Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I have two cats. Neither of them so I consider to be a "good" cat. Neither one will sit in your lap, or let you hold them. And only one will let Cookie touch her. Both will swat at or nip at the girls if they touch them or touch them too long or in the "wrong way". So neither is a very good pet.

To top it off, our LitterMaid (electronic litter box) went kaput this week. While they cost close to $200, the motors burn out on them and they don't last longer than 2 years - tops. And you have to buy cartridges for them. So, we bought a new electronic litter box that uses dehydrating crystals. It's called "Scoop Free". Since bringing it home a week ago, the counter reads that the cats have only gone in 10 times. I have cleaned poop off the floor daily and recently discovered the pile of laundry that the cats had been peeing on. I trashed it rather than attempt to clean it. I am disgusted. I even tried putting their old type litter in it, but to no avail. Also, the Scoop Free uses $15 cartridges that you completely throw away and for a 2-cat household that will last you about 2 weeks. So, $30 a month in cartridges for a $2oo machine. Brilliant. But I refuse to scoop a litter box, and both cats are declawed and completely indoors.

While I like the cats, and care about them, I wouldn't say I "love" them. I've had cats I "loved". My Honey Cat that I got my first year away at college lived 14 years, and I agonized over putting her down when she had heart failure and fluid in her lungs.

I got Callie (current cat #1) when one of my two cats got out of the house and never was found. Honey Cat was lonely, so I went to the Humane Society and found Callie. She was a year old, and very skittish. She had been abused. She is now around 7 or 8 years old, and will not be held even for a milisecond. She's beautiful and soft and likes to be petted and will lay near you, but that's about it.

I got Macy Gray (current cat #2) when Honey Cat died - making her about 4 years old now. Callie mourned the loss of her companion cat and moped around "crying". We got Macy Gray at the Humane Society as well as a brand new kitten. She's also spayed and declawed. She never became a "lap cat", and in the two and a half years Cookie has been with us and the year Bit-Bit's been in the picture, she's NEVER allowed a child to touch her. So much for being a "family pet".

So, my two cats are pretty much house decoration. And now they have peed and pooped all over the upstairs hallway surrounding their litter box. I hate to just give up on them, but even if I could find just the right litter and box, they still aren't nice to the girls.

My kids are my priority. If Cookie wants a cat, I'll get her one that is HER cat - that allows her to hold and pet her and gives something back to the family as opposed to just shedding, peeing, and pooping.

On top of it all, my husband does not like cats. He's always humored me and my love of cats, though. He even was upset when Honey Cat had to be put to sleep. Coincidently, we both dislike dogs immensely. I grew up with neighbors who raised pit bull dogs for sport (aka a certain former Atlanta Falcon) and threw live small animals into the cages to watch them being torn to bits. Its no surprise I don't like dogs. I can pet a nice dog - even kinda like my brother's Beagle, but I would never willingly own a dog.

So, tonight I told Michael he could crate the cats and take them to the Humane Society and surrender them. I don't know what else to do. I feel like a horrid pet owner, but I've given them the best life I knew how to. And now they aren't good around my kids. I can't have a house of cat pee and poop around the kids, and they aren't anywhere near what I would consider a "pet". I don't know any other good option.

We are going on a 2-week vacation to FL soon, and would have left them here with a semi-sitter who would check in on them and play with them and feed them. But I can't leave them and have them peeing and pooping unattended for 2 weeks. I'm at a real loss. I feel awful about this.

I like the cats, but my gut tells me they've got to go.

What would you do?


Yondalla said...

I won't tell you what to do, but if you do decide to give it one more go with the cats I recommend buying multiple litter boxes and put them in multiple places, particularly the places where they have already gone. If they have been litter box trained they should re-train. Of course you have to use the enzymatic cleaner.

If you decide you really need to re-home them, consider looking for rescue organizations that foster cats. They may be able to find homes better than the humane society can.

If you do take them to the humane society, ask if you can offer to pay some or all of their adoption fee to make them more adoptable. Write a description of them being honest about their good and bad qualities, but emphasize the good. You know, like they do in the children photolistings we all have such deep ambivalence of.

Or, you could consider advertising them in the paper. A lot of people are nervous about getting cats from the shelter because they can't really tell what their personality will be like. State in the add that they come with bowls, collars, toys, crates, one month of food, whatever you can. You may find that there is the right home out there for them.

I have successfully re-homed a cat that was miserable here after the house got crowded. She lived with a nice bachelor and eventually also with his wife and her German Shepard whom she (the cat) bossed around.

We also tried to civilize a street cat. She was really sweet, but she never learned to use the litter box. I did give up and take her to the shelter. And of course there was the cat that tried to kill me whom I had euthanized so that I could find out if I was going to get rabies...but that is another story.

