NEW EPISODE of Cat Chat with Liz and Marci: Learning to Love the Litterbox

Hello Alcohol Cat fans! Open a beer, pour a glass of wine, take a shot, and celebrate this week with a new episode of Cat Chat with Liz and Marci. This new episode is all about the litterbox—how to set it up, how to trouble-shoot issues… and we all laugh a little too much about poop.

You can download this episode, share it, like it, comment on it… let us know if you’re a fan of Cat Chat, and if there’s anything you’d like us to cover in the next episode! Enjoy!

The Sacred Box

SammyLet’s talk about litter. Because it’s really the only downside to owning a cat—although I am much happier having a box for the cat to go in than having to take a dog outside to pee when it’s -7 degrees. But that’s not really the point. A litter box still makes that annoying trail of litter on the floor, no matter how many mats you put underneath it, and all the baking soda in the world can’t mask Smirnoff’s poop on a bad day (sorry, Smirf).

And yet, litterbox issues—usually involving a cat not wanting to use said box—is one of the most prevalent behavioral issues a cat owner faces. Now, I’ll insert my disclaimer here, because I’m not a vet or a licensed behaviorist, but from my own experience, as well as the research I’ve done, the many seasons of My Cat From Hell I’ve watched, and working with cats at the shelter, here are some things to note if the litterbox is an issue with your cat:

1. Your cat might need to see a vet. In fact, that should be one of the first things you do. Male cats (neutered or unneutered) in particular are prone to urinary tract infections, and if that happens, urinating in litter can be painful. There could be other issues going on, of course, but if a UTI goes untreated then it could cause a blockage, which requires surgery. And yes, this can happen to female cats, too.

My experience: Smirnoff had this issue, and gave the tell-tale signs of a UTI: going to the litterbox frequently, meowing loudly while in said litterbox, and going into the litterbox but not producing any urine. I took him to the vet (which he hates) and he was prescribed antibotics. He now gets wet food mixed with water for one meal and Science Diet w/d dry food for the other meal. (SD w/d is a high fiber prescription diet that is used a lot for diabetic cats, but it also helps control the pH balance in urine, which prevents crystals from forming and causing blockages.)

What you should know: It’s actually important that you keep an eye on your cat’s litterbox habits. Sure, it seems gross and actually watching your cat pee or poop (which helps if you have multiple cats, so you know who is doing what) seems creepy, but it’s important. Knowing about how often your cat urinates, the consistency of its feces, can help you prevent really bad health problems later on—or at least catch them early.

Continue reading “The Sacred Box”

What I Owe to a Cat Named Patti

Patti was one of those cats that came to the shelter, stayed a couple months, and then left, without my hardly knowing it. I knew which cat she was, but it never crossed my mind to really interact with her.

Then, a couple months after that, she was returned for house-soiling. House-soiling is one of the worst reasons for a return (in my opinion) because if a cat can’t use its litter box, it can’t live in a house—it’s as simple as that. The adopters had tried different types of litter, different boxes, etc., but something was making her not want to urinate in the proper location and they eventually gave up.

She was a pretty cat—about a year old, tortoise shell coat, and she was shy, but friendly. Upon her return, I took notice and was sympathetic. But again, it didn’t go much further than that.

The first time Patti was in cat playgroup during her second stint in the shelter, she hated it. She sat under the bench in the adoption center and hissed any time a cat came near her. She was a nice cat on her own, but all she did all day was sleep, or sit. Mostly sleep. But I went to visit her now and then, giving her pets and attention. I liked her, definitely. But she didn’t stand out much more than any of the other cats.

Then something happened, which made me take notice.

A Cat Named Murdock

It was the summer of 2011, and I was single, worked part-time, and was spending as much time at the shelter as I could. I was quickly becoming the “cat lady” among my friends, so it wasn’t so much of a surprise when I received a text message from Sonja telling me she had found a stray cat outside her apartment and didn’t know what to do with it.

I was coming back from a work event all dressed up, and called her back.

“Let me get home so I can put on some pants, and I’ll be right over with a carrier.” Continue reading “What I Owe to a Cat Named Patti”