The Demon Containment System

One night last week – it was either Wednesday or Thursday – I was sitting at my desk and Scott was sitting at his, when I suddenly smelled cat pee very strongly. I asked Scott to check the bathroom floor to see if Demon did his evening piss on the floor, but there was no puddle. I couldn’t believe it, since the smell was so strong. Scott scooped, thinking maybe the smell was coming from the litterboxes, but it didn’t help the smell go away.

An hour or so later, I noticed Goblin sniffing around my file cabinet, behind my desk. He that that “my mouth is frozen open in disgust at what I’m smelling” look that cats get. I knew immediately what he was sniffing, and went to check with a sinking feeling in my gut. Yes, the reason the pee smell was so strong for me at my desk was that Demon pissed all over my file cabinet. And my shredder. And the hardwood floor. That was his punishment for us trying to make him go in the litterbox.

That’s what it’s devolved into around here. He pees on the bathroom floor, twice a day, every day. Morning and evening. And we try desperately to catch him before he does and get him to go in the litterbox. Sometimes that works. If we get to him before he goes into the bathroom and put him into the litterbox, he’ll do his thing in there and then everyone is happy. Most of the time, though, we’re cleaning up puddles.

This was the first time he rewarded our efforts by peeing in another room, though. Yeah, there was the spraying problem, but the Elavil has really solved that problem. Living with cleaning up cat piss off the bathroom floor twice a day was miserable, but at least the bathroom floor is tile and can be easily cleaned.

Even the file cabinet incident could have been overlooked if it was a solitary incident. But it wasn’t. Friday night, we were really surprised that we couldn’t get him to pee in the box and there were no puddles on the floor. Until, that is, I picked up a throw pillow Joxer knocked off the chaise earlier that evening and discovered it was sopping wet. Demon pissed all over it. I had to toss the pillow and clean cat piss out of the rug.

Scott and I agonized a lot that night. We love Demon, but we can’t continue to live like this. We came very close to calling the vet to discuss our options with regard to getting him permanently out of our house. Up to and including having him put to sleep. That’s hard to even think about, but really, how would we find another home for him? Who wants a 13-year-old cat who pees everywhere?

What we decided was that we’re going to try to re-train him. I have no idea if you can re-train a cat this old, but we’re going to try. On Saturday, we went out and bought a large dog crate. It’s big enough for a litterbox, his bed, and food/water bowls. That is the Demon Containment System™.

He goes into the crate at night and stays there till morning. If he’s awake when the first person awake gets up – read: Scott – that person checks the litterbox in the crate to see if he’s recently peed. If he has, he gets to come out. If he hasn’t, he gets put into the box in the bathroom. If he pees, he stays out, if not, he goes back into the crate. In the late afternoon when he wakes up from a hard day of snoozing, I put him back into the crate, where we start the process all over again. If he goes in the box in the crate, he comes out. Otherwise he stays until he uses either that box or the one in the bathroom when we put him into it.

So far, so good, but it’s only really been a day. He seem to be taking to the crate surprisingly well. There hasn’t been any yowling at all, which is a good thing.

I really hope this works, because it’s the last thing I know to try.


4 Responses

  1. In the dog world we call that paper training. Yeah I know I’m a turncoat. You will have to let me know how the paper training goes as I will be starting that in a month with the puppy.

  2. ugh – my heart goes out to you! What a complete drag. You know, if you haven’t already tried every idea on the planet, I have some other ideas that might work -email me if you need more ideas!

  3. Perhaps after the training period is over, take the door off the dog crate and use the crate to hold a second litter box. With four cats in the household, having more than one litter box might help and having one inside an enclosure one might also be appealing.

    Even though I’m assuming you’ve already searched for ideas, these links have some good hints to consider:

    Good luck.

  4. We had the same problem with Aos until he got his own litter box, luckily we didn’t have to lock him up with it though! Keeping my fingers crossed for you that this works!