Wednesday, October 31, 2012

And Cow sprays again....but we have strategies lined up

When I left for work this morning, Cow was outside in the pantry. I closed the wooden door and almost all of the window thinking he wouldn't come in (wishful thinking, I know). Only Cleo, Pole and Tiger were in the room. The rest were out for their morning siesta in the Clubhouse, including Cow. I left a litter box and a bowl of water for the room-people.

I didn't want to cage Cow because he had not sprayed all night. If I caged him again, I might be sending him a wrong message and he'd be confused, ie. "Why am I being punished for not spraying all night?"

But then again, we humans always underestimate cows, right? I mean, cats. Aren't they always two steps ahead of us, in all ways.

When I came home from work....

Cow was lying on my tshirt, on my table in an "aww..." pose.

You just don't have the heart to shoo him out.

(The human is falling for it...heh heh)

It's like he is saying, "I've missed you while you were away..."

(Meow Out Loud! Just how gullible are these humans!)

 The litter-box was untouched but he sprayed on the floor next to the litter-box.

 There were a few more spray spots, so I opened the door, and out he went.

 The heavyweights cannot do with just two meals a day. Bunny will call till the cows (!) come home.

 Cow was quite happy sleeping in the basket in the pantry all afternoon.

 Bunny went into the cage instead. Bunny is a VERY kiasu cat. For example, if you call any cat, Bunny will come. He just cannot lose out on anything. He would want to be patted first.

My husband wasn't keen on contractors coming in to do tiling. So we did the next best - paint the room.

 Meanwhile, this plastic storage box is a favourite spray object, so I decided to turn it into a little house, and of course, Bunny claimed it first.

 We painted the bottom half of all the walls. That's where the urine streaks are.

Good little Raven knew everyone was busy, so she stayed in her basket all afternoon.

Isn't she just so good?

 Okay, painting all done. That wasn't so hard.

 I bought this.

It's a small and compact little air filter (measuring 10cm by 10cm), supposed to cover an area of 645 sq feet. It uses the plasma technology and there is no need to replace anything. Power consumption is only 8 Watts.

I tested it in the room and later, in the pantry. I don't know if my nose is deceiving me, but I don't smell the paint smell anymore. But then again, please do remember that my nose isn't very reliable....

 I've decided we don't need to cage Cow. If he misbehaves, we'd just shoo him out to the pantry and close the door and window so that he cannot come in.

Cow - 1, Human - 0.

I'm happy here. Don't anybody disturb me, please. 

 Pole very graciously shares her condo with Bunny.

Or rather, does Pole even have a choice?

 Luckily no one has tried to wrestle Tab's special place on top of the condo.

Or rather, the wrestlers are too fat to jump up?

 I don't know how they broke this cengal table leg. We still have not figured out how to fix it yet.

Humans: The table is broken. It's no use until it's fixed.

Cats: What broken? 

Cow does his thing.


 The airnet is so compact, you can put it anywhere as long as there is a socket.

 Raven has been exceptionally well-behaved today.

 Oil treatment. I am amazed at the remarkable healing properties of Johnson's Baby Oil.

 Me pweety cat?

 Yes, you pweety cat.

 Making friends.

Raven LOVES to play. She'd be very happy in her new home because there is a 5 month old kitten there, and all the cats there are friendly.

 Didn't have my camera to take this regal shot.  Only my Nokia hp. Tsk!

Would have made a great portrait!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A spray-free night?

Last night, I used baking soda to clean all of Cow's favourite spray spots while he watched me from the table. And this morning, far I don't see any urine marking on any of his favourite spots. I don't know if he did spray because even if he did, I won't be able to smell it. But I don't see any!

But after breakfast, he did come into the room, and I had to keep shoo-ing him out to the pantry and garden. I'm trying to break his habit.

Now the question is, should I cage him before I go off to work today?

Maybe a better alternative would be to put everyone out in the pantry this morning and don't let anyone in while I'm away at work. And when I'm back, everyone can come in again.

Meanwhile, I will continue with the baking soda and vinegar treatment, and yes, play Nat King Cole.


Raven has found a loving home!

