MCFH S7E9 - FERAL CAT, HIDES IN CLOSET, POOPING/PEEING OUTSIDE OF LITTER BOX
Show: My Cat From Hell Season 7, Episode 9
Episode Title: Felines and Frenemies?
Blackie is a 13 year old black and white feral cat; he lived in a car parking lot most of his life and was taken in by his guardian about a year ago.
Patty and her mother, Catherine, live in Burbank, California. Patty has a special bond with Blackie, while Catherine has no relationship with him and is fed up with his behavior.
How Bad Is It?
Blackie is an outdoor feral cat that was brought inside a home, and he’s now living in fear inside of a closet. He began inappropriately eliminating and marking his territory all over the home when Catherine moved in, and now she and Patty are constantly arguing because of his behavior.
- Living in a closet; extremely fearful.
- Pooping and peeing outside of litter box.
- Catherine has no relationship with Blackie.
Feral kittens normally have a small window of opportunity in the first few months of their lives to become domesticated; once this time passes, it is rare to find a feral cat that can move into a home and live the life of a well-adjusted, happy house cat. It’s rare, but not impossible. If the guardian has a trusting relationship with the cat, they may be able to take the cat in and help them adapt to the indoor life.
If you have a cat that hides in the closet, the goal is to slowly lure them out over time and help them become comfortable through the whole home. First, stop putting their food in the closet; why would they leave their comfort zone if there is no motivation to do so? Place their food near the closet, and over time, continue moving it further away from the closet so they begin to venture out, even if it’s only for a quick bite. This helps them gain comfort outside of hiding.
Basecamp expansion is a very important way to introduce your “closet cat” to the rest of the home. Spread your cat’s items, such as litter boxes, scratchers, toys, tunnels, etc. throughout the home so they feel territorial ownership around every corner. Continue pushing the cat’s challenge line to build their confidence until they feel completely comfortable anywhere in their home.
Once a cat like Blackie feels territorial ownership, the inappropriate elimination and marking tends to stop. They will no longer feel the need to mark their territory if they feel safe and secure. Blackie immediately stopped pooping and peeing outside of his box once his basecamp was expanded. (We always recommend first taking your pet to the vet to rule out any medical issues if they’re peeing/pooping outside of the box.)
As a guardian that has to work on pushing your cat beyond their comfort zone, make sure to remember that it’s in their best interest. It’s similar to parenting; you eventually have to let go of the guilt and push them to challenge themselves in order to live the best life possible, not a life of fear and hiding.
Animals can feel the energy directed towards them, so if someone in their home “hates” cats and doesn’t put in any effort to have a relationship with them, it can cause tension and insecurity for the cat. Try having this person build a friendship with the cat; a great way to begin this process is by having this person feed the cat and play with them. This can create a positive association, as well as a friendship. Once Catherine stopped cursing Blackie and began feeding him and talking to him, he began to feel more comfortable and less fearful.
IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, JACKSON ALSO USED SPIRIT ESSENCES:
Jackson started Blackie on Feral Flower Formula because he was a terrified feral cat that needed energetic support to break through his fear and the need to be in survival mode. Feral Flower Formula is designed to help feral cats moderate their naturally sensitive fight-or-flight response and may help to facilitate the process of domestication, though not all feral cats are receptive to domestication.
Once Blackie started to show a bit of confidence, Jackson switched him to Safe Space for Cats to help with spatial/territorial confidence. He felt that it was a territorial step down from Feral Flower Formula and once Blackie no longer felt that he needed to be in survival mode and was being threatened, Safe Space for Cats helped him feel safe while venturing outside of the closet. It also helped him stop pooping and peeing outside of his litter box! Safe Space for Cats is formulated to help the cat establish appropriate boundaries and reduce territorial stress that may manifest as spraying, inappropriate elimination, aggression, or other stress-related behaviors. This formula is made to help reassure the cat that his territory is safe and protected from intruders from within and without.
EVERY PET IS DIFFERENT, AND HAS DIFFERENT NEEDS AND HEALING RESPONSES. SOME OTHER POSSIBLE SPIRIT ESSENCES SOLUTIONS THAT MAY BE HELPFUL IN THIS TYPE OF SITUATION ARE:
Scaredy Cat is formulated for the very shy, timid, or fearful cat who runs from every little noise, or who lives in the closet or under the bed. If you have a cat that isn’t necessarily feral, but is scared to be around most people and hides as a result, this formula may help them feel more comfortable and energetically support them as you push their challenge line.