Saturday, August 16, 2008

Know Your Animals

I have a fat cat. Not quite Prince Chunk fat, but when we left Virginia she was a rolling 17.5 lbs. You have to understand, she isn't a petite cat. She would be anorexic if she were any less than 12 lbs. I know she needs to lose a few pounds, but until a few months ago she seemed happy and I didn't mind her chunky-ness.

Not long before we left Virginia, DC (short for Dog Chow) started having accidents just outside the litter box. I thought that maybe she no longer liked the kitty litter that I was using, so I decided to try a new litter. We first tried a pine cat litter. In trying to slowly save the world, I decided to do some research and learned about all of the problems with traditional clay-based litters and decided to try something a bit more eco-friendly. Pine seemed like an acceptable alternative, but neither DC nor I enjoyed the pine litter. The original pine wasn't a "clumping" litter like the two of us were used to, so it just wasn't going to work for us.

We next decided to try a wheat based litter and we immediately fell in love. The wheat is all natural, clumps nicely and can even be flushed down the toilet. She seemed to be doing better, so I figured the litter switch was the magic ticket for her. No problem.

About a week later, she started to have additional accidents just outside of the litter box. I was having trouble understanding how she could pee just outside the box (I mean seriously, the litter box is right there), so I decided to check it out one evening. Do you know what I found...she was having trouble getting her large self completely inside the covered box.

Well that wasn't going to work. I decided to try an open pan box, figuring she would have less trouble maneuvering around in the open system. Once again, all was going well and then the accidents resumed. For the time being I decided to just wash the towel under her box as needed and try to figure out a new plan once we got here.

When we got here we set her up in our master bathroom. Since the accidents were continuing, I decided to try yet again another litter box, this time a top opening system. I figured if her fanny couldn't hang over the side of the box she wouldn't be able to have any accidents. Well that backfired on me. She was so big that she couldn't get into the box, or maybe she just didn't like it, I don't really know. Either way, she wouldn't use it and I became concerned.

Not long after, I caught her sniffing around by the front closet and discovered that she had had her first real accident away from the litter box. I was angry. I couldn't believe that she had done that. I changed her litter box back to the open pan and cleaned the carpet with vinegar and water and then sprinkled on some baking soda to try to manage the cat pee smell. The smell initially went away, but came back with a vengeance.

Those of you familiar with cat pee know the nose curling smell I'm talking about. My husband hates cat pee. One of his brothers had a cat when he was growing up that used to pee on his clothes, so Justin has some baggage when it comes to cat pee. We've already had to get rid of a Himalayan kitten who ruined our previous couch by peeing all the way through it to my hardwood floor. I don't want DC to have the same fate. She might be fat and mean, but I still love her.

I mentioned DC's troubles with my vet-tech neighbor who recommended that I have her checked for a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI? I didn't even think about that. I decided to wait to see if it happened again, and when it did, I knew that I had to make sure she didn't have a fixable problem. Well low and behold, she had a severe UTI. Of course she wouldn't pee for the vet and instead had to be kept over night (still no luck) and then finally "tapped" in which they used a needle to get the urine. I wasn't a big fan of the needle method, but she wouldn't go any other way. She is now on some antibiotics and will be rechecked next week to make sure that she is back to normal.

I'm glad we had her checked. Her accident spot was halfway between where she spends most of her time and where her litter box is, so it would make sense that she was having accidents halfway between the two. Being the researcher that I am, I looked up some natural remedies for the carpet smell and discovered that enzyme cleaners were the best and only real alternative to make the smell really go away and make it not longer detectable by the cat so that there wouldn't be a repeat offense. I would have to say that Anti-Icky-Poo has worked wonders. I used it twice to make sure that the smell was completely gone and we haven't had any repeat offenses. I've also used it twice in the past two weeks on vomit (those are blogs for another day) with much success.

Please listen to your pet. If they are behaving in an unusual way, have them checked out by a vet. To our family, a pet is a part of the family. We lost a furry member of our family to an unavoidable health disease three years ago today. We miss him dearly and treasure every moment with our furry family members. Be sure to love your pet today.

1 comment:

Shez said...

we've been having problems with out puppies and potty training. it turns out that the food didn't agree with them. We added in some pumpkin and rice and voila, puppies can hold in their poop until they go outside. hope your kitty feels better soon.