the cat decision : LUSENET : Planning A Sky : One Thread

Go ahead, give it your best shot - tell me what you really think.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001


Thank you all. So much. This is seriously the only support (besides Greg) that I have had.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Not having my vet paperwork at work, I can only tell you this: a complete set of blood work, urine work, and stool work was done - TWICE; he was tested for all major diseases. He is not spraying; he is crouching down and peeing. He always goes right in front of the bathroom door, which is open, so it's not like it's too far away. His litter box is covered and is always dry and clean. It's in the bathroom that's rarely used. He scratches at the carpet like it's litter and goes. If he has an undiagnosed problem, I cannot honestly afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to try and figure it out.

All of that aside, I have a major cat allergy. I have been told by my allergist to never own a cat again and in fact to avoid touching cats whenever possible. I took this advice very seriously since my lungs are permanently damaged and only medication keeps them fully functional. Even if Oberon didn't crap on the carpet constantly, I can't own a cat. It was, in the end, Steve's decision whether or not to keep him - and he feels as I do.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

I think you're making a reasonable, albeit difficult decision and everyone should get off your back.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

animals are just like people. sometimes you can try your very hardest and yet you just don't click. they might have habits that, despite your best intentions, make them impossible to live with. your obligation, as a responsible pet owner, is to make the best possible decision for your pet in the circumstances, which is hopefully finding them a new home -- something you have clearly done. in an ideal world none of us would ever have to give up a pet, but sometimes it is necessary and the most practical solution. it's obviously a decision you have take very seriously and as long as the animal does not suffer i don't see why you should have to justify yourself to anyone.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001


It's your cat. It's your problem. You're handling it in the best way you know how. Oberon is very lucky to have had you -- a lesser person would have dumped him in the woods and let him fend for himself long ago. You made the effort, you've tried your best, and you're ultimately dealing with the situation in an intelligent manner. There will always be naysayers -- but as you said, they're not party to your decision. Illegitimi non carborundum, I say.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

I can totally understand this, I know I wouldn't have waited as long to take action myself. This very quickly goes from inconvenience to a possible health problem. HEALTH PROBLEM ladies and gentleman!!!

Someone very close to me was going through a similar situation, but we found a place for her pissy kitty. All parties are now much happier.

Anyway, my take on this : Way to go Mel, why did you wait so long?

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

No, Melissa, I'm not going to tell you off. We faced a similar problem with Max, our elderly Maine Coon. Starting about a year ago, he began taking dumps outside the litter box. Fortunately, it was always in the back hall way, not all over the house...but still! Then a few months later, he started peeing on the bathroom rugs. My husband and I were at our wits' end. We were seriously considering having him put to sleep; at nearly 16, we didn't think he could adapt to a new home, even if we found one for him. The problem was taken out of our hands when he died suddenly of a stroke in May. As much as I miss him--the way he used to be, at least--it is a relief not to have to deal with the mess.

You have done everything humanly possible to correct the situation. Don't let anyone castigate you for your decision.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

I've been in your shoes and made the same decision. When I had two roommates, I got a flame-point siamese from the humane society. No one told me that siamese cats were so vocal. We changed his name from Eliot to Screecher. This cat would hide behind the corner and jump out and attack my roommate's ankles, drawing blood on several occasions. I spent $500 in two weeks, because the cat would literally scream to go outside and then promptly get in a fight and require vet care. He had to have a drain tube inserted in his face after one fight. Try forcing a pill down the throat of a mean siamese without touching his disgusting tube face. Not fun. He finally healed and had the tube removed, only to sneak outside get in another fight and have to get the tube replaced the NEXT DAY. At night I would get in bed and the cat would knead a little bed around my ankles and go to sleep. If I dared move a muscle it would attack my legs. I was a prisoner in my own bed. I had to stop drinking liquids after 5 p.m. so I wouldn't have to get up in the middle of the night.

I finally very tearfully took the cat back to the no-kill humane society. I know he was adopted because the new owner called several weeks later to ask "Does Eliot cry *all* the time?" Man, that cat was something else. I'm sure his reign of terror over Atlanta continues to this day.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

What everyone else said, basically. I get annoyed at people whose first response to a pet problem is "send 'em back," but you've clearly tried everything else. Sometimes you just run out of options. And at least at my local no-kill shelter, they take very, very good care of the animals, they have lots of space and toys and companionship.

