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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 32665
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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DESPERATION regarding my cat. He has had anxiety issues off

Customer Question

I am BEYOND DESPERATION regarding my cat. He has had anxiety issues off and on for 10 years and he is in his worse spraying episode - going on about a month now. When I first rescued him, he had these issues and I figured out what to do over time. He requires a huge rubbermaid container as a litter box in quiet area, certain type of litter, cleaned daily, can't use rubber backed rugs. Would put vinegar soaked cloths in containers where he would spray or containers of kibble if more out in the open. That really worked well. Cannot use "fabric" furniture, must be vinyl or wood
When his BFF died 7 years ago, he went through this again. About 3 months after that, I rescued the runt of a feral litter found in a barn and after a few weeks, they miraculously became best friends. They remained best friends, inseparable - until last summer.
When he was diagnosed with diabetes 3-4 years ago, same thing happened but it was because I removed his kibble. He would never ever eat soft cat food. He now only eats high protein pate and for treats, he gets people chicken or turkey. At that time, he went into diabetic remission quickly. Learned all this through a website called (DCC) who also provides support.
We moved last summer (probably the catalyst). Started spraying alot again. By the way, these do not work - feliway, calming collars, Spirit Essences from Jackson Galaxy. We finally put him on fluoxetine last year - prescribed 10 mg once a day since last summer which worked well but about the same time he developed severe chronic stomatitis. Has now has had all teeth removed and has been fully recovered for several months. However, his diabetes kicked back in. He is on lantus, I test him myself and give him shots (almost 6 weeks now.) Something still wasn't right with him, he was becoming hypoglycemic even though GLU was 90's (wobbling, incoherent, not responding). DCC sent me a link that said sometimes lantus and fluoxetine may not work together plus the standard dose was 2.5 - 5 mg once a day. I stopped the fluoxetine. After a few days, he became more normal.
As he has been recovering from all this, he has become his old self again where he is very playful and loving, lots of purring and snuggling. He still hisses and bites at his former BFF who now avoids him most of the time. We do have other cats in the household, always have, although he is the alpha cat. He HAS to live in our large bedroom only (he sprays within a minute of leaving the bedroom) and also has a 12 X 12 catio. The other cats come and go in the bedroom and I believe he wants to be an only cat but the others definitely do not bother him at all. As he appears to be feeling better though, his spraying stepped up BIG TIME. I use a FULL container of hydrogen peroxide every day. He sprays multiple times a day and the last few nights, actually on the bed, multiple times. Last night, on the headboard, on my pillow, on my husband and woke me up for the 4th time as he was spraying my head. Husband is very upset and wants to put him in garage. He has had a full blood panel, GLU is the only issue. I don't know what to try now. Am putting food back on the bed hoping that will deter him. Had hoped his diabetes would go back into remission so I could put him back on fluoxetine. I've read many online articles. I don't know what to do, he simply cant live in the garage. Any suggestions?
I know this is lengthy but want you to know I have a nonprof org where we do low cost S/N and TNR. I have successfully rehomed quite a few cats and kept the "unadoptables" who all turned out to be very loving cats
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.


Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.


I am so sorry you are having all this trouble.

I have read over your question and I do have some ideas.

Please give me some time to type detailed answer.



Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, will wait for time to type answer. I'm in and out a lot the next two days. We have a king bed so am keeping food in between us near the headboard. He has eaten on the bed several times today and do not think he has sprayed anywhere - yet.
Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.

Dear Shari,

Thanks so much for your very helpful reply.

First I want to talk about Bailey's diabetes. Unlike people, diabetic cats who were fed dry food become NO LONGER diabetic when switched to canned food only. Please read article written by a feline vet:

Bailey is spraying for several reasons. 1. he feels very insecure about his status in the pack since his friends passed away. Most of his marking is territorial. It says to the other cats "Bailey LIVES here! This is HIS territory!" The reason he sprays your bed is because he has bonded with you and trusts you implicitly. He wants to mix his scent with yours so he can feel more secure.

Put some lemon slices in your bed and on things he soils. Cats HATE the smell of citrus so he will no pee there.

Cats need to OWN things in their territory. Give him a cardboard box that is his alone.

Get a multi level cat tree and keep placing him on top.

Get a small paint roller, the type used on trim. Roll it allover his pads and neck where the scent glands are. Then roll it on all window sills, doorways, furniture and items in the house so HIS scent is on EVERYTHING! That will make him feel important.

For medication I recommend amitriptylene but hopefully it will not be needed.

Please let me know how things are going. I will always be here for you.

Please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback; that is the only way I receive credit for my assistance. Thank you very much!

