The Quest for Harmony| Kai Update

As you know from my last post, I’ve been having issues with peeing in the house and fighting. The primary culprit is Kai, who came to me as a feral and is still very fearful. He likes to pick on Lulu, as the meekest in the household, and also does a lot of territorial peeing. Of course the other kitties then follow suit and the house smells like a toilet.

We’ve been using vinegar as a cleaning agent for a long time, and bleach has been abolished (the ammonia smell can attract cats to pee on the area). But the house was still smelly. We did have some improvement whereby the kitties stopped peeing on soft surfaces and only peed on floors and bench tops. That was a minor improvement.

Kai
Kai and I have 1:1 time when he goes to his room

To tackle the house issue, I switched to a new cleaning solution. Mixing 1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid made a huge difference. On soft surfaces I sprinkled baking soda liberally on the sponged area first, then applied this mix, leaving it for 10 minutes before vacuuming. The solution didn’t stain my soft furnishings, but it did leave white marks on wooden doors. With the success of that solution, we started adding hydrogen peroxide (3%) to the washing machine, and also to the solution that we clean all floors and surfaces. The difference has been huge. The mixed solution can apparently be dangerous to store so we only mix it as we need it.

Of course sometimes finding the pee stains can be difficult. I read about using a UV torch but they aren’t available here in the Philippines. They are available in other countries in hardware stores and of course on Amazon. Instead, one of my staff bought for me a long UV tube and holder, and wired up an electrical cord so I could plug it in. I now have a 3-foot-long electric “torch” that I can move from room to room. Using this is amazing – in the cat’s room, there was pee somewhere that I just couldn’t find – the smell seemed to be everywhere, not stronger in any particular location. With my UV torch, I expected to find little bits of pee in many places, but I was mistaken. There was spray halfway up the wall, behind the door. Just the one. Cleaning once with the hydrogen peroxide solution completely transformed the ambiance of this room! I found other areas in the house which had been sprayed multiple times – no evidence of the pee was visible in normal daylight with the naked eye. If you have pee problems in your home, these two techniques will make a huge difference!

UV Light

Finding and cleaning the pee spots doesn’t address the root cause of course, which was what my last post was about – “The Taming of Kai”. We started trying to get Kai to take ½ Prozac capsule mixed into something yummy and fed by hand. That only lasted a few days; he can detect the taste. At the same time that I started medicating him, I also allowed him the “special privilege” of sleeping in my bedroom. He’s a lovely kitty to sleep next to, he sleeps deeply and quietly, doesn’t move around, and doesn’t wake me up at dawn! But this caused its own problems. Chico and Pip were unhappy about his special privilege, and started territorial peeing in my bedroom because they could smell Kai so strongly. My curtains were washed daily for about a week. When I started preventing anyone from entering my bedroom except Kai overnight, Chico started bullying Kai.

Kai
Handsome Kai

Kai is like the classic schoolyard bully. He picks on others to hide his own underlying fear and insecurity. I think it was actually Kai that tried picking on Chico first, which took Chico completely by surprise, but he stepped up and fought back. Now the situation with Chico and Kai is worse than it ever was with Kai and Lulu because neither backs down. Lulu will run and hide, but Kai and Chico face each other off, posturing and yowling. Chico also tracks Kai down and has started sleeping in Kai’s favourite places; more territory issues.

Chico
Chico chilling out

It’s also becoming increasingly difficult to medicate Kai. I’ve mixed his tiny amount of meds with tuna juice, cream cheese, human tuna, coconut oil, egg yolk. Then I mix it with his food. Each mixture works for a day or two before he rejects it. I am reluctant to resort to a syringe as this makes him even more fearful of a human’s approach than he already is. I have contacted some overseas compounding pharmacies to see if I can get a transdermal gel shipped to me; we don’t have compounding pharmacies here.

I’ve now moved Kai into a spare room overnight, alone. I can’t put him in a room with either Chico or Lulu and I think the tabby princes are a bit too boisterous for him, so he’s sleeping there. I tried spending some “special time” with Chico, taking him to a park to revisit the Manila outings of the past that he enjoyed, but it was a disaster. During the day Kai spends most of this time on top of a kitchen cupboard. I’ve also found that it is the period between breakfast and morning snooze time that is peak fighting time for them; if I can keep them separated for those few hours, the rest of the day is usually more harmonious. I spend some time in the evenings at sunset in the garden with the kitties, and when I come inside, Pip usually joins me for some 1:1 time.

