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Making That Hard Decision

Our house has always been filled with cats. My wedding present to my husband was a little tortoise shell kitten we named Candy. She was the first of many. Through the years, over 30 cats have come into our lives. Some were selected out of the litter or brought home from work, but most were strays people dumped at our house. We took them all in and gave them a cozy and safe home. With all those cats, you are bound to get one or two stinkers that have a very annoying habit – peeing outside the litter box. I’m not referring to a cat that misses the box. The one we have now likes to use many different places and containers as her box choice of the day.

Early one Saturday morning, I was sitting at the dining room table when I heard the sound of running water. I looked around and found Foxy sitting on my new range top using it as her litter box. Most people would have tossed her out of the house or taken her to the animal shelter right then. I couldn’t do that because I knew she would soon be dead. So I cleaned and sterilized the stove top and turned my thoughts to my naughty cat. Is my cat doing this because she’s mad at us or the other cats in the house? Are the litter boxes dirty? What else can be going on?

One of the first signs to a cat owner that a cat is sick is the indiscriminate use of the litter box. So I scheduled a vet appointment for that morning to be sure she doesn’t have any type of illness or infection which would cause her bad behavior. The vet couldn’t tell for sure if she was sick, so they sent her home with an antibiotic. It wasn’t three days into the treatment that Foxy decided to use a blanket on the living room couch. Again, everything got cleaned and sterilized.

We are now on the ninth day of the antibiotic, and it doesn’t look promising for Foxy. She has continued her habit: a cardboard box, the floor of our shower, and in my son’s tennis shoes. Our choices of fixing this situation are finding her a new home with less cats (and less stress), taking her to a friend’s farm where she can live outdoors, having her euthanized, or putting up with the mess. I don’t want to subject anyone I know to this, so the first option is out. Foxy is declawed, so keeping her outside in the country won’t work either. She would have no way to defend herself against predators. So now we are down to option three or four. It’s a very hard decision that my family needs to make. To some people, the decision would be easy, but as pet lovers, we are willing to put up with a lot for our little friends.

The decision is yet to be made.

Anne Schneider
Project Management Office Manager

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