Our house has been pee and spray free (except in the litterboxes) since April 17, 2012. Until this week! I am pretty upset. JP is up to his old habit. He was crying in the kitchen after dinner, which means he's still hungry. So...I did what Dr. Radosta suggested and let him sit in there and cry. So, do you know what he did? He marched into the living room where my husband and I were watching the debate on TV, climbed up the spiral staircase and sat himself down in the bed on top and just peed away! He showed us to ignore his cries! He's done this before. He eats, then goes back in the kitchen and cries until I feed him again and if I don't he sprays or pees - usually in the living room.
So why did I let him do it again? I knew Dr. Radostas advice to ignore his cries wasn't working for us, but I had a momentary lapse of reason. I thought to myself, maybe Dr. Radosta was right. Also...and here's some important news...he's HUGE! Lately I've been feeding him as much as he wants so that he doesn't fight with INKY or pee outside the box. This routine, combined with the prozac (groan) he has been on since January has caused weight gain. He gained 2 lbs since the beginning of August bringing him up just over 16 lbs. Inky also weighs about 16 lbs, but he holds it better. So, a week or 2 ago I started limiting JP's food intake a little bit. I guess he is not happy about that.
The other development on the JP behavior front is that he and INKY scuffle on a daily basis. They wrestle before every meal and the worst is early in the AM. I am seriously sleep deprived. Recently JP has started chewing on aluminum foil that I keep in the closet (a hold over from the peeing in the closet days that I really hope are ancient history because I have now removed all of the foil). After JP is done with his meals he returns to the scene and bites INKY (occasionally Spike too) and mounts him. He used to do this to Scooter! This is disturbing me a bit.
So last night I contacted one of my heroes Pam Johnson-Bennett. I asked her if this is a dominance issue or what and how to deal with it. Pam is THE BEST! If you have feline behavior issues you need to hire Pam! Just do it. Worth the money and saves a lot of time and heartache!
Pam mentioned a few interesting things:
1) it could be dominance but it could also be frustration
2) I shouldn't cut down on his food too drastically!
3) I should feed JP more often so his belly feels more full (Spike would LOVE that too!!!)
4) I should use puzzle feeders to slow him down and get him focused on working for his food - and feed him away from INKY
5) I should be sure to engage in interactive play with JP every day
Well, some of this stuff isn't new to us. But, as always, Pam has brilliant suggestions based on her extensive knowledge and experience.
So...here's what happened at dinner tonight.
JP and INKY started wrestling so I knew it must be feeding time. I dug up an old wand toy. INKY never seemed to like it. JP actually started going for it!! A miracle. Every day I try to engage JP with a toy and he is either not interested or INKY comes over and ruins everything. After a while I grabbed the other toy that INKY likes and tried to engage him at the same time. This little bit of playing with each of them seemed to work because they didn't try to beat each other up while I was preparing their meal.
Yes, I'm writing a lot. Is anyone still reading?
The next thing that happened is rather unfortunate. While feeding the boys, I pulled out the muffin tin to put JP's food in (closest thing I have to a puzzle feeder for wet food at the moment - yes I ordered 2 online this afternoon. I do what Pam says!) the sound of pans knocking scared the bajeezus out of JP and he ran, kicking his prozac bowl across the kitchen. Then he went in the other room to start eating INKY's prozac! Nooooo! I was quite frazzled.
By the time I got his food in the pan, he was suspicious and didn't eat much. I ended up putting his food back in his regular bowl. Now as I sit and write this, JP has reemerged for a second helping. I must heed his cries immediately. You understand?
No bad behavior to report at this time!! JP and Inky are on Prozac. Inky has a calming pheromone collar on (though it is time for a replacement) and we use lavender scented litter. I've been trying to play with the kitties (mostly Inky and JP gets in on it a little bit) before meals at least once a day.
CC is living like a queen in her private suite. We go outside for walkies occasionally but mostly she just wants to eat grass and sit down.
This afternoon a whole bunch of us fluters (yes I'm skipping cat tales again today) met at the Trevi fountain and paraded around the forum shops before starting our flute flash mob outside (115 degrees maybe?) with Viviana Guzman. I think it was a real success!
Then I showered and went off campus with a friend who lives downtown. We had a fab time eating Indian food and catching up.
Now I'm back at Caesars. I'm enjoying a prickly pear margarita and the moron sittin next to me. He's chowing down and texting while his tarted up girlfriend watches lamely. I don't think he realizes I see him stealing glances at me and actually reaching for my fuzzy headband. Wtf?
