My dear friend Bob Souer had a wonderfully profound thought today. It involved one of my cats, Storm, and his aversion to his litterbox. Huh?? OK, let's see if I can start from the beginning...
A few weeks ago, I asked my on-line community of fellow voice actors to help me with a problem I was having...(FYI...this long story has been slightly edited from its original version)
"My dear cat Storm (the one I call Norman)is an alpha male. He and I are incredibly attached to one another and he tends to act out when I leave town. Over a year ago we brought home our puppy. Storm preceded to 'mark' everything that belonged to the dog and eventually the dog herself.
So, I went to the vet. Had him checked- he's fine. She recommended vaccinating him and letting him be indoor/outdoor (I don't vaccinate my animals normally- don't believe in it). We did that. I put pheromone plug-ins throughout the house (at $50 a pop!). We had all carpets cleaned and neutralized to take out the previous odors. We got rid of the large plants that had been marked. We also implemented an 'alpha ritual'...Storm gets fed first, gets treats first, gets pet first...etc. Honestly, we've done everything I can think to do.
Last week, we went out of town. We closed all closet doors and left the cats (there are 2 of them) well cared for. However, when we returned- we discovered Storm had taken out his aggressions for me leaving him on our bed. All over our bed. 4 times. It's bad.
I adore this cat. The vet told me I may need to put him down. That is not an option.
I know one of you has to have experienced something like this and may have some great advice. I don't know what else we can do to fix the problem. I also know I can't have my house destroyed by 1 cat."
Thanks to the advice of my wonderful friends, I found a great holistic vet that helped me solve the problem. Here is the update I posted today..
"I took Storm to a holistic vet. They said there was nothing wrong with him medically, but that he did obviously have a ton of anxiety. She told me that more often than not a cat's anxiety can be linked to his litter box(es).
So we mapped out my house and where the litter boxes were (I had 2 at the time, one for each cat). Both were on the first floor, were covered litter boxes with liners and wheat litter.
She said most cats hate covered litter boxes, that it is not natural to urinate in a cave. Also, since we have a dog who likes to ambush the cats...the vet said it was causing anxiety to exit the boxes with no visual of where the dog was. She also said many cats don't like the feel of liners when they are scratching around in the litter.
She asked me where Storm had marked...was it consistent? Yes- it was almost always upstairs in our bedroom. She mentioned that was most likely where another litter box needed to be. It works out good for us, because there is a good space for a box in the master bathroom that the dog can't get to (she's too small).
The vet said to add a 3rd litterbox, uncovered, and with clay litter. Oh my! It works! That is obvioulsy the prefered box now. So, we removed the liners from the downstairs boxes (and were shocked to find they are actually easier to clean!) Storm is also spending nights outside roaming. While he doesn't seem to leave the backyard much, it still gives him his freedom.
Finally, she said to get rid of anything he had marked, thus eliminating 'old habits'. We boarded him while we were on vacation last week and it went great! He was happy to come home and slid right back into his routine without taking 'revenge' on us.
FYI- not one mark since I first started this thread. I guess ya learn something new everyday! Who knew litterboxes were so important??"
OK, I know what you are thinking...is this a post about pets or voice over? Well, it's both. I'm posting to help educate those that may be in similar situations and thinking of getting rid of, or finding a new home for your cat. There just may be a solution that will save your cat AND your marraige :)
I'm also posting this so I can copy down a comment from my friend Bob...
The first thing that popped into my pea-sized brain in answer to this question is: think about what sort of impression it makes on you when you’re visiting someone and they don’t have a clean, tidy bathroom for you to use? I mean, I know cats aren’t human (I’m sure they’re convinced they are the superior species!); but it seems reasonable that this kind of situation would be important to every creature.
I suppose the larger application is that when we do things for our own convenience, we’re seldom serving the needs of (clients? family? friends?) others."
I am proud to say, for once, I wasn't the one that found the correlation between my life and my job...Bob did it for me. Thanks Bob, I couldn't have said it better myself!
Make sure to check out Bob's Blog about this story...priceless!