Teaching Him To Take A Deep Breath And Count To Ten

So my cat Charlie is stressed. No really, that's what the vet told us yesterday when we took him to see her---I'll tell you why we took him to see her in a minute---after looking him up and down for a few minutes and stroking his fur. "He's just stressed," she said. "And, you know, he's also kind of overweight." Stressed and overweight, eh? Welcome to America, Charlie. Welcome to life.

(The embarrassing thing, though, is that my cat is THIRTY PERCENT overweight. Thirty percent! That's like....well, it's a lot of extra cat. I mean, thirty percent is not a figure to sneer at. I see thirty percent off a pair of shoes? I'm buying those shoes. And now, apparently, I have thirty percent more cat than I should have. Seems like someone didn't keep their New Year's Resolution to go to bi-weekly yogalates more often.)

"So yeah, he's probably just stressed," she said, and I said "Really? Because I haven't seen him running to the corner store for a pint of Ben & Jerry's and then coming home to devour it in front of three consecutive episodes of Tivo-ed Gossip Girl, while crying at all the cell phone commercials and then shouting at Sean because he forgot to load the dishwasher, because oh my god, does he KNOW how much PRESSURE there is on him, I MEAN REALLY?"

"No," she said. "But he has been peeing on you."

And yes, she had a point. A few weeks ago, we were having a little situation with the cat pee, a situation that meant we had to throw out the featherbed and wash the sheets so many times even Lady Macbeth herself would have given up and said "screw it, that'll do." We thought the pee was coming from Sadie, our other cat, who's been known to pee on the bed when we go out of town to express her displeasure that we have a life that doesn't involve scratching her ears. Turns out, however, that cat pee wasn't coming from Sadie, after all. Know how we know? We caught Charlie doing the peeing. On the bed. While we were in it.

He was really sneaky about it too---twice, he came and cuddled up next to us, all thirty extra percent of him wiggling to get comfy and snuggly, and then twice he suddenly let go with a tepid stream of pee. Friends of the Internet, I hope you never in your life have to feel the sheets get warm around your thigh and think "is that....did someone....OH MY GOD, THE CAT IS PEEING ON ME," because, really, the realization that not only your duvet BUT ALSO YOUR LEG is covered in feline urine is not a realization I'd wish on anyone, not even angry commenters with no sense of humor, and you know how I feel about them.

So the next day, we made an appointment with the vet. Poor thing, we thought, he must have some sort of bladder issue. He's the good cat; he wouldn't just be peeing, brazen as all hell, on the two people who decide when the Meow Mix gets meted out. Maybe he's got some kidney trouble, we thought, or a horrible UTI. Well, no. They did all the tests. A hundred and twenty five dollars later and the cat is just fat and stressed.

"Are you sure?" we said. "He's not in pain?"

"We're sure," they said. "He's fine."

So this evening, we made a major trip to Petco. We bought all the things the vet said we should buy to de-stress our poor wound-up little stockbroker of a cat: a new kitty litter tray (makes sense: I know a bathroom remodel would make me happier), some special powder to keep it smelling fresh and clean, some Nature's Miracle to rid the (obsessively washed) sheets of any residual pee aroma, and this bizarre toy called the Feline Flyer, which the vet swore Charlie would love.

"You have to set aside time to play with him," she said.

"We do play with him!" I objected. "We're always playing with him. We cuddle him all the time! He's not neglected! We both love him very much! I mean, it's hard, we're at work during the day, but we hang out with him when we get home, and we all spend a lot of time together, I promise, he's not like one of those cats whose owners never see him and don't know what he's up to."

(I had a sudden awful flash forward to parent-teacher conferences. I debated trying to convince her that we all ate together as a family. And those friends of Charlie's, the ones in a band? Really nice boys, both of them. No, of course not, I never let him go over there when their moms aren't home, I swear.)

The vet nodded. "Well, you have to really play play with him then. You have to get him moving."

So we bought the Feline Flyer. And Charlie hates the Feline Flyer. It's basically a green feather on a rope, and when you swing it in front of any other cat in the world, they go batshit crazy and start running around and swatting at it. Charlie, however, is seriously not taking the bait. He gazes up at me languidly when I dangle it in front of his face, eyes at a cool half-mast. And then he picks himself up and slopes off to another spot in the house, one where I won't get all up in his business with this stupid new toy. I follow him, fluttering the Feline Flyer in front of him. He stares at me, picks up again, moves somewhere new. I follow. He moves. I follow. He moves. I cannot stop waving the green feather in front of him, trying to get him to have some reaction to it. "The vet said we have to have organized playtime with you!" I beg him. "Come on, chase this feather, let's do some exercise!"