ToBeMe said...

they say for every 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes in different parts of the house. We have 2 cats and we just stick to the regular tidy cat/johnny cat clay litter. We use litter box liners, and just tie the bag up and start over again. It's also important to make sure you get a pet stain cleaner because if they catch the scent where they had the "accident" they will continue to do it. We use the litter boxes that are covered, our cats seem to like the privacy.
I think if you wanted to, you could really work on them being more friendly. I would try more one on one attention for a few minutes every day. I would take the cat into a small enclosed room and spend 10 minutes talking to it. I would use treats, most cats tend to love the liquid that green olives come in, I would put that on my hands.

But if you really cant handle it, then bring them to the humane society. I Hope someone adopts them. Unfortunately, most people go into there looking for a kitten. But a select few, like yourself are willing to take an older cat

good luck to you.

Amanda said...

I am so tempted to do the same thing with my cat, so I should probably recuse myself. I do echo the rescue organization/finding a home of your own comment. I think that's probably the route I would go.

r. said...

My SPCA has about an 85% euthenasia rate. And that's the SPCA, not the county pound. Yours might be the same--plus keep in mind, these cats are older. So if you do surrender them, don't do it with any illusions about what their likely fate will be.

That said, there's also a shelter here that has a "weekend" program where you take your pet to Petsmart for their adoption days, but then take it back home afterwards if it doesn't find a home. Maybe there's something like that in your area.

Patti Money said...

If you take them to the Humane Society, I highly recommend this one:

It's where we got Woody, and they have a very high adoption rate for all their animals. It's far and away the best Humane Society I've seen.

Runergirl said...

They got to go! If they are not good around the girls there is no need to wait. Wonder if one of the girls got hurt, then you would not hesitate. Why wait for that to happen.

happyadoptingmom said...

I agree with pp. They need to go. My sister had to give her cats away when she had her second baby. I would not put up with pee and poop all over my house. I would call today and give them away.

-gwyn said...

I am having the same trouble with my cat. She is approximatley 3 years old and has just started avoiding her litter box. She is also declawed, was born in my house, and has never been outside. The smell is horrible. I clean, get it all gone, and then she gets mad and does it all over again. We have cleaned the litter box repeatedly, used different litter to no avail, and moved the litter box. Nothing has worked. I understand your frustration completely.

SD said...

Well I am a dog person (just grew up that way at our house)but I love most cute furry pets (not reptiles or rodents though) If my husband was not allergic to cats we would for sure have one. If I were you and the cats are just not fitting in with things well,(as it seems apparent) I probably send them away too. BUT! all our Humane Society places here have terribly high rates of Euthenasia. I would bet they would be put down. I hate to say that to you, but they would most likley not make it to another home unless you found it for them. If it were me,I would make every effort to find a more suitable home, and keep them away from the shelters.

Gawdess said...

rehome them - it can be a great option especially if you are going to provide the extra stuff like the mechanical litter box, food and other stuff - there is possibly a family without small children that would really enjoy two cats just like these guys!

JUST A MOM said...

poor kitties bye bye now can't play nice you gotta move on... so sorry that they have started being nasty to you but sounds like they have pretty much thought the house was theirs anyway... have you tryed craigs list?

Anonymous said...

If the kitties' litter-box troubles just started with arrival of the new box, I would guess that it was probably the sudden change that bothered them. It may be something about the box itself- is it bigger/smaller/otherwise different? Sorry I am not to familiar with the self scooping kind... More likely, it is probably the new litter. I have learned from experience that cats DO NOT like sudden change, especially with litter. If you are still willing to try something, you might try gradually transitioning from one litter to another so that they have time to adjust slowly. Or maybe leaving the old box up for a while in addition to the new one (even though you would have to scoop it=) so they could use either one while they transition.

If you have decided that they must go, I agree with the other commenters that you might consider rehoming them yourself or taking them to a no-kill rescue organization rather than a pound where they would likely be euthanized.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and BTW, I totally agree with you on the dog thing=)

Julie said...

I am sorry to hear that bit bit and Cookie are both under the weather! No fun! I hope they get better soon! :)

Happy Mama to Three said...

We have had to rehome a few animals in our time and though it's really difficult sometimes, but a necessary evil at times. You might check into the kill rates at your local shelters and choose what is best for you all. It can take a long time to retreat cats to a new litter option. If you don't have the energy and the time for the work, then you are just being honest with yourself.

We have one amazingly loving kitty who loves everyone.

We have a second kitty who we got only because someone threw him out in a shoebox on the side of our road near the mailbox. He was eeny teeny and he ended up living with us. He is not a people kitty. He will allow you to pet him only when he wants you to not on anyone elses schedule. He isn't mean to anyone he just lives on the edges.

I know that there are homes where they happily live because there aren't small children to injure and they can just be who they are. You could try an ASPCA shelter in your area or a cat only shelter.

Good luck! and don't stress too much. You have little people who need to be safe and sound first.

Good Luck either way!