Ask the Cat Behaviorist With Mikel Delgado: Cat Urinating Outside the Box, Cat Attacks for No Reason, Difficult Cat-to-Cat Introductions, and More

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Welcome to our regular “Ask the Cat Behaviorist with Mikel Delgado” segment. Once a month, we’ll post a reminder for you to post your questions for Mikel. She’ll answer as many of them as she can each time, and I’ll publish her answers in a subsequent post.

Mikel is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant at Feline Minds, offering on-site consultations for cat guardians, shelters, and pet-related businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area, and remote consultations around the world. She obtained her PhD in Psychology at UC Berkeley, where she studied animal behavior and human-pet relationships. Mikel is co-author of Jackson Galaxy’s newest book, Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat.

Cat walks out of the litter box when he urinates

Hi Mikel! Love your posts! Thank you for what you are doing to help cat guardians!

I have a 5 yo male orange tabby who was orphaned at 2 days old, bottle fed (by me), and neutered at 2 months. He had PU surgery at around 6 months due to being sucked on by his litter mates. So I am pretty certain urination caused him pain for the first part of his life. He eats wet food only, sees the vet regularly, and has only had 2 UTIs in the past 5 years.

Here’s what I need help with, and no cat behavior expert has been able to help me with this one yet… He poops in the litter box just fine, but he walks out of the litter box while he urinates. So, he gets in the box, digs his little hole in the litter, starts urinating, and then slowly walks out while he urinates. So he leaves a large stream of urine outside the litter box. I clean the (open top, not enclosed) litter boxes 3 times a day, deep clean them and add new (unscented) litter every other week, and buy new boxes every year. The boxes are very large and in prominent, socially-relevant areas of the house (not hidden away). I really don’t think it’s an aversion to the litter box, but rather a behavior caused by former pain when urinating. I would love to clicker-train him to pee in the box, but he starts walking out as soon as he starts urinating. Any ideas on how to help him urinate inside the box and not walk out? Thanks so much! – Samantha Bell DiGenova

Hi Samantha! It’s lovely to hear from you – I love YOUR work! And well, I can honestly say I have never encountered THIS problem before, and I enjoy a new challenge (usually!). I agree with you that there is a strong learned component to this behavior, and whether or not it can be changed without stressing him is unknown!

There are a few different approaches you could take (and you may have already tried some of them) – the first that comes to mind would be to do the opposite of what we usually tell people to do, and try a smaller, higher sided litter box that he could not walk out of quite so easily. Depending on your current set-up, you could add a piece of plastic to the box he currently has, to act like a shield and gradually decreasing the amount of space he has available to him when he eliminates. Basically, anything that would stall the walking without you having to intervene WHILE he is eliminating might allow him to stay in place long enough that you could use clicker training or other praise to reinforce staying in the box. If he is agile enough, it might also be good to raise the sides of the box so he has to either hop or climb out of the box.

We want this change to be something “encouraged” by the environment, and not by force or physical intervention. But it sounds like in addition to being a very well-established habit, it is just too easy for him to walk out while he’s in the act. If we can slow that down just a smidge, it might help him stay in place while he’s peeing. Good luck and let me know how it!

Cat bites when he wants attention

Hi Mikel, I have a 2 year old tabby that I adopted from a shelter 10 months ago. He’s always been a lap cat. He just jumps on your chest or lap, head butts you then curls up. It doesn’t matter where I am, it can be on the toilet and he jumps on me. He’s never been an aggressive cat except for petting aggression at times but recently he’s taken on the habit of biting me when he wants to be pet, if he’s comfortable laying on me and I move, or if he wants attention – at least that’s how I interpret his behavior. I have tried getting up and leaving him alone or just telling him NO. He usually runs to his food bowl to eat when I do this. The other thing he does is that after her eats he come backs, stares at me and then gingerly nibbles on me as if he knows he’s not supposed to do it but he’s being cute and will get his way. The other peculiar thing is that he won’t do it to my boyfriend or son. He only does it to me. I feel like I have a spoiled brat that just wants his way no matter what. Do you have any insight into why he does this? and how can I get him to stop? – Lilly

Hi Lilly, lots of kitties get into the habit of nipping – usually because they learn that it gets them something! Whether it’s more petting or attention, it only takes a few times for cats to learn how to get what they want. It’s possible that your kitty gets a bigger or better response from you than your son or boyfriend, or perhaps he just feels more relaxed or confident with you than he does with them.

To remedy this type of behavior, I recommend a combination of boredom-busting and training for good behaviors. First – the boredom-busting: make sure he has plenty of other things to keep him busy in the environment, with bird feeders to watch, things to climb, food puzzles and other problem-solving opportunities, as well as regular interactive play with toys. The more tired and occupied he is, the less likely he is going to be to be dependent on you for his every need, and demand things from you.
Which brings me to training – by training (such as with a clicker) and paying attention and rewarding your cat when they do behaviors you like, you increase the frequency of those behaviors in the future. If he wants attention or treats, the way to do it is by doing a behavior YOU like, such as sitting pretty, rolling over, or going to his mat.

When he nibbles on you, stand up slowly and let him fall off your lap, and walk away; or sit on your hands. Try not to have a big reaction to the biting – even a “NO” is attention to some cats. You will have to be consistent and give it some time to change these behaviors, but in combination with the increased activity and the training, you should see improvement soon.

Having a very affectionate cat is great, but it’s important for you cat to have a sense of “independence” so they are not quite so reliant on humans to provide EVERYTHING for them. We love the neediness, but we also want our cats to have a life of their own which will help reduce some of those excessively demanding behaviors!

Cat is eating fabric

I have a 7 month old kitten and she is eating fabric and getting on counters my main concern is how do I get her to stop eating fabric. – Kim Patton

Kim, I would recommend a visit to your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues; some cats appear to be fabric eaters – other cats like to ingest non-food items such as paper, plastic, strings, etc. Regardless of what she is eating, your cat has a condition called pica. Pica is considered a compulsive disorder, but to be honest, it is not very well understood and there is no known cure. Pica requires a lot of management – anything that she likes to chew on that is not safe for her to ingest needs to be kept out of reach. This might mean hanging up your clothing, having secure hampers and lots of secure storage bins! Ingestion of fabrics (or other non-food items) can be very dangerous and often requires costly surgery.

In addition to pica-proofing, I advise you to amp up her activity and enrichment. If pica has any relation to anxiety, as has been hypothesized, the best thing to do is keep her well-exercised and tired out. Exercise is nature’s anti-anxiety medication!

You should also provide your cat with other chewing options – such as cat grass, dehydrated meat treats, or large kibbles that may give her some oral satisfaction. That may help decrease the need to chew on fabric.

Some cats with pica are put on anti-anxiety medication. I would recommend a discussion with your vet or a veterinary behaviorist about whether that might be helpful if other modifications do not help. Good luck with this, pica is definitely a challenge!

Cat attacks for no reason

So I have been wondering a few things about my cat, she is about 2 years old and not fixed, she really only likes me and is kind to me she seems to scratch or “attack” others really for no reason. I was wondering why she does that as well as why she seems to only be nice to me never attacks me always lays on me and comes to me when I call her name she honestly is a sweetheart with a mean side, the only time she ever gives me a warning meow is when she is on my lap and I get up to move and she gets really upset, she does not attack me but she will act like she will and will touch me but does not have her claws out, but with others if she is sitting near them and they get up to leave and it messes with where she is laying or if she is on them and they get up to move she attacks them and hisses. What is causing that behavior as well as the one I mentioned in the beginning of this. – Claire

Claire, thanks for asking about your “moody” kitty. Even though it seems like your cat is doing things for “no reason,” there is a reason. Cats often display aggressive behaviors when they feel threatened – that doesn’t mean that the person approach intends harm, but that may be how their approach is being interpreted by your cat.
I would really need a lot more information about her behavior, as well as what the other humans do before she swats and strikes out. Based on what you described, she is friendly toward other people because she will sometimes sit on their laps.

