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Retreat, Regroup, and Go On: My Ongoing Battle to Eliminate Feline Inappropriate Elimination

If we were in family therapy, Butterfly would be our identified patient who is exhibiting the symptoms of dysfunctional relationships through feline inappropriate elimination. I’ve had my first major retreat in the Me vs Cat Pee battle. And yes, it was me retreating. Last time I reported from the battle front, I was able to note steady, if modest success. The area most vulnerable near the shoe cubby had been scrubbed and treated, test boxes of litter set out for kitty choices, initial information about preferences noted, and a gradual movement of the boxes toward a destination out of traffic.  

My research has told me that cat boxes need to be located so there are at least two, preferably three escape routes. That way, if Butterfly is ambushed during an awkward moment by a non-identified family member (translation: Alistair or Luna), she has more than one way to run. Unfortunately, she is sometimes ambushed during an awkward moment.  

From Butterfly’s point of view this has to be not only grossly unfair–after all, we should all have our privacy respected–but she was here first. Here she is as the adorable little bit of gray fluff all huddled up next to a toy in her own warm bed. She was right at the center of attention where every cat belongs, right?

Now to the first retreat. I have just settled myself in my wingback chair for a quiet moment and cup of tea when I notice a spill on the edge of the carpet. Have I spilled my tea? Dang! It isn’t tea. I get the corner of the carpet blotted and sprayed with a deodorizing enzyme spray (the one that says “money back if”), reminding myself that most wars have some unsuccessful skirmishes. I’ve been lucky so far. Can’t expect luck to hold forever.

In thinking back thorough where I’ve been, I realize that I have moved the litter boxes too quickly in hopes of having a new location established before leaving for a few days away. The goal is to have one box with preferred litter on each floor.  At the moment I have five boxes with that many combinations of litter. Lots of choice. My house isn’t that big. It feels like I’m stepping over a litter box at every turn. But it’s going to be worth it, it’s going to be worth it.  I tell myself, remembering that if you hear something often enough, you’re likely to think it’s true.

SO, retreat and regroup. One box goes back in traffic where it was. The other stays in the new location. I have to keep the cats calm (yeah, right, I’m telling myself, keep me calm, more like it). In three days, I’m going away for a long weekend, my first post-Covid vaccination visit with family. I don’t want to come back to wet carpets and a yellow swimming pool near the shoe cubby. 

Once the carpet spot is dry, I place a nice little lavender bouquet over the target spot. I figure it can sit there while I am away. But I want to introduce it before I leave so my three mischiefs are used to it. I also spray the floor by the shoe cubby with a mixture of rosemary and lavender and refresh the rosemary bouquets that were sitting there.  Now I’m stepping around cat boxesand rosemary and lavender bouquets.  But it’s going to be worth it. It’s going to be worth it.

All is quiet in the days leading up to my departure—a euphemism, of course, with three cats who don’t really like each other.  I step around the cat box in my path from the front door to the kitchen and the bouquets consoling myself with the thought that there is one good thing to being unable to have people over due to Covid restrictions.  

Meanwhile, I added a couple of new toys to keep everybody entertained while I’m away. One has an arial mouse that whirls around if its batted and holes where one can stick a paw (if one has paws) and bat at plastic balls. It looks like a sure winner.  

Butterfly takes a look and goes to her tissue box with the puff ball, plastic ball, yarn, sock, and ball with a bell inside, happily fishing them out. Kind of like kids choosing a wastebasket and hanger after you’ve just bought them a climbing toy.  Alistair gives the flying mouse a whack when he goes past.

Do I make the visit to family? You bet. It is wonderful to be able to hug my niece and nephew-in-law. I spend five days and return to discover there are no new targets. YAY! Maybe that enzyme “money back if it doesn’t work” spray really works.

But that hasn’t ended the war. More about that in another blog.

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