Pip
Pip won’t have a cuddle but likes to be near me

I will come up with more ideas I’m sure, and I appreciate any suggestions people can send me. Note that I’ve tried and am still using calming collars, spirit essences, rescue remedy, Feliway diffuser, Feliway spray. There are no behavioural therapists here. The kitties have ample litter trays, food bowls, water fountains, and nice beds. I have just installed another 2 high shelves in their room to provide nice high perches. They have plenty of scratching trees and baskets, a large safe garden and two secure catios.

Kai
Kai – majestic but complex

 

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11 thoughts on “The Quest for Harmony| Kai Update

  1. Oh my Michelle..
    I felt more and more hopeless the more I read.
    I know now that I will never adopt more than three 😅
    Reading about 1:1 time, which isn’t a problem now for me.
    This situation must be so hard for you! So tiring to ‘find the pee’ everyday or to come home and smell a fresh puddle… I’ve been there, ‘lucky’ for me it was a medical condition of one of them.
    Have you tried contacting a behavioral specialist in another country, explain there’s no one to help you there. Maybe they can help (somewhat) from a distance?
    We had one and first thing we needed to do was fill in a big questionnaire before she visited the house. When she came, she asked more, observed the cats ofcourse and walked around the house. Then she said she knew enough.
    Maybe such a person can kinda observe through Skype and get to know quite a lot just throuh the stories you tell her.
    I don’t have any suggestions for you that will solve your problem, wish I could be of more help..
    I found out about ‘catmusic’ on YouTube, maybe you could play that after breakfast. I don’t know if it if of any use or not but maybe it’s worth a shot :)
    Take care and happy Easter!

    1. Hi Dianne, thanks for the feedback. I did look for a behavioural therapist who could work remotely but didn’t have a lot of luck. Maybe I’ll try again! I will research cat music, I never heard of it.

      In relation to the 1:1 time, I am a bit fortunate that not all the kitties need it from me. Some of them are just happy to be in the same room as me, they don’t all need cuddles. Some (like Finn) don’t like cuddles but he follows Lyn around all day when she’s here and misses her when she’s not.

      Michelle

      1. Awh Finn haha :)
        Yes, that’s good, ‘re 1:1
        My ginger doesn’t want to sit on my lap either, he just likes to sit somewhere close but not too close.
        I hope you’ll have some luck finding someone, I could inform a bit over here.
        Take care

    2. Hi Michelle, IG blocked me from the comments I was trying to make. They can be a pain. So I thought I would try to make them here. Anyway, I do have some names of cat behaviorists whom I have met at some national conferences I have attended. If you think contacting one or more of them could be helpful, I will be happy to get those contacts to you. Also, I know this is a long shot, but you might want to try contacting Jackson Galaxy’s program, “My Cat From Hell”. I assume you’re familiar with him, but if not he’s a celebrity cat behaviorist here in in the USA. I could check out that for you as well if needed. So that’s what IG would not let me say. It just breaks my heart to hear you struggling with giving these kitties an awesome life and they don’t even get it! (That’s a small joke!) 💕🐈💕🐈

  2. The collar that has worked some for me Is the sentry calming collar. I never had a lot of luck with feliway. Good luck!

    1. I’m not convinced the Feliway is effective for me either but I’m scared to stop now in case things get worse! I used the Sentry calming collar on Kai, it had a subtle effect but not enough to keep using it. I’ve just removed Chico’s – it wasn’t helping at all.

  3. Awwww. I hope the black panthers settle down soon…i had a territorial peeing prob too until i had them all neutered. I had no choice but to keep them (3 of my dominant male cats) in separate cages after the surgery for more than a month until they all settled down and got rehabilitated fr their spraying…which luckily for me, eventually happened. Coz it was really going to be an issue with my house not that big enough … and i do understand u when u say that the house smelled like a toilet!

    Thanks for sharing your cleaning solution once again…i have jotted it down in case it (spraying) happens again.

  4. Amazing the lengths you have gone to Michelle. How did the bugger pee half way up the wall behind the door??? I waited all day and quietly sat down with a beverage to read your post as my reward for living through another Easter. Never a dull moment at Kitty Central. Funny, if I type Kitty on my tablet the recommended next word is Central ☺️

    1. Thanks Ed it is very challenging. Just today I was thinking things had improved and tonight there was the most awful fight between Kai and Lulu. I could tell Kai was bristling for a fight.

      The pee got halfway up the wall because there was a scratching post. “Someone” strategically positioned themselves on the post and aimed at the wall behind the door. Wily little devils….

  5. Hi Michelle, Just wondered if you knew Jackson Galaxy is doing two Asian show THIS week! Just saw his post, perhaps you did to. Wondered if you were able to see them via stream or by tv. Just curious. The actual show starts on Sat. Animal planet. Not sure what your tv setup is like.

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