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The Cold, Raw Truth
That Cat Has No Shame!
Marley had moved his bathroom onto my bed, right in the center of my handmade quilt. And to add insult to injury, after using the handmade quilt as his rest area, he'd scraped it back and used the down duvet underneath it for round number two.
Ever since I'd adopted a pup (and only three months after adopting my cats Marley and Dylan) nine months ago, Marley had taken to marking his territory with what I think might be the world's most foul smell. He had a penchant for anything soft that wasn't nailed down. The carpeting, thank goodness, was a no-go, but he was not beyond pulling towels off bars on the wall, meowing loudly as he did so. If I moved his bed, he'd turn the bed into his personal outhouse right in front of everyone present, which, at the time, consisted of ten people I had over for a party. Total mood killer there.
The cat had no shame.
He'd been surrendered to the local Animal Control (where I adopted him) by a family who had a few other cats and several dogs. There was no reason given for his surrender. I was beginning to have my suspicions as to what the real reason was.
As I slowly go nuts...
I tried all the tricks they tell you to use: feeding him on the surfaces he likes to pee on (he didn't care, he peed right after eating), squirting him with a water bottle (only works if you carry the bottle as an army ranger carries his weapon: all the time, everywhere, and always following your target), changing his litter (5 different kinds), moving the litter box and adding more litter boxes (putting the litter box in the center of my bed?
Not good for my social life. or for sleeping, actually). My vet suggested kitty anti-depressants, and when I collapsed onto her bench saying I couldn't take this anymore and could she please prescribe me some kitty anti-depressants, she suggested that sending him to my friend's big, heated cat-barn might be the kindest option (no, not the big heated barn in the sky, just the one in a neighboring farm town).
Around the time of my cat-related nervous breakdown, I also was dealing with my pup's constant stomach and skin issues and eventually switched him over to raw after at least 8 different kibbles failed to eliminate the problems.
Seriously, someone needs to warn new pet owners that the first year of pet ownership requires heavy use of sedatives, and not for the animals.
Change is good.
On a whim, I began adding raw meat to the cats' diets, too. Dylan gobbled it all up like a dieter let loose in a fast food restaurant. He'd been a stray in another pre-Animal Control life, so I'm sure he'd eaten meat before. Marley sneered at this repulsive new dietary twist and went back to his kibbles.
Being a middle school teacher with a finely honed gift for using reverse psychology, I took away the raw meat from Marley's plate and replaced it with kibble. He appeared clearly appalled at my gall and began attempting to steal Dylan's delicious chicken necks, not seeming to notice that Dylan was receiving twice as many chicken necks as before. Soon, Marley was leaving his kibbles untouched, Dylan was eating raw meat off Marley's plate, and Riley the dog was eating his own raw meat in his corner, no longer suffering from itchy skin or problematic bowels.
About a month after this switchover, the mind-blowing realization came to me: Marley had not peed on anything since he had abandoned his kibbles for Dylan's cold cut platter. In fact, he seemed much more relaxed about life in general. He spent more time sleeping, less time meowing, and his agitation at new and different situations had all but disappeared.
I am not making this up!
A few internet searches backed up my accidental finding: raw diets do indeed seem to calm down nervous, mildly neurotic carnivorous domesticated animals such as Marley. Anecdotal evidence seemed to show that removing excess dry carbohydrates, such as those found in kibbled cat food, and replacing them with moisture-rich raw protein sources stops cats from urinating in stressful situations.
It's been six months now since Marley's last "incident." I occasionally have moments when kibble seems like a magical, wonderful, convenient option (especially those moments when, wielding a meat cleaver, I'm hacking through chicken necks like a deranged ax murderer). Then, I go into my bedroom, look at my handmade quilt lying unsullied on my bed, and return to meat-hacking with renewed vigor.
The End (Almost)
This hub is actually an article I originally wrote for a holistic cat magazine.
It's not a quick, informative hub, but I hope it might help someone whose cat has suddenly decided to pee on things for no apparent reason.
If you want to read more about Marley's absolutely hilarious antics, please visit this story on my blog: