cats

kitteh help needed!

I’m having something of a cat behavior problem, and I would love any advice!

Here is the culprit, looking properly guilty of course.  Sarah Jane is a house cat who escaped her owners (or was abandoned) for an unknown period of time before we took her in.  She’s the sweetest cat I’ve ever had, and we love her to death, especially my husband.

When we first got her she was using the litter box, but would have occasional accidents.  We took her to the vet, he diagnosed diabetes and put her on medicine, and her sugar levels are now under control.  We started (after a few weeks) trying to introduce her slowly to my other two cats, Leon and Dionne.   They didn’t like each other, but it seemed like they were learning, so eventually we let her come and go freely.  Then she started having a lot of accidents in the kitchen, very near the litter box in there, but not near enough to be an accidental miss. (we have 3 boxes in different rooms.)  I took the cover off, and she used it for awhile, but finally started up again.  We finally had to lock her in the bedroom again and consider how we could introduce them again.  Lately she has been occasionally peeing around the baseboards near her litterbox.  I moved her box to that spot and she hasn’t had another accident yet, but I am sure it is coming.

I should mention that she is very fearful of my other cats.  She seems to be getting used to Leon, who at this point just ignores her when he sees her, but Dionne hates her.  Dionne will come up to the bedroom door and shove her paws under it, trying to get at Sarah Jane (all our doors are very short, I think there must have been carpet here and someone chopped off the doors.)  I don’t expect love, I just want them to ignore each other.

Sarah Jane has been tested (twice) for any medical issues other than the diabetes, and she is clean (no infections, crystals etc.)  She did have a major problem when we switched her to a wet diet (wellness core) and now we have to mix medimucil into her food (poor kitty!)  She developed some issues with that problem I think, as I know the box was a source of pain then, but she does use it most of the time, so I don’t know what triggers that.  It’s pretty obvious to me that it’s territorial.  She is not a timid cat, and does not back down from Dionne, who usually runs and hides after initiating a confrontation.

We are moving on Saturday, and I’m not sure the best way to introduce the cats to the new house.  I’m hoping that with twice the space they will be able to ignore each other more, or that they can each claim their own territory since it will be new.  Sarah Jane loves to sleep in our bed, but I am just not willing to put a litter box in my bedroom again, and once her box is in a room you had better not move it (trust me on this one.)  We were thinking of startng her in the guest room, since she seems to like having her own space, and letting her out at intervals (at first with the other cats locked in our room until she gets used to things.)

Of course, all this is complicated by the fact that we are moving, and we have been showing the house (traumatic for the cats.)  I haven’t tried to reintroduce them very much because I thought they were under enough stress.  We love Sarah Jane no matter what, but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to clean up disgusting things every other day?  We have tried feliway (did nothing,) taking the lids off the boxes, moving the boxes, getting more boxes, every cleaning product under the sun etc.  We are at a loss.  We are, however, very grateful not to have any carpet in this house, as hard surface floors are easy to clean.