To work with this behavior, I recommend lots of playtime and mental stimulation to keep her tired and more relaxed. If anyone rough-houses or uses their hands for play, the time to stop is NOW. I have seen rough-housing lead to irritable and defensive behavior in cats. Your cat may need more 3-dimensional territory (such as shelving or cat trees) to allow her to be around humans, without always being so close to them. A behavior consultant can also help you develop some trust-building exercises with the people she appears to be conflicted about. A consultant can also help you utilize training to get her off of your lap without the outbursts.

Finally, for many reasons, please get your kitty spayed ASAP! Those fluctuating hormones can affect behavior, and there are plenty of kittens in the world already in need of a home!

Cat gets upset when feral cat comes to patio

I have a 11 yr. old cat that I got from stray cats that were in a box at a home depot store. I guess his mother was feral, but I have had her since she was 5 weeks old. Mother no longer wanted to feed the babies. She behaves well and is very attached to me although does not liked to be picked up or lay on me. Lately there has been a feral cat coming to the patio and front of house my cat gets extremely upset hisses and then tries to bite me. Not sure what I can do. – Beverly Hanson

Beverly, a lot of cats get upset when other cats show up outside a door or window (think about how we feel when someone unexpectedly trespasses on our property! Cats have similar feelings about it). I recommend using humane deterrents to keep the intruding kitty away from your patio and windows – I personally use a motion sensitive sprinkler to dampen my neighbor kitty’s enthusiasm for my backyard (which definitely upsets my two cats!). Depending on the layout of your yard, you can also try beefing up your fence, motion-sensitive air canisters, or sonic repellents.

If your cat is still upset, you can use privacy film on windows to block the view of outside cats without blocking all the light. These typically only need to be placed at “cat height” or wherever your cat has a view of the outdoors.

If the outside cat is not spayed or neutered, you should get help to trap, neuter, and return (TNR) the cat to the same general area. This can reduce the desire to spray and get into fights, both of which may upset your indoor cat further if they are happening.

Finally, if your cat gets upset by the outside cat, it is best to not try to pet or handle her until she seems completely calm. Many people get bitten trying to console their cat – but when a cat is feeling threatened or agitated, that is the last thing the cat wants! Let her calm down on her own, and try engaging in an interactive toy rather than cuddling or petting.

Difficult introduction when combining cat households

Hi! My boyfriend and I started living together a couple weeks ago. He has a female cat, 2 years old; she’s really athletic and extroverted. I have another female cat, 1 year old, really shy and tiny.

We’ve been doing all the things that experts recommend for introducing two cats. The two of them already met, but they never get along, his cat always chased mine and they have to be separated all times. Now they’re really quiet in the apartment; they are separated but at least the older cat hasn’t tried to chase the other cat. After two weeks of living together we join them using a harness on the older cat. They looked at each other at all times, really tense but not aggressive.

We keep trying with the harness but the younger cat doesn’t let her guard down. Sometimes she groans at the older cat (but she’s never tried to attack her though…). My question is: when will we know when the two cats are ready to be together? We are terrified of gather the two cats because we’re still afraid that they hurt each other, but we have to try eventually, otherwise we’ll never know. So…when do you recommend to do the first gather without harness? What are the signs in order to know “they’re ready”? Thanks. – Fran

Hi Fran! To cats, a few weeks is still very early in the timeline. For some cats, it can take weeks or months to adjust to one another. I can’t tell from your description what else you are doing besides placing the cats in a room together (with or without harnesses). Are you making sure they have good experiences they can associate with one another via treats and play? Are you keeping their sessions brief and ending on a positive note? Or are you waiting until someone gets upset and then separating them? If you’re doing the latter, start by keeping their interactions short and try to end before someone hisses or growls or tries to chase.

Typically we expect cats to be somewhat relaxed and distractible before moving forward in for an introduction. Cats that are highly vigilant, growling/hissing, fearful, refusing to eat treats or play are likely too stressed out to move to the next step of the introduction. If your cats are not making any progress in this regard, you may need to speak with your veterinarian about whether some form of medication might be indicated. I’d also work with a qualified behavior consultant about what your next steps should be to get these cats together.

Cat bites back of neck of other cat

My 4 year old male Kacey bites the back of the neck of my 6 year old female Kieran. She yelps seemingly in pain. I yell at him to stop. He knows I don’t want him to do it. WHY does he do this? How do I get him to stop? Thank you! =^..^=  – Elisha Abrell

Elisha, your response depends a lot on what the cats’ relationship is the rest of the time. Do they sleep together, groom each other, play together, and otherwise seem at ease with one another? Or do they only tolerate each other or actively avoid each other (except when Kacey is biting Kieran)? If their relationship is mostly positive, and Kieran isn’t withdrawn or otherwise fearful of Kacey – I would not worry too much about it. In fact, you could be increasing the frequency of the behavior by giving Kacey attention when he jumps on Kieran (even though you think the yelling is “punishment” – the behavior continues – suggesting that it isn’t doing anything to change his behavior!

He may be doing it to assert himself, to chase Kieran away so he can get access to a resource, or just because he is bored and would like to play. You can provide your cats with more resources (toys, perches, vertical space) so they don’t have to compete, and give him more interactive play to help him be more relaxed and less annoying to Kieran. You can also use clicker training to give Kacey clear instruction from you about what he CAN do to get attention, and then ignore his undesirable behavior. That will tell you a lot about whether your attention is motivating his behavior. A webcam can also help you determine if he does this when you are gone, or only when you are home.

Problem with cats who are “part time” roommates

Hey Mikel, I’m currently in college and take my cat back for breaks with me. At home there are 2 cats and my sister has another with her at college. The two at home are very close, and my sister’s cat get along with the other two. My cat is the smallest but she will randomly jump on the other cats, and chases one of them through the house. He’s scared of her and tries to hide, but she will look for him until she finds him. During longer breaks they get along after a while but I’m not sure how to avoid the aggressive periods. They’re all scared of her and have stopped being aggressive to her at all. She doesn’t scratch or bite at them either. She’ll only play with my sister’s cat, not with the other two. I don’t think chasing the one around is playing, but if he acts like he’ll run she’ll chase him. I’ve been physically separating them but it doesn’t seem to work. Do you have any tips? – Elise

Elise, you have a tricky situation, because cats don’t really do well as “part time” roommates. Cats typically need several weeks (or even longer) to get to know each other; a newcomer has to persist in a friendly way again and again to convince the existing cats that they pose no threat. Every time your cats start to make friends, they are separated again. Unfortunately, the next time you come home, it’s like starting over again! Now some cats are just very adaptable to situations like this, but it sounds like not every relationship between the cats in your situation is going great.

There are many sources online on how to introduce cats to each other, in fact Conscious Cat has posted a few times about this! https://consciouscat.net/2011/08/15/cat-to-cat-introductions/

So take things back a step when you go home with your cat. Keep in mind that she is an intruder as far as your parents’ cats are concerned. Consider following some of the introduction techniques for the first few days and keep the cats separated when they can’t be supervised. Make sure that your cat has had plenty of play and a snack before bringing her in with the other cats so she will be less motivated to chase them around. The living area needs lots of vertical space to allow the cats to share the territory without having to be too close. There’s no perfect solution to a situation like this, but I think it will help a lot!

Cat talks in his sleep

My 11 year old feral rescue cat has started talking in his sleep. He uses the mrrp-type voice he uses to my other cat, rather than the meow he uses with me. It is not a problem. I’m just curious if anyone else has had this experience. – Michaelene Pendleton

Michaelene, how interesting! My cats will do a lot of twitching and the occasional “mrrp” in their sleep (oh, and one of my cats snores), but I’ve never worked with a cat who full on talked in his sleep. I’ll be curious what the readers have to say about this one! Some kitties do have sleep disorders, in which case, I’d say, let your vet know just to be safe. But it sounds like a pretty cute behavior!

Do you have a question for Mikel?
Leave it in a comment, and she’ll answer it next month!

29 Comments on Ask the Cat Behaviorist With Mikel Delgado: Cat Urinating Outside the Box, Cat Attacks for No Reason, Difficult Cat-to-Cat Introductions, and More

  1. Whitney
    September 1, 2018 at 4:25 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Hello! Long story short I rescued a cat and she had two kittens. I kept them so I have all together three. They are 3 years old now. The momma cat and the boy are amazing cats but the girl is destroying my house. She will not use the litter box. She dedicates where ever. She urinates on things. It isn’t a spray like territory she just pees. She had peed on my couch and on my bed. I can’t take it anymore and I am to the point where I want to get rid of her but I want to give her a fair chance as well. Please please help!

    Reply
  2. Ripley
    June 23, 2018 at 5:27 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi! I hope the sheer length of my comment doesn’t keep me from making the cut, I’m just desperate for the most accurate & applicable advice you can give & I want to aid in that accuracy by providing you with a complete & detailed case to work from. I’ve done a lot of research & read a lot from cat behaviorists, but I seem to have hit a point of needing individualized advice. I have two neutered male litter-mates. 7 years old. I adopted them at the age of 6 about 6 months ago from my local shelter from which they had been adopted & returned THREE TIMES after being left in a box on the doorstep of the shelter as kittens. All three owners had them for at least a year & each time, they were returned through no fault of their own (Move, divorce, allergy development) & they are lovely boys. A bit unusual. At least one of their prior homes was shared with a dog & they have some learned behavior. Belly rubs are only a little unusual as requests from cats, but most notable, I think, is that one of them wags his tail in happiness instead of agitation. I know, I know, “Uh, miss, are you *sure* because tail wagging in cats . . . & happiness to over-stimulation is a fine line.” I’m sure. Between Lynyrd & Skynyrd (I’d love to take credit for those fantastic names, but it goes to the shelter) Skynyrd is the clingy one, though they’re both social. To the point where playing with them was such a challenge that I contacted the shelter to ask what toys they liked because my entire arsenal was a bust except for the laser pointer, which I didn’t want to be their *only* toy. The shelter told me they always had more interest in human interaction than toys. (Now would be a good time to note that I live alone & work a LOT. About 66 – 72 hrs a week with one day off every two weeks. This was not the case when I adopted them, nor was it foreseeable. And even with less hours, I adopted a bonded pair because I live alone & wanted them to have company throughout the day. I sleep as little as I can handle so I can spend time with them & am working towards freeing up more time with a backup plan to move in with someone else – yes, a specific someone who is willing & is cat-friendly & has met the cats. I’m not just selfishly holding onto the cats in a mediocre environment with shakey pie-in-the-sky idle plans to better the environment.) So, I’m walking around the apartment with my human-centric boys & Skynyrd, the mama’s-boy of my duo is right at my side looking up at me & meowing. He’s been fed; he’s clearly after some attention. I stop & he stops, & sits, anticipating pets. I reach down & he bows his head a bit to expose exactly the spot he wants petted to my hand. The second I make contact, his eyes close, he purrs, lifts his butt just a bit off the ground, leans into the pet & his tail swishes in a beautiful, perfect serpentine. Once the initial excitement of me granting his wish fades & we settle into a session of pets, the tail stops. This is most definitely a cat who wags his tail like a dog. So, yeah, my boys aren’t *quite* by the book.

    I’ve been working on transitioning them to a raw meat diet. It’s only been a little over a week since they saw any actual raw in their bowls & I understand that especially for older cats it can be very difficult & can take quite some time, but I’m starting to worry about the transition process itself.

    They were on kibble & wet food. As a first step, I removed kibble & all dry treats. I also initiated mealtimes & stopped leaving food out until it was gone. (As a side note, Lynyrd has proven a quick study in the past, but this marked my first witnessing of his quest for understanding. Mealtime 1: I put out food & removed it 45 minutes later. Mealtime 2: I put out food & went to the kitchen 45 minutes later to remove it & Lynyrd BOLTED ahead of me to the kitchen, but not to steal a final mouthful – he ran in, stopped in front of the bowls & watched as I discarded the food. Since there has been no attempt to infiltrate the trash can, I really think he was looking to learn/understand, rather than beat the system! Unsurprisingly, he is showing signs of being more cooperative than Skynyrd in the transition – though he is heavier as well). I purposefully left the bag of kibble where it has always been – fairly accessible – to see how long it would take for them to tear into it & therefore how addicted they were to dry food &/or how resistant they were to transitioning. Interestingly, they left it alone during the dry to wet transition, but it was torn open the week before last when I began the wet to raw transition, even though this phase includes pure raw, a raw/wet mix, & pure wet in their bowls (whisker-stress-free bowls, I promise). So even though they have the option of just canned wet food, the addition of another component drove them to the dry. Since then, the bag of kibble has been removed from accessibility. Mealtimes have encouraged stereotypical housecat behavior – “Food?! Food?! Food?!” – when I get home at night. When previously, they surprised me with a similar greeting when I got home, but after putting food out, it turned out they were asking for attention instead. Not even a sniff of the food, just, “finish up what you’re doing, ma, it’s time for pets!” (I do run them through hunt, catch, kill before at least one of their two daily mealtimes & the only things that will stop that are running late in the morning & getting home late enough that I feel like they’ve been waiting more than long enough for dinner). Now, that’s the basic history & surrounding circumstances. Here is my concern. I understand that 1. Sometimes cats eat less than you’d expect, but are fine with that & will make up for it at another mealtime. 2. *Not* eating can get dangerous fast for cats (fatty liver disease risk, yes?) 3. Hunger (to a reasonable degree) is good motivation to try something new.
    That has some scary grey area! Since Lynyrd is more willing to adjust his eating habits than Skynyrd, obviously I should set a pace catered to Skynyrd. BUT while Lynyrd is a little heavier than he should be, Skynyrd is just a bit *under*weight. While neither is okay, I’m prioritizing getting some weight on Skynyrd above getting some off of Lynyrd & trying to start them off on pork (though chicken is my indicator, as that is what they’ve shown ANY interest in so far). Guessing foul is more likely natural prey (though there’s no interest in rabbit yet either).
    But my major concern is that with Skynyrd’s low weight, I don’t want to push his hunger! When I adopted him he was just given a clean bill of health, but occasionally vomited. I had him eating exactly what the shelter fed him. The first time he met a brush, I let him sniff it & he poked his nose pretty hard on a bristle & now it’s clearly a weapon. I got a softer brush that looked entirely different but he’s not too crazy about that either. However, it had lessened the number of hairball-looking piles, but he was still throwing up sometimes. He appears to have a mild anxiety problem (& likely separation anxiety) which may or may not be related to the vomit. Happy, playful, sociable boy, but *very* clingy to the point where he’s trained me in a routine of get home, pick him up & hold him while he smells my face, then relaxes for a few minutes (but I have to be standing while holding him) then he gets down & it’s time for pets. He grabs my hand & shows me exactly where to pet. If I stop before he’s finished, he stares at me, taps me with his paw, & whines. This trifecta is also used as initiation of pet sessions outside our arriving home routine. Meanwhile, Lynyrd, just as sociable but less clingy, waits for his turn from a few feet away & steps in once Skynyrd’s scramble for affection becomes less frenetic. To this day it is a work in progress enriching the environment to the point where I don’t feel Skynyrd has just spent the whole day waiting for me to get home & the whole night waiting for me to get up – & yes, I wake up to him sitting meatloaf style two feet away, starting at me. He also startles more easily than Lynyrd, cries a bit at the windows during a storm, & will run from me if I take a deep breath – which he learned can sometimes precede a cough – then comes right back.

