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Questions for Marilyn, the Cat Coach, on Savannah Cat Behavior

Discussion in 'Savannah Cat Behavior' started by admin, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. The Cat Coach

    The Cat Coach Marilyn and Maulee Krieger

    Messages:
    52
    I'm back... hey, glad I could help...
  2. The Cat Coach

    The Cat Coach Marilyn and Maulee Krieger

    Messages:
    52
    Hi Sue,
    Let's talk about CJ's not using the litter box to defecate in. It sounds like he's midden marking--marking territory by defecating outside the box. This is due to the multi-cat situation. So... first of all,there are other move acceptable ways to mark territory. One of my faves is scratching. When cats scratch they are marking territory. They have scent glands on the bottom of their paws. Increase your scratchers, placing horizontal scratchers in the areas he's middening. Also, increase the number of litter boxes. Use uncovered and large boxes. Place them in different areas of the house. Provide more vertical territory (high places for the cats, at least 5' high). Cats show their positions in their flexible hierarchy by where they sit in relation to each other. Also, put the feces back in the nearest box and then scoop the box on the usual schedule.
  3. The Cat Coach

    The Cat Coach Marilyn and Maulee Krieger

    Messages:
    52
    Have I missed any posts? If so, please let me know... and repost to me.
  4. Diana

    Diana

    Messages:
    2
    Hi Marilyn,

    My husband and I have four cats: 8-yo male Bengal, 3-yo male F4 Savannah, 9-month female Savannah, and 7-month rescue kitten. The F4 boy, Tafi, has had issues with peeing in the house - on rugs originally, and now on cat beds in the front window. He *occasionally* also pees down the kitchen sink drain - but that doesn't bother us much, as it's easy to clean.

    His peeing seems to be set off by dissatisfaction with his litter box. Then once he has marked a spot, he re-marks it. I got rid of a shag rug that probably had traces of smell in it, despite my attempts at cleaning (with Anti-Icky Poo and Woolite Pet carpet cleaner). Originally I think he was peeing on a rug because one litter box was an automatic one that he didn't like. Finally we found a system that everyone liked: Two large, simple litter bins, one up and one downstairs. Both are enclosed in custom-made wood boxes. Litter type is consistent, and we keep them full and clean every day.

    Things were great for a few months, until I found out I was pregnant, and my husband took over cat box duties. My husband moved a Litter Locker into the potty area (big wood box). When we ran out of the odor-sealed bags for Litter Locker, he temporarily put in a regular plastic bag. I could tell that the area smelled different. Suddenly I started finding cat pee soaking the cat beds in our front living room window. I cleaned with Anti Icky Poo and bleach, but perhaps the smell didn't come all the way out - ? Even though the beds smell clean to me, and the litter box is back to normal, Tafi has continued peeing in the beds.

    I tried getting rid of all the existing cat beds, and putting out a completely new blanket. He peed on that too, after a couple of days.

    Behaviorally, all 4 cats get along. The oldest (Tigger) was jealous for awhile because Tafi had bonded with the kittens, but Tigger and Tafi seem to have re-bonded now. There is sometimes mild irritation when a kitten wants to play and an adult cat doesn't, but generally there is harmony. All cats do play together sometimes.
    I don't know how else to figure out why Tafi keeps peeing on those beds, and how to stop it! Another thing that occurred to me is that maybe he senses change in me (I'm pregnant) - ??

    Thank you so much for any advice you have!

    Diana
  5. The Cat Coach

    The Cat Coach Marilyn and Maulee Krieger

    Messages:
    52
    Let's start with the litter box situation... first of all you need at least 5 litter boxes, located throughout the house, in different areas. You should have one box per cat and one for the house. Cats need choices, just in case one box doesn't feel safe, also cats sometimes resource guard litter boxes--laying in front of the entrance to where the box is. The other cats won't walk by to use the box. Also, the boxes need to be uncovered and not located in enclosed areas. Big wood boxes are enclosed areas. Also, wooden boxes, like covered litter boxes retain odors. No matter how often you scoop, a cat's sensitive nose still detects the odors. Most bathrooms, all cabinets and closets are not good locations for boxes (unless there are lots of boxes elsewhere) because cats feel they can be trapped or ambushed in those locations.