He shies away from the feather. He hunkers down underneath the coffee table, peers out accusingly. If he could, he would open his mouth and talk to me. "Stop waving that thing in front of my face already," he'd say. "For god's sake, it's really stressing me out."

1
Moose
Jan 25, 2008

I'm sending Meeka over on the next bus. A looming dog with an ominously wagging tail? THAT will get Charlie moving. Promise. Why on earth didn't I think of this before?

2
Liz
Jan 25, 2008

Perhaps he'd like a shoe string to chase? Or maybe a catnip toy of some sort? Those are two toys my cats like.

3
Jessica
Jan 25, 2008

I have two, um, "special needs" (mildly brain-damaged) cats who wig out - in the bad way - at the sight of most toys. The feather on a stick thing was OH SO not popular at my house, until I gave up and left it on the floor, whereupon they decided it was a great tug-of-war toy.

Anyway. Just thought I'd share that the hands-down best cat toy I've found so far is the plastic ring thingy with the ball trapped in it. It... whirls around. You know? Um.

http://tinyurl.com/28tyoj

No idea if it would tempt your cat, but for mine, I think the appeal is that the damn ball keeps moving in there after it's batter, and is never quite gettable. Also there's a mouse stuck atop a bouncy pike. Also it makes no loud noises (bonus for me).

Anyway, thought it was worth mentioning. I have a chunkster too and this toy is about the only thing that reliably makes her move her ass.

4
andrea
Jan 25, 2008

Oh, poor Charlie. So stressed by...hmmm, not sure. I have, as Jessica said, a mildly brain damaged cat and he has bizarre quirks like insisting he joins us in the bathroom when we take a shower and meowing until we fill the bathroom sink with water so he can drink out of it. He's 17 years old so we allow these eccentricities.

Maybe Charlie needs some kitty weed aka catnip to get him frisky and moving around. My cats love it and act like maniacs when they have it.

5
i.e.
Jan 25, 2008

My cat wants nothing to do with any toys...will.not.play. Will however tell me when to feed him, when to pet him, when for me to stay still b/c he loves the calming up and down motion of laying across my entire torso, and will give the dogs a good bitch slapping when necessary. Put a toy near him and well, he gives you that cat look, the one where I know he is in charge and will do nothing to entertain me.
However, I guess Charlie is excercising...up, move, flop, up, move, flop, up, move, flop...he's even lifting weights - 30% more than the average healthy cat - what an overachiever your Charlie is.

6
Raven
Jan 25, 2008

I don't have cat beasts but I do have a "special needs" (I love that term for the animals Jessica) dog that only plays with her toys-seriously plays she throws them up in the air and everything-when she knows she's not being watched. We have to be very sneaky to try and catch a glimpse because the minute she catches on she'll stop dead in the center of the room and just hold the toy in her mouth.

Maybe get the boy to play with the catten instead?

7
Sarah
Jan 25, 2008

My friend has a rather large cat (an ottoman with legs, we call it), and he loves chasing after the red dot from a laser pointer pen: http://www.amazon.com/AMERICAN-SCIENCE-SURPLUS-Laser-Pointer/dp/B0001CUJ...

And it's entertaining for humans, too. Especially after you turn off the pen and the cat goes berserk: "Whereditgo? Where's the red dot?" Turn it on again and the fun starts right from the beginning!

8
Candi
Jan 25, 2008

My first comment here... I'm more of the lurker type. But I had to ask...

You sure your not pregnant? As soon as I got pregnant my cat started peeing all over the place. We thought it was just coincidence but by the time my son was born he was biting our ankles and the peeing got worse. Thankfully we found him a new home with a divorced lady who didn't have kids.

LOL...I just couldn't help asking!

9
Beth
Jan 25, 2008

I would like to echo Sarah's suggestion - I also have an older, overweight cat who refuses to move for most toys. He does, however, LOVE the laser pointer and will chase it around for hours. I bought one at Target over Christmas break for $5, so they are pretty cheap.

