Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Hard Decision

I am going to have to make a hard decision about Max. This morning, I found yet another puddle on my bed and I have every reason to believe that Max did it. I don't have proof positive, but he is at least indirectly involved, whether it's because he is causing so much stress for Loosy and Lily or because he is marking his territory and/or claiming the space where I spend important time.

To complicate matters, I am leaving later this morning for our ministers' retreat and the district's annual meeting in Tacoma and the cats will be cared for by a young man from the congregation. I will keep the bedroom door shut, which makes me sad, because I think it's good for the animals to be able to be on my bed. The peed-upon comforter has been deodorized and sequestered in another room while it dries and I will launder it when I get back.

Max is a charmer and ever so beautiful, but despite having been neutered almost two months ago, he is still way more lively than the older cats can take. This is natural, as he is still a kitten, but he chases them, jumps them, pushes them away from the food, and generally makes them (and me) anxious. I can tell that my ordinary measures for keeping the cats on the deck in the summertime are not going to work for Max. He will simply jump off the high deck to explore the yard and it will be tough to get him back. Which means he will become part of the food chain, which is not a happy thought.

So I am thinking that very likely I will take him to the local no-kill shelter when I get back from Tacoma at the end of the weekend. He needs a place where he's not in constant competition for attention from a human and where other pets are a little more resilient.

It hurts my heart to think of letting him go. But I can't deal with the anxiety in the household because of his behavior. This is not a firm decision yet, but even as I consider it, I feel some of the stress lessening (though the sorrow is increasing).

9 comments:

Elizabeth J. Barrett said...

My, what a difficult decision to make! My heart goes out to you. Sounds like your Max is causing you and your older cats a lot of stress and difficulty.

I have a 10-year-old neutered male who picks a fight with my smaller, female cat every couple of days. If I were to let him outside, he'd be off chasing squirrels like a spaniel. We keep bathroom tissue in a basket so he can't shred it.

But, if he peed on the bed or if my female cat weren't strong and healthy, his behavior would indeed be a Big Problem.

Ms. Theologian said...

Oh, Max! Oh, Ms. Kitty!

We too had a peeing cat named Max, who eventually went to live with my brother and sister-in-law (a vet). Max peed on top of Jim's chest one night, and that appeared to be the last straw.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, both of you, for your thoughts. I'm in Tacoma now and have had some time to think through a strategy. I protected the bed with a tarp underneath a blanket, so that they could use it and the door could stay open. Then there will also be clear evidence of another accident, if it happens.

I have a friend who is a cat "whisperer" and I am going to ask for her help when I get home. She has had pretty good luck with figuring out what cats need. And I will also consider a visit to the vet to make sure he doesn't have an infection.

But the bottom line is the anxiety he creates, around peeing, around aggressive actions toward the girl-cats, and the hyperness that is going to take him sailing off the deck one day.

I also plan to ask among my friends on the island, to see if someone would be willing to take him on, being clear about the peeing situation and hoping (if Susan The Whisperer agrees) that a change of scenery will help him get past this behavior.

I just love him to pieces, but I can't deal with this very much longer.

Dan said...

Ms. Kitty, after Max has a checkup to make sure it's not an infection (BTW, I think that's a distinct possibility), Rene and I would like to meet him.

Our Boots needs someone to wrestle him to the ground now and then.

Mile High Pixie said...

It sounds off the cuff like a combo of youth, personality, and maybe possibly a medical issue. Hopefully you can resolve this without sending him away, but I completely understand. And plus, a neutered kitten would be so much fun for a family to have and love, so I bet he wouldn't be homeless for long.

ms. kitty said...

Dan, that's a very generous offer and I will try to make it happen. But I will get him an exam, to make sure.

Thanks, Pixie, for your sane words.

Miss Kitty said...

Ohhhh, I'm *so* sorry you're having to consider giving Max up. I've faced this, too, and it never gets easier. Some kitties are more obnoxious than others, kind of like people, and you have to hope they find the right kind of environment. I'm fostering an adult female cat who hates other cats & pees everywhere, so she's shut up by herself in the guest room until I can find her a home.

A UTI does sound likely; both Joy and Clark were random whizzers until they got on antibiotics, and then low-magnesium food (helps prevent crystals in bladder) and distilled water. And sometimes vets give cats "kitty Prozac" (tiny doses of real antidepressants) to help even out their personalities.

You and Max are in my thoughts and prayers.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Miss K. You as the headmistress of the Happy Kitten Cottage do know your stuff and I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers, too.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Ms. Kitty - I was just zooming around the blogoshere (I have such a hard time keeping up with all the blogs during classes) and found your story of Max. How difficult! We had a peeing kitten issue with one of our fosters and dear friends of ours had a pooping issue on the bed recently as well. Both eventually got worked out - Tillie just outgrew his peeing thing - especially after we took him and sat him in the litter box 10 times a day for a while just to remind him, and our friends had an amazing 100% turn-around experience with their kitty after consulting with an "animal communicator" (aka cat psychic) on the phone. We were also skeptical as to how she could telepathically communicate (I know, I know it sounds crazy) with the kitty, but this communicator woman has saved more than one cat adoption that we have "brokered" in our role as foster parents. She does all her work via phone, so if you have any interest in being in touch, let me know. Best of luck with Mr. Max - it is very kind of you to be patient and work with him. I think often with a little time and patience things can work out - although, of course, it is difficult in the meantime! Much peace to you and Max and all the kitties, Elizabeth