That said, I'd take him in myself if I hadn't just taken in another friend's cat to keep it out of a shelter. I think three is my limit.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Good Lord! I volunteer at a no-kill shelter, and people bring pets back all the time. There are tons of reasons -- they can't housebreak them, they fight with their other pets, they keep escaping from the yard, someone in the family develops an allergy, -- it happens all the time. This is the best choice you can make, not the worst. For God's sake. I can't believe people are giving you shit about this. Even if the reason for returning an animal seems stupid (and yours does not), the shelter is the best choice, because the animal has a chance to be taken in by an adoptee if not a shelter volunteer. Anyone who knows you should know this is not an action you would take even remotely lightly and should respect your decision. Period.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

I've already told you this, but I fully support your decision. I know you really wanted it to work out and you tried all sorts of things and I think you're making a hard decision. A no-kill shelter is the best you can do for him now. Hopefully they can find a better home for him

best of luck!


-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Please outline what your two veterinary visits involved...

I am not familiar with your cat, but I am a veterinarian and I will forward another post outlining information, methods of diagnosis and treatment modalities for feline inappropriate urination/defecation that I have found on various internet sites. In general, cases such as these require a complete urinalysis (via cystocentesis likely best but consult with own vet), complete fecal analysis, blood work (complete blood count with differential, biochemical profile, hyperthyroidism, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus), ultrasound, radiographs, etc... If *all* medical testing is within normal limits then a referral to a behavioural specialist is warranted. There are several drugs at our disposal to treat this problem in conjunction with behavioural modification...

From reading today's entry I *did not* get the sense that everything had been done for this poor cat... If I am wrong then I apologise, but if I am correct then ***please*** have him worked up thoroughly before surrendering him to a shelter that, in all likelihood, will not have the funds available to properly diagnose and treat his problem(s).

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

People are nuts- First and foremost, taking Oberon back to the shelter is the sole decision of you and Steve. This cat belongs to no one else, so who has the right to judge you? If no one else is willing to take him, then what other option do you have? Not all pets and owners are meant to be coupled. This seems to be the case with you and Oberon. What's important is that you feel you're making the right decision for you and that you're happy with it, not what insipid people deem of your decision. Do what you need to do. And be in good health and spirits while you do so!

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001



Elimination behavior problems may be secondary to medical disorders. Thus a medical evaluation is indicated for all cases of feline housesoiling.

Urine Elimination Problems

All cats with elimination disorders should be physically examined with particular attention to palpation of the kidneys and urinary bladder. A neurologic examination should be performed. The general history should explore changes in eating, drinking, or activity patterns that may suggest a medical cause affecting litterbox use. For example, a cat with polyuria due to diabetes may find the litterbox unacceptably wet and may seek alternate locations for elimination. The owner's presenting complaint may be that the cat is eliminating outside the litterbox.

Appropriate screening tests should be performed. For urine-related problems, a urinalysis (including specific gravity and sediment analysis) is the minimum data base. The collection method should be by cystocentesis except in cases in which cystitis is suspected. In such cases, a voided sample should be obtained (if possible) to avoid further trauma to the bladder.11 Cystocentesis can result in inadvertent hematuria, which can be differentiated from cystitis by the absence of other signs of inflammation in the urine.12 Serial samples should be collected from any cat in which the behavior symptoms wax and wane.

A complete blood count with differential and serum biochemistry should be performed as a screen on any cat with suspicious findings on physical examination and prior to the use of extralabel medications.4 These values will be within normal limits if the inappropriate urination is strictly a behavior problem. If the behavior problem is secondary to a medical problem, there may be detectable abnormalities such as uremia, glycosemia, or hypercalcemia. Further diagnostics, such as plain or contrast radiography or ultrasonography, may be needed.

Inappropriate urination may be associated with a number of medical conditions, particularly those associated with hematuria, polyuria/polydipsia, dysuria, or pollakiuria. Older cats may suffer from arthritis or senility, which can limit their ability to 'locate and climb into a litterbox.8 Neurologic abnormalities may be implicated. Cats with refractory inappropriate urination should be tested for the presence of hyperthyroidism, feline leukemia, and feline immunodeficiency virus. The most common medical abnormalities associated with feline inappropriate urination are listed in Table I.

