|Bette is left, Myrna right. How can they sleep like that?|
Then there is Myrna's brother, Jimmy Stewart, a handsome grey tabby who unfortunately, has had litter box issues. He has his own reasons for stress and he has shown it with inappropriate elimination. He's a very loving, sweet boy but he's physically, emotionally, and mentally sensitive. Smells bother him that don't bother others. Noise bothers him. He's the first to get sick and gets sicker than any of the others. Cooper, the oldest male, bully's him. When he's bullied, he bullies Myrna by attacking her. What began as typical rough housing, escalated into extreme violent attacks, so much so that we've spent the last two months separating them at night and when we are gone and even short spells during the day. We don't know what sets him off but it happens a lot around the litter boxes after she's gone in one. I'm sure that's a clue to his issues but not sure why it affects him. And yet, when they are in the same room, they are fine and will even curl up and sleep together. Jimmy doesn't attack Myrna every time he sees her.
He's spent the last few month going out of the box and marking. His habits have spread to two or three of the other cats. At one point this summer, it was so bad we were afraid that all seven were having issues. We read and we tried everything. We put boxes upstairs again after we hadn't needed them for a few months. We changed litter five times. We changed location of boxes. We removed liners. We cleaned with three different urine removing cleansers. We cleaned with soap and vinegar. We gave him special play time, special attention. We put food and water down where he kept going. We used different techniques to dissuade him. All to no avail. Finally, we spoke to a specialist in early October who suggested that we clean using orange cleansers. I found one at Ace Hardware. I spent two days wiping walls, trim, floors, furniture, and washing anything that could be washed. I used bleach water on tough urine spots on the wood floors. I even cleaned the basement where the litter boxes are. We cleaned the boxes with soap and bleach. We used yet another different litter. We plugged in Feliaway. We sprayed with Feliaway. We used treats when we took him downstairs to use the litter boxes to entice him to go. We have tried to set a schedule for him. Those all seemed to work very quickly and by the end of the week, we had 10 incidents and not 15. The following week, we began medicating Cooper with a psychotropic because we felt we couldn't medicate Jimmy if the oldest male, Cooper, was being a bully and causing issues. (Just to note-it wasn't an easy decision but Cooper drew blood one Saturday by biting him very hard. Cooper is a very anxious cat even without six cats in the house.)
I'm hoping that by calming Cooper, calming Jimmy, and keeping the house clean, that it will produce a calming affect on others, and will in the long run, be of benefit to Myrna. She needs a positive environment. They all do. We all do.
Myrna goes to the cardiologist on Thursday for a checkup. She seems fine. I'll post results after the visit.