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I Did a Bad Thing

I did a bad thing yesterday. My wife says I shouldn’t share this story because it makes me look bad but I’m going to share anyway.

I have a memory problem. It’s not what you think. I can remember past events just fine. I haven’t developed dementia just yet, although if I did I probably wouldn’t know it. I have trouble remembering the future. Specifically, I have trouble remembering what I have to do at exactly the time I need to do it.

Some would call that absent-mindedness. Others call it “ADD.” Essentially it means I have trouble keeping a thought in my head. When a new thought enters, the old thought exits. For example, the other day I went out to the shed to grab a bottle of water. When I got out there I realized I needed to put clothes in the dryer. When I finished, I went back in the house without the water. It has been a problem ever since I can remember, and I can remember my forgetfulness just fine. I function pretty well with my problem, mostly because I develop habits, but sometimes I scare myself.

Yesterday morning Rose left to visit her mother. As she drove away she noticed a mobile detailer two doors down and called to ask if I could find out what they would charge to wax her car. I said “sure” and walked out the front door. When I did, Frankie slipped out the door before I could close it. He lingered for a while until I tried to catch him and then he bolted.

cat Frakie

This picture is from a different escape.

I decided to get the price from the detailers and then catch Frankie. I spoke with them for a minute and then went home, forgetting that Frankie was outside. Not only did I forget about him, he didn’t enter my mind as being missing until three hours later when I opened the back door to check on laundry and there he was. He gave me a stern meow and then walked inside. Wow!

My wife is going to be gone next week so I’m going to have to be very careful. She told me I can’t use the stove while she is away.


Puck Threatens My Marriage

“I am so sick of this _______ cat _______ and _______ all over the house! (You can fill in the blanks). I can’t take it anymore. If this doesn’t stop I’m leaving you. I’m not kidding, Chuck. You are going to come home and find me gone!” That was Friday afternoon.

Earlier that week, my wife, Rose, ordered new furniture. She never liked that sofa in the cat’s room and wanted to get rid of it. We really just bought it because it converted to a bed for company but we rarely have company. When we do have an overnight guest, it is usually Rose’s son, Nick, who prefers to sleep on the sofa unopened. It is also uncomfortable and, most importantly, the introduction of that sofa two years ago was the start of Puck pooping outside the box. You might remember we found poop on the couch and blamed Chris (see here).

I put the sofa on Craigslist for $100 but the woman that came out to buy it saw claw marks on the arm and didn’t want it. We had it covered since the first pooping incident and I did not realize the arm had little claw holes in it.  When she left I relisted it for free and someone picked it up later that day.

We brought the love seat from the living room and put it where the sofa was. I suggested covering it but Rose said that Puck never pooped or peed on it in the living room so it should be okay. The next morning Thursday, there was poop on our uncovered loveseat. Now we have it covered again so we can’t use it.

We got rid of two of our three chairs Thursday by bringing them to the dumpster. We then cleared everything out of the living room that we could to prepare for the Friday morning delivery of the sectional sofa that Rose bought. When I moved the coffee table I found a collection of mice and balls of paper that Floki lost there.


The new sofa was delivered and set up by late morning. All the cats were interested in it, especially Chris.

About four hours after the new furniture arrived, I noticed one of the cushions was wet. PUCK PEED ON IT. Please refer to the first paragraph for what happened next.

I know this makes my wife seem insensitive but believe me, she is not. She is a very compassionate person and she loves our cats but she is also a very clean and organized person and having to deal with poop and pee on the floor almost every day goes against her nature.

In addition, her nose is like a bloodhound. It is not an exaggeration to say her sense of smell is ten times greater than mine. I can walk into the house after a long day at work and not notice anything but to Rose, it is like walking into a sewer.

Then there is the issue of Puck peeing on our brand new sofa before she even got a chance to relax and enjoy it for the first time. I totally understand her reaction but there was nothing I could say in Puck’s defense. I really thought I could solve his problem before now but it is way more difficult than I ever dreamed it would be.

She did get over her anger and I covered the sofa in pee pads until we could figure something out. Of course, that is not a long-term solution.

We left the next morning to spend a couple of days in St. Augustine for our eighteenth anniversary. We had a good time and my marriage was back on track. Our cat sitter, Lynn, reported a few pooping “accidents” while we were away but she did not have to clean up pee, which was encouraging. The sofa also survived our absence without being soiled.

I do believe I have discovered the cause, or at least a contributing factor, to Puck’s problem. I think Frankie is stressing him out. Frankie has been “marking” the litter boxes. That has caused Chris to mark the litter boxes too. Sometimes they will pee up the side of the box and over the top. Last week Rose smelled urine in the house and was convinced Puck peed somewhere but I found the underside of one of the litter boxes was saturated with urine. This has been going on for longer than Puck’s problem but I think it happens more often now.