In a retrospective study comparing cats that exhibited inappropriate urination with controls, problem cats were significantly more likely to have had a history of lower urinary tract disorders (LUTDs).13 A survey at a large teaching hospital found that 37% of cases referred to the behavior service for inappropriate urination had a history of feline LUTD.4 Feline LUTDs such as metabolic disorders (uroliths), congenital abnormalities, neurogenic disorders, and inflammatory and neoplastic processes should be investigated as potential underlying causes of inappropriate urination.14

Nonobstructive idiopathic interstitial cystitis is an LUTD characterized by inflammatory changes in the urinary bladder that may be accompanied by behavior changes in litterbox use.15 Because the disease waxes and wanes, it may be in remission-and the urinalysis may be within normal limits-by the time the owner seeks treatment for the secondary elimination problem. Interstitial cystitis should

be considered in any cat with a history of hematuria and intermittent inappropriate urination.

Urine. marking is not usually associated with a medical condition; however, behaviorists have anecdotally noted an increase in spraying concomitant with inappropriate urination in some cases of LUTD,16 possibly due to agitation associated with pain. Therefore medical evaluation should be standard for any cat in which urine marking is associated with inappropriate (i.e., squat) urination or with medical abnormalities (e.g., hematuria).

Fecal Elimination Problems

In cases of fecal housesoiling, a fecal examination should be performed to rule out constipation, diarrhea, and internal parasites. Discomfort associated with constipation in the litterbox may cause the cat to continue to seek alternate sites not associated with pain. Enteritis or colitis may cause changes in elimination habits. Urgency associated with loose stool may make the litterbox too far away. Additional tests may be suggested by the history, physical examination, or fecal tests, particularly if concurrent illness is suspected.

Potential Medical Causes for Inappropriate Urination in Cats Iatrogenic: Corticosteroids, diuretics, traumatic cystocentesis Infectious: Feline leukemia, feline Immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis Inflammatory disorders: Feline lower urinary tract disease, feline interstitial cystitis Metabolic/endocrine: Diabetes mellitus, feline uralithiasis, hyperthyroidism

Neurogenic: Intracranial cuterebral migrations, Feline dysautonomia, seizure disorders


Feline inappropriate urination in cats at Bladder problems in the cat; Spraying Please note that advice given is general and may not relate directly to any specific patient and all sick animals should be taken to a veterinary surgeon for examination.

Feline inappropriate urination.

Cause 1) Cystitis or bladder infection. While cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) is usually associated with frequent visits to the litter tray and the passing of small drops of urine the cause of cystitis may be infection or just inflammation as in interstitial cystitis; the cause of which is still a matter of some opinion and controversy. Apart from those cases associated with other urogenital abnormalities and crystal formation (including flutd = feline lower urinary tract disorder) the condition referred to here as interstitial cystitis is histologically a plasmacytic/lymphocytic cystitis with ulceration. Contemporary suggests of cause include excesive excretions of brain endorphins and stress triggers. Treatment of a pure interstitial cystitis may include antiinflammatory drugs or amitryptilline. Treatment of FLUTD may include dietary alterations, increased fluid intake, acidifying agents and antibiotics. Severe cases with urethral obstructions need emergency attention. Despite the above simple bacterial cystitis (more common in the female) appears to be a more common cause of inappropriate urination in volume than previously thought. Send a blank email to flutd@e- for an in-depth article

Cause 2) Territorial. Territorial marking behaviour is more common by male cats but any cat may feel the need to scent mark it's territory. Such behaviour is usually manifest by the cat 'backing up' to the target and spraying or shaking a few drops of urine at said target. Typically this is 'vertical' marking (walls, table legs, televisions) and typically the targets are revisited at regular intervals. Treatment includes restricted access until all scents have dissipated and the use of biological agents to break down urine odours (commercial preps or biological washing powder) and sometimes masking odours (vinegar neutralises urine smells). Synthetic chin pheromone (feliway) used according to the manufacturers instructions may reduce this social pressure and behaviour.

Cause 3) Avoidance. Avoidance behavior refers to those cats that are unhappy about the location or type of their current litter facilities. Like you, cats do like some privacy before they 'perform'. Never locate litter trays in cat 'pathways' i.e through routes (which may not be the same as human trafficways) or near outside doors or windows.. your cat will not appreciate having to keep an eye out for tresspassers and strangers while urinating. Select one or more discrete or screened off areas for cat pans in handy quiet corners. Consider covered litter trays for further discretion and consider providing a selecetion of trays and litters for those that prefer aanother type of litter. Garden soil may contain attractive soil micro-organisms that cat can scent. (a bit like your choice between hard or soft toilet paper). Also remmeber that your cat doesn't want to use a dirty toilet either!.. so empty pans regularly.

Cause 4) Caught short. This refers to cats that have been 'caught short' and suddenly needed to toilet at some time. Having done so for whatever initial reason there is now a new scented area of past cat urination to attract the cat back. Treatment is thorough cleaning, deodorisation and shutting the cat away from this area until the memory has faded.

