

Clicker Training - I LOVE to do tricks and I learn really quickly. Herself knew I was smart but didn't realize she was living with a genius. Now she knows better. I give Themselves High-Fives and sit on command. It's a lot of fun.

Outdoor Experience - We now go for walks in the courtyard. One time there were just too many noises and I started to shake; so they took me back in. Other than that, it's been wonderful.

Food Hunts - I now have a food puzzle (ball) dispenser I can roll around to get kibble. It only took me one flick of the paw to know how it worked.

Wild Water - Himself is building me my very own custom-made water fountain that I love staring at.

New Furniture - A friend is building me my very own cat tree - to complement my climbing wall and existing cat scratcher.

Toy Rotation - I heartily endorse rotating my toys (letting them marinate in catnip away from me for days on end). They are much more interesting now.

Litter Box Position - The box has been re-oriented and so far I haven't peed over the side once.

Different Litter - You suggested that since I like to pee on soft things (like pillows) we try a soft, compressed newsprint (Yesterdays News) and we are.

To tell you the truth, there has only been one incident since I reached out to you. I peed on Herself's clothes (which were on the floor); but that was shortly after we began getting your advice. I'm chalking it up to the transition. Himself thinks this will teach Herself the value of NOT leaving her clothes on the floor (heh, heh). 

All in all, I am much happier. I think mental stimulation was a big part of what I was missing. Most of all, I LOVE doing tricks and so enjoy the treats I get for doing them. I can't wait for my cat tree!

With purrs of thanks,

Darling Keko,
I get tingles down to my paw pads when I read of the marvellous changes in your life. Congratulations!
However we don't want Themselves to rest on their laurels just yet. Do remind them that since you are such a genius, they will need to keep on top of keeping you interested in life. This means that in time you will want to graduate to a more complex food puzzle, different toys, and new tricks.
Suggest that they also read a book or two about cat clicker training because it will give them advice - not only on new tricks but also on ways to wean you off getting a treat each and every time your perform (while keeping you even more interested in learning new things).
I'm glad you went back inside when the outdoor noise got too much for you. I guess it is more a case of Themselves learning the times of the days at which the courtyard is suitable for such outings. And just in case (and as a note to any other readers who may be thinking of outdoor experience), do make sure that your vaccinations are up-to-date. Some indoor-only cats do not receive the full spectrum of vaccines because they have no chance of contact with other cats or the residues they may have left behind.  So give your vet a quick call, just to make sure that all is well.

With the loudest of purrs on all your achievements,

JULY 2013
Keko's Update: A Year Later

Hi Greyce,
I've had an informal pawtrait taken and thought you might like a copy. I must admit to looking like Audrey Hepburn. 

Every now and then I have a moment of weakness and pee in places other than the kitty litter. But Themselves have learned to keep their laundry off the floor, regularly scrub out my litter and - best of all - keep me entertained.

What can I say, Greyce? I'm high maintenance but I'm worth it!


Oh Keko,
You do look marvellous! And I'm so glad to hear that your purrsons are so much more in tune with your needs.

Keep up the good work!