Plum thinking, I will pee on anything vertical
And claim it as my own.
Our basement is unfinished with a French drain, and I realized the other day that Plum has been spraying more things in the basement than he is leaving unsprayed. I had had my suspicions before, but this time I caught him in the act, started screaming at him, and was amazed as he actually finished the act he was in the middle of while giving me a look like I was the lunatic for interrupting his toilet.
He has not been limiting this activity to the basement either, but has periodically been spraying things upstairs—and usually things that belong to Sean (Sean’s comic and record collection, Sean’s shoes, Sean’s furniture, etc.). We had caught him spraying a few months ago, but then tried to give him more attention, figuring it was a result of the baby screaming and the move, etc. This worked for a bit, but then he started up again with gusto. Neither of us wants our house to be drenched in cat urine, and we even talked a bit about trying to find Plum a new home. But a) he’s my baby, and I do believe in signing on for the lifespan of a pet, and b) how would one find a good home for a spraying cat?
So the other day I took Plum to the vet, just so we could rule out any physical reason for his behavior (I almost killed us both when while I was driving a stink bug crawled out of my coat sleeve; that would certainly have stopped Plum’s spraying!) Today I talked to the vet and from his bloodwork and urinalysis, it more or less looks like there is nothing wrong with him. (He showed faint signs of the very beginnings of kidney issues, but don’t get excited, Sean, because Tulip had these same signs at age 7 and lived for ten more years.) The vet did think it sounded like behavioral problems due to the move (which surprised me, since I always felt a little bad for Plum living in a small apartment, and thought he’d enjoy more space; it turns out he might have liked being a big fish in a small pond. And the only fish with a penis. If fish have them?...) And cats are often bothered by new babies, too, and can take awhile to get used to them. So here are the things we are going to try:
· Feliway pheromone diffusers plugged into 2 or 3 rooms (thanks, Heidi, for this idea!);
· Feliway pheromone spray to spray on his bed(s);
· Gating off the basement so he won’t be tempted to let his urine run amok, and so he won't claim the lovely workbench Sean made;
· Putting litter boxes on the top of the basement stairs, my bathroom, and when it gets warm again, the sun room. I had liked having all the litterboxes down in the basement, but I’d much rather have litter boxes than sprayed urine, and the vet recommended having litter boxes on each floor;
· Prozac! I gave him his first Prozac yesterday and he proceeded to vomit five times afterwards. Hmmm. So I shall try it again tomorrow and see what happens.
We are also trying to give Plum more attention. Here he is being included in the nightly bath routine:
Sean is also giving Plum extra attention, which I appreciate, since a spraying cat gets on Sean’s every last nerve, not to mention the assault it gives to his olfactory sense, which I seem to be missing when it comes to pet odors. Plum seems quite willing to expand his friendship with his new dad, too; when Sean makes a whisper sound, Plum will literally come running and then talk to Sean while rubbing back and forth against his legs. I’m hoping this is an apology and a promise to never go outside of the box ever again. We shall see.
With pets it is always something, no? We are taking to calling these our Last Cats. Now excuse me while I go call the vet to make an appointment for Posy to get a million dollars worth of dental work. Sigh.