Yes I know I'm not supposed to do this but I snapped this pic of Greg Patillo setting up for his presentation on flutes and computers. Shhhhhh. They say only the official NFA photogs are allowed to take pix. Well so far I've only seen that happen at one presentation. I shot a couple friends performing. Those pix MAY be on Facebook later.
It is nice to see so many familiar and friendly faces. Some decent new ones too.
I'm now dragging around my heavy artillery again because i just remembered I DO have another "performance" or 2.
It's freezing in the convention center so I stepped out in the balcony to thaw (see pic). Glad I'm not performing again cuz my digits are ice!
Started the day with Morning mobility with Angela McCuiston. Yay. Then a great chamber concert including my buddies P. Brent Register and Paula Amrod. Fab!
Jim Walker and free flight were amazon last night and they had some surprise guests like Miamis own Nestor Torres.
Later there will be a flute flash mob or 2. And dinner with a buddy who is thankfully not a flute player.
More Updates later.
I'm takin a break from posting about cats to, instead, post about the National Flute Convention here at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Unfortunately I don't have a computer with me so typing on this tiny iscreen is gonna be a hindrance.
Here's my brief update: it's about 109 degrees outside and seemingly 40 degrees inside. The place is so huge and confusing that it takes a good 15 minutes to get outside and thaw out! That being whined about... I am having a fabulous time. I love the 109!
This AM I went to a piccolo panel. Learned a lot of interesting things from some amazing orchestral piccoloers. Most importantly: EARPLUGS!! Professional earplugs! Made by a doctor! And... Offer the other instrumentalists around you some more affordable earplugs. For real! I often practice picc with earplugs in but usually doesn't wear in performance. That shall change.
Saw a great presentation of flute and computer music. Hooray!!!!
Got duped by a vegan blog and took a cab with 2 colleagues to Paymonds Mediterranean restaurant. It was good but not vegan :-(
Ok. I've gotta stop for now. This is highly irritating trying to type and Tom Waits is done on Letterman. So.... Maybe a new update tomorrow.
I am diverting from feline behavior issues today to tell y'all about what's going on medically with Spike.
Last September he suddenly got very ill and was (mis)diagnosed with Feline Dysautonomia! Yikes! We nursed him back to health very slowly but he has never been quite the same. Dr. Herrington was not able to determine the exact cause of Spikes digestive issues but is treating the symptoms (gurgly tummy, occasional vomiting/constipation/soft stool, passing gas, throat popping, howling etc.) with Prednisalone and Metoclopramide. He did not do an endoscopy or ultrasound, by the way, just blood tests and x-rays.
Two weeks ago we decided to try a holistic vet. We took Spike to see Dr. Laura Ganske at Pet Health Cafe in Fort Lauderdale. She spent about 90 minutes with us! She asked a ton of questions and even looked through the entire folder I had stuffed with Spikes previous medical records. Dr. Ganske was so sweet to my kitty. She hugged him and talked kindly to him as if he were her own beloved pet. They took blood and a urine sample and Dr. G did some muscle testing (I'm not providing a link or explanation here but this technique is related to kinesiology and energy medicine) questioning to try to figure out what is going on with my kitty. I will spare you the rest of the medical info - blood test results etc.
We decided to go ahead with Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (VOM) treatments. We think there could possibly be a communication problem within Spikes body due to ... you know what? I'm not going to be able to explain this well!! Click the link! If you don't want to click the link, suffice it to say VOM is related to chiropractic treatments.
Today's picture features Spike getting his first VOM treatment (thats what the gun-looking device is for) from Dr. Ganske. I am nervously trying to hold his head straight with my sweaty paws. The treatment was very quick and non-invasive. Spike behaved himself pretty well. He was trying to wiggle out of my whimp-grip, but we managed to keep him on the table and complete the treatment.
I will bring him back again next week and will be more confident in my stabilizing duties!
Stay tuned for reports on Spike's progress.
My sweet sweet little girl!
Back in the end of February Scooter had to go to Dr. Herrington for a dental cleaning (her first one ever). I was told she would be ready by three PM, but she wasn't ready until almost 6 PM! So, by the time I got her home it was time for dinner and the beasts were all hungry. Nobody at Hollywood Animal Hospital warned me to keep her separated from the others or be careful with the waning anesthesia etc. I thought we were all in a better place now that INKY and JP were on prozac, so...I let her right out of the carrier while I prepared their meal. Everybody sniffed her and seemed more interested in food than the vet stink on Scooter - even Inky walked away after his initial investigation. But...sigh...lets just say he soon became upset (because she smelled different/walked near him/was coming down off anesthesia/etc) and he beat the crap out of her!! Had her pinned upside down, everyone screaming and fur flying! We were all very upset by this.