10
FunnyGal KAT
Jan 25, 2008

Our dog just got diagnosed with stress... from the introduction of a new puppy in the house. Two hundred dollars after arriving at the vet's office, we were told she was "highly constipated from stress." The vet was trying not to laugh as she told us. (We went from "Oh my god, what if it's Lyme disease?!? What if she dies?!?" to "I just paid $200 to be told to pick up a can of pumpkin and talk her for more walks to work things out?!?")

And it's so funny about the toys... we can unload a fortune on a toy... and they'll grab my sock out of the laundry basket to play with instead!

11
spoiledonlychild
Jan 25, 2008

Cat pee, it is the worst thing on earth. It is so incredibly stressful when a cat starts doing that, because you suddenly realize how much power they have. What will you do if he just decides to keep peeing on everything? It's a horrible question, isn't it? This is the reason why I will not have another cat. I'm really not sure who decided that cats were good domestic pets (and I say this as a former cat person). I would guess that about a third of cats pee in the house. Almost everyone I know who has cats has dealt with something like this at one time or another. It's a huge risk of having cats that no one ever thinks about up front. Never again for me. Hope this is just a temporary nervous breakdown for Charlie.

12
House of Jules
Jan 25, 2008

"YOUR LEG is covered in feline urine is not a realization I’d wish on anyone, not even angry commenters with no sense of humor, and you know how I feel about them."

That sentence made me just about choke on air from laughing so hard. I don't have a cat so I don't have any suggestions for you, but I hope Charile feels better soon!
Jules
House of Jules

13
Maxine Dangerous
Jan 25, 2008

I feel for you; cat pee is the WORST. It's too bad the feather trick isn't working and, sadly, I have no alternative suggestions (although I'm going to get one of those laser pointers other commenters mentioned) but I do like that your getting up and following the cat around with the feather thing is getting him moving. It's progress, albeit slightly skewed progress. Good luck! :)

14
slick
Jan 25, 2008

What's with cats?! Yours is stressed, mine has anxiety and is an obsessive compulsive groomer. Yes, really. She has the kitty Paxil prescription and the bald spots on her legs to prove it. Still wouldn't give her up for anything, though. . .

15
e.
Jan 25, 2008

Poor Charlie! Did the vet say anything about Feliway? (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/105-6828207-9653261?url=search-alia...) I've never used it, but I have friends who swear by it.

I also second the vote for a laser pointer. That gets my chunky kitty moving.

16
Carrisa
Jan 25, 2008

Sounds like maybe Charlie needs some Prozac or something. He sounds depressed more than stressed.

17
Scarlett
Jan 25, 2008

Well poo, I just lost the entire post because your page refreshes.

Uh I seconded the recommendation for a trackball type of toy for your cat.

My cat doesn't really care for toys at all but this thing causes him to morph into Neo from the Matrix, complete with flips, twists, and dodging bullets- er... pingpong balls trapped in blue plastic circles with corrogated cardboard in the middle.

And he is down with it at 4am when it's pitch dark.

Best $10 I spent, ever... and I have seen them at PetCo, PetSmart, WalMart along with fancier versions with mice or motorized but seriously, the simple one drives my cat to play for 30 minutes- 1 hour at a time several times a day.

He's a kitten again with this toy.

Then again, my sister's cat doesn't even look at the toy. But he loves the feather toys... there must be two types of cats.

18
elle
Jan 25, 2008

I'm writing from the rural UK and know squat about urban living, so these are probably completely useless suggestions. But I'll have a go anyway. I have a blind cat, who's very bright and happy, but does tend to podge up a bit over the winter when he can't go out so much. We have felt mice with bells on their tails which he chases all over the slippery kitchen floor. (70p! I can post you some.) And you know, string and scrunched up newspaper. But is there any way at all of letting your cats play outside -- take them visiting to a friend's with a garden, or is that completely impossible where you live? Nothing will make them happier. There are so many smells and breezes and textures (never mind sights) and things to chase out there that they need to really thrive, however much you love and cherish them indoors. Cats can be trained to use leads too, if there's a nearby park that might be more suitable. Even leaving a window ajar (Do yours lock like that? Mine do) will give their whiskers, ears, and noses a bit of access to the outside world. And/or grow grass in the old litter tray -- they really need a good munch on the green stuff every now and again (if nothing else it helps to bring the hairballs up...) Good luck!

