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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.