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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27928
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I have 2 male fixed cats. I've had since they were born. A

Customer Question

I have 2 male fixed cats. I've had since they were born. A year now. And noticed one of them has peed on my bed again. 1st time was 3 months ago. Then again today. So what gives??
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the cat's name?
Customer: Humphrey and Monter.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Humphrey?
Customer: Monter was attacked by a ferral cat this morning in my backyard. Both my boys are declawed. And Humphrey saw the whole thing through the glass of our back door. Humphrey is the long haired cat of the 2. He doesn't like to cuddle like Monter does. Monter sleeps on my bed with me every night. And Humphrey will sometimes join him but not very often.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My husband is demanding I get rid of the culprit. I don't know why one of them decided to pee on my bed. I'm thinking that it might be Humphrey and not Monter. Since it's where Monter sleeps too
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. I have advanced training in feline behavior and am pleased to discuss youir cat's behavior with you. I must admit that retraining him is going to be a challenge but perhaps after reviewing my notes that I use when lecturing about his behavior you'll have a better idea of how to address it. You will have to identify the culprit in order to follow the protocol for correcting this behavior posted below. Please see here to see how that might be done: http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/litter-box-problems-in-a-multicat-home-how-to-identify-the-culprit/ One of them is clearly exhibiting marking behavior. He is not likely to be eliminating inappropriately due to litterbox aversion or a medical disorder. Please note that marking on a horizontal surface (especially a bed) is marking behavior (a communicative function) caused by the same stimuli that causes spraying. We’re not sure what cats are trying to communicate to us but we do know that wild cats will mark to announce their presence. It’s reasonable to assume then, that he is doing so as well. He's essentially "taking ownership" of the marked areas which assuages his anxiety. The most common cause is increased cat density - in the home or nearby. - and so that feral should be considered the stimulus for the behavior. Emotional problems, such as a stressful relationship with a family member, separation anxiety, anxiety over his status in the existing hierarchy, fear, owner absence, moving, new furniture, inappropriate punishment, teasing, household changes and remodeling in the home are examples of stimuli that can induce anxiety in our cats. The etiology can be difficult to diagnose, especially if the behavior is only manifested intermittently and because the stimuli for his inappropriate eliminative behavior may be imperceptible to you but readily so to him - another cat roaming outside, e.g. If emotional factors are influencing the housesoiling, you might notice other changes such as avoidance, aggression or an alteration in his general temperament. Treatment involves two major considerations: 1) Remove the cause - easier said than done. You might have to be quite the detective to discern the stimuli for his inappropriate eliminative behavior 2) Prevent him from returning to previously soiled areas by confining him to a very small area with the box and only allowed out when he can be supervised 100% of the time. When confined to a relatively small area, most cats seem to prefer to eliminate in the box rather than soiling the floor. It’s then a matter of confining him long enough for a consistent habit to become established. As a rule of thumb, one week of confinement is usually recommended for every month of soiling. He should be removed from the confinement area as much as possible for socialization and play, but never allowed out of sight. Food rewards may help when given after he uses his box. If he refuses to use the litterbox when confined to a small area, the confinement area should be changed to a large cage. The floor should be covered with litter, forcing him to use it for elimination. The litter is gradually removed and replaced with a litterbox. Once he has used the litterbox in a confined area for an appropriate amount of time, he can be allowed to have more freedom in the home. Previously soiled areas can be safeguarded by changing the behavioral function of the area by placing food bowls, cat bedding or toys in the area. The area can also be made unacceptable for him by placing a motion-activated alarm or lemon-scented room deodorant in the area. Plastic carpet runners can be placed upside down with the "feet" facing up. Plastic, foil, or double-stick carpet tape can be used to protect specific areas. Removing urine and stool odor is important. Products such as Nature's Miracle which are specifically formulated to work on these types of odors are recommended. Some cats are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment. They may mark in response to the most minor of alterations. You must strive to keep the home environment as constant as possible. When situations exist that are likely to upset him, you might want to consider confinement, closer supervision and the use of anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medication such as paroxetine (Paxil) and fluoxetine (Prozac). In fact, most behaviorists feel that without the use of psychotherapeutic drugs our chance of correcting inappropriate marking behavior is near nil. (Personal note: My two cats began marking as kittens. After 6 months of fruitless treatment they became outdoor cats - for 12 years.) Nobody wants to confine their pet as I've described but his behavior requires desperate measures. My male urinated on my pillow while I slept - an obvious behavior designed to make sure that his sister and I knew who's bed it really was. He apparently was anxious about his status in the hierarchy of my home. Success in management with psychotherapeutic drugs is measured by a 70% reduction in adverse events. In other words, if my cat urinated on my pillow 10 times monthly prior to drug administration but only 3 times monthly after drug administration, success in treatment is acknowledged. Needless to say, that didn't please me and I certainly hope that you have better "success" than I. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just found out which one it was. It is Monter that did it. I know this because he just did it right after I placed the cleaned comforter and sheets on the bed. I'm at a loss. It's the cat that sleeps every night with me;(( could he be doing it because he was attacked and so he's feeling he has to "claim" his area?!?? He was on the bed with me earlier before I put the sheets back on. And he didn't pee. He waited till the bed was all made up and fresh. And peed right next to my husband but right in the middle of the bed between us. My husband is adamant and wants him gone. I don't feel right finding another home for him. Because I Don't want his peeing to become someone else's problem. Both my cats are half Pixie Bob half Maine Coon so Monter is a big boy. Not fat but his build is just bigger; longer legs, taller. This cat follows me every where. He even tries to get in the tub with me?!!!! And cries loudly if I lock him out of the room I'm in. I literally have to have this "problem" taken care of immediately. I can't make them outside cats because neither one of them has claws.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Yes, that's just how he "claims" his territory that has been threatened by his attacker. Well said. There is no immediate manner in which to stop this behavior. You should confine him as I posted above and initiate fluoxetine therapy but neither of you will be happy knowing that the treatment protocol including psychotherapeutic drugs can take 30-60 days to kick in in most cases and even if you see improvement it's not expected to be 100%.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin