Can a cat in mourning become aggressive?

Dear Cat Faeries,

I purchased Past Abuse flower essence formula for my other cat and it worked beautifully. My male cat is having problems as I lost my husband a year ago and the cat really loved him. Now he is getting ornery and hard to get him to mind and he picks on the little female cat who is a lot smaller then he is. I need to get him calmed down.

Sharon in Arizona

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Dear Sharon,

I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband and that your cat is taking it so hard. This isn’t unusual as we know that cats do feel love and can bond very deeply with their favorite person.

You wisely ordered Calm and Serene flower essence formula. We also recommend Forget Me Not which is our flower essence formula for bereavement. It will address grief, loss, abandonment, guilt, fear, and loneliness.

It’s possible he blames the other cat for your husband’s “disappearance” from his world. He might also be afraid that he’s next to vanish or die. The two formulas used together should help him feel better, feeling safe and secure. You can use one formula in the morning and the other in the evening. Or one in his food and the other in the water bowl. And it’s perfectly ok for the smaller cat to consume the flower essences – she could use some calming down too!

Advice on older cats who stop using the litter box

Dear Cat Faeries,

Bart’s inappropriate elimination ramped up. He is now 16 and hasn’t used a litter box for the past month. I don’t want to put him down for this! He is such a lover boy!

Diane in Minnesota

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Dear Diane,

Sometimes when a cat gets to be Bart’s age the kidneys are starting to shrink and not function as they once had. Shrinking kidneys lead to various stages of renal failure, and it’s time to begin diet changes, and often sub-cutaneous fluids. But what we often aren’t told is that it can lead to behavior changes including avoiding the litter box. So have your vet examine Bart and run some blood work.

A few other medical conditions come into play as well. Arthritis is another big one for many cats as their back legs and lower backs become stiff and sore so that getting in and out of a little box can be painful – when that happens your cat might pee next to the box or on a surface like a bathmat. Or they can enter the box but they don’t squat – the urine flies out their back end and hits the wall or spills over the sides of the box.

The solution for this is easy pie: a box that’s shallower for easy in/out access. Or even better, get a large storage container and cut out an opening that’s low enough for easy entry. The high sides are tall enough to contain urine that might be sprayed out. See below – that’s some of our washable waterproof pads in front of the box opening. This box is from Rubbermaid. Another option is a semi-transparent box such as those from Sterilite – some cats may feel less closed in that way.

Advice on older cats who stop using the litter box
(click image to see it larger)

 

Another factor in renal failure is that cats often lose some or all of their hearing. This can lead to loud caterwauling both in the middle of the night and during the day. When a cat goes deaf their world can shatter and this can affect their behavior and out of panic or not understanding what’s going on with their body the cat could stop using the litter box. But the cat’s sense of smell is still very much intact, one of the many reasons we love Comfort Zone with Feliway so much. It works with your cat’s sense of smell. If your cat is feeling rotten from malfunctioning kidneys (it will feel like a hangover to your cat) or scared from not hearing well, Feliway will be soothing and comforting and allows that the negative behaviors can be corrected. You and your cat will be much happier with the smell of the Feliway pheromone wafting through the house. But don’t be concerned about the smell, only your cat can detect it.

“I found some unopened and expired Comfort Zone with Feliway refill bottles, are they still good?”

Recently we got an email from a long time favorite customer who wrote to say that shortly after her beloved cat Puck died she went going through his things and found a few Comfort Zone with Feliway refill bottles for her diffuser. She told us that they had expired two years ago and wondered if she gave them to a friend if they would still work. She also asked us if there was any way expired bottles could be harmful.

Very good questions and we love these! The expired diffuser refill bottles will not be harmful. And because she had never taken them out of the box or removed the cap they will still work – but they won’t be as strong. In the name of being thrifty and being generous they’ll be of benefit to her friend’s cats.

To customer B.F., we are so very saddened to hear of your loss of Puck, we know how dear he was to you. We are pleased that his things will help other cats.

Is that new kitten driving your older cats crazy?

Friend of Cat Faeries, Aldyth Beltane of All Creatures Healing Network in San Francisco places kittens in foster care until they are old enough or socialized enough for their forever home. Recently we talked about how those rambunctious kittens can drive older cats to a meltdown.

What to do?

Multi Cat Household to the rescue! It’s all about acceptance, tolerance (oh boy, you can say that again), giving space when it’s needed, not feeling your space is encroached upon, feeling that family bond, and chilling out from just about anything which annoys the modern housecat.

The other thing you can do is install as many Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers as budget permits. The feline delighting pheromone spreads calm and friendship throughout the house as well as buys you insurance that someone won’t start peeing outside of the box.

Happy Spring! And hey: spay, neuter! Aldyth tells us that every year, it’s the same thing… far too many kittens are being born with few homes ready or able to take them and love them. Come on! Spay! Neuter! Donate to your shelter so they can help pay for spray/neuter for people who can’t afford it. Let’s solve this problem!

PS – you can tire out kittens with our cat toys and allow those older cats do get their beauty rest in peace!