19
georgia
Jan 25, 2008

I can gives assvice???
When my darling Elvis (cross-eyed, neurotic Siamese) was having freak-outs in the middle of the night EVERY NIGHT, I bought some Rescue Remedy, which a friend had told me was awesome for stressed out kitties. I gave him about half a dropperful before bed every night, and each night I watched in delight as he passed the fuck out almost immediately. After about a week of this dosage, I stopped giving it to him...and you know what???, he hasn't needed it since!
You can get it in the vitamins dept. at Whole Foods (it's for people, but works for animals).
Good luck with whatever you try!!!

20
georgia
Jan 25, 2008

One More Annoying Piece of Assvice!!!!
My 20 year-old kitty (RIP), the cat who could not give two.shits. about playing, went positively bat shit over a lazer pointer. It was like watchin your great grandmother throw her walker in the corner and start break-dancing. Seriously.

21
Laura
Jan 25, 2008

I have had the exact thought process. Six years ago when I started dating my gf my cat, Riley, obviously did not approve of the sleepovers. He was not happy that now he somehow had to make room in the CALIFORNIA KING BED for her, you know because he (7lbs) and I (a slim woman) took up all the space an all. The first weekend that she spent all weekend with me he got up on the bed, rubbed up against me, purred, walked down to my legs, turned around so he was FACING ME and proceeded to pee on my legs! That is when I too thought, “is that….did someone….OH MY GOD, THE CAT IS PEEING ON ME!” I wish I could tell you a magic cure, but I hate to say it happened 3 or 4 more times after that and any other time he got mad about something for a few years.

As for the toys, my cat hated the feather too for a long time, but loved (and still does) this line it crinkles and has catnip: http://www.fatcatinc.com/html_site/1_crackler_b.shtml He plays with them actively on his own

22
Lissa
Jan 25, 2008

My cat is also in the overweight catagory. I feel like a horrible mother. I bought a toy for Tux that had a feather on it and he tried to eat it. What did work for him was this toy that has a long felt string on it and I just flick it back and forth (like fly fishing) and he LOVES that.

23
Ker
Jan 25, 2008

More annoying advice for you, although one of my two cats is pretty chubs herself so take it with a grain of salt. You'll never know which toys your cats will like ahead of time. Everyone loves the laser pointer, right? Wrong. Mine were totally terrified of it. Just bizarre. Luckily most cat toys are pretty cheap so you can try out a few until you find the one that drives your kitty wild with excitement. For one of mine, it is the catnip-filled felt lobster claw my mom gave us for christmas. For the other, it is a long string with a bell and weird ball attached at the end...

Anyway, I bet that your cat was set off my all the travelling you were doing...he's probably pissed you left for so long! Hopefully now that you are home he will get settled in...good luck!

24
smoness
Jan 25, 2008

I am absolutely with Georgia on the Rescue Remedy.

http://www.bachflower.com/Rescue_Remedy.htm

You can get it at Whole Foods. We used some for our Dog, Sugar, who went through a lot of stress when we first rescued her. You can put a drop on the animal's tongue or a couple of drops in their water bowl. We accidentally gave her too much one day; and it was like she was on Xanax... not a care in the world. :) Good luck!

25
Emily
Jan 25, 2008

Oh cats that get stressed out.... My cat, Oliver, used to get stressed out so badly that he would throw himself at the door crying every time I PASSED it he was so scared that I'd leave. He was on anti-depressants, special diets, and after nothing worked, I got him his own kitten to love. That worked for a while!

THEN he started pulling out his hair when he didn't get his way! So annoying! Also, it's kind of weird to have a cat with bald haunches. He still does that now and he's on steriods to calm down the 'itching' my vet is convinced he feels. He really just does it because he's a brat though!

Try Feliway or Rescue Remedy (Feliway is expensive through the vet, cheap on ebay - I might have the plug-in I could send to you if you want, we stopped using it a few months ago), they're both easy enough solutions and if they don't work, they're easy as ever to stop.

You're a brilliant writer, Holly! I felt guilty giggling through the whole post because it's not fair to laugh at you in this situation! I just couldn't help it though :)

26
andrea
Jan 25, 2008

Oh Holly, I feel your pain. We have three cats (now officially feel like crazy cat lady after typing that) and they have all gone through different periods of stress and shown it in ways that were very displeasing to yours truly. To add to that, one is overweight and should be separated for feedings, but that task alone is enough to stress all of us out, so it just doesn't happen and therefore he is still fat. I will say that I am really able to get them moving with the help of a laser pointer as others have said. The only problem is that they don't want to stop playing chase the red dot and will whine forever if you try to put it away. The pee thing is a pain in the ass. We've done all things mentioned by your vet and they have seemed to work for the most part. I think the most important thing is to rid the house of the residual smell, otherwise they will continue to hit that spot again and again. Best of luck!

