And what was the smell? Cat urine... from Anya.
Anya is my 14 year old, one-eyed, lilac-point himalayan cat. She also has herpes and on/off nasal infections, which I can control with lysine and echinacea. But she's quirky at times. She'll be asleep, wake up, stretch, and then howl. She's also very loving and affectionate.
She just doesn't always use the litter box.... And this is probably part of the reason she was dumped at a shelter. Anyway, sometimes she will go for 2-4 days with no accidents and then sometimes she will go 2-4 days without using the litter box. Well, you know a cat has to pee, so she does it on the floor. (And she occasionally poops on the floor too.)
Normally, peeing outside the box normally comes down to 3 causes:
- Urinary tract infection -- Cats relate the pain of peeing to the litter box, so will pee outside the box. The pees are usually small and frequent. Maybe with a drop or two of blood.
- Dislike of litter/box -- Some cats object to deodorizing crystals in litter, or the size of the grains, or the height of the box, or ... If the cat doesn't like the box, the cat will find a place and substance it likes to pee on.
- Dirty boxes -- Many cats object to using a dirty box. And if you think about it, it's like going into a public toilet and finding "stuff" in the toilet. With these cats, you need to get more boxes and/or scoop frequently.
None of these fit Anya. So, I'm left with the more exotic causes:
- Incontinence -- Cats can lose control of the bladder sphincter.
- Dementia -- Older cats forget where the box is.
- Medication -- Oral steroids can cause sudden urges to pee.
- Not trained -- I know there are some cats who never were trained by mom or the breeder to use a litter box, but I personally think these are few and far between.
The dementia and incontinence fit to some degree because she will walk along, pause, pee, and continue walking. If I see her pause and especially if she's pawing at the carpet, I can call her name and usually that is enough to interrupt her and THEN she will use her box. But I really can't sit here 24 hrs a day! This is why puppy pads won't work -- she will pee anywhere and not just one spot.
I also wonder with her if her nose isn't a factor. Cats are attracted to places to pee by smell. Since I clean the litter box and remove the smells, the carpet ends up being smellier. Now that I cleaned the carpet (and 90% of the smell is gone), I'm hoping she'll be more attracted to the litter box. So far, it is working... knock on wood.
I know many people wouldn't tolerate this and... well, I don't know what the alternatives would be. Dump her at another shelter? Put her to sleep? Lock her in a bathroom with hard floors? These just don't seem viable options to me. When I adopt an animal, it's for their lifetime, come good or bad. Putting up with this problem does not make me a saint -- I just love her for who she is.
But she has helped me clean my house... win-win for both of us!