I took a long shot and asked a friend if she would be interested to adopt Raven. I didn't expect a "yes", but she said YES! She has another black kitten named Bagheera who is 5 months old and she would like Raven to be Bagheera's companion.  I'll wait for Raven's mange to heal before sending her over to her new home.

I miss Raven already, but with my super-alphas, 7 is already "too many" for my colony.

I was told that when we have super-alphas, 3 is the most they can handle. When there are no super cranky alphas, I suppose even 30 is still fine...

And how is the Cow Mau?

Cow Mau (that's what we call him) was "imprisoned" for a total of 10 hours today. He started mewing softly at 10.30am but I hardened myself and ignored him.

I was going to let him out by noon, but Max and Lydia came over and we ended up at the clinic. By the time Max left and I settled things, it was already 5pm. That would have made it 10 hours in "solitary confinement", so to speak, though he had visitors off and on.

But as resilient as he is, he did not move from the basket. Not at all. His water was untouched. His litter-box untouched. He was in the exact same position when I left him for Max's trip and he remained in that same position when I came back.

Scary? That's the Cow Mau for you.

Dinner time with the gang at 5pm. Also, jailbreak time for Cow Mau.

When I released him, he did a long stretch. Poor guy. He hadn't moved for 10 hours. I don't think he slept either because each time I checked on him, he was in that same position, with that same face.

After Lydia and Max left, I continued with my vinegar treatment of the walls. Before I let Cow out, I had sprayed diluted (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water) on all his favourite spray spots. He managed to do one spray on the door but I had my water gun ready, so he got water-sprayed. A direct hit. Sorry, Cow, but we are desperate on our side too.

I wouldn't be fair to the family if I let this house be like our old house where Cow & Bunny sprayed all over and stank up the house. Got to nip this in the bud...hopefully it isn't too late.

 Bunny just had to try out the basket in Cow's cage.

You want to be caged too, Bunny? And oh, by the way, Bunny did not spray all afternoon, so this means, Cow is the biggest culprit OR Bunny kind of "got the message"?

 At 7pm.

 Pole went to check out Cow's basket as well.

 At 9pm.

In between, he did go to his favourite spots, but I was armed with the water-gun. A few potential sprays were averted, I must say, but it was certainly very hard work.

 At 10pm.

Let's take a break from Cow-watching, shall we?

Now, what is Cleo doing?

 I hope it's not a toad.

 At 11pm.

At 12.00am (midnight).

I'd be heartless if I caged him for the night, so I'll take my chance for tonight.

Cow, no spraying, please....Please?

Monday, October 29, 2012

I need ideas, please...and the changing of the guards

With Raven's presence in the house, Cow & Bunny's spraying have increased manifold.

I have been cleaning the furniture, the walls and practically all surfaces non-stop for many days now.

Yesterday, I spent 6 hours cleaning up the room with whatever I could find. Yet, the smell is still there.

The wall under my table is a favourite spray wall for Cow & Bunny. Unfortunately, I only discovered this a few months after moving in, so there are permanent streaks on the wall now. The trouble is, I cannot smell their urine anymore as I've been living with them for so long and my nose isn't very sensitive too.

I've been trying to remove the stains little by little (not so much of the stains, but the smells). I could re-paint the wall, but am told cat urine is so "powerful", a coat of paint might not be able to mask the smell. The pink box is also a favourite spray surface, but that is plastic, and I have been wiping that every day...many times.

The thing is Cow & Bunny spray to mark; it isn't because there is no litter-box for them. There is. They just want to mark to claim territory. Both were neutered at 7 months. The spraying only started the following year when I started fostering kittens. I was too busy to notice the spraying back at the old house.

 The two doors (front and back) are also favourites for them. I reckon both doors will warp in perhaps one more year. So will the laminated doors of the built-ins. They spray on those too. The lamination has actually already warped.

 This bench was also a favourite spot until I covered it with cloth. At least I can wash the cloth and the bench will not get sprayed on. But the two ends get sprayed on too. Sigh...

They come onto my table and spray on the plugpoints as well. Soon, I'd need to get the sockets changed as the urine seeps into the wires inside the socket.

All the walls are not spared. The floor is also not spared. Cow sprays everywhere. All the time.