    So, while hairballs & anxiety may have been playing into the vomit, from the point I switched them to wet food, there has been NO vomit. The switch to wet food was also simultaneous to the switch to whisker-stress-free bowls & the switch to mealtimes (Seems I dumped a sudden multi-layered change on them, but wet food lends itself to being removed after a period & I didn’t think there would be any consequences to switching bowl type). Now I’m in a place where I’m really on the “dry food is the devil” bandwagon, so I desperately don’t want to go back. But moving forward is starting to trouble me. Neither of them ever *finish* the food put out. They didn’t finish it when it was all just canned wet & when I switched to a gradation of pure wet to wet mixed with raw to pure raw across the oblong bowl, they still did not finish all of the pure wet (basically, say I split 4oz of wet between them, they each got 2oz & never ate it all. When I changed to the gradation, I was leaving 1oz pure in each bowl, 1oz mixed with raw, & a dollop of pure raw at the end, they weren’t even finishing that one ounce of wet food! Meals are twice a day).

    My concern lead me to dry treat bribe sprinkles. BIG mistake because I didn’t begin mealtime with the treats there. I panicked halfway through mealtime after a few sniffs & licks & abandonment for the second time in a row, & *added* the treats. Now, I think I’m in a game of chicken. Who will break first? Will the boys get so hungry that they eat the wet by itself? Or can they be stubborn enough to scare mom into making sure they eat *something* by adding the addictive carbs? And Skynyrd has taken to very adamantly begging at the table. He also quickly, without “play” ate a centipede he saw the other day. He’s seen one before & chased & watched it, but didn’t even try to catch or eat it. And this morning I woke up & found that a soft pretzel wrapped in cellophane had been pulled to the ground, torn open & chunks of it eaten. I unwrapped it fully & offered pieces to each cat. Lynyrd was uninterested & Skynyrd proved himself the culprit, excited to see it unwrapped & offered to him & tried to take a bite! (I did not allow the bite, I just wanted to confirm Skynyrd was the scavenger.)

    I have already stopped mixing any of the raw with the wet. The raw is now just a dollop next to the pure wet in the hopes that they will associate the scent of the raw with food & I will perhaps mix some in again in the future.

    Each of my options for moving forward come with concerns.

    Option 1: Go back to dry & wean them to wet more slowly & move forward from there. My quick switch from dry to wet was because they’d had wet before with their dry sometimes so it didn’t seem dangerously sudden. My concern: I don’t want my underweight cat throwing up again. It will also delay confirmation that the cause of the vomit was dry food, because I want to go over a month with no vomit before I rule out anxiety or over consumption of fur & the longer I delay confirming the cause, the longer I don’t know how to help. I also worry that throwing dry food back in if it *was* the cause of the vomiting might *worsen* the vomiting since he’s been off it for a while & at that point will his body get less nourishment than if he went on eating what little he does of the wet?

    Option 2: Remove raw entirely from the bowl & offer only wet for a while. My concern: if they never finished the wet anyway, how do I know when to add the raw back? And since they’re not touching the raw yet (for the most part) have I done *anything* to solve the problem? Will they eventually work their way up to finishing the whole portion of wet food as they get more & more familiar with the concept of having to eat their whole meal in one sitting? Or would I just be keeping them on a diet they despise & only eat at the mercy of their survival instinct?

    Option 3: Go back to free feeding for a while – maybe Skynyrd is having a hard time grasping the concept & never intends to eat so little, but just keeps finding no food when he wants some. My concern: Maybe he’s not slow on the uptake, maybe he’s grown shy of eating because he recognized that eating led to throwing up – if we just keep going & the vomit really has stopped, this should correct itself, right? Additionally, doesn’t going back to free-feeding mean going back to dry? Doesn’t wet food go bad to a degree if left out for hours on end? And finally, going definitively backwards in the process risks another game of chicken when I try to switch back to mealtimes. “Last time, we didn’t eat & she gave our buffet back, let’s just wait it out. Unlimited food is the high life!”

    Option 4: Establish a consistent routine of pure wet, with a side of pure raw by itself for one meal of the day & with dry treat bribes for the other meal of the day to assure *something* in their tummies daily, but consistently motivating them with hunger to the end that if they want two meals instead of one they need to eat that wet food, eventually ending the game of chicken by committing to never adding to the bowl halfway through mealtime. And just wait for them to start having some of the raw food however long it takes before finally beginning to shift ratios to transition them to raw. My concern: How long can they go only picking out the dry treat bribes? Can their stubbornness outlast their health? Sometimes if the treats have gotten too wet or if I’ve pushed them into the wet in an attempt to encourage them to eat their way to them, they – mostly Skynyrd – will leave those compromised pieces untouched. So if they (or just Skynyrd) decide(s) even just three days in a row to be stubborn enough to only take the driest of the dry from the one meal a day that includes it, what am I doing to my cat(s)?!

    Option 5: Attempt to find a different brand of wet that they like & will polish off, even if it means a lower quality food. Dry food to a wet food that contains grain – that junk food (carbs) that they’re addicted to – is likely a smoother transition & if they finish it, at least they’re nourishing themselves & even the transition to raw might be easier if the wet I eventually mix it into is more appealing. My concern: ANOTHER diet change?! What if the new brand exploration makes them sick or pushes them over the edge to diarrhea? Can their delicate little systems handle that at a time like this when it seems like they’re not eating enough? And for that matter, if the different brand of wet is a hit, won’t it cause problems for them to go from eating so little to excitedly chowing down a whole portion?

    Option 6: Keep going on the path of offering some wet & some raw, separate, because it hasn’t been long & with desperate moves like eating centipedes & sting operations involving soft pretzels, Skynyrd must be SO close to caving & eating appropriately. My concern: Last night, Lynyrd knocked Skynyrd off the coffee table & Skynyrd fell like a human might. He almost got his feet under him, but he toppled to his side. It didn’t look right. He got right back up, & it’s not a long distance to correct his orientation to land on his feet, & it *was* a pretty decent tackle, but it sent up a little flag nonetheless. A flag that made me realize that he also has stopped using the top perch of the cat tree for naps. I’m wondering if he’s feeling weak. Too weak to climb to the top or maybe to skillfully jump down. He’s still running & playing & he sure feels strong when he’s trying to squeeze his face into some human food I’m trying to keep him from, but if he *is* in the early stages of losing strength, I’m in trouble right now! With all the possible options for moving forward, each tailored to combat one potential issue, I’m terrified to change *nothing* . . . Though I’m only slightly less terrified to change what could turn out to be the wrong thing. I want to take a controlled approach to this to yield information, but I’m rapidly approaching blind panic & a “try anything” attitude, which could cause it’s own issues, one of them being that I chose the right option, but abandon it because it didn’t show improvements fast enough.