For the next 6 weeks I had Scooter living in the tiny laundry room. I had to keep her separated from INKY and God knows INKY SHALL NOT BE CONFINED - lest we wish to endure more TROUBLE! I was working with my behaviorist Dr. Radosta on the slow and difficult reintroduction process. You may remember we went through this before with INKY and CC when she came home from the vet in 2007 or so. Mieschelle Nagelschneider helped us, but in the end CC found a permanent private home in the guest suite. Sigh.
I will spare you the details of the reintroduction process but encourage you to read about it in one of Pam Johnson-Bennett's books. And consider yourself WARNED: if you ever bring one cat to the vet, upon her return home, please keep her quarantined away from the others until she smells like herself again or you risk attack and possibly the hell that we have now gone through 2ce with the reintroduction attempts. Vets should warn EVERYONE about this potential danger.
Those were a long 6 weeks with some ups and mostly downs.
But things have changed. A very good friend of mine who lives about a 2 hour drive north of us has adopted Scooter. She lost both of her cats this year (they died, they didn't just disappear - to be clear) and wanted another so she thought she could help us out and give Scooter a great new home where no pesky boys can bother her and she can get the love and attention she needs and deserves.
Perhaps I will post more details of the Scooter adoption in the future, but for now I will summarize it thusly: That was harder than I expected to give away my precious little girl, but I know it's best for everyone. And...things are much more peaceful at Casa Marro.
I will try to update later on all the INSANITY that has been going on (just when I thought it couldn't get any worse!). But tonight...I was reminded of the deal I made with INKY.
After feeding tonights midnight snack of Natures Instinct rabbit flavor (canned)...I found INKY trying to spray by the sink in the bathroom. I interrupted him. I couldn't figure out why he was doing this. He has his new "calming" collar on and Sonya Fitzpatrick spoke with him again on Tuesday about only doing his bizniss in the litterbox. He seemed to be doing so well this week. Was it because he saw Scooter for one second when I opened her door today (more on that in another post)? Does he not like my new haircut?
I think it's because I didn't give him any dry food tonight! It was out there in the puzzle feeders (like in this photo) but I didn't serve any on his plate. And back in January Sonya helped broker a deal whereby my requirement was evening feeding of more dry food!! OMG! I forgot. Once I realized this, I quickly gave him a whole bunch. Now he is resting contently by me on one of his little structures.
I'm sorry Inky. A deal IS a deal!
Last night when I fed all the kitties together in the kitchen there were no problems! But Dr. Radosta keeps telling me to put them in separate rooms. When I have done that they still walk away from their bowls and go see what everyone else is eating. Then it's really hard for me to keep an eye on them and see if someone is going to pee where they shouldn't! (PS I don't normally feed them all together like in this picture...this was just a little midnight snack)
This AM Dr. Radostas office called and asked how things were going. I told them I thought the prozac was helping and that I am working with UT on a new diet for JP.
side note: no hyperlinks today - I'm totally SPENT!
Then she asked if I had put out the bowls of dry food because Jodi said that was ok to do (well, that may have been paraphrasing of Jodi on their part). I told them NO I didn't but I put dry food in the puzzle feeders and INKY figured those out. Nobody else has figured out the puzzle feeders. And I'm not putting bowls of dry food out because JP will walk right up and scarf them ALL down and we are trying to increase his liquid intake (because of calcium oxalate stones) not DECREASE!
another side not: yes I'm angry today. It's my mom's bday and she died less than a year ago.
Soooooo I head out to the pet store to buy more canned food and treats and litter. As I'm trying to park UT calls. sigh. They were thinking that I was going to feed JP homemade Mahi Mahi (at $20 a lb) exclusively for the rest of his life. So I convinced her to at least gimme a recipe for chicken too! I'm paying them hundreds of dollars and I'm disagreeing with them every step of the way. They are not holistically minded at all. And not ...well...I'll just stop there.
Then I went to a new pet supply shop called Animal Crackers and met JJ who is very holistic minded and a very generous businessman. He didn't have ANYTHING in stock that I needed to promised he could get it for me and deliver it to me for free. Cool. So I head home realizing I've not actually accomplished ANYTHING today.
