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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've had Cleo for 10 years, and she's always gone through phases where she's normal for months and then off the rails for 2-6 weeks. During these periods, she refuses to use the litter box and is extremely volatile.

Last week, I had a spinal tap and was stuck in bed for a couple of days. The BF put some leftover chili into the crock pot and then left the house to run an errand. Cleo pushed the lid off the crock pot and urinated into the food. When the BF returned, the house reeked of heated pee.

So this is pretty extreme. She's not just finding the odd corner to pee in. She's choosing to climb up to the crock pot, knock the lid off, and pee in heated food.

Right now, I see us as having two options:

1. Heavy medication. Obviously, this will be at the vet's discretion. I'm thinking amitriptyline might be a good start, and it's an affordable med. Because Cleo's phases have previously been relatively rare, our vet didn't feel medication was necessary and suggested we try calming techniques and Feliway. But I think Cleo's getting worse with greater frequency of bad days.

2. Euthanasia. Cleo is otherwise perfectly healthy, and I hate to even consider this. But her behavior over the years has put a noticeable strain on the household. No one wants to come home to find their gym bag full of urine or wake up to a cat pooping on their chest. We also can't afford to throw out food that feeds us for 2-3 days.

I honestly don't see rehoming as a reasonable option. Whoever would take her would inherit these problems. We've asked family and friends, and no one wants to take on such a burden, especially if medication doesn't prove beneficial.

What else do I try?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, Cleo is pretty extreme. I would definitely try the meds first.
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I'm inclined to try medication first too. Everyone I've spoken with around here says euthanasia. I won't be able to make a vet appointment until January, but I hope she can help.
 

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Depends on what you can afford to spend. If medication is a possibility, then it's worth a try. If it's not in your limited budget, then honestly, euthanasia is probably the best option. Peeing in the crock pot sounds pretty vindictive.
 
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Wow, that crockpot thing is extreme. I have recently re-read Don't Shoot the Dog, and in it KP talks about how she had a cat that would, at night, pee on the burners in the kitchen. She couldn't fix it, so she ended up euthanizing the cat, because she said it was a behavior she couldn't isolate/correct it.

I guess see what the vet has to say about it? :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, guys. We've talked a lot about it, and we've agreed to see the vet in January. The BF has said he'll support whatever I decide but to keep in mind not only our QoL but hers.

She didn't do anything today, thankfully, but she's needing a lot of space from everyone. She doesn't even want me near her. I'm hoping she feels better in the morning.
 

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Is she spayed? Since (from what I gather) she will be normal for a period of time and then at regular intervals go nuts I'd wonder if it was heat cycle related if not spayed. I'd also try to look and see what may be going on in your lives when she's going through those cycles. I'm sure you've already thought about it, but there may be some strange connection between some life activity that you didn't even think about and her erratic behavior, if that makes sense.

If the vet thinks that medication may be an option then I'd suggest it. If it means that you can live in a pee-free household and she can live a more relaxed life then it's worth it IMO. A couple of years ago the elderly cat I had started having litter box issues. I don't know why, she was usually fine when I was there. But about half the time I was away she'd pee/poo in the kitchen, walking right past the litterbox in the bathroom to get there. I started putting her away in the bathroom (where the litter box was) and she'd use it just fine. It helped a lot, but I euthanized her a few months later due to quality of life issues. Perhaps you could make a "safe room" for Cleo to go while you're away? Something to at least prevent heated pee food...

Honestly, assuming you have a stable household that treats her well, it sounds like there's something not quite right with her. Cats are weird creatures, but this sounds over the top. I'd wonder if there was something mentally off with her, or something like a brain tumor. I know two (completely unrelated) people who have had to euthanize cats when they went utterly insane one day. Turns out they both had brain tumors... I normally would not recommend euthanasia as a solution for behavioral problems, but something does sound very off about her...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cleo is spayed. She's always been off; it's just getting worse as she gets older. We've tried various things over the years, rearranging the house and furniture to make things easier for her. Right now, Cleo has the run of a room that's bigger than my own bedroom.

We've watched her climb into someone's lap only to start pooping on them. She climbed into my purse and peed inside it. Even if you buy all new litter boxes and place them around the house, she'll climb behind the dryer, pull the hose out, and back her butt up against the hose to poop in it (that really happened).

With an open layout house, we're thinking about giving crating her while we're asleep or away. It's not without problems. She won't use a litter box inside a crate. Instead, she'll back up against the bars and spray the crate and the wall behind. So there's a lot of cleanup involved when crating her. It's a temporary solution until we make a decision.
 

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I figured she was spayed, but thought I'd ask just in case. Pooping ON people is just bizarre behavior. I also assume you've tried putting litter boxes in any usual potty spots and trying different litters? Is she declawed? I've heard of litterbox aversion and other undesirable behaviors result from declawing, but nothing this extreme.

Crating would be a similar situation as isolating her to a certain room. Basically the same as with a dog. I frequently lock my evil cat up in the downstairs bathroom when cooking or eating dinner. It's necessary since we also have an open floor plan and she likes to steal food. She survives the ordeal. Perhaps you could put a tarp or similar thing under the crate and up the side where she sprays to keep the house from getting messed up. It seems like an adequate temporary solution, but were it me euthanasia would be a consideration if I was not able to move past that stage...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We've tried every litter on the market, and I'm using the one she's mostly okay with. She'll pick only one litter box and go there, but then other days, she'll poop on the floor right next to the box. Oddly, she does this more when the litter box is totally fresh.

She is declawed (not my choice), and litter box aversion was something we researched and discussed with the vet. We even went through a period of using shredded newspaper with the same results.

I'm going to slice up garbage bags and create a backsplash and then spread a bag out underneath the crate.

I've been polling friends at work, and they've all said they'd choose euthanasia. It's just not that simple a choice for me.
 

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Is there any stray, or loose cats that are roaming in the neighborhood? A lot of litter box problems are related to cats being stressed by another cat in their territory. If there are then keeping the other cats away from your house might help Cleo.

Are there any other cats in the household?

Was she checked for health problems? Like dogs cats will often have accidents due to medical issues. If it's hurting her to pee she might associate the litter box with pain and be refusing to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Our neighborhood has always had strays and our neighbor's outdoor cats. When it comes to her peeing by the door, I've always been willing to assume that's a large part of the problem.

Even when Cleo was the only kitty, the problems were there. I personally feel that Korra is a huge part of the problem now, but she is the BF's cat. I've been pushing to have Korra re-homed. She honestly drives me crazy, and I can't stand her.

Cleo is physically healthy. Mentally is another issue. Right now, she's wanting to be alone, but she's still eating and drinking normally. We usually go through a couple days of this, and then she'll start calling out to me for affection.
 
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