Providing a positive rating will not end our conversation, should you need me for any follow-up. Simply click 'Reply' for clarification or additional information, if needed, at no additional charge.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much for trying to address Bailey's high anxiety issues & spraying. His issue is not easy, been dealing with it off & on for 12 years. He's been manageable most of the time EXCEPT when something out of the ordinary happens & this time, I just dont know.
The diabeticcatcare (DCC) website requires the reading of a variety of articles written by vets that work with diabetic cats. In fact, if you ask a question, they are not shy about sending one of their vet links & asking if you read it. 4 years ago when Bailey was switched from kibble to low carb cat food, he started another constant spraying episode - he was VERY upset I took away kibble. Took over 3 months for it to stop. He never was one that would eat the soft food I put out. He hated the raw food diet too.BTW, when we first found him, he went through a severe spraying episode. When I walked into the bedroom, he would pee on the bed. Ended up putting a shower curtain liner on the bed & sprinkled kibble on it, amongst many other things I did.His 1st BFF has been gone 7 years. It was some time later when he became BFFs with "Kahlua". He never did the spraying at that time, he was just severely depressed. The 2 of them have been so until Bailey got sick last summer. Thought that once he recovered, he would begin to gravitate towards Kahlua but instead he hisses & bites at him if he gets too close. Kahlua just backs away, looks kind of hurt. Kahlua has always snuggled with him and washed his face.He does have a 6 foot cat tree with 2 condos. His fav is the one near the top & if one of the other cats is in it when Bailey wants it, I do pull them out. Has never sprayed the cat tree. We have 2 cat trees in the bedroom, short one leads to the 12 X 12 outdoor catio. His scent, and black fur, is literally everywhere in the bedroom. We dont even do the bedding all at once. One time we do sheets, several days later we do pillow cases & blanket.
I use a body pillow as a head pillow-Bailey sleeps on that every night. That night he sprayed the headboard, the pillow, our heads - wonder if I put lemon on our pillow, if that will increase his anxiety since that is his sleeping place. He has always slept on the pillow & likes to be touching, whether it is his paw or head. The next night I decided to put cat food on the bed at shoulder level. He did not spray that night, nor the next day or night. Yesterday though, he was on a spraying rampage again. Over the course of about 3 hours, he sprayed 4 times, various places. What's so weird is that MOST of the time, we are looking at each other & then he does it. Then last night, again, spraying our heads so I had to put him in the bathroom. That was at 1:30 am, he did not spray the bathroom. This is the first time I recall him spraying near his food which I kept on the bed.I looked up the amitriptylene. said: If your cat has a liver impairment or is DIABETIC, avoid the use of Amitriptyline. Afraid to try it. The fluoxetine worked very well EXCEPT when his diabetes kicked back in & he was on insulin. If he went back into remission, I'd go back to fluoxetine. It really was a last resort after years of dealing with his spraying.Now that he has had 2 severe spraying episodes about 4 days apart, the only thing I saw that happened both times, was his periodic constipation issue came up. Happens from time to time & he's treated with miralax but he never sprayed before. These 2 spraying episodes were severe, even for him but at this time, I am going to proceed as though it was the constipation since it happened at the same time, I am out of ideas. When he does his spraying while looking at me, I feel as though he is trying to tell me something is wrong. I also just ordered something called Anxietrex (good reviews), it wont react with the lantus. I can deal with the spraying during the day & clean up before spouse sees it. At night though, waking us up because our heads are being sprayed cannot continue.At this point, there doesn't seem to be a solution except the meds assuming he becomes healthy enough. In the meantime, since we have a very large master bath, I am going to add another cat tree & make it as inviting as possible for him at night until he can go all day w/o spraying since he only sprayed at night after spraying all day. He likes to hang out in there anyway. Like I said, I appreciate all the thought & effort you put into your response, doesnt look like there will ever be a solution for this poor guy. I TNR & have fostered many cats, Bailey has been the most challenging of all. :(
Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.

Thanks so much for your very helpful reply.

Bless you for keeping Bailey, a lot of people would throw him out!

For the constipation, I want you to try one to two ounces of warm whole milk. It is a natural laxative that should produce stool within two hours. Perhaps if the pain of constipation is relieved he will be less likely to spray.

I do agree he is trying to tell you something is bothering him when he sprays you. Cats "talk" with their waste because it is the only way they can communicate with us.

I think anxietrex is a good product and worth trying.

Its a great idea to put a cat tree in the master bath. Also try to put shelves on walls so he has as much vertical space as possible.

Please be so kind as to rate my answer so I am credited by the site. It will not close our conversation.

I promise to work with you tirelessly until we solve thie problem