Cause 5) Confusion. This subset of causes includes those cats that are toxic, old, senile, confused etc. It includes older cats with classic diseases such as hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure and any toxin or disease that can affect mentation. Obviously treatment requires attention to the underlying disease process first.

Cause 6)Multi-cat territorial situations. This is perhaps the most complicated case scenario. Firstly all the above conditions need to be ruled out before assuming this state. If and only if that is the case then there is a possibility of adjusting the heirarchy of the cat household. Observation and record-keeping might imply imbalances in the social structure. Realistically owners will tend to make assumptions about this so they should eb encouraged to keep a diary and discuss events that may or may not suggest 'jealousy', 'fear' or 'phobia'. Cats are less amenable to human inetrerence with social structure than dogs. Obviously neutering may make a difference to the balance as indeed may positive and negative support from the owners.

Several drugs have been used to control inappropriate urination behaviour as psychoactive substances; Prozac, buspar, amitryptilline and chlopramine are the most common of these. Amitryptilline probably works best when the conditon has actually been misdiagnosed and is in reality a sub-set of stress-related feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD) and an article on this can be downloaded by sending a blank email to Whenever a psychoactive therapy is instituted owners shoudl be aware that it may take several weeks to 'kick-in' and should be used in conjunction with behavioural modification

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Melissa, I'm sorry that people are giving you a hard time about what was obviously a difficult decision. I admire you for all of the attempts that you've made to figure out the problem, and taking the cat to a no-kill shelter as an absolute last resort, which it is, is nothing to be ashamed of or upset about, and screw people who think it is. Buzz and I gave away an older cat that we'd adopted because the other cats hated her and had basically boxed her into living in a closet, which we didn't think was at all healthy. Again, luckily, we had a friend who was able to take her; you've obviously made great efforts to resolve the issue, and it didn't work. This is too bad, but it's not your fault.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

You know, when I wrote in my journal about having to find a new home for our dog after she snapped at the baby, I got hate mail from "well-meaning" people who thought I was making the wrong decision. One person even said "The dog was there before the baby!"

It's a hard decision, and I'm proud of you for making it. Time to move on, and give the "well-meaning" the attention they deserve.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

I won't give you any grief, Melissa.

I had a cat - Pickle - that had this issue. I couldn't have pillows on the bed or the sofa because he would pee on them. I would wake up sometimes twice a night having to change the bedding because he'd pee'd on me. I even tried behavior modification medications (he had a lot of other issues too).

I finally had the vet come over and put him to sleep. I cried the whole day and I still feel guilty about it, but there was nothing else I could do.

Don't beat yourself up. sometimes it just doesn't work. Sometimes what needs to happen is to get the cat into another environment - one that doesn't smell like cat pee. I wish him luck at the shelter.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Oops! I wrote two responses, but they're both at the top of the forum now. Oops!

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Melissa, my birthday twin, you did the best thing that you could've done for yourself and the kitty. I can't believe that people are giving you grief, especially when you have a major health concern that supercedes any kind of veterinary treatment that might solve Oberon's problems. Hopefully some family that has the time and money to work on this (or perhaps a home environment that might allay the problem) will adopt Oberon and all will be well for him, but in any case, the most important thing is that you're not aggravating your allergy. You need to breathe, that is paramount above all other considerations. You did the right thing.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Melissa, you have my complete support.

As much as I absolutely love animals and will put up with *just about* anything my pets do, I have had experiences with pets that just didn't work out. It wasn't that they were "bad" or anything, they just didn't belong with me, in my house. I feel that it is better to find a new home for the pet (including no-kill shelters) than to constantly be upset with the pet - they can sense it when you are unhappy with them.

Sometimes being a pet owner means making heartbreaking decisions - and, from the tone of your entry, this was something that you spent a lot of time thinking about and trying to avoid. You did the right thing.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Hi Melissa!

As you know...I had a similar problem with my cat and had to make a VERY difficult decision about a year ago. I'd had my cat for about a year when she started peeing on things. First, it was a couple of chairs that ended up getting thrown out because they were ruined. I changed the type of furniture that I had and that changed. Then, she started doing it on piles of clothes...that I could handle because I could wash them and get the smell out. Then she started peeing on my bed! That was the last straw! I can't afford to buy a new mattress!! So, I made the decision to get rid of was VERY painful for me, but it was a decision that I HAD to make. I was lucky enough to find someone to take her, but I fully support your decision to take Oberon to a no-kill shelter because that's what I was going to do had someone not stepped up to take her. You're not a horrible person, it's a difficult decision that had to be made.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Oh, Melissa! I am the most militant animal lover in the world, but I think you're doing the absolutely right thing. A no-kill shelter sounds like the perfect solution.

