Friday, May 10, 2013

Myrna Urinated Out of the Box and Onto a Window Today

Myrna went out of the box today and almost again this evening.  This happens every couple of months or so but usually on the bed pads around the litter boxes or on the bed pads that line the washer/dryer  (we can’t figure out the attraction.)   But not today. There was a new spot.

It’s so frustrating when this happens.  She is on Valium to prevent anxiety and help her use the box.  She’s been on it since 2012.  Myrna gets me up once or twice a night to use the litter box. It’s our routine to make sure she uses the litter box-of course I’m the ONLY one she wakes.  This week, she’s gotten me up three times a night.  Last night, Myrna got me up three times again.  I also think she used the box just before I got up or just after because there was a lot of box use around that time.  But she didn’t let me know in either case.

Because we need to make sure she uses the box, we must pay attention to signs that she needs to go and time her or figure out the schedule for her each day.  She lets us know by crying, giving us a certain look, or by walking around and acting suspicious.  Some days she goes every 2-3 hrs; other days every 3-5.  It depends.  But we can’t ignore the signs she gives us.

Except this morning, I did.   I fed the cats, did meds, did the usual routine of collecting dishes after they were finished eating, tried to get Cooper the oldest male to finish eating, had my breakfast, etc.  Usually by 10 a.m. the routine is done and we do the post breakfast litter box treat time routine where I take them to where the litter boxes are located and they get treats and are encouraged to use the boxes.  This routine is great for Myrna (who is on Valium) and Jimmy (who is on Prozac) to get them to see the litter box as something positive, to get them near the box which makes them think about actually using it.  It works very well and works for the others as well.  

Well, I was running late and was about to start the routine when I thought I should fold the one set of sheets that had been washed so that I could take them upstairs and put them away when we did treat time upstairs.

As I was folding the sheets, Myrna jumped onto the washer and dryer and began to sniff around.   When she wants to urinate on the washer and dryer, she jumps up and begins to sniff around.  Because she kept urinating up there before Valium, and sometimes after Valium, the washer/dryer is covered in bed pads (23x32 package of 18 from Target.)  The sheets are taped to the walls behind the washer/dryer and draped over the appliances.  This prevents the urine from running down the walls around the washer/dryer.  We also cover the counters next to the appliances because sometimes she would go there or would urinate in that direction. Because she used to go out of the box all the time starting in 2011 (if not before), she has been on Valium since January 2012. 

Well, I did a really stupid thing.  As I folded the laundry, while she sniffed, I quickly spoke to her and said let’s go use the litter box but I kept folding because I was almost done.  She then began to scratch the washer/dryer like she does in the litter box and STILL I folded because I was ALMOST done.  Then she jumped up into the window and before I realized what she was doing and before I could stop her, she urinated on the window and window ledge.  Yelling for her to stop, I grabbed the pad attached to the wall and quickly mopped up the urine on the ledge and let Myrna finish urinating on it.  At least I prevented it from running down the wall.  She jumped down.  I grabbed her, gave her more Valium, and gave her Methigel-a food additive that is a urine acidifier. That was at 10:10 a.m.   Later, after I cleaned up the mess and took care of the other cats, we did treat time and at 11:10 Myrna used the litter box.  But she didn’t need the box again all afternoon.  They had lunch at 1:30 and she had a bladder; we did treats before and after; we did treats upstairs and in the basement.  While upstairs, she sniffed the boxes but never used them.  She then went to sleep and I went shopping.   She finally used the box again at 6:40 p.m.  Did she have an accident or two between 11 a.m. and 6:40?  I don’t know. I haven’t found or smelled anything yet but that doesn’t always mean that something isn’t there. 

Tonight wasn’t much better.  So, she went at 6:40 p.m. and then jumped up onto the washer and dryer and into the laundry room window again at 8 p.m. I was making dinner and heard the noise of a cat jumping up onto the appliances.  She began sniffing the window and my husband took her to the litter box and five minutes later, she went.  As of 10:30 p.m. she has yet to go again. 

So, what went wrong?  Why does she not want to use the litter box today?  Is the Valium cut smaller than usual?  Is her bladder irritated, does she have a UTI, is her pH level too high?  Does she have a new disease?  It’s one thing to have a one time out of the box accident because every couple of months that’s what happens but usually on pads.  Usually I give her Methigel or Valium and things immediately improve as if it was just a one off.  But not using the boxes for hours? Trying to go on the window again?  What’s wrong? 

If you have a cat that goes or has gone out of the box, you’ll understand the feeling that even when you think you’ve solved the problem-she eats the right CD or SO-the cat food meant to protect against crystals and UTIs; you might give supplements like Methigel to acidify urine to prevent crystals and keep a balanced pH level in the urine; you might give water in the food, feed mostly wet food, give water by mouth as we do to keep her hydrated to prevent bladder irritation; and you might have your cat on Valium or Prozac to rid anxiety and help the cat feel comfortable using the litter box-these accidents are confusing.  You’ll understand the frustration, the anger, the disappointment, the heartbreak, the bewilderment.  What is going wrong? What do they need? What do I do now?  If she can urinate against the window, she could again against the walls, on the floor, the furniture, etc.   And because she is a heart patient, on heart meds, does this mean the meds are causing kidney issues or is she not feeling well enough to use the litter box?

So, for us, back to square one:  watch for the signs; time her and see if she needs to go every hour or so; try increasing the Valium a bit; make sure to cut the pills accurately; give her Methigel and more water; make sure she gets less dry food/treats and more wet food.  And if this continues through the weekend, call the vet for a urine test. 

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