27
barbie2be
Jan 25, 2008

my roommate has two cats that became problem pee-ers over night. they were peeing on everything. including her head once. we tried the plastic carpet runner turned upside down. they walked on it anyway. she ended up having to wrap her entire couch in plastic like some housewife from 1952. then we discovered this stuff at petsmart called "calm down". you put it in their water and it destresses them. works wonders.

my cat loves the laser pointer, the feathers on a stick and the ball in the ring toy.

28
DiaryofWhy
Jan 25, 2008

Wow, two posts in a row about urine!! Just make sure to tell Charlie that under no circumstances should he wee on the wii (even if it does make for a good post).

29
Lisamarie
Jan 25, 2008

Wait so did Charlie pee on your NEW mattress? Or on the one that Sean already "defenestrated"? Ooh, you're right...that is a fun word to use LOL :)

30
She Likes Purple
Jan 25, 2008

I used to have a cat (Ricky) who was also slightly pudgy (fine, he weighed 22 lbs.) and he would sneak into my closet and pee on my laundry, shoes and, once, my suitcase.

I assumed he was just being a bastard, but maybe he too was stressed? Poor thing.

31
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 25, 2008

This is all really great advice. Thanks, guys. I see a laser pointer in our future.

One question on the Rescue Remedy: wouldn't it make a lazy mellow cat -- one who loves to CHILLAX, even -- even lazier and mellow? I mean, I'm torn between giving him the valium-like Rescue Remedy to de-stress him and the cat nip to make him run around and lose a little of the belly. But I don't want to stress him out even more with the cat nip ("why are you giving me this mind-twirling substance, Mother? It's making my head EXPLODE!")

Dog-lovers (and/or cat-haters): I promise this will stop being the Cat Lady Blog in time for the next post.

32
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 25, 2008

And Lisamarie, he hasn't peed on any mattresses: he peed on the old featherbed (which went atop our old mattress) and that's what we had to throw out. On this new Dream Mattress, we have a cover that the manufacturers swore on 10,000 Bibles would not let any liquid through (or they'd buy us a new mattress.) So far they're right.

33
hills
Jan 25, 2008

My puppy has a nasty uti. (My puppy came with a nasty uti. Gah!) Nature's Miracle is my best friend. The first time I used it, I had an epiphany. It really IS a miracle.

34
smoness
Jan 25, 2008

On the Rescue Remedy: Sugar was all about laying around and didn't want to play either. But once she shook the anxiety and stress, she became much more playful. I think the stress made her depressed and lazy just like it typically does in humans. Now that the weight is off of her, Sugar is incredibly active - like a new dog. Once we got her in a comfortable place emotionally and physically, we discontinued the use of the RR.

35
RadiantSky
Jan 25, 2008

The other night I saw Martha Stewart on tv making a cat toy. She cut out little leaves from felt and then she ironed them to make perfect little creases down the center. And then I sat and wondered what sort of world Martha Stewart lives in that she has to iron her cat toys. *shrug* I tried to explain how weird this was to the boyfriend but I'm not sure which part I lost him at.. 'cat toy' or 'Martha Stewart'. ;) Good luck with the stressed kitty.

36
jennifer in sf
Jan 25, 2008

Rescue Remedy is supposed to be more calming, than paralyzing, so I don't think it should make the cat lazier than he is.

When I switched my cat's letter to Feline Pine, I didn't read the instructions (instructions on litter??) and thus didn't slowly ease him in. This led to being woken up at 3am because cat pee was spraying on my face. Not my favorite moment of cat ownership.

37
Maya
Jan 25, 2008

Aah FINALLY a post about the cats! Not that I wanted them to be unwell, of course-its just the Crazy Cat lady in me that needs to hear that you too, get the fun of the occasional stray wee (not wii, Sean) on the leg, etc. For the record, one of my "little two", as we call them, recently fell SO asleep that he peed on my jean-clad, cat warmed, blanketed leg. In his sleep. And he was laying on me juuuust right so that I couldnt tell/smell it until I finally woke him up so I could get up. Good times!