    I apologize for the epic-novel-length inquiry, but again, I may not have learned what I need to do in this situation in all my research, but I certainly have learned that a cat’s behavior is an intricate web of everything going on in its life & frequently guardians are at a loss of what to do because they have overlooked the connection of the problem to something else in that web. (That being said, yes Lynyrd bullying Skynyrd is a fairly regular occurrence, but the reason I believe it to be genuinely unrelated to their eating habits is 1. It never happens anywhere near the food bowls. Mealtime is quite peaceable. And for that matter, it never even happens in the kitchen. 2. Once I started finite mealtimes, I noticed the fights appeared to be distanced from eating in time as well as physical space, which points not only to a lack of correlation between food & fight, but to a potential correlation between fight & how long ago an interactive play session took place. Though, so far, more play hasn’t quite made for less fighting, just delayed.)

    Obviously, my plea is for advice in regards to how best to move forward in regards to feeding, but I’ve made a lot of statements in here of conclusions I’ve drawn as well as how I arrived at them. If you could also give me a heads up if one of them doesn’t sound right, I’d appreciate it.

    And YES, I am gathering/saving funds as we speak for a vet visit regardless of their fairly recent clean bill of health. House call vet. You wouldn’t believe the guttural sounds of utter terror & despair Skynyrd makes in a carrier in a moving vehicle.

    I understand that you are not a vet, that your advice is not a substitute for or to be prioritized above medical attention/treatment & that any advice should be put into practice *after* completion of medical treatment &/or receipt of a clean bill of health for my boys unless you specifically advise immediate action, in which case I understand it is in no way an encouragement to *delay* medical attention/treatment.

    Reply
  3. Lolo
    May 23, 2018 at 8:00 am (4 months ago)

    We are moving and buying all new furniture. Husband is declawing an 11 yr old cat so it will not ruin furniture. Cat also is vicious and bites! I’m worried it will become more volatile and attack me with biting (considering pain with declaw and new home). I am pregnant. Cat has sent 2 people to the hospital in the past, including me. Are there any other options?

    Reply
  4. Helen Penman
    May 22, 2018 at 6:56 pm (4 months ago)

    Hello Mikel,
    I hope you are able to offer advice as I am desperate and not sure what to do. We live in the North of New Zealand at Omaha Beach.
    We have 2 beautiful 10 year old sister domestic longhair cats -‘Mindy and Maya’ and a medium size labradoodle dog called Lily. They all get along extremely well and Maya and Lily are especially close.
    About 2 and a half years ago we sold our home and moved to live in our beach house an hours drive further north taking our animal family with us. They were very familiar with this house as we had been holidaying there with them for 10 years or so. We lived there happily for about 2 years while we tried to find a more suitable permanent home.
    In November we purchased a more suitable home and moved in. The new home is only a short walk away from the holiday home. After keeping the kitties inside with a litter box for two weeks we finally let them out. Mindy settled in well however Maya left home after about a week and went back to the old place. Initially she was easy to find and bring home but she would keep going back. Once she disappeared there for a month before we found her. We brought her home very thin and hungry – fed her up and she seemed very affectionate and Happy but she left again after about 10 days. She has kept going away, sometimes for a few days coming back hungry and wanting affection. Last night she returned at 3am after a 12 day absense – extremely talkative and very hungry. Now she is lounging very relaxed on my bed. I have resisted leaving food out for her at the old house as I don’t want to reinforce that behaviour. I always greet her homecoming with a big feed and a brush which she loves then she snuggles in for a big sleep.
    She seems to stay home long enough to recharge her batteries then leaves again. I have no idea how to stop her doing this. Is there anything I can do – HELP
    Ps. She was neutered at 6 months old. From our observations she does not appear to be sneaking off to another family.

    Reply
  5. Joseph Jones
    May 20, 2018 at 12:07 am (4 months ago)

    Mikel
    My 2nd cat my wife and I adopted a year and 3 months ago was a cat who was found abandoned in an apartment with her and her kitten. She is the smallest grown I’ve ever seen. She got along great with my other cat Minerva, Luna was skittish her first few days. However my cats have a room of their own. She loved to lay in my wife’s lap in the recliner at night ECT. They played all the time woke me up to feed them at daylight. But in January we adopted a 3rd cat who was going to be just dropped at a kill shelter because the owner broke up with his girl and he couldn’t do it alone and was moving. His mother knowing we have two and love them asked us to take Bella so now we have Minerva (1st) Luna(2nd) and Bella last. We did the introduction properly they took 3-4 days to get along completely and want to play they played great They ate the same foods, in the same room feet apart at the same time. In March we had to go to Orlando for 3 days. We came back home and everything seemed fine. A week later Luna was urinating in My wife’s closet and under her desk she would eat litter if it spilled on the floor. Then she started staying inside the boodadome litter box. She just laid in there all day and night I had to physically take her out a few times and bring her in the living room with me. Then I took the lid off it to stop that hiding so she got inside my hamper in my bathroom opposite end of the house she stopped eating we thought she had urinaty infection. So we took her to the vet and of course in the exam room she’s walking around looking around she even eats the treats they have. They thought it was emotional that maybe the new cat and our trip and the new paint in the house. They advised we get the pheromone diffuser and see if she would venture back out to the rest of the home. So I bought her a new tree put it in her room in front of the window it has an apartment so she can get cover If she wants. I haven’t seen any fighting at all by the way. So the tree and pheromone seemed to start working to an extent she lost two pounds during the sickness. She went from 8.2 down to 5.7. She was only nibbling when eating but I noticed she would stop when Minerva watched her almost like Minerva bullied her. Still haven’t saw any fighting or aggression. She now is eating her morning meal and sometimes comes in to eat a nibble on her own. If she eats it’s bevause I go in there pick her up and carry her to the food. I started that because I needed her to eat more. Weight isn’t coming back on her. But she doesn’t seem afraid Or anything she will let me hold her and carry her around the house even sit in the dining room but if I bring her in the living room and sit in my recliner she immediately wants down and leaves back to her tree. She stays in that tree all day and night and seems afraid of something in here. It’s making her not eat like she did. She will not play with the others I can get her to chase laser but she used to be so intrigued by my flashlight because it’s a small direct beam so she chases it. If she heard it come on she would come to where I was. Not anymore. She doesn’t mind them in her tree or room but she wants to just lay in there and do nothing. I feed them at the same time everyday but I either have to go bring her to the food or bring it to her. Can’t get her to lay with me in my bed she won’t sit in my lap in living room. She has started meowing a little when I go in there to check on her it’s the deep meow almost a bark/chirp. She’s trying to tell me something. She was the cat that even talked to me with her eyes. I hate seeing her look so skinny and bored and just miserable. I can’t get the vet to say anything other than emotional issue. I recently have started her on kitten chow to get weight on in case her weight is so low she’s weak? She’s 5.9lbs. Never been a big cat. Her healthy weight was 7.8 at its highest. I don’t know what kind of cat she is she’s grey and white just two white spots on nose and chest and paws. They are all spayed. What could be the issue that has lasted this long? Could something have happened in the Living room area traumatic? Still don’t know what caused the hiding and litter box sleeping/staying.

