Chris is almost ten years old and has slowed a bit since his prime but occasionally the same young Chris comes out to play.
Moving to a new house did not interrupt Chris’s naughty behavior. In fact, it may have rekindled it. One of the things he used to do is pick at the bottom of closed doors. He destroyed the bathroom door in our last house and we had to replace it (read about that here). He stopped doing that at the old house but now he has started up again. I was awakened this morning by the sound of scratching at the door. I lied in bed thinking he would stop but then heard the sound of cracking wood. That wasn’t good. When I opened the door to see what happened this is what I saw.
Later that morning I heard the same familiar sound of wood splintering. This time Chris was trying to get into the hall closet.
Fortunately, we had already decided that all the interior doors needed to be replaced and I ordered six new doors just two or three days ago. There apparently was a flood in this house at one time and the bottoms of all the doors were not, shall we say, in prime condition. Some of the subfloors needed to be replaced too which we had done when we had the flooring installed.
Cabinets are another problem area with Chris. It seems he has to get into every cabinet he can find. Sometimes it takes him time to figure out which side opens.
He is most annoying standing by the pantry and crying. We kept his dry food in a very similar pantry cabinet at the other house so I think he assumes it is in this cabinet, but it is not. It is on top of the fridge. I tried to show him several times his food is not there but he is not convinced. This morning he pulled out a can of wet food. I don’t think he can smell it through the can so I assume he knows it by sight, which surprises me, especially since that was a can of Earthborn that I haven’t fed them for a week. What I have been feeding them is in the cabinet above and the cans are a different color and shape.
Hopefully, he will settle down soon. I would hate for him to destroy the new doors.
My post last week talked about how Chris can still be bad despite his age and weight and about him getting up in the cabinet to eat the flavor packet that came with the NomNomNow food. Now that the flavor packet is gone he is still getting up in the cabinet.
I think he was looking for it but when he realized it was no longer there he spied the container of catnip.
Naturally, as a punishment, I gave him some catnip.
This morning I went out for a bit and returned to find the catnip on the counter. I guess he struggled to get it open and then gave up without even trying to hide what he had done.
Chris has slowed down these last couple of years, partly because of age, I suspect, but mostly because he has gained weight. Still, he sometimes surprises me by being his old, bad self.
Last Friday I was cooking dinner when Chris jumped on the kitchen counter. He then opened the cabinet and started rummaging through it. Since we have a small kitchen, I have some cat related items and other things sharing space with our dishes. There are feline supplements, premix for the raw cat food that I make, and a container of catnip, among other things.
I thought he was after the catnip but that was on the second shelf and he was clearly interested in the first shelf. I looked at what he was looking at and found a ziplock bag with flavoring that came with my order from NomNomNow. Someone already chewed through the original packaging which is why it was in a ziplock bag. The flavoring helps to get finicky cats used to the new kind of food but our cats never needed an incentive to eat it so I just put it in the cabinet. I put the bag on the top shelf above the bag of Tostito’s that was up there. I figured it was way out of his reach.
The next morning we went out for a little while and when we returned I found the bag of flavoring mostly empty on the counter and the Tostito’s with a hole in the side of it.
Apparently, I underestimated his current ability to be bad.
It has been over a week now and Puck is still pooping and peeing outside the litter box. If you haven’t read the first part of this story, you can see it here.
It a nutshell, Puck had crystals in his urine which probably made it painful to pee. It is possible he associated that pain with the litter box but if that is the case, why did he not associate the pain with peeing on the floor? The pooping on the floor has been an ongoing issue but the peeing is new and a much bigger problem because our laminate floors are already swelling at the seams where he has peed.
We started feeding Puck a special canned food the vet sold us from Science Diet. I have read many articles about how prescription diets are not good for your pet and I heard bad things about Science Diet but the vet said this would help acidify the urine and break up the crystals. If it did that one thing, it would be worth trying.
We also bought a package of pee pads that I spread around the house, especially in areas where he has already peed.
This past week has been filled with ups and downs. One day he would go 24 hours without peeing or pooping anywhere outside the box. The next day he would do both. I tried moving one of the litter boxes across the room. I thought maybe he might have suddenly developed a problem with the boxes’ location.
That didn’t work, so I moved it back.
One day he pooped next to the couch and peed on a pillow that was on the couch. He didn’t pee on the couch because I covered it with toys. I didn’t consider the pillow.
My wife said if he didn’t stop peeing on the floor he would find himself in a new home. She then suggested we might have to put him on Prozac because that is what her sister said might help. I said no to both. I understand Prozac might help but any long term medication is bad for the health of any cat . . . and person. I thought maybe a calming collar might be an alternative.