    Also, I highly recommend throwing excrement away immediately after scooping and not keeping it in plastic bags in the litter box areas... this is the same as not scooping...

    And... don't use bleach to clean up targeted areas. Bleach can act as an attractant for peeing... instead use the AIP, let it dry naturally and then spray it on again.
  6. Wyldthingz

    Wyldthingz

    Messages:
    729
    One question-
    I have my back yard enclosed in cat fencing about 200 feet in length. My F1 Savannah will often amuse herself by picking up a fuzzy toy in her mouth and walk the length of it, back and forth carrying the toy the whole time.
    Why does she do this? Thanks
  7. Karen

    Karen

    Messages:
    22
    Hi Marilyn, We have a very narrow upstairs hallway that looks down on our open entry hall. Our F2 Savannah has interest in jumping up on the railing that looks down to the entry hall. She seems to enjoy walking here- and even lays on the upper rail....(belly down and legs dangling down on each side). There is about a 13 foot drop from this area to the hard ceramic tile floor below. We of course, have concerns that she will fall.
    Placing a piece of furniture infront of this area is not an option (no room in the narrow hall for this). We thought about adding a shelf to ths area, but also worry that our other (older) cats would try to jump up there and fall.

    Interestingly enough, Bella seems to jump up on this area ONLY when we are upstairs with our children. Examples of times that she does this include- bath time, putting away laundry, getting dressed/undressed, kids playing in their rooms, or getting ready to go somewhere. Her eyes seem to have a "sparkle" in them (as if she knows that we will beg her to jump down). I initially, was using a cat teaser to entice her to jump down. I realized that she may have been "reinforced" to jump up there when I did this, so I have been trying to ignore her when she jumps there now. She has plenty of opportunities for play all day and has a great relationship with our kids. She is never ignored by the kids or hubby and I. She is a very pampered pet who tends to follow us everywhere- and who is permitted free roam of the house. Have no idea why she seems to enjoy causing us to worry about her when we are upstairs.....
  8. The Cat Coach

    The Cat Coach Marilyn and Maulee Krieger

    Messages:
    52
    I have some ideas about this, but will answer in an hour or so.
  9. Karen

    Karen

    Messages:
    22
    Hi Marilyn-
    One more question.... We have 4 cats. Our 9 year old DSH female (who is aloof by nature) has recently started to scratch our leather sectional. The poor couch has multiple puncture marks on it. Not sure why she has started to do this. Her claws are trimmed regularly, she has a scratching post that she does use, and there have been no recent issues with the other cats/her. She had a hard time accepting our SV, but got over that a long time ago with a "scent transfer process". Why would she suddenly start to scratch an area that she had no interest in for years? How do I stop this? Suggestions for leather repair would also be appreciated!
    Thanks!
  10. The Cat Coach

    The Cat Coach Marilyn and Maulee Krieger

    Messages:
    52
    Interesting that you should bring this up. I have a client who lives in a 3 story Victorian house with inside balconies... their cats make everyone nervous balancing on the rails. One of them did fall a few years ago. They addressed the challenge by cutting and installing plexiglass sheets between the rail and the ceiling, blocking off the area, but not obstructing the view. Great solution, but not one everyone can do.

    You may also be able to change Bella's behavior by placing cat trees in the hall or installing shelves at different heights on the wall. I normally would say to place a deterrent such as double sided tape on the railings, but I am not suggesting that in your case because it might startle her to feel a different texture and cause her to lose her balance.

    But... do ignore her when she's on the railing, but reinforce her with attention and treats when she sits on the safer shelves and cat trees.
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