    I even would hold her through the night and let her sleep under my blanket so she could “hide” she slowly went from hamper to window sill. I am a disabled Iraq veteran I did have a seizure March 3 and was in the hospital after it. 6 days I was away. My seizure was the worst ever since they just started and my house was a wreck when my wife came home and found me 6 hours later. I was blacked out from a Tuesday evening to Thursday am early. I ripped shower curtain down and turned stove on was drinking water from faucet like she used to. I just thought of the seizure possibly being traumatizing. We went to orlando 6 days after I got out of the hospital. So it All Happened fast. Is it possible I scared her that badly? That she will not come in here or sit in this chair with me? My eldest cat Minerva knows when I’m going to seize and will nudge my chin upward so my head isn’t falling like you do when dozing off. She’s a large cat 32” from nose to tail tip and 11lbs.
    So new cat, seizure, uti, new paint , new litter box the booda, “vacation” hospital stay for me , but how do I get her to start coming in here and playing again? Weight gain I have grass for them all over two trees , two rooms for them scratchers and toys all around catnip and she loves catnip treats. How can I get my angel back?

    Reply
  6. Nova
    May 15, 2018 at 9:19 pm (4 months ago)

    Hello Kitty People,
    I have a male kitty who is just the sweetest boy ever. He was a barn cat rescue and I have had him with me for about 9 years now – I assume he is nearly 10. He is very lovable, loves attention and new people, and is very social. When he came into my care he had some people issues, like he would get incredibly uncomfortable if anyone picked him up – but all these years later he is the most docile and trusting feline I have ever met… although, he has one incredibly annoying quirk that makes so many ‘animal lovers’ nearly hate him.

    He will be in the room, spending time with the people… then out of nowhere get up – walk into the living room, and just scream at the top of his lungs. It doesn’t last long, he doesn’t scream for hours – just 4-5 long winded, incredibly loud yowls – that saddest sound you may have ever heard. It sounds like something is terribly wrong, and I can’t even imagine what it must sound like to a neighbor that may hear him. He will do this at random times, even in the middle of the night – He will get up from being curled up on the bed with me, go to another room, and just cry.

    Usually – for many years, all I (or anyone) would have to do is call him, and he would come back in like “Oh there you are! I got lost!” almost as if he had completely forgotten he was not alone. He has always displayed separation anxiety, which I have handled to the best of my ability – currently there are 3 humans around, and he is never actually alone – but all 3 of us have far different schedules. Which makes this next part tough.

    He recently developed (on 3 separate occasions over the last year) severe bouts of Ataxia. There have been no lapses in the past 6 months, but we are discovering (My guess is due to that Ataxia or as a secondary symptom) that my boy may very well be mostly, or completely deaf now. He cannot hear people calling him, you can walk in the door and unless he sees you he doesn’t realize you are there, you can clap your hands and he does not react. This has increased the volume at which he will yell, at any random time during the day or night when he feels lonely.

    Apparently, I don’t even wake up to this anymore and is, of-coarse; more of a problem for my sleeping roommate and boyfriend. I dread the day where it becomes a problem for my apartment community. I just don’t know what to do – I never expected my “fix” to his screaming (calling him back) would be… well useless! Now that he can’t hear me, or himself for that matter.

    The 1st time I saw him become so off-balance, he couldn’t even walk – this lasted around a full week – where he couldn’t even get to the cat box himself – The vet explained the likely 3 causes of this kind of symptom, and explained she was convinced it was neurological. I do not doubt this as he has always displayed some neurological… oddities… and the other causes were incredibly unlikely. My main concern – How can I possibly help break, or cope with this random screaming, when he can’t hear me? I just don’t know what to do.

    I am sorry this was so long winded, please – if anyone has ideas? Or have experienced this kind of thing – I could really use some wisdom! 🙂

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Joseph Jones
      May 19, 2018 at 11:37 am (4 months ago)

      Can anyone tell me how to make a new comment? So that I can ask a question without it being a reply to someone else’s questions? To make it short I will ask here and post it new if I learn how.
      My 2nd cat my wife and I adopted a year and 3 months ago was a cat who was found abandoned in an apartment with her and her kitten. She is the smallest grown I’ve ever seen. She got along great with my other cat Minerva, Luna was skittish her first few days. However my cats have a room of their own. She loved to lay in my wife’s lap in the recliner at night ECT. They played all the time woke me up to feed them at daylight. But in January we adopted a 3rd cat who was going to be just dropped at a kill shelter because the owner broke up with his girl and he couldn’t do it alone and was moving. His mother knowing we have two and love them asked us to take Bella so now we have Minerva (1st) Luna(2nd) and Bella last. We did the introduction properly they took 3-4 days to get along completely and want to play they played great They ate the same foods, in the same room feet apart at the same time. In March we had to go to Orlando for 3 days. We came back home and everything seemed fine. A week later Luna was urinating in My wife’s closet and under her desk she would eat litter if it spilled on the floor. Then she started staying inside the boodadome litter box. She just laid in there all day and night I had to physically take her out a few times and bring her in the living room with me. Then I took the lid off it to stop that hiding so she got inside my hamper in my bathroom opposite end of the house she stopped eating we thought she had urinaty infection. So we took her to the vet and of course in the exam room she’s walking around looking around she even eats the treats they have. They thought it was emotional that maybe the new cat and our trip and the new paint in the house. They advised we get the pheromone diffuser and see if she would venture back out to the rest of the home. So I bought her a new tree put it in her room in front of the window it has an apartment so she can get cover If she wants. I haven’t seen any fighting at all by the way. So the tree and pheromone seemed to start working to an extent she lost two pounds during the sickness. She went from 8.2 down to 5.7. She was only nibbling when eating but I noticed she would stop when Minerva watched her almost like Minerva bullied her. Still haven’t saw any fighting or aggression. She now is eating her morning meal and sometimes comes in to eat a nibble on her own. If she eats it’s bevause I go in there pick her up and carry her to the food. I started that because I needed her to eat more. Weight isn’t coming back on her. But she doesn’t seem afraid Or anything she will let me hold her and carry her around the house even sit in the dining room but if I bring her in the living room and sit in my recliner she immediately wants down and leaves back to her tree. She stays in that tree all day and night and seems afraid of something in here. It’s making her not eat like she did. She will not play with the others I can get her to chase laser but she used to be so intrigued by my flashlight because it’s a small direct beam so she chases it. If she heard it come on she would come to where I was. Not anymore. She doesn’t mind them in her tree or room but she wants to just lay in there and do nothing. I feed them at the same time everyday but I either have to go bring her to the food or bring it to her. Can’t get her to lay with me in my bed she won’t sit in my lap in living room. She has started meowing a little when I go in there to check on her it’s the deep meow almost a bark/chirp. She’s trying to tell me something. She was the cat that even talked to me with her eyes. I hate seeing her look so skinny and bored and just miserable. I can’t get the vet to say anything other than emotional issue. I recently have started her on kitten chow to get weight on in case her weight is so low she’s weak? She’s 5.9lbs. Never been a big cat. Her healthy weight was 7.8 at its highest. I don’t know what kind of cat she is she’s grey and white just two white spots on nose and chest and paws. They are all spayed. What could be the issue that has lasted this long? Could something have happened in the Living room area traumatic? Still don’t know what caused the hiding and litter box sleeping/staying.

      I even would hold her through the night and let her sleep under my blanket so she could “hide” she slowly went from hamper to window sill. I am a disabled Iraq veteran I did have a seizure March 3 and was in the hospital after it. 6 days I was away. My seizure was the worst ever since they just started and my house was a wreck when my wife came home and found me 6 hours later. I was blacked out from a Tuesday evening to Thursday am early. I ripped shower curtain down and turned stove on was drinking water from faucet like she used to. I just thought of the seizure possibly being traumatizing. We went to orlando 6 days after I got out of the hospital. So it All Happened fast. Is it possible I scared her that badly? That she will not come in here or sit in this chair with me? My eldest cat Minerva knows when I’m going to seize and will nudge my chin upward so my head isn’t falling like you do when dozing off. She’s a large cat 32” from nose to tail tip and 11lbs.
      So new cat, seizure, uti, new paint , new litter box the booda, “vacation” hospital stay for me , but how do I get her to start coming in here and playing again? Weight gain I have grass for them all over two trees , two rooms for them scratchers and toys all around catnip and she loves catnip treats. How can I get my angel back?