My friend Charlotte really pissed me off a few years ago when her cat used to piss and crap on everything. Rather than trying anything (getting him fixed, for starters, or isolating him, or ANYTHING) she just complained about it, claimed she didn't have the time or money to get him fixed (dude, it's PRACTICALLY FREE) and then took him to the pound as soon as he was a grown cat (not a cute kitten anymore) and the odds that someone would take him had decreased.

She also kept an iguana in a cage that was much too small for him, until he got miserably sick, and kept a parakeet locked up alone in one tiny cage for his whole life.

THAT is a bad pet owner. Not you.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Melissa I can't believe that people are giving you grief for taking your cat to a no kill shelter. Yes, it is a miserable decision but you guys have really given this cat more than enough time and attention in trying to fix this problem. On top of that, no one has mentioned what all of this cat pee has done to your apartment. I don't know what kind of deposit you guys paid, but I'm thinking you can probably kiss that good-by. Cat pee does have a tendency to linger (smell wise) forever. I can't you put with the whole mess for so long!!

Having said all that, I have two dogs, ages 7 and 11 and I love them madly. So, I am totally an animal person. I would hate to have to take a pet to the shelter, but sometimes you have to do things you hate to do.

As for all the comments from your co-workers and "friends." Well, I guess you know now just who the people are who really care about you, don't you?


Colleen M. who is sitting in the middle of an enormous cloud of smoke in Fairbanks, AK because half of the forest around town is on fire!

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

I think everyone has covered everything I was going to say, except that I suggest you cut out the ever-damp section of your carpet (they're going to replace it when you move out anyway, right?) and leave it (upside down) on your snippy co-worker's chair.

I'll tell you what the vet told my parents when they decided to have our dog put to sleep: We have pets because they enhance our lives. When they stop enhancing our lives, because of behavioral problems or illness or because those things become too expensive for us to treat, we're not doing ourselves or the pets any favors by keeping them.

And anyone who equates pets with children can kiss my ass. I sometimes feel like my cat is my child, sure, but would I sacrifice my own happiness for her? Would I live with a constant destruction of my house? Would I eat mac and cheese at every meal so I could afford her medical treatment? For a child, without question; for a cat, no way.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

Melissa! You tell those nasty-heads to shove it!

Ditto what everybody else is saying. This is your life, and your decision, and you and Steve are doing the only thing that it makes any sense to do. I don't understand how it makes any sense for you to keep an animal that makes you sick, makes you miserable, and ruins your stuff, especially when you have a no-kill shelter option available. I'd feel a lot worse for Oberon if you had decided to take him (he is a he, right?) to a non-no-kill (kill?) shelter, but even then, I'd recognize that you are a sensitive, loving, responsible person who had made a very difficult decision.

It's just incredible to me that so many people have been so nasty to you about this, and even more incredible to me that people are unsubbing from your notify list because of it. It's another reminder to me that I normally reside in a sort of bubble of non-jerky people, and that the general population is made up of a bunch of assholes. Really. Try not to let them get you down.


-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001


I think you made the right decision for you. I recently gave my cat away to the shelter, simply because he is not an indoor cat. He likes to jump and scratch me and my guests unexpectedly, he also thought that our hardwood floors was his litter box... So, with that said.. I totally support you in your decision. I think they should get off your back.... and try to look at where you are coming from.

Take Care!


-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

It's your life. It was your cat. You seem like a nice enough person (I've never met you). It's a no kill shelter, for pete's sake. The cat isn't going to die! At the end of the day, most of the "well meaning" people don't know you, only glimpses. Take the advice with a grain of salt..

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001


I've never owned a pet, so it's hard for me to relate on how difficult this decision had to be for you, but I do respect your decision to make it. I do know what it is like to have allergies (mine are of the outdoor variety, though) and they aren't exactly fun. There's no reason why you should let your health suffer in order to appease some narrow minded nitwits, who I shall add can talk the talk but can't do the walk. What do these people not understand when they are told that the cat's being taken to a NO-KILL shelter? HE WON'T DIE. Besides, if I ever did have a cat like the one you have, he'd have been gone ages ago, as I know I wouldn't have been able to abide with all the mess. You're a better person than I am, lady.


-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

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