I read some articles online that offered some suggestions. I already tried most of them but a couple I did not know about.
I did not know that cats prefer one to two inches of litter. I usually fill it higher because it is easier to scoop if it is not stuck to the bottom. Apparently, some cats don’t like it when it is too deep. I didn’t think this was the problem since Puck never had a problem with it before but I thought every little bit counts.
A few posts said the litter should be far from their food and water but one post said it should be close. I decided far was the better choice. Our boxes are eight to nine feet from the food, Not close but no far either.
I also read the boxes should be spread out around the house and that they should be relatively private with an escape route in at least two directions. We put our boxes in one place because that is what ultimately stopped Chris from pooping on the floor. If one box was not to his liking, he could use the one next to it instead of the floor.
Rose and I went to Petco on Saturday and purchased another litter box and a calming collar, along with various other things. I put the box near Rose’s chair but on the other side of the end table. I then pulled the table out a little to offer an escape route in that direction.
I then put the calming collar on Puck, which wasn’t easy. In addition, there was a big mess of white, flaky stuff that fell off the collar while I struggled with it.
I was very hopeful when I went to bed and was happy to see that everything was normal when I woke up. It didn’t stay that way. About and hour later I smelled pee and found pee next to the chair, half on the pee pad and half off, where it could get under the pad and have no chance of drying It was the third time that has happened since I bought the pads. I also found poop behind Rose’s chair. It looked like Puck pulled the pad away from the wall far enough so he could poop directly on the floor. Why does he have to make things so difficult for me?
I moved the litter box behind the chair to see if that makes a difference.
We are planning on buying some cranberry supplements today but other than that, I don’t know what else to do.
When I started this blog I couldn’t decide what to name it. I had several names in mind, none of which I can remember now. I only remember that all of them were taken. I eventually settled on Crazy Cat Chris and registered it at WordPress.com.
Almost immediately I realized that I made a mistake. Chris was not a crazy cat. I think I just liked it because all the words started with C. I then choose Bad Cat Chris but the truth is, Chris is no more bad then he is crazy. The “bad” in Bad Cat Chris only refers to his behavior, not to Chris himself, and it really only refers to the human interpretation of the word “bad.” What is bad to a human is not necessarily bad to a cat. Like Shakespeare said, “there is no good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
The first several months after we adopted Chris, he kept us from getting a good night’s sleep by attacking our feet, biting our noses, treading on our bare skin and lying across our necks. BAD CAT! Indeed, the people who adopted him before us thought he was a bad cat and returned him to the shelter after one day.
He no longer attacks feet and he has learned not to bite Rose’s nose but everything else is the same. Jumping on counters is another “bad” behavior that we were never able to correct. Nor were we able to stop him from opening cabinets and closets and getting inside. At eight years old he still tries to get out the door every chance he gets and he still scratches the furniture, but only when he knows someone is looking.
Despite his behavior, I wouldn’t want him to change because that is who Chris is. He has always been very entertaining and he makes us laugh. His bad behavior is not really bad, it’s more like naughty, and even that’s not right. He is just a non-human who is very good at not following human rules.
There is something special about Chris, more special than any other dog or cat I have ever had, and I have had some good ones. Chris is pure love. He loves me, he loves Rose he loves everyone who steps foot in our house and he is not afraid to show it. He bleeds affection. Everybody who knows Chris loves him back.
He is even affectionate to all the other cats, although he will fight with them too.
Rose worries that when we lose Chris I will be devastated and she may be right. I think about that more now that Chris will be turning eight. The last three of our cats that passed away, Abbey, Alex and Tigger, all died at eight years old. But, of course, now is not the time to be thinking such thoughts. We have a birthday coming up.
After several years of dealing with Chris pooping on the floor, we now have a new bad cat giving us the same trouble. Chris pooped his way through three homes before finally stopping when we moved into our last home.
Puck started pooping in our current home well over a year ago when we bought a new sofa for our enclosed patio. He surprised us by pooping on the sofa and we naturally blamed Chris. The pooping on the sofa happened a few more times and we eventually figured out that Puck was the culprit.
We concluded that the sofa was too close to the litter boxes for Puck’s comfort level so we moved them across the room. That ended the pooping, for awhile, but we still kept a cover on the sofa as well as pillows and cat toys to discourage pooping.
Things went pretty well after that with just an occasional “accident.” I don’t remember exactly when the pooping problem started again but it may have started when we brought Floki home last July.