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        May 19, 2018 at 2:28 pm (4 months ago)

        Mikel will see your comment, Joseph. For future reference, to post a new comment, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post and the last of the existing comments, and you’ll see the “leave a comment” field at the very bottom.

        Reply
        • Joseph Jones
          May 20, 2018 at 12:00 am (4 months ago)

          Thank you I didn’t see it is why I asked

          Reply
    • Joseph
      May 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm (4 months ago)

      Nova I wanted to let you know 1st I have a cat who will yowl too. I swear he’s yelling “y’all” as if no one is around. What stops him is attention I go either pet him or go let him run his neck and cheek on my shoes or feet. There is also a pheromone that is for this exact situation it’s to remind them of mom it lasts 30 days and it calms him makes him feel more at ease. I think Jackson has a couple of them and there are the feliway brands. But they work great. He could be missing littermates or he had a buddy that was in the wild with him!

      Reply
  7. Ashley D
    May 8, 2018 at 7:19 pm (5 months ago)

    So I have kind of a weird question, but I have a 1 year old male cat (at the moment he’s the only one we have) and we got him when he was about 3 weeks old, the person who had him was giving him away as an 8 week old kitten so we didn’t know about that (he had birth defects and she “couldn’t deal with it”). She had weaned him onto solid dry food, so naturally he wasn’t eating enough or properly and we got him back on formula and tried to get him on wet food but he wasn’t too interested. The older he got the harder it was to actually get him to eat and he wasn’t gaining weight, so I started hand feeding him dry AND wet food, with mixed results on whether he’d actually eat it. Now, at a year old, he won’t touch wet food and he’ll eat dry food but only if we sit down and put the pieces in front of him to eat. He will very occasionally eat out of the bowl on his own, and I’m not sure how to get him to keep doing that and teach him he needs to eat on his own out of the bowl by himself. He’ll only eat a few pieces at a time. So I guess my main question is what do you think would be the best way to teach him to eat on his own?

    Reply
  8. Bethany
    May 7, 2018 at 7:20 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi, my family has recently adopted a 2 year old cat who isn’t adjusting as well as we had hoped. Because she has moved around quite a few times in her life (most recently due to hurricane Irma) we don’t want to move her again and hope she can fit with us. She is very loving towards me, but I am about to move away for college and want to make sure she is comfortable before I leave.

    Some stressors in my home include a 5 year old child, and another cat who is about 10. The new cat is beginning to warm up to my younger sister, but my older cat is posing an issue. The older cat is significantly smaller than our new cat, and although the older cat seemed to want to be friends with the new cat at first, they both act aggressively towards each other now.

    She seems to do very well when I am at home and will allow other family members to give her attention, but if I am away she likes to stay in my room and avoid my family. I’m not sure how to acclimate her and I’m nervous that my leaving for college will eventually lead to her relocation yet again.

    Reply
  9. Michelle
    April 26, 2018 at 9:28 am (5 months ago)

    We brought a kitten in to our home and took it day by day to introduce the other animals to each other. But one of our cats is still hissing and growling at her sister and our new kitten it’s been three weeks now. What can we do to help, it seems like our new kitten just wants to play and the other two are not having it

    Reply
  10. Emily
    April 25, 2018 at 7:16 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi Mikel,

    I have a couple of questions regarding urination.
    1) my 5 year old cat Grayson has, in the past year, started doing this thing in the litter box, where he will start peeing in the box, but often step one paw out of the box for balance, but then he will edge forward as close as he can to the endge of the box and then start turning to the side, almost as though he is looking at his tail. this causes his bottom to move over the edge of the box, and he ends up peeing on the floor. At other times he will start peeing and then walk out of the box and then turn to the side a bit, again, peeing on the floor.
    A couple of notes – a) at 6 years he was diagnosed with epilepsy, and since this time he has slowly had more and more trouble balancing on the edge of the box which is his preferred way to go. he also has trouble successfully jumping on things. b) we have tried wider boxes, higher sides, and lower sides. we havn’t tried one with high sides all around becuase he cant jump well all the time and i think he could get stuck if its one of those days.
    any tips?

    2) my second cat, Mia, has been with us for about two years. Mia uses the litterbox well, but also pees outside the litter box. To start it was on washing or towels that are lying around – easy fix. but recently she peed on the vacuum cleaner cord, on my shoes for the first time, and on our bed. I haven’t noticed a pattern in where she is choosing to go, so I don’t think its territorial. It happens sometimes no times a week, and sometimes 5 times in a week (and i know there are probably some we haven’t found.)
    She doesn’t have a health issue as we have had her checked out, and it happens so randomly.
    I do wonder if it is anxiety? the vaccuum episode recently happened and it was 3 days after we shifted bedrooms in our house. i am not sure if that caused anxiety.
    My main wonder is whether it could be anxiety from our other cat? When we first got Mia we introduced them slowly, and after a week they seemed to be oaky and started to be out together. Mia used to growl at Grayson if he went near her food etc. Stand her ground. Slowly we noticed her letting him take her food (we sorted this by staggering their feeding by a few minutes and keeping him away), and she didn’t growl anymore. Grayson chases her around the house a lot, and I don’t think it is always playful becuase she will often his at him, but he will continue, and sometimes hold her down – never making physical injuries but she could well be very scared? soemtimes she will start the chasing though, or play at him with his tail etc. but there are times he will e.g. corner her under a couch. ALso, when we try to play with them Grayson will just play on his back for a minute or two and get bored, but Mia will play. but then he will see her playinf with us and come over to join in. often she will then stay back and not participate as much.
    do you think that Grayson is causing her anxiety and scaring her? and would that cause her to seemingly randomly pee in different places?
    how can we improve this behaviour? how can we stop him terrorizing her, and in turn hopefully stop all the wee?

    Thanks, Emily

    Reply
  11. Andrew
    April 19, 2018 at 11:08 am (5 months ago)

    Hi mikel,
    My wife and I have a huge problem, and don’t know what to do anymore. We have three cats, 2 males and a female. All came from the shelter. The problem is with our female, we think she might have been abused in the past. When we brought home our youngest, she instantly disliked him. We did the separate room for the kitten for about a month, slowly introducing him to everyone. Our Tom liked him immediately and assumed an older brother told right away. Our dog got used to him quickly too, but our female never got used to him. She even put out his eye. So we swapped it. Hammish(the kitten). Lives with the rest of us, and freyja(the female) lives in the room upstairs. We bring her down constantly, and switch one into the kennel we have set up to try and get them used to each other. We do monitored “playtime” with them but freyja will either ignore him, or wait till his back is turned and attack. We tried the bully solution but that seems to not help. We purchased a thunder jacket for her,and that stops her from attacking, but it also stops her from doing anything. It’s been like this for about five months and there is no improvement. We don’t know what to do. We don’t want to take freyja back to the shelter because then she would never be adopted, but she can’t live by herself forever. Can you please help us?

    Reply
  12. Jeanne
    April 18, 2018 at 4:05 am (5 months ago)

    Hi Mikel,

    I need some help. I have a 2yo cat she’s perfect I love her so much! Since yesterday she s been acting out..