If that is not enough, Frankie and Puck fight quite often. Sometimes I come home and see large chunks of black fur on the floor. Puck is not afraid of Frankie and has no problem fighting back but I am sure it doesn’t help his stress level. Puck also fights with Floki but it is not the same kind of fighting. The reality is that every cat fights with every other cat except for Chris and Puck. They never fight.

During the last week or so we locked Puck in our bedroom three times. I put pee pads on our bed and I put food, water and a litter box in the room.


I also made sure I wiped down the sides of the box so he wouldn’t smell Frankie. The first day I found pee in the box but the next two times he went all day without peeing or pooping and then he peed and pooped on the floor after I let him out.

I’m going to keep trying because I want him to get used to using the box again but if this doesn’t work I don’t know how long I can stay married.

The encouraging thing is that since the incident, Puck has pooped but not peed on the floor and he has not done anything bad on the sofa. What is amazing is that it has now been more than five and a half days since Puck peed outside the box. I don’t know. Maybe Rose scared him straight. I hope so.

There’s a New Feral in Town

The saga of the “Ferals at Work” continues with episode six for Throwback Thursday.

Bad Cat Chris

I have been feeding the feral cats near my work for a few months now and I thought I had the social structure figured out until this week. I’m starting to think that the inner workings of a feral community is as complicated as a human community.

Here is what I thought I knew: Cat number one, who I will just refer to as my little buddy, has been the reason I continue to put food out. He (or she) is the only one that comes around consistently. Almost every morning I can expect to see my little buddy waiting for me to bring out food. I have recently learned he hangs out near the tire store about 100 yards to the south. Sometimes when I pull into the parking lot, I will see the outline of a cat’s face and ears in the distance. I then go inside, grab some…

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Cat Sitting Carter

We had the pleasure of cat sitting Carter the kitten again this weekend but Carter is no longer a kitten. Well, he might still be a kitten but he sure has grown.

cat Carter

Not only is Carter a friendly and affectionate cat, he is also quite funny. For one thing, he likes to drink out of human cups.

cat Carter

He also likes to drink from the kitchen faucet.

cat Carter

Chris used to drink from the faucet but he doesn’t do that anymore. Our cat Princess used to love drinking from the faucet.

cat Princess

cat Princess

Who else has a cat that likes to drink out of the sink?

Feral Waits for Me

Here is another “Ferals at Work” story, I believe it’s part five, for Throwback Thursday.

Bad Cat Chris

When I first started feeding the feral cats at work, I never saw them, I just saw they ate the food. There are three cats that I know of but one in particular shows up regularly after I get to work.

I always look for him when I get there but usually I don’t see him until I go inside, put my lunch in the fridge and then come back out with a handful of food. That is when I see his head poking out from a mound of grass or somewhere else not too far away but far enough to be safe.

Feral cat

Lately he has been getting bolder and I have seen him waiting behind our dumpster, which is a lot closer than usual. So far I have seen him that close twice and just a little farther a couple of more times. I can’t help but wonder if he was there…

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No Progress Preventing Puck’s Persistent Peeing and Pooping Problem

It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about Puck’s peeing and pooping problem, probably because I have nothing new to report. Actually, I can talk about more ways that I have failed to stop it.

I believe my last report mentioned that we had started Puck on Prozac. I can tell you that wasn’t easy. Even though it was only half of a very tiny pill, when I ground it up and put it in his food he knew it was there and he wouldn’t eat his food.

I tried putting it in tuna and that worked better than cat food but I can’t feed the cats tuna every day. Even in tuna, he would only eat about half of the small amount that I put in his bowl. I went to the pet store and I bought a variety of different types of wet cat food. I tried to pick the ones that seemed juicy and flavorful. Some worked better than others but none of them worked very well at all.

compounded ProzacSome commenters mentioned that I could get his prescription compounded into a flavor like tuna. I looked into that and found a compounder near me called Bay Life Pharmacy. They had two options, chicken or tuna. I picked the chicken because I thought it would blend better with the chicken cat food that I’ve been giving them. It cost about $45 and they shipped it directly to my house. It arrived fairly quickly after that, perhaps one or two days later.

It came with a syringe and I put the required amount in the syringe and squirted it on puck’s cat food and mixed it in. I was convinced that this was going to work but when I put his food in front of him he wouldn’t eat it. He just went over to somebody else’s bowl and took their food.