For Charlie; try throwing a wine cork for him- I'm sure you've got a few (or can get some), the catnip may be good for starters, and naturally the whole kitty diet thing and not leaving food lying out all day is good, too. (Unless you are me and have two Mary Kate/Ashley cats who must be persuaded to eat a bite, just a bite!) Yarn or paper bags can be good if he's supervised. Go Charlie boy! You can do eet!

38
Maya
Jan 25, 2008

ps: I love that by the time I wrote my comment there were about ten more up. Clearly, you have reached a favorite topic.

39
Gretchen
Jan 25, 2008

Well, catnip, of course! It's like pot for cats. Or, actual pot -- there must be some stoners in your neighborhood. Have them come over and blow smoke in his face. (I would say you should invite someone in to blow crack smoke in his face, but that would be wrong, so I won't say it. Yes, I'm evil.)

Seriously, my sister is a veterinary assistant and she suggests BusPar, which is related to Valium and commonly prescribed for stressed animals.

The Feline Flyer sounds very stressful. It sounds a lot like my life. No wonder Charlie doesn't like it. CHARLIE AND I WANT VALIUM, NOW.

40
jkrunnng
Jan 25, 2008

I thought I was the only one who had "stressed out" pets. Every time I take my dog to the kennel I have to pay extra because she gets "stressed out" and gets the hershey squirts.

41
Kristie
Jan 25, 2008

I about cried when I read this. A fat, stressed cat!! I have THREE of those, I swear it. I hope Charlie loses some poundage and destresses! :)

42
Jemima
Jan 25, 2008

Now see, I would think Charlie would be the LEAST stressed cat in the universe...like he's peeing because he's become too lazy to actually go to the litterbox.

43
Camels & Chocolate
Jan 25, 2008

You've had an awful lot of posts about pee lately. Just an observation.

44
Janet
Jan 25, 2008

Cats are a such pain in the ass. I've been having cat issues lately, too. Bleh.

45
Erin
Jan 25, 2008

aww, my little cat LOVES the flyer...seriously. If I so much as pick it up when cleaning the living room she is crouched and ready for action. My older, fatter (probably stressed out) cat, has no interest in the thing whatsoever. He does exactly the same as Charley, looks at it, rolls his eyes and goes in the other room. I swear he is saying "Woman, I am not a child and I do not wish to partake in infantile feather game." He's really just not much of a mover and shaker. However, a shoe string, that's a different story. Shoe strings are his arch nemesis. He loves to chase them around, until you start noticing that he might just be having fun. He definitely does not want to tarnish his reputation by having us think he is a fun loving shoe string chasing cat. That's absurd.

46
Claire
Jan 25, 2008

"Welcome to America" cracked me up. I have no advice (assvice?) except to empathise. My cat is also fat but she doesn't care and neither do I since she seems perfectly healthy and only pees where she's supposed to. But I'm certainly going to try rescue remedy on her the next time we go to the vet. Actually someone just left a comment advising on the correct Valium dosage for felines on a blog post I wrote two years ago (where I jokingly threatened to give some to my cat because she kept attacking me. Still, I prefer claw marks and a moment of pain to urine.)

47
The Over-Thinker
Jan 25, 2008

So, you totally didn't need to use apple juice! Awesome!

If the rescue remedy works for you, please let your readers know. We have a "pee-er" in our home, too. His name is Abe and he likes to pee on things so his companion, Fidget, won't take them. Unfortunately, Fidget seems to love pee--we've caught her frolicking in a puddle once or twice.

48
Linda
Jan 26, 2008

I assumed my dog was stressed because he sees ghosts. Maybe I should reconsider...

49
janet
Jan 26, 2008

you are dealing with this way way way way better than I would be. I get blood boiling upset when the cats pee...

50
Kirsten
Jan 26, 2008

No store bought toys are interesting enough for my furball. However, she goes bonkers when I pick up the laser pointer. I can get her to do 360's on the hardwood floor - something every cat owner should see for themselves.

51
Sallyacious
Jan 26, 2008

Delurking to say we have four cats, and each has its personal toy preferences. They all enjoy string. One really, really loooves this clunky mouse that used to squeak but broke from being tossed around too much. One loves the little fluffy crinkle balls. One is fascinated by bubbles. Just plain old soap bubbles. I could blow them for her all day. She also enjoys the laser pointer.

And the fourth? Adores those little foam discs you get in "space guns". They're flat foam circles with holes in them. She loves them. They are her very favorite toys ever. She runs around the house with one in her mouth, howling for attention. It sounds like she's dying, but really, she just wants someone to play with her.

Finding their favorites was done by trial and error. We just bought a bunch of stuff and found out quickly who liked what. cattoys.com has a great assortment of options if you're interested.

52
Ree
Jan 26, 2008

I am convinced that I would go stark raving mad if my cat (either of them) peed on me. Immediately.

Is he interested in catnip at all?

53
jill
Jan 26, 2008

oh lordy, i feel your cat pee pain. after several years, my demonic cat decided it was time to start marking. dribbles of cat pee freaking EVERYWHERE. one particular morning, the stinker tried to wake me up before dawn for his food. he successfully got me out of bed when i felt the warm drops hit my face. i only wish it had been my leg. >

and oh my god, love you and your readers. i was laughing my fool head off over all the posts.

54
Saucepan Man
Jan 26, 2008

Get Sean off the Wii and let Charlie have a go...

55
marymuses
Jan 26, 2008

We have a feather on a string toy and one of our cats doesn't like it at all. However, on ours you can change which toy is on the end (there's a clippy thingy--that's a technical term, of course), and when we put the little hedgehog on the end, she goes nuts for it. So maybe Charlie's just not a feather type of guy. I believe our toy was made by Go-Cat.

Also, for pet urine, I find that a soak in hot water with Biokleen detergent has been the most economical solution. I soak first for as long as possible, put it through the pre-wash, then do a regular hot water wash cycle with more Biokleen.

I think perhaps I should be the Biokleen spokesmodel.

56
Brynn
Jan 26, 2008

haha atleast pets keep us amused. my roommate's cat had a long stretch where she preferred peeing in my laundry basket (clean or dirty!). i hope charlie recovers soon, so you can regain your sanity.

57
thecaturineremover
Jan 27, 2008

Found your post in my inbox from Google alerts.

Two people have mentioned feliway of the 56 comments on this post. It is a great product. Feliway emits a comforting pheromone that your cat can smell, but you can't.

When I moved into my apartment, my cat FREAKED and would not come out from under the covers. Literally. Not under the bed. Under the covers. We got feliway and he was running around knocking things off of the counter and attacking my feet by the next day.

What doesn't make sense to me is that the doctor is telling you the cat is stressed and in order to de-stress it you need to make it exercise it?

That doesn't make sense. I have worked at a cat-only vet clinic and we had plenty of big fat kitties, and while the doctor prescribed playtime for weight loss, he never associated it with stress.

Have you introduced anything new into his environment? Could be another animal or something as small as a piece of new furniture that is throwing him off.

I have a big list on my site of possibilities:
Cat Pee Causes and Solutions

58
Simon
Jan 28, 2008

Laser pointer. That might do it.

59
Anna
Jan 28, 2008

Our 7 year old cat started acting fairly strangely a few months ago - disappearing for days at a time, growling at everything and everyone and the odd pee in the hallway. I took her to the vet and the diagnosis was...wait for it... menopause!!! I couldn't believe it but after a dose of cat HRT she was right as rain and is back to her normal self! So I totally believe the whole 'the cat has stress' diagnosis!!

60
Kelly
Jan 28, 2008

The laser pointers are so much fun, and seriously, this is the Best.Post.Ever!

61
superblondgirl
Jan 28, 2008

Poor Charlie. Though chasing him around the house with the feather probably is helping with the weight thing, right?
You could try squeaky mice. My cat loves squeaky mice, and he's been neurotic and stressed and used to lick off all his belly fur from the stress. Not that I'm saying squeaky mice are the answer, just that he likes them.

62
zhadi
Jan 28, 2008

Omg, you poor thing... I have experienced the joys of cat peeage on sheets, pillows, new leather couch and yes...on my legs. One of my cats was purring happily on my lap and suddenly I noticed I was both warmer and damper on my thighs. And NOT in a good way. I hope you manage to de-stress Charlie!

63
burgy61
Jan 28, 2008

First I would like to thank you for helping out Nathan judge his contest. After reading some of the entries I think you have a huge challenge in front of you with the judging.

I also would suggest a laser pointer, the other toy our cat loves is a small catnip mouse tied on to the line from a pocket fishermen. We cast it out across the room and Pai Mei goes nuts for it. He will grab on and bite the mouse as he slides across the wood floor.