    We are in the process of moving so we put some boxes under our dinner table. Yesterday my boyfriend went through them in when he was putting one back he didn’t see my cat was under the table and he must’ve squeezed her by accident so she started hissing and meowing really loudly.
    I went to help her and she calmed down. But now even with all the boxes removed she keeps hissing and getting angry every time my boyfriend tries to go in the kitchen, and she starting to do it with me too..

    She’s never been like this shes a good cat and even when this happens she comes back to normal when we leave..please help me
    I love her so much! Shes my first cat I don’t want to loose her..

    Thank you so much for your time
    Jeanne

    Reply
  13. Sean
    April 17, 2018 at 4:44 pm (5 months ago)

    Thanks for this, all very interesting, especially the cat to cat interactions

    Reply
    • PENNEY
      April 19, 2018 at 9:32 pm (5 months ago)

      MY CAT SHES THELOVE OF MY LIFE UNTIL YESTERDAY SHE HAS POOP ON HER FUR WHERE HER BUM IS AND WONT LET ME TOUCH HER BACK THERE I DONT WANT TO TAKER HER THE VET OR THE GROOMERS PLEASE IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER SUGGETIONS BE MY GUEST AND GIVE THEM TO ME MY NAME IS PENNEY

      Reply
  14. Linda Shockley
    April 15, 2018 at 6:13 pm (5 months ago)

    Mikel, my cat’s behavior has changed. She is now 10 years old. When she got around 5, she stopped wanting to get in my lap. I have lived with this but I really wish I could get her to accept my lap again. She also hates to be picked up and squirms until I put her back down. Is there any way I can train her to be OK with being picked up & held on my lap?

    Reply
  15. PENNEY
    April 15, 2018 at 10:27 am (5 months ago)

    AND SHES ALSO AFRAID OF ME RAISING MY VOICE AT HER AND WHAT I REALLY MEANT TO SAY WAS FIRE TRUCKS

    Reply
  16. PENNEY
    April 15, 2018 at 10:25 am (5 months ago)

    I HAVE FEMALE CAT WHOS REALLY AFRAID OF SPEEDIND CARS AND AMBULANSES AND FIR TRUCKS AND SHE AFRAIDOF SHAKEING OUT A GARGAGE BAG AND SHES REALLY AFRAIID OF THUNDER AND ESPECALLY LIGHTENTINGP

    Reply
  17. Jay
    April 11, 2018 at 6:57 pm (5 months ago)

    Some ideas for “Cat Attacks for No Reason” and “Cat Bites Other Cat on Back of Neck”.
    The cat who seems to attack for no reason could be in pain and that is the reason for attacks. Trip to vet recommended

    The other case is similar to a situation I had with two cats, male and female. They were best friends, always together and groomed each other. It always seemed very sexual when the male would bite the back of the females neck, complete with a humping motion. She would cry out sometimes but it never seemed like pain and she would not leave him when he stopped

    Reply
  18. Silvia Shanahan
    April 11, 2018 at 3:42 pm (5 months ago)

    re Samantha’s cat walking out of the box while peeing, I wonder if he has two boxes to use? My cat poops in one and pees in the other.

    Reply
    • Angela Messerschmitt
      April 12, 2018 at 8:06 pm (5 months ago)

      Also you can use a liter box with the opening in the top! They are interesting and should work if your cat will use it!

      Reply
  19. kat
    April 11, 2018 at 1:39 pm (5 months ago)

    hi Mikel, have a 13 yr spayed feral female; she poops outside the box (and I clean everytime I go into the rooms where boxes are), on a rug, whereever…cant figure it out…why? basically she’s healthy (have her on dry RC fiber food due to constipation); other two cats dont go outside box; plus she and her brother seem to have very delicate digestion, chronic mucus/coughing. think its inherent, but the litter situation is baffling. thanks!

    Reply
  20. Anna
    April 11, 2018 at 1:05 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi Mikel, I have two cats, but one of them has what seems like stress/anxiety when relatives come and stay with me and my mom for several days. He knows when change is coming because my mom vacuums (which terrifies him and he will hide for up to the entire day) and is moving all over the house cleaning. The last time my grandparents came he hid the entire day before. When some of my relatives have come over they try to discipline him by hitting him on the head when they think he is misbehaving and the result is that he goes in my mom’s room and pees on her bed or her dirty clothes. Do I just need to keep my cats downstairs when guests are here? Do I need to have my mom start feeding them regularly so they bond with her more and possibly stop peeing on her stuff? I have tried to tell people how to interact with my nervous cat and they never listen to me, and every time he ends up peeing on my mom’s stuff. How can I help my cat get through visits/stays from other people (considering I can’t seem to get the people to modify their behavior towards him)? Thank you!

    Reply
  21. Lauren
    April 11, 2018 at 8:57 am (5 months ago)

    Hi Mikel,
    I have been a cat enthusiast for a long time. I have a unique and particularly tough situation and I am hoping for advice. For four years my husband and I have owned one cat. We have owned her since she was a kitten and she has always been a terrific cat. A little mischievous at times and food-dependent but we have adjusted to any issue she had. She always gets along with other cats if she travels to other places, but if another cat came to our small apartment she would be upset by this, but it was always short term so we did not have an opportunity to see how it played out. She would hiss, but that was basically the end of it.
    We recently just moved to a new house and because there was more territory to go around, we adopted a second cat. This cat is also 4 years old and is a special needs cat. She has lived her entire life at the shelter and pretty much always kept to herself. She has a neuro disorder of unknown causes (likely trauma) that affects her coordination and her gait. We have had her for about a month and she has had a couple minor seizures triggered by stress and is managed using holistic methods. Our other cat hissed around her for the first couple of days, but ultimately realized the new cat was not a threat. The new cat spends most of her time in the laundry room where her food and litter box are also. We kept the door shut for the first couple of weeks, and then started to leave it open while we were home. Our other cat leaves the new cat alone as long as she remains in that room. But now that our new cat is starting to come out of the room, our other cat will consistently target her and jump on her. It does not seem to be violent and is mainly play, but she does jump on her back and bite her neck. If the new cat was not a special needs cat I would not be concerned and I would hope that she would defend herself, but the new cat is completely submissive and pretty much plays dead whenever our other cat does this. Also, I worry that the stress will induce her seizures. When our other cat does these things I make sure to say “NO” and she is completely aware that I do not want her to do these things, but still if our other cat sees the new cat come out of her room unless she is laying with us in another room she will target her. I partially want to just continue to leave the door open while we are not home in hopes that our other cat becomes very used to the new cat, but I also worry about our other cat targeting the new cat while we are not home and possibly triggering a seizure as well as bullying her back into her room. I think if we could be there all of the time eventually this would end, but without us being home during the day I fear the lack of consistency will keep it happening. I want our new cat to feel comfortable roaming our home and being with us, but our other cat seems to be a bit of a bully 🙁 Advice?

    Reply
  22. Ange
    April 11, 2018 at 4:19 am (5 months ago)

    Hi there Mikel, I was wondering how do I introduce my 13 year old cat Blade to a much younger 3 year old cat called Smooch? The younger one has seen my cat through a screen door and she hates him. Blade has seen her a number of times, has gone to run at her once or twice, but doesn’t seem too keen on her, I have them separated at the moment, but would like them to get along so I don’t have to so this. Blade has been an only cat for a few years, would this affect him? Thanks!

    Reply
  23. Michaelene
    April 11, 2018 at 2:55 am (5 months ago)

    Thanks for your answer to the question about my cat talking in his sleep. My vet isn’t concerned, just also curious. The longer I have cats, the more I believe their behaviors are practically unlimited. And they keep you from being too full of yourself.

    Reply

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