A new kitten in the house may have caused some trauma for our timid Puck but Floki was traumatized a little too. He didn’t enter the house and take over like Chris did. Puck and Floki also get along well now, although they do a bit of roughhousing now and then.
I tried changing the litter. I tried scooping the boxes as often as needed. I tried adding another box. I even tried adding Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract, which partially worked for Chris. Nothing worked for Puck.
I’m sorry for the graphic picture below but you can see what I am often presented with when I go onto the patio. The brown stuff in the box is the Cat Attract which guarantees 100% litter box use. Perhaps I should send them this picture.
By the way, we solved Chris’s problem by moving the litter boxes from various rooms to the same place. This allowed him to pee in one box and then poop in another. I don’t know what to do about Puck
As I wrote the last sentence, I noticed a strong smell of poop. I turned around ans saw Puck just now pooped on the floor while I was busy writing.
I started this post last night and saved it to finish this morning. Before I did I read Sammy’s post from One Spoiled Cat. In it, I got the feeling that Sammy would not be with us much longer. I was feeling bad about that when I found out that Easy from Easy Blog suddenly died. It is a sad news day and I hope that Easy’s parents as well as Sammy’s parents will be okay.
Chris has seemed to mellow out lately and has not been getting into as much trouble as usual. At first I attributed that to his age and his weight but I noticed he seemed to be more cautious when jumping down from the bed or whatever else he is on. He also sometimes sits while momentarily holding his paw off the ground. It got me thinking he might be developing arthritis, but at seven and a half years old, he seems to young for that.
It should go without saying that I am very concerned about Chris’s health, as well as the health of all of our cats. Between 2010 and 2013 we lost four cats, Flash, Abbey, Alex and Tigger. Flash was less than five years old and the other three were around eight or younger. It is terrible knowing that you have given your beloved pet only half the life that they were capable of.
Since Flash died in 2010, I have learned more and more about cat health. I learned that dry food is bad for them and started feeding them more wet food as well as raw cat food. I now make my own raw cat food that I mix with high quality canned food but I still give them some dry food because Chris will only eat a very small amount of wet food before giving it up to one of the other cats. I make sure to only put small amounts of dry food in the bowls so that they will long be empty when wet food time rolls around, but Chris never seems hungry enough to eat the wet food until five minutes after it’s gone, then he is “starving” in front of his empty dry food bowl, giving me that desperate look. I don’t want to starve him so I give in and put a little dry food in his bowl..
Since Chris is now approaching the eight year mark, it makes me nervous to see his lack of badness. While I am still worried about him, I am relieved to see him getting into trouble recently.
A few weeks ago I pulled a box out of the closet to look for something when I heard a crash. I turned around and saw Chris on the top shelf in the closet. I then looked down and saw he knocked a bunch of greeting cards and other stuff to the ground.
The commotion got the attention of Frankie who soon joined him in the closet.
Not long after this, Chris was getting into cabinets again.
He started low but the next time I saw him in there he moved up a couple of shelves.
Then he was in the cabinet above the refrigerator.
I still worry about Chris but at least I feel like I can worry just a little less.
I have been around cats long enough to be able to predict their behavior somewhat and not be surprised by behavior I didn’t predict. Of course, predicting behavior and understanding it are two different things and I sometimes think I will never understand why cats behave the way they do.
Chris, for example, will often straddle Puck and hold him down by the neck and then he will wash him like nothing ever happened. It seems like he’s showing his dominance but Puck never challenges Chris’s position so I don’t know why he feels compelled to do what he does. If anything, Frankie is the one that challenges Chris leadership but Chris doesn’t hold him down by the neck although he does whack him from time to time.
Sleeping used to be difficult with an annoying cat around. Chris would keep us up at night, especially me, by biting my nose and digging his claws into my neck and back. We tried closing him out of the bedroom but he would go through great lengths to get us to open the door, including digging up the carpet. Since we no longer have carpet at the door, sleeping has been easier. We still put up with him crying at 4:00 a.m. but that is nothing compared to what we used to go through.
Unfortunately, our new home has doors that are not made using the highest of quality standards, so since Chris couldn’t dig down and destroy the carpet, he started digging up to destroy the door.
We decided to replace the door, along with the bathroom door, and put in something a little better. I’m not exactly a handyman and every project seems to come with complications, this was no different. Nothing on the new doors fit or lined up with the old doors but I eventually got them in and working.
Early the next morning I hear Chris whining and scratching at the door. I think to myself “he is going to ruin our new door” and I consider opening the door to get him to stop, but then I realized that I can’t let him win. I decided this would be a good test, so I went back to sleep. The next morning the door was still in one piece so chalk one up for team human.