We had a situation yesterday that nearly broke my heart, and Janet's, director of Great Lakes Bengal Rescue.
A blue silver Bengal boy, very young, named sadly, BUBBA, (which may be the source of his problems if you ask me) had been thru a few homes, where, from what I can gather, people did pretty much everything wrong.
Tho neutered and healthy, he sprays. Cats spray for Reasons. Mim did, and Magic really did. They don't now. I fixed them. This beautiful boy, who is a lover and a lapcat, was out of options. Shelter didn't want him, his foster home wanted him gone. I can't take another. We had no options.
I thought about it most of the day. How do I make an appeal to save him when it would look like this "Well, yes, he's great except for the spraying, I can help you fix that, but it is going to take a lot of love, patience, time and a pretty good outlay of $$, well yes, there are a LOT wonderful Bengals with no problems waiting for homes.." Do I let him go, and work on the Perfect Bengals that I can find homes for?
Like Magic, no one wanted him. Does he die (no, not "Put Down" or "Put to sleep" Die) for something that isn't his fault? I've never met him, it's one kitty, we save the ones we can, very sad, but really, who would take this on?
Not on my fucking watch.
Woodsman Hans has agreed to foster him. (Can't call him BUBBA) He did it because I asked him if he would, and his heart is as large and warm as the Birdchick's heated mattress pad. I'll pay for what the kitty needs, and we will fix him. And he will find a forever home. And he will live his life as he was meant to.
How to Fix Litterbox/Spraying problems...
1. Cats have litter issues because they are scared, unsure, unhappy, or have health problems. Check out the health angle first, to rule it out.
2. Kitty needs to feel safe. Those "Cat Boxes" that are WAY to small, and if they have lids, too confined. If your Kitty is fine with it, great. If not, get some plastic bins, the high ones. Don't make a "cut out" for a door, cats can JUMP.
3. You should have at Least one more box than you have cats. You should have a Bin, we will call it, on every floor. As many as you can have. Kitty may be nervous about getting to his bin. With a kitty with problems, even if he is in one room, he should have more than one, in separate corners. Magic has THREE in one bedroom sized room.
If you have multiple kitties, the more the better. Prevent wars, or one kitty from being afraid to use anothers bin.
4. Use only un-scented clay clumping litter. They will not smell if you clean them EVERY day. And you should. It takes 5 seconds to do it. If you leave it a week, kitty will not like it, and it's a drag to clean. Make it easy, have a scoop and bags by each bin.
5. Get some plug in Feliway
diffusers. We can't smell them, but they mimic the pheromones of a happy contented kitty. Also get the spray, give a spray near the litter every time you scoop. Plug in the diffusers around the house, near boxes, food or high traffic areas.
6. If kitty pees or sprays you need to clean that up so they don't smell it. Soap and water will not work, neither will steam cleaning, or carpet shampoo. I like Anti Icky Poo
best. There are also sites online that tell you how to make up a solution like it cheaply. Be diligent with this.
7. Many cats hate plastic and will spray or pee on it, say you have it on the floor, or under the bin. Get some rubber stair mats, you can buy it in huge rolls, and get some area rugs, big ones, you can get utility rugs cheaply, and put them over, to protect your floor, if you like. Kitty will like it better than walking around on plastic sheeting.
8. Play time, and toys are important. Cat trees for climbing, and feeling safe being UP are very important. Ebay has lots. Don't go for the "01 cent, plus shipping and handling!" ones. Go for the big ones that are around $70 to $130 with FREE SHIPPING. Less, far less than a pet store.
There are lots of toys, mostly for dogs, but they work for kitties, where you can hide treats, puzzle boxes, give kitty something to DO while you are gone. Have treats on hand, hide bits of steak (it's cheaper than you think, one steak cut up into tiny bits will last a week for a couple $$) on kitty's cat tree, in odd places, so he can hunt them.
9. If the problem has started with a new kitty, you need my "How to introduce kitties to eachother" advice, which is another blog. You can't toss 'em in together and hope for the best. I am working on Magic, Venus and Mim being friends now, have been for months, and will be for many more.
If you do these things, you have a very high chance of curing the problem. This will not, however, work overnight, You need a lot of time and patience and love. If you need help, killing kitty is not the answer, this CAN BE FIXED. Write me. Comment here.
If you have things that have worked, let us know in the comments. If you are a national cat behavior expert (Hi Marilyn!
) feel free to add to this.
I have a feeling that you will be hearing more about the Silver Bengal Boy whose name cannot remain BUBBA.
I have a feeling that you, like me, will cry when he finds his forever home.
Love and Cat Pee,