I'm not sure if you guys remember TempCat™ -- he used to belong to my brother-in-law, and we would cat-sit for him fairly frequently while he was out of town. TempCat™ generally never stayed beyond a week or two, and was always the perfect houseguest: he got along extremely well with our existing Armada o' Felines, was pleasant to the humans, and generally an all-around good guy. At his home, however, he was having issues -- my brother-in-law was still traveling and once his sons lived nearby again, the older one was supposed to stop in and feed the cat in the evenings. Well, that didn't happen, so Max (AKA TempCat™) developed some food separation issues. And then my B.I.L. got pressured into taking his ex-wife's cat, who was a neurotic mess. Max began peeing everywhere. Jimmy, my B.I.L. started talking about putting Max down or kicking him out of the house to let him go feral, which was basically the same thing. After Kate found out about this, she talked to me -- bear in mind this was about two years after we had Mooch put down -- and we decided to take Max in on a trial basis.
Me and Max, This Summer
So in the late summer of 2011, TempCat™ moved in and made himself at home. While there was a mild case of the ButtHurtz from Scout (there always is), everything settled down nicely, and we were back to having a ridiculous number of cats (five). At the time, we'd just moved into our new house, and with it a 50% increase in livable space, so there was room for everyone.
As we approached Eddy's due date, we started to prep the room that would become his nursery, and as part of that, we closed it off to the cats. No real impact from that. It was after Eddy was born and we began co-sleeping (with him in our room) that things changed -- we closed off our bedroom, and one of the cats decided to show their disdain by occasionally peeing in places that weren't the litterbox. It wasn't wildly out-of-control and it pretty easy to clean up after. We had our suspicions it was Max, based on past behavior, but never caught anyone in the act. Once Eddy was about 9 months old and sleeping in his own room, we re-opened the master bedroom to the cats, and the Urination of Rage stopped, and things settled down. Max slept at the foot of the bed, Scout slept on Kate's head, and Calvin slept behind my knees and everything was cool.
Pregnancy Two hit, and things remained relatively quiet. In early October, Kate decided that we'd lock the cats out of the bedroom since we were planning on co-sleeping again (I say "we", I mean "she"), and to make matters worse, she closed off the guest bedroom, too, as we had a lot of out-of-town guests passing through and slated to arrive after Sam got here.
Cue the urination! This time, the cat took to targeting piles of laundry that were in the queue, and Kate was losing her mind over this, and talking about how she wanted to get rid of all the cats (over my dead body). (Nevermind we have the perfect cocktail for removing urine smells.) We scrubbed all the carpets, and washed all the clothes, and stayed atop things.
Again, we weren't sure who it was, at first. And then we caught Max in the act, and there was blood in his urine. Oy. Straight to the vet. The poor guy had developed bladder crystals and was in a ton of pain -- he wasn't fully blocked, but damn near. It took a sedative to get him to relax enough to go. After a few trips back and forth to the vet over a 3-day span, and about $800 we don't really have to spend thanks to my ongoing unemployment, and we were able to bring him home. He spent five days in the master bathroom on antibiotics, painkillers, and a mild sedative. During that time, he was religious about using the litterbox and did not pee on the bathmats or the towels that were in his kennel or anything like that. On the last two nights, we let him into the master bedroom, and he was fine. He slept on my feet like he used to do, and was super affectionate and sweet, and didn't have any issues.
We let him back into general population and all was well -- he didn't even have a problem with having to have his meals separate from all the other cats, because hey, special canned cat food. And then Sam was born, and the stress factor went way up. A couple of times, Max has urinated in the bathroom while having his "alone meals", but that's it thus far.
Pretty much instantly, Kate started talking about having him put down because "no one is going to take a cat that pees outside the litterbox" -- she's pretty much going nuclear option right away, which royally pisses me off. A pet is a responsibility, and we took Max in knowing he had issues. He got through the trial period without issues. Thus far, he's dealing with the stress better than last time, especially given his health issues (he's also monumentally overweight, tipping the scales at 21.8 pounds). It seems like when upheavals hit, things get difficult for him, and then when things shift and settle down, he gets better.
I've talked Kate off the ledge for now -- we're going to call the vet tomorrow and see if we can't try anti-anxiety meds. In addition to all the medical intervention, we also replaced all the litterboxes with new ones, got Feliway plugins to help calm them all down a bit, and have generally been doing all that we can to alleviate any stress on them. Thus, we have a solution somewhat in-hand.
He's a good cat, and I'm trying to emotionally distance myself from him, knowing that Kate's at her wit's end, but I'll be damned if he's getting put down over this.