64
jennysays
Jan 28, 2008

This blog is especially hilarious.
my cat doesn't like to exercise either unless you count the headbutting in the morning when she's hungry

65
Sauntering Soul
Jan 28, 2008

Delurking to add another vote for a laser pointer. My cat wants nothing to do with catnip. She doesn't like all of the toys I've bought her over the years. But when I bring out the laser pointer she loses her mind.

My cat peed all over the clothes in my suitcase one time. I packed the night before my trip and didn't discover she had peed on my clothes until I went to put my pj's on that night when I was several states away from home. Good times.

66
Jill
Jan 28, 2008

Hi Holly,

I have an overweight cat, too. I bought her a $2.00 toy called a Cat Dancer which is basically little cardboard rolls at the end of a wire and wouldn't you know it, my fat cat LOVES it. When you wave it around it looks like a bug or a bird or something. This is after years of her snubbing different kinds of toys. She is not so fat anymore - and the best part is, she will flip it around the room herself if my husband and I are feeling too lazy to wave it in front of her. :) You might try it!

67
whitney
Jan 28, 2008

Yes! Finally someone mentioned the Cat Dancer. I worked in a pet food store for 5 years, and we sold tons of them. Also, every cat I've had has loved that thing. We had one cat that would try and keep our other cat from playing with it because it was HIS toy. So yeah, the Cat Dancer is pretty awesome (and fairly inexpensive, if I remember correctly). However, I've heard good things about those laser pointers too.

68
Sandra Cormier
Jan 29, 2008

Hi Holly!
Dropping in to inform you that you're completely insane to volunteer to help with Nathan's contest! What a brave woman. Good luck and have fun.

Now, back to cats. Ridley is a cheap drunk. I could buy him every cat toy in the world and he'd play with the box. His favourite toy is the little insert that comes out of milk cartons. He carries them all over the house, bats them under the furniture and keeps a stash of them under the dog's food mat. Sometimes he plays fetch, just like a little retriever.

I could use some of that Rescue Remedy for the dog. He pees every time he hears thunder, fireworks or snapping bubble wrap. No one is allowed to chew gum in case they snap it, and when I put anything in the oven, he's convinced the smoke alarm will go off.

69
laura
Jan 29, 2008

One time, my neutered cat's body started this weird vibrating thing. It was just a build up for the explosive spraying that he commenced to do right in the middle of my living room. Luckily we're a family of slobs and I scooped a T-shirt up off the floor and clapped it over his bottom. As a single mom with 3 kids I'm sure it had something to do with stress. Lucky cat got Kitty Cat prozac. I got the bill.

70
lizr
Jan 30, 2008

I've got three cats, and one of them is just...well, 30% overweight is probably not too far off the mark. He's also the one who pees here and there for whatever reason. Drives me crazy.

One of my vets once told me that a client of hers was at a loss to come up with ways to get her cat to exercise, because none of the toys she got worked. She finally resorted to carrying him to the end of her driveway every morning. He didn't like being outside, so he would charge up to the front door. She'd get him, carry him back to the end of the driveway, put him down, etc. about ten times. Apparently it worked. Not sure what it did for his stress level, though :D.

71
trinity67
Jan 30, 2008

Special needs - hilarious!

72
Karen Duvall
Jan 30, 2008

What a funny cat story. I have one on my blog, too.

http://karenduvall.blogspot.com/search/label/Catty%20tales

The best cat toys I've found are hair bands you can sling-shot across the room for them to chase. Don't use regular rubberbands because cats will eat them and you'll find an extra surprise in their litter box the next time you clean it.

Another toy that all my kids love are one-inch round pom poms, like the kind you get at the craft store for 89¢ a package, and the package has like a dozen of 'em. My cats seem to prefer the dark colored ones. They won't touch anything pastel. Hmmm...

73
Larry B
Feb 01, 2008

Thank you Holy, I cannot say that near enough. You are awesome to help with this contest, and my dog loves hearing about the cat. He’s more human than most people are now a days.
Again, thank you.

74
Lyz
Feb 01, 2008

OMG. MY DOG IS DOING THE SAME THING!

And the vet wanted to put her on anti-depressants. Basically, my dog is an over anxious, depressed, co-dependant middle-aged woman. I am helping her by making her listen to Aretha and watch Fried Green Tomatos.