A customer welcomes two new cats after Hurricane Sandy!

Do you recall reading the wonderful story from our customer Judy about her cats Casper and Marshmellow ? If you missed it, read it here – http://www.catfaeries.com/blog/a-beautiful-story-of-two-beloved-cats-written-by-a-cat-faeries-customer/

Judy writes to us again about surviving the storm and opening up their home and hearts to two shelter cats. Here’s the story:


My Cat Faerie,

Our family is embarrassingly well through Superstorm Sandy. Many of my friends and neighbors didn’t. We’re pulling together as a community, helping in whatever ways we can. It is gratifying but can be quite depressing. Since Georgie Girl went home to her family when they came back from the Galapagos a week prior to the storm, we realized how empty our home was without kitties. The aftermath of Sandy only made it more dreary. So, we decided to go to our town animal shelter and see if they had anyone who wanted to join our (I am a firm believer that kitties choose us, not the other way around).

Right away, Simon (his name was Raffe at the time but we didn’t like it) picked my hubby. His paw reached out from between the bars, tapping Sam. Karen said that she was hoping that we’d find an orange kitty to join us. I told her not to go in there with prefromed ideas and to be open to everyone at the shelter…but there was Simon, a redhead reaching out to us as we walked in. He is about 3 years old (they think) and was there since April. He had a tag “SCC” on his cage. I didn’t ask what it meant. The animal shelter is a low-kill shelter and I know that places like this often use codes for the animals that are there regarding how much time they have left to get a family. When we expressed an interest in Simon, the staff told us that SCC meant he was due to go to Suffolk Community College on Monday. They have a veteranary program there and he would be used in the phlebotemy class, a life of having students practice extracting blood on him. I asked if we could have him instead. She asked a supervisor and said “OF COURSE!” and the only reason why he was being sent there was because his whole 6 months there, nobody even looked at him, let alone expressed that they wanted to take him home. This was a way of sparing his life. Sometimes the students take a liking to the kitties and wind up adopting them from there. He would have a much more stable and happy life with us.

Karen had her heart set on getting a kitten, too. I was ambivelent about that because kittens get adopted so much sooner than older cats. But, this was something she felt very strong about, raising a kitty from baby to senior citizen. Then I saw how many kittens were at the shelter waiting for forever homes and I felt better about a kitten joining us, too. None of the kittens are given the luxury of names. She was “9 w/o female b/w tiger.” She and Karen fell in love instantly and her name is now Pepper. Before we left the shelter, we placed Pepper in the cage with Simon to see how they got along. It wasn’t love at first sight, but they seemed to like one another.

Today is a week since Simon and Pepper joined our family. With the exception of one diarhea incident, Pepper has adapted vey well to her new home. She is a bouncy, curious little kitten. Pepper has in INCREDIBLE appetite and she is very attached to Karen so we are convinced that at least a part of Marshmellow’s soul in inside her. Simon is still a bit cautious. He has a favorite hiding spot in the living room and comes out with less and less coaxing. He even comes out on his own more and more. He is only letting me get a couple of brush strokes in at a time on him before he retreats and I am terrified to clip his nails (but i need to get to them very soon for his own safety) but I’m confident he’ll come around. I think he might have a piece of my precious Casper in him, too.

All Pepper wants to do is follow Simon around. She is literally up his butt at times. He is never angry or annoyed but I think he is a little spooked by her enthusiasm at times. I saw Simon cleaning Pepper a few times and Karen got a picture of both of them cuddling in Simon’s “safe place.” In the early morning and at night they chase eachother around and at times do this odd and adorable leap-frog type thing.

I am very bittersweet about these new additions. I love them. Simon and Pepper are family. But since they joined our home, my heart has been aching more than it has in recent times for Casper and Marshmellow. I pray to their souls that I hope they understand that they are not being replaced by these two. I know they do. I know that they are happy that just like we did for them, we saved these two kitties from life in the shelter (or worse) and gave them a good loving home. It just still hurts not having them around.

I’ll be placing an order with you for more Feliway spray and difuser refills soon. Casper and Marshmellow were declawed. Simon and Pepper are not. Clipping Casper and Marshmellow’s back claws were not an issue to clip because they were so mellow. Between having to contend with front claws now, Pepper being so naturally wiggly and Simon being so naturally frightened, I will need your recommendation on a good, safe set of clippers.

Thank you for always being a good friend and a great Cat Faerie. Talk to you soon.

Hugs,

Judy
(and Simon and Pepper…and Sam, and Karen, too)

Freshen up carpet and furniture for the holidays – Anti Icky Poo to the rescue!

Are you just a little worried that holiday guests will detect that “accident” Kitty had awhile back? Or perhaps keeping windows closed for winter has your home smelling a bit like a kennel or musty? You don’t want your friends talking about your home behind your back. So head ‘em off at the pass, and de-stink a multitude of sins with Anti Icky Poo, the urine cleaner that really works.

A few light mistings of Anti Icky Poo twice a day for a few days will do the trick! Invite everyone over for holiday cheer and feel completely secure in knowing that your home only smells of your good cooking!