The miracle of life...and cat pee.
April 20, 2016 9:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm totes pregnant! With twins! Yay! Apparently, one of my cats is not as excited about this development as his human counterparts are. While snuggling with me this morning, he turned around, faced his pee parts towards me, and sprayed. It was not awesome. How do I discourage this (hellish, foul) behavior?

Right now, I'm two months pregnant. My partner and I have three cats, all neutered toms. The beast in question is 14, our dominant kitty, and strongly bonded with me under normal circumstances. For the past two weeks, he's been a little more restless than usual. We've tried giving him more attention. This morning, while in bed, he sprayed me. I've seen him marking the yard in a similar manner in the past, despite the fact that he's neutered. While he's indoors, he has never gone outside of the litter box. The vet ruled out any kind of UTI issues. She said that this sometimes happens to families during a pregnancy.

What do we do? Obviously, getting urinated on is sub-optimal. I don't plan on letting him back into the bedroom, but would also like to not get peed on in other rooms of the house. I've gone ahead and purchased feliway diffusers, but would like some behavioral suggestions as to how to curb this nastiness. If you've had a similar problem, what did you do? Is there anything other than feliway that can help? Also, does this make it more likely that he'll be aggressive towards the litter of tiny humans that I'll be having?
posted by batbat to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did you do a blood panel to rule out any systemic issues – kidneys, for example?
posted by amanda at 9:25 AM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

It sounds highly crazy to me that your cat knows that two jelly-bean sized beings have taken up residence in your uterus. Then again, cats are crazy? But are there any other major life changes that would actually be perceptible to a cat? New food? New schedule? Visitors?

My cat tends to do unpredictable pee behaviors when his environment or routine is shaken up in general. Could it be something like this and not your pregnancy, which will either settle down eventually or can maybe be changed?
posted by Sara C. at 9:33 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Cats and dogs can absolutely smell the hormonal changes and body scent changes of early pregnancy and sometimes give the pregnant person away before they are willing to announce.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:52 AM on April 20, 2016 [35 favorites]

Peeing could be unrelated to the pregnancy. Do your cats go outside? Has a new cat moved into the neighbourhood? Have their been any changes in your routines recently?

If it is related to the pregnancy, it could be hormonal changes you are going through making you smell differently, male cats tell if a female is in usterus by the smell of their pee & can pick up very small changes. Pheromones are a major form of cat communication for both good & bad things, they even have a special organ in the roof of their mouth to help with this. So even the slightest change in your hormone levels is could be noticed & unlike your normal cycle these are new smells.

Play him out a lot, a tired cat doesn't stress so much. Feliway everywhere. Spend some one on one time doing fun things be it pats, playing or treats with the cat so it can realize that this is still you even if you smell differently.
posted by wwax at 9:57 AM on April 20, 2016

Something else to try with the Feliway: calming collars. We've used the Sentry ones and saw some behavior improvement. However, they don't break off easily (e.g. if kitty gets the collar caught on something) and one of our cats had to be rescued from his collar after he managed to get his mouth under it. So I wouldn't use them if your cat spends a lot of time on his own or outside. There may be other brands though?
posted by Baethan at 10:03 AM on April 20, 2016

Oh yes, our dog was ridiculously slobbery toward me when I was pregnant. It was worse the more sweaty I was, and worst of all if I didn't really scrub my hands after coming into contact with cervical mucous. Ugh. I can see how a bed might be particularly full of interesting smells, so just getting the cat out of there might actually suffice, but think about anything else where odors might concentrate, like a favorite recliner, and either keep him away from that or maybe even try an enzyme cleaner.

Regarding eventual aggression: probably not? Babies are very different from pregnant adults. I don't think your cat is fully conceptualizing that what's different about you now will eventually manifest as human kittens. However, our dog was similarly slobbery toward the baby for her first couple weeks post-womb, and it was lovely not to have to deal with our cats for a bit even with just a singleton, so if there's someone who could host your kitties for a bit after the babies arrive, I'd definitely recommend considering it.
posted by teremala at 10:03 AM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

That kind of spraying is not - generally - an extremely conscious behavior. Like, the cat's not going "hmm, something's different, this is going to ruin my life I'LL SHOW HER BWA HA HA HA". The cat is having basically a chemical reaction to a change in scent (and maybe actual pheromones, we don't really know) and treating you like a tomato plant or rubber tire and instinctively marking.

But if you watch him like a hawk (I don't think there's any connection to the bedroom besides it smelling like you, and I think changing his routine like not letting him be with you where he was always welcome before is NOT going to improve the situation, as long as you're able to get the spray washed off all the linens, walls, furniture etc), and catch him at that first sort of !! moment when he alerts and stiffens and starts to turn, and "ssst!" him or spray him with water or otherwise disrupt the act, he will gain control over the behavior and stop it. know, 14 is elderly. If he's not cognitively rock-solid enough to get the message, or to stop when his brain has already engaged in MUST PUT MY SMELL OVER THIS SMELL instinct. That's a possible situation that you may have to deal with.

But for the moment, aside from some justified resentment and a lot of laundry and cleaning, I think just keeping a spray bottle or jar of change on hand is a fair enough response. If it turns out you can't stop him, or he's just so triggered and lightly demented that it's a non-stop spray-fest going forward, you can figure out next steps.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Do you have a room that you could set up to be his personal kingdom? Ideally it would be a room that's easy to clean (no priceless heirloom textiles), maybe with a window, and where you can put a litter box and other gear (water, soft bed, high perch, etc) and close him in there as needed. If you can set this up now as a room he likes and feels in-control of, it could keep being a refuge if he gets freaked out by other new-baby developments.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:09 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also might think about getting a bunch of those cardboard scratch pads and putting one in every room, maybe near where you sit, so he has a more acceptable way to scent-mark. I don't know if marking with his claws will fill the same need that spraying does, but the scratch pads are pretty cheap and it might be worth a try.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:10 PM on April 20, 2016

Congratulations! One thing I once did, in extremity, was give one of my cats Prozac. She was a real pisser, in all senses of the word, and one summer we had to share a small studio with my boyfriend before our full-size apartment opened up. Little cat was peeing and licking bald spots and clearly stressed out, so the vet suggested a tiny dose of kitty Prozac to chill her out for a month. The vet said it would sort of re-set her, so that when she came out of it she'd have a chance to develop better habits. I kind of felt like a jerk giving it to her, but her behavior was so extreme it seemed like the only option. Just something to keep in mind if things get worse.
posted by lillygog at 2:40 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

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