I love my cats, for a multitude of reasons. Alex, the senior partner, is an impressive blend of leonine gravitas, dog-like generosity, and impressive lolling ability. Philip, our sidewalk rescue, is easy-going beyond all belief, trusting, and happy to sleep with one. Opie ... well, Opie is a huge ball of insecurities, nerves, largely un-repressed desires to become a mother, and other quirks. He also has the loudest purr of any cat in my recent experience, he's a cuddly round ball of need who makes you want to pet him and tell him everything will be all right.
Opie was rescued from a cat hoarder, and I think his quirks are directly or indirectly tied to that experience. At least one thing I tie to his living in an apartment with at least 7 or 8 cats as a kitten is that he gets very upset when new cats (beyond Alex and Phil) show up. However, the last two times FB's kitties were fostered with us, Opie eventually reached a nervous detente with them.
We thought this was what would happen when FB and Miss Emily dropped Tommy and Lily off with us for the summer. Nope. This third visit apparently tipped Opie over the edge.
During the day, he's more or less OK - just hiding and growling, which by Opie terms is at least a B- in socialization. However, starting about five days ago, things have gone to hell once deep night falls.
Opie has begun peeing and depositing feces all over the kitchen floor, instead of using the cat box which is also in the kitchen. (I know having a cat box in the kitchen sounds awful, but I can assure you that it is far less eurg-inducing than you might think. And it's the only reasonable place to have a cat box in our tiny condo; there's definitely no room for it in our bathroom, which would have been my first choice ... augh, getting off-track here.)
He never does this during the day. It only happens at night, after we've all gone to bed. It also coincides, I think, with Tommy's and Lily's most active time.
Given where he's doing the deed, it's entirely possible that he's trying to keep the twins out of the cat box. Other possibilities; he's creeped out by using the same box they do; he's become afraid of the box (it's a Booda Box with a cover on it); or other reasons that we can't puzzle out.
We've cleaned up after him every time, and luckily the kitchen floor is a fake flagstone material, which allows us to hit it hard with bleach and old-fashioned top-strength Lysol. But erasing his own smell from the floor hasn't helped. Nor keeping a light on in the kitchen overnight (I thought the dark might be freaking him out). Nor has placing boxes and other obstacles over the spots he prefers.
Yesterday we went out and got a second cat box, and it's now ensconced in our already cluttered office. That' where we'd placed a second cat box the last time the twins came to stay, and we'd decided not to do it this time, because it had been such a pain. However, with Opie's new habit, we changed our minds
Sadly, it didn't change his activities, at least not thus far. We're trying to give it time, so that he realizes that there's another box that he might claim, and leave the kitchen one to the twins.
However, there is every possibility that Opie will simply continue to do this as long as the twins are in the house (dear lord, I hope it doesn't occur after they leave). As BB said, "we may have to become used to cleaning up every morning." My response has been one of quiet horror. Soooo ....
Has anyone out there on my wonderful f'list every encountered something like this? Even more to the point, has anyone figured out a successful strategy against it? Help me, Intarwebz friends!
* I use that line, or a bastardization of it, so often that it comes as a shock,even to me, that I've never seen the movie. Since this year marks the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I really should take the time to watch it.
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