By: Megan Church, Project Leader, San Antonio Pets Alive! Service Learning Project
- #1 Inappropriate Urination
- #2 Allergies in Family
- #3 Cost of Pet Maintenance
- #4 Landlord Not Allowing Pets
Some Strategies To Deal With…
#1 Inappropriate urination is one of the main reasons people give up their kitties – but did you know there are lots of easy things you can do that will likely fix this behavior? Before getting rid of your kitty, consider some of the causes of this behavior. Most inappropriate urination can be treated or eliminated.
- Litter Issues: Some cats do not like harsh-scented kitty litter. Consider unscented litter. In addition, clean the litter box at least once-a-day. Cats are very sensitive to scent (their sense of smell is about a 1,000 times greater than ours!). Dirty litter boxes can really offend kitty, and she may resort to urinating/defecating in other places (like your rug!). Make sure that you have enough litter boxes. You should always have 1 litter box for each cat you own plus 1. So if you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes. Litter boxes themselves can also be the culprit in kitty urination issues. Some cats do not like covered litter boxes, while others do. Try out both, and find which one works best for your kitty. Or start with an uncovered litter box when introducing their kitty to your home, over time, introduce the lid. Properly introduce your cat to their litter box when you adopt a new kitty – place them gently and lovingly in the litter box repeatedly. Use a soothing voice (cats are very sensitive to sound and enjoy being talked to). Never hit or punish your kitty for not using the litter box. It is often a good idea to limit the space your kitty has for the first day or two after adoption – keep them in a room where you will keep the litter box if possible and limit their roaming. Give them time to adjust and to realize this is their new home, not a strange place.
- Declawing: Declawing is generally considered inhumane – we recommend cats are never declawed. Declawed cat paws can develop tender and sensitive paws, and scratching in the litter box to cover up their “business” can be painful or irritating. In this case, softer, finer litter is recommended.
- Medical Problems: Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), Bladder Stones or Infection, Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). If your kitty is urinating often and in inappropriate places, get her checked out by your vet to rule out medical issues. Bladder stones can kill cats in a short period of time, so any straining or bloody urine means your cat needs to get to a vet ASAP!
Un-Neuter Males: Male cats are much less likely to ‘spray’ if neutered. The younger they are neutered the better – kittens can be safely neutered as young as 6 to 8 weeks! Adult males can also be safely neutered and this can often help remedy spraying.
- Stress: Changes in environment can really cause stress in your kitty. Moving and new members to the family (babies, roommates, and other pets) can be big causes of stress. First of all, neutering your cat is a must. The urge to reproduce can cause a lot of stress in cats. Plus, neutering is beneficial in lowering the amount of stray cats in communities. Other products can help with stress, too. Calming sprays, collars, and diffusers can help lower stress. They simulate the natural pheromones in cats, and helps calm kitties down. If all else fails, some cat owners have had success with anti-anxiety medications. Always talk to you vet about this option. Some kitties may not be healthy enough for some medications. Finally, kitties like to continue urinating in places they have urinated in before. Make sure to clean the areas where your kitty has urinated. Use a cleaner that has bio-enzymatic ingredients.
#2 Allergies are often a huge problem for some cat owners. Nearly 10% of the US population has pet allergies, and cats are among the most common. Many think that it’s the cat’s fur that causes allergies, but it’s not the fur that’s the real problem. People with cat allergies are really allergic to proteins in the cat’s saliva, urine, and dander (dried flakes of skin). Ways to minimize allergy symptoms:
- • Limit kitty sleeping in bed with you (sad, but true!)
- • Wash bedding in hot water at least twice-a-month
- • Replace air filters often
- • Vacuum floors, carpet, and furniture twice-a-week with a high grade HEPA vacuum cleaner
- • Wash your hands often, and avoid rubbing your eyes after petting your kitty
- • Clean your kitty often. They don’t really like baths, but cleaning them will help with dander-related allergies. There are many products available. They make handy pre-moistened wash cloths, waterless shampoos, and sprays. TIGI makes a product called DanderLion. It smells great, and it’s pretty easy to use. Just apply, and wipe off with a wash cloth.
• Allergy medications may be some people’s last resort, but they may work great for some cat owners. Consult your doctor about any medication.
#3 Cost of Maintenance
• Owning a cat can be costly, but some costs can be reduced by doing a little research. Vet costs can be overwhelming, but some costs can be made less painful with pet insurance, CareCredit (it’s like a credit card for health services), specials at vet clinics, and/or creating a saving account for pet visits. Preventative care is a huge way to keep costs down. Take your furry friend to the vet each year for a routine check-up. By doing this, your vet will catch problems before they become BIG problems.
• Food, litter, and other kitty supplies can be costly, too. Always look for deals online or in stores. Often coupons can be found online, and can be printed out for use. Buying large bulk items is an option, too. If this seems like too much litter or food, consider splitting a LARGE bag of kitty litter or food with a friend. Buying in bulk is often much cheaper. Just make sure you have a large, air-tight container for food.
#4 Landlord Issues
• If your landlord says that he/she does not allow cats, ask if he/she would be willing to negotiate a pet deposit agreement. Many landlords offer pet deposits for their tenants. Pet deposits are often non-refundable. If the pet deposit cost is difficult for you, it may be beneficial to work out a payment plan with your landlord. At one of my rental properties, I negotiated paying my pet deposit ($300) over the course of 6 months. It made the pet deposit a bit less painful. Nothing could be as painful as losing your furry babies!!