I struggled for weeks trying to get him to eat his food with the medicine in it. I think I was averaging a half a dose a day. Shortly before Hurricane Irma hit, I reordered his medication, but this time I chose the tuna flavor. I still had more in the first bottle but I had mostly given up trying to give it to him. I could have just forced it in his mouth but causing anxiety by giving an antianxiety medicine seemed counterproductive.

While we were away during our evacuation, Puck used the litterbox. When we returned home, Puck forgot how to use the litterbox again. Because of that, we decided to try to be more diligent about getting the medicine in him. That meant we had to force it in his mouth since the tuna worked no better than the chicken flavor. I feel bad doing that. I gave Frankie a piece of cheese yesterday and tried to give Puck a piece but he ran away and hid under a chair. Not the desired result I was looking for.

Another approach I have considered is the litterbox. I already mentioned that I tried adding a box and I tried putting a box in various different places around the house. I also tried a couple of different litters as well as just cleaning the boxes very well. I also tried putting out a box with a pee pad instead of litter, which was suggested by one commenter. Nothing worked.

litter box with pee pad

One day I saw Puck investigate one of the boxes. He put his paw in it and then ran away like he just stepped on hot lava. Shortly after that, I saw him about to poop so I picked him up and put him in the box. He quickly finished pooping and then jumped out of the box and ran like a cat out of hell. That got me thinking that maybe he didn’t like the texture of the litter.

Another thing I noticed was that he tended to pee behind Rose’s chair, or under her desk or under my desk. He also peed under the kitchen table. Sometimes he would pee or poop out in the open but often the place was somewhat hidden. That prompted me to do something I recommended against in my post, Litter Boxes Are For Cats. I bought a box with a cover. I still don’t recommend it but sometimes when everything logical fails you have to try the illogical.

I needed to find a large box because a small box with a cover was too confining. I found a very large corner litter box at one of the big pet stores but didn’t want to spend $38 for another box that could fail. Instead, I looked on Amazon and found it for $18 with free shipping. It’s called Nature’s Miracle Advanced Hooded Corner Litter Box and since I purchased it the price went up to over $54. I guess I bought it at the right time.

I also bought a litter called Dr. Elsey’s Kitten Attract Cat Litter. This litter was supposed to be soft enough for a kitten’s paws so I thought if Puck was having sensitivity issues, this litter might help. I paid a little more through Amazon but I was having trouble finding it locally.

The litter box was already popular before I even opened the carton.

It was even more popular after I took it out of the carton.

Of course, the carton had its own appeal.

I set the box up behind Rose’s chair.

For some reason, as soon as new litter is put in a box, the nearest cat suddenly has to pee. I didn’t even have time to put the cover on.

Chris liked the cover for another reason.

All in all, the box worked surprisingly well for a box with a cover on it. Three out of our four cats used it almost exclusively. The fourth cat still preferred the floor. Eventually, after determining that Puck was not going to use the new box with the special litter, I moved it out to the cats’ room where it continues, to this day, to get used more than the other boxes. I don’t know what the appeal is. I have since changed the litter back to our normal litter. Maybe they like the cover. I don’t think so though because the front opening is so large that the box offers no concealment.

Perhaps they just like the large triangular shape. That makes me wonder what Puck has against it.

I also tried confining Puck to our bedroom. The other day I cleaned a box and put new litter in it, My concern is that Chris and Frankie “mark” the boxes and I didn’t want that to keep Puck out of the box. I then closed him in the room while Rose and I were at work. When I checked on him ten hours later, the room was clean but the box was untouched. Not long after I let him out, he pooped on the floor on the patio.

There are times when he goes a day or two without peeing or pooping anywhere. I never see him use the box during that time so I don’t know if he is holding it for that long. I think he doesn’t drink enough water, which is why he has bladder issues, so I suppose it is possible to hold it for a fair amount of time but two days seems too long.

I have compiled a list of everything that has worked and not worked to help solve Puck’s litter box issues.

First, here is everything that failed to help:

  • Different types of litter
  • Additional litter boxes
  • Different location of litter boxes
  • Litter attractent
  • Covered box
  • Feliway diffuser
  • Calming collar
  • Prozac
  • Spray deterrent
  • Confinment

Here is what worked:

  • Hurricane evacuation

Unfortunately, the solution to Puck’s problem is not exactly sustainable. 

Photo Friday: Stray Cats After Hurricane Irma

My wife’s sister and her husband have several of their own cats and take care of strays as well, both near their home and near her work. When we stayed there during Hurricane Irma, there were three strays that stayed in the garage. The morning after the hurricane I captured this picture of one of them hanging out by the front door.

stray cat

The cat below found comfort on the back of a motorcycle in the garage.

stray cat on motercycle

These cats have names but I don’t remember what they are. I know that the life of a stray is not easy but for these lucky few, it’s not bad.