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Bad kitty: Stopping feline spraying in its tracks, Part 1

January 22, 2010 |  4:15 pm

Feline spraying is one behavioral problem many cat lovers know all too well. The stench, the embarrassment, the constant battle of wills – it’s a cycle that never ends. This is the story of one cat owner’s quest to eliminate the household spraying from his two boys: Cody and Stewie.

Theboys

Every day is the same. I come home and both my boys are lying in bed, faces twisted with guilt. This, of course, is after I hear them scamper through the living room from the kitchen as I insert my key.

Immediately I walk into the kitchen. Twisted-up rug: check. Pungent smell: check. Glistening floor and cabinets: check again.

My boys have struck. I've been driving myself crazy trying to figure out why they continue to spray in the house. Cody, 5, was already neutered when I adopted him. I rescued my youngest, Stewie -- now a year old -- at 6 weeks of age. He was neutered at six months.

So what's the problem? Litter box is always clean, food always stocked. I've logged plenty of time online reading different sites about the nature of cat spraying, and site after site tells me that it's my cats' way of leaving messages for each other. But the only message I'm getting is in the form of me on my hands and knees with a roll of paper towels.

After getting the same results despite the fact that I've tried different things -- washing the rug, removing it completely, leaving all the cabinet doors open and even blocking the cabinets -- I decided I needed help. I needed chemicals. The rain defeated my plan to run to a pet store, but the website I was reading had a recipe for a solution from on-hand household products: baking soda, vinegar, dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide. I snatched all the products from their respective locations and got to it.

I wiped everything down with paper towels until I saw no more yellow. Then I doused my floor and rug with the mixture of vinegar and water, sprinkled it with the baking soda, and I got the peroxide and detergent mixture all over. This is such a mess on my floor! I scrubbed it in, per the directions, and then vacuumed after it had dried.

For the rest of the evening I watched, and waited. The cats went into the kitchen to eat and use the litter box. Then they went on their way. I went to bed thinking, "Aha! I finally figured it out."

This morning on my way to work, I stopped and poked my head into the kitchen. Twisted-up rug. (Oh no!) Pungent smell. (Not again!) Glistening floor and cabinets. (There's no way!)

Sadly, I was defeated. So what am I doing wrong? I plan on trying everything I see on store shelves and documenting it here. I'll also take reader suggestions. I'm open to anything, within reason of course. Feel free to share your tips and personal experiences by leaving a comment.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photos:  Cody, left, and Stewie lounge at home. Credit: Gerrick D. Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

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