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: http://katniplounge.blogspot.com/2011/11/kitties-mommy-needs-your-advice.html
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.