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Dr. Barbara
Dr. Barbara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1252
Experience:  Thirty years experience in small animal medicine and surgery.
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I rescued my cat from an abusive home 10 years ago. She was adult at the time so I am uns

Customer Question

I rescued my cat from an abusive home 10 years ago. She was adult at the time so I am unsure of her actual age. She is frequently fearful of noise and people.
Shelley has increased her frequency of urine and fecal soiling of my couch and bed. Typically, she soils once every 6-8 weeks yet the past 2 weeks result in 2 fecal and 4 urine soiling and in large amounts each time. I will need to replace my mattress for the 2nd time and my couch for the 3rd time.
Shelley stayed at my friends home for 7 days, returning 2 weeks ago. Shelley is familiar and affectionate with this friend who had no issues while I was away.
There has always been another cat in the home (age 14) - they do not always get along.
There has been no other change to environment, litter, food, etc.
The vet has always ruled out physical cause and recommends behaviour modification that has not been successful.
Is there anything else to try?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Barbara :

Hi, Welcome to JustAnswer. I am a licensed veterinarian and I'm here to help you. Sorry to hear that Shelley is having this issue and causing you such a problem. All that you hve done so far is excellent, but I'd like to give you a few more tips to see if they do help. First of all you do need to thoroughly clean any areas where Shelley has urinated with an enzymatic cleanser like Nature's Recipe. This type of cleanser will not only remove the visible evidence, but will also remove the odor. I have found that you have to thoroughly soak any area, so don't be like me a try to save money by using less. . .it just doesn't work very well then!

Dr. Barbara :

Since you have 2 cats in your home, the recommendation is that you have 3 litter boxes in various quiet but easily accessible parts of your home. You're already keeping the litter meticulously clean so this is great, and you haven't changed the type of litter or the type of litter boxes, and this is also excellent. . .cats can be very picky.

Dr. Barbara :

To ease another part of your kitties' relationship, I'd feed them twice daily in separate rooms where they can't even see each other. Give them about 15 to 30 minutes to eat, then pick up the food. This way, they won't feel threatened over their food at all.

Dr. Barbara :

Having one or two kitty trees in your home would probably help. These are not only entertaining and enriching to their environment, they also offer high platforms on which the cats can lay. This is usually very calming to cats and may help Shelley's relationship with your other cat, as well as decreasing her inappropriate urination and defecation.

Dr. Barbara :

Finally, I know you said that your vet has checked Shelley's health, but has he done a blood profile and a urinalysis to check for the several common diseases that can affect our older cats? These diseases are hyperthyroidism, diabetes, kidney disease, lower urinary tract disease (affecting the bladder), and sometimes Cushing's disease. If Shelley has any of these, then her behavior won't be modifiable until she managed or cured. You also said that you have tried medications for her. Which ones have you tried, and have your tried at least several weeks of fluoxetine or Reconcile? I've experienced personally, and read research articles that this drug can be quite effective and safe.

Dr. Barbara :

If you have any more questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reply.

Dr. Barbara :

Thank you!

Dr. Barbara :

Dr. Barbara

Customer:

I have used various enzymatic cleansers such as Nature's Miracle, etc, as well as just replacing soiled cushions (and furniture).

Customer:

Shelley has been on fluoxetine yet without improvement. The vet kept her for two days to test blood & urinalysis, she said the issue was not physical yet only behavioural.

Customer:

I have not tried feeding the cats in separate rooms...will do so starting today.

Customer:

Thank you!

Dr. Barbara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1252
Experience: Thirty years experience in small animal medicine and surgery.
Dr. Barbara and 5 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.
Hi Julie,
Sounds like you are doing everything correctly, and also will start feeding in separate rooms.
If I am understanding correctly, you have 2 cats in your household, therefore, 3 litter boxes in quiet, accessible places are recommended.
Would you check for me to make sure that Shelley was checked for hyperthyroidism? This is not always included in routine blood testing, but I do think your vet probably did this.
If Shelley was on Fluoxetine for 1 month without side effects and without good results, you could also try a higher dose. This drug does take awhile to be effective and the dose can be adjusted.
Thank you for your vote of confidence. I sure hope that with these recommendations will lead to a resolution.
Dr. Barbara

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