At dinner, JP and INKY kept walking away from their bowls like usual so at some point I decided they were done and I put the bowls away. I moved on to photocopy the sheet music they had peed allover a while back. I see the two of them both lurking around the kitchen like, "dude, where's my food?!" and JP started crying. Then I smelled it. Cat pee! In the livingroom!! First time in ... I dunno, a couple weeks? They got angry that I took away their bowls and that I ignored JP crying (as instructed by Radosta) so, someone peed. I suspect it was JP cuz it was by the fireplace where I've seen only JP peeing several times before.
I just shot off another email to Jackson Galaxy's assistant begging him to come help me.
And I havent even started baking my moms birthday cake. Too busy crying.
This is Dr. Radosta. She's THE ONLY feline behaviorist in South Florida. Luckily, she is also a DVM!! She has given us hope. (that's not Inky in her arms, by the way) Dr. Radosta and her crew (three other kind and gentle women) came to Casa Marro on January 21st for a consultation with JP and INKY. I was impressed with her knowledge and compassion. They spent two hours gathering information about our cats, feeding rituals, how we ALL interact with eachother, litterboxes, medical history etc. She examined JP and INKY for any apparent medical issues.
One of the first changes she recommended was BIGGER LITTERBOXES! OMG! I already have giant sterilite storage boxes (on advice from Mieshelle Nagelschneider years ago), but she pointed out that I have giant cats and we all observed Spike perched on the edge of the box - indicating he could use more room. OK, no prob - I can DO that. I can get bigger boxes! (we already had one ready from IKEA, but hadn't filled it yet. I was waiting to show it to her)
She determined that JP was a confident cat and that INKY was insecure. Most people don't believe this, but I do and so did Mieshelle Nagelschneider when we consulted her before. Both cats seem to be acting out out of stress. Overcrowding seems to be an issue, even though we have taken advantage of vertical space and really tried to enrich their environment. My husband has built many structures for them to climb on, scratch, sleep on etc. And we have toys galore! But one thing we are going to do now is rotate the toys on a regular basis so the kitties don't get bored. Also, we went out and bought some new ones to add to the mix.
We had a little training session too while they were here. We learned how to teach JP and INKY to turn their head away and go to their "safe spot" so that if we see some intimidation happening or staring or the beginnings of a fight we can ask them to look away or walk away before it escalates. Cool! Smart.
Another recommendation was to use puzzle feeders. Well, so far INKY is the only one who has figured that out. We bought a few different ones. Perhaps in time...
The last thing I want to write about today is Dr. Radosta's recommendation that we contact University of Tennessee's department of Veterinary Nutrition and have some food formulated (get a recipe perhaps) for JP because he has special needs due to his calcium oxalate stones in his bladder.
I'm very impressed that Dr. Radosta wants to work as a team with my vets Dr. Yao and Dr. Herrington (who highly recommended her) and with my holistic pet wonderwoman Holistic Jodi! I'm hopeful that together we can make all our kitties happy and healthy.
HAPPY HEALTHY KITTIES. HAPPY HEALTHY KITTIES! HAPPY HEALTHY KITTIES!
We shook on it. Really. I've made a deal with INKY!
I got desperate for help with the cats and my husband got a new car (the 100% electric Nissan Leaf) with XM radio. One Tuesday night he was driving home from work and heard Sonya Fitzpatricks weekly radio show, Animal Intuition. Sonya is a famous pet psychic. I used to watch her show on TV - I think it was on Animal Planet. I called in this week and actually made it on the air!
She says Inky is upset because I have been so sad about my mothers death last May. Sonya claims Inky has a very strong bond with me and is effected by my emotional state. He is spraying around the house for emotional reasons. Also, she asked, "when did you switch their food?" And "why?" I told her we switched to holistic food because it's healthier. She agreed stating, "let me just tell that to Inky, he was wondering why". Sonya also asked, "who's the nervous cat?" That would be Scooter. Poor thing.
She said Inky, in particular, is upset that I took away the dry food free feeding and asked if I could possibly give him more dry food. And she said Inky misses his old food bowl and likes the blue grey litterbox. Well, I wasn't sure what that was about but promised to give him something blue. So, Sonya asked if I would barter with INKY. I promised to give him his old bowl back (not sure exactly which one he's talking about, but I stopped using the flat plates I had switched to after Spike got sick), give him extra dry food in the evening and I put a nice blue blanket on the foot of my bed just for him and INKY promises to only pee and spray and poop in the litterboxes. I've been visualizing him peeing in the box several times a day (Sonya's reccomendation).
I'm optimistic that this will help. What have I got to lose? But I'm still keeping my appointment with Dr. Lisa Radosta, Veterinary Behaviorist.