Baltimore Sun

Some cats urinate on couches; others get dive-bombed by birds

- By Cathy M. Rosenthal

Dear Cathy: We recently noticed our rescue cat Chanel has been urinating on our couches. I tried putting ammonia on the spots after washing them and rubbing her nose on the sites. Nothing helps. She keeps doing it. We adopted Chanel and CoCo from the same cage at the same shelter. We are afraid CoCo will follow Chanel and do the same thing. How do we stop Chanel from doing this?

— Angie, Henderson, Nevada

Dear Angie: Many things can trigger improper eliminatio­n with cats, from litter box placement, type of litter, and cleanlines­s to anxiety, stress or simply seeing another cat outside. Until you know, you will have to try several things to see what works.

To begin, take Chanel to your veterinari­an for an exam. When animals suddenly begin urinating on furniture and other odd places, it can signify a health problem or illness. Once treated, the improper eliminatio­ns should stop. Rule that out quickly so you know what to try next.

Next, don’t use ammonia to clean her accidents. Ammonia is a natural byproduct of urine, designed to attract cats back to the exact location or tell another cat to stay away. When you clean with ammonia, you are inviting Chanel (and potentiall­y CoCo) to pee on the couch. (I bet you’re freaking out a little that you did this. Don’t, it’s a common mistake.)

To keep both cats from urinating on the couch, use an enzymatic cleaner, which eats up the biological­s left in the furniture (urine, fecal matter and feces), removing all traces of the waste and odor.

Afterward, you could also try to spray the area with Bitter Apple (available at the pet store) to discourage them or put up a roadblock directly over the spot, like a box to encourage them to use the spot for napping instead. (Don’t rub your cat’s nose in the urine. I am not sure why pet owners so widely do this, but it doesn’t work and is not a legitimate training technique. In fact, it could have the opposite effect.)

Keep the same number of boxes as cats plus one — so three boxes. Leave the lid off one in case Chanel prefers to stand on the edge to relieve herself. Place the litter boxes in different areas since one resident cat can block another from using a particular box. (The cat could not protect all three litter boxes if they are in different areas of the house.) Sift the litter twice daily and use a litter box attractant (available at pet stores) in all three boxes to help lure Chanel back to the box. If you suspect any of this is stress-related (Chanel saw a cat outside, you had company, you just moved, etc.), use plug-in pheromones in the room with the couch or put pheromone collars on both cats to help take the edge off.

Dear Cathy: We feed three (spayed) feral cats in our yard and deck. They won’t let us touch them but are dependent on us for food and water. Recently, two blue jays attacked the cats. They terrorize them and won’t let them eat to the point where the cats are afraid to come into our yard. I have tried spraying the birds with water to keep them away, but nothing works. There is no place else I can feed the cats. Please help. I need some ideas on how to handle this problem.

— Dolores, Bethpage, New York

Dear Dolores: When you say two, I hear “pair,” which tells me the birds are probably a mating pair trying to protect their young, which are probably nearby. If this is the case, the behavior will stop when their fledglings leave the nest.

In the meantime, you have two options.

First, get a kennel, doghouse or other covered structure for your yard and place the cat’s food inside. This gives the cats a place to eat without being divebombed by the birds.

Second, feed the cats at dusk when bird activity is

minimal. Cats are nocturnal, and the birds are not, so moving the cat’s feeding time to early evening is a simple way to keep the peace.

Dear Cathy: Love your column. I want to suggest that folks with dogs who have trouble walking on tile or wood floors to make sure their pet’s paws are trimmed of hair. My sister had a husky who did better on floors when the hair growing between his paws

was trimmed.

— Ciel, Andover, Connecticu­t

Dear Ciel: That’s a good reader tip. Thanks for sharing it.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is an animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert. Send your questions, stories and tips to cathy@ Please include your name, city and state. You can follow her @cathymrose­nthal.

 ?? CREATIVE CAT STUDIO/DREAMSTIME ?? Many things can trigger improper eliminatio­n with cats, writes Cathy M. Rosenthal.
CREATIVE CAT STUDIO/DREAMSTIME Many things can trigger improper eliminatio­n with cats, writes Cathy M. Rosenthal.

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