Yesterday, in a drastic move, we moved this shelf out of the room. We've had this Ikea shelf back at the old house and wasn't planning on bringing it here, but there was space and we thought the cats might like sitting on it so it was put in the room. But I've noticed the cats don't really like sitting on it as they prefer the shelves outside, so we might as well move it out. Actually nowadays, only Pole and Cleo sleeps on the top shelf. But Pole has her condo and Cleo, her Clubhouse shelf (the one Bunny wrestled from recently).

After moving the shelf out, I noticed there were urine stains on the wall behind the shelf and on the floor under the shelf.  I thought that was the cause of the smell, so I cleaned the walls and floor thoroughly but no, the smell is still there.  And since I cannot smell anything at all (an "immunity" I'd rather not have), I needed my son to do the smelling for me.

By the way, I'd like to give away the shelf above, so if by any chance, anyone would like to have it, please do write to me. But please know that cats have used it before and urine has seeped into the wood.

 I use garbage enzyme, Tulipspet and Feliway. Nothing works.

But I shall keep trying. Maybe I'll use baking soda. I know it's excellent in removing stains. But it's actually the smells that I want removed, not so much the stains. I'll try diluted vinegar as well. It didn't work previously, but I'll try again.

I'm a little comforted when I read that Katnip Lounge also had the same problem:

You know how it is when people are quick to point fingers and start scolding? "You spoil your cats, you never trained them properly, you don't understand cats, you should have done this, you should have done that, etc." That doesn't help at such times because I cannot turn back the clock and undo whatever's been done. Every problem is different, every cat is different. "How can I help? Perhaps you could try this?" - now, that would be so much more useful and comforting.   

So, with the shelf out of the way, I have a Zen cat-space now. Personally I like Zen, but I know cats don't. So sorry, please don't scold, this is something I have to do to preserve my sanity. And no, I'm not going to make shelves on the wall because Cow & Bunny would just stand on them and spray ON the walls, making it even more hellish for me to clean. I have shelves outside in the pantry, the garden and the Clubhouse, and the other cats like these very much.

Yesterday, I thought of tiling the walls up to the ceiling. I don't mind a few days' inconvenience of the contractors coming in if it can solve my cleaning problem. Tiles would be much easier to clean than painted walls.

Last night, I Feliway-ed all the surfaces and this morning, found that Cow had sprayed on all his usual spots.

So we thought of something drastic...and perhaps a little "cruel".

 We caged Cow in Pole's condo.

He is the Chief Sprayer. No doubt about that as I see him spray right before my eyes many times a day and nothing stops him. Not even the water gun. Talk about persistence....

 Everyone was surprised and wondered what was going on.

It was not easy getting Cow into the cage, of course. But after he was put inside, he seemed calm. I noticed he did not bother going "upstairs" at all. He just sat on the fishpad.

But it wasn't fair to Pole. Now she had no condo.

 I know, Pole. First we took away the shelf, now your condo. It's not fair.

So we decided on something else.

I have this spare cage so we put Cow in it for now. Of course, we will let him out for playtime, under the strictest supervision. Then, back he goes (if we can get him to, that is) into the cage when no one is around.

A friend suggested I confine everyone outside in the pantry and Clubhouse, but that wouldn't be fair to those who don't spray. And when it rains, everyone comes into the room.

No complaints at all. He's a very resilient guy, I know.

I'm hoping this confinement would re-train him to use the litter-box. I'm praying it will work. Maybe he won't eat so much as well, so that'll be a double bonus. Cow, Bunny and Tiger are obese. When Bunny is hungry (which is like 5 times a day), he will call and call until.....

But with Cow in the cage, I know it will cause a change of hierarchy in the clan. I cannot foresee what will happen for now, but let me take this one day at a time.

I'm still interested in getting the whole room tiled.  That would make cleaning so much easier for me.

So, Pole got back her condo, which she shares with everyone.

 But she is not happy right now, so she shoo-ed Bunny out when the latter wanted to use her toilet.

 Bunny, disgraced, took it out on poor Tabs.

 At least it's back to normal for Pole and Tabs now, which is only fair.

Now, I'm going off to buy vinegar and baking soda.