I have a cat on drugs, which is both hilarious and really not as funny as it sounds.
Remember back in March, when Mila began her urinary campaign against our bed sheets? Yeah, it never really stopped. Unfortunately, the wet spot on our bed accompanied by the smell of cat pee has become a regular part of the Van Sandt household. At best, there were lulls and hiatuses, but the problem never really went away. It’s funny but when your cat pees on the bed often enough, you stop seeing her as a cuddly little ball of love, and start seeing her as a walking water balloon covered in fur.
Once the vet had ruled out any kind of urinary problems and deemed it a behavioral problem, it became just a series of experiments. I stopped volunteering at the cat shelter. We switched brands of kitty litter. The vet gave us pills (not Prozac) and a cat pharamone to spray on the bed. We showered her with affection. We ignored her. We even got the absurdly expensive plug-in that’s supposed to deter cats from marking. All in a desperate attempt to convince Mila that our bed is not a litter box. The best we got was a few days or weeks of relief, but for the most part she was persistent.
When we packed up and moved here to Wichita for the summer, I was very anxious to see what her next move would be. On one hand, we would be leaving behind our mattress, which, despite the fact that we cleaned thoroughly after ever accident, probably will forever hint of pee. But on the other hand, moving is about as stressful as they get, and we had a feeling that stress was part of Mila’s MO.
The cats and I arrived in Wichita first, and without incident, and for the first few days we were pee free. There was a single incident the night before Kyle rolled into town, but after that there were none. She went 3, almost 4 weeks without wizzing on our bed, and which is just about long enough for us to let our guard down. Of course, that’s not to say that our apartment was completely devoid of cat urine. Anything that fell on the floor of our closet was immediately marked with her scent. She also began getting into the bottom drawer of our dresser, dragging Kyle’s boxers and socks in front of the entry of her litter box and peeing on those. After being burned more than once, we’ve had to get in the habit of sniffing our clothing before putting them on. But these incidents were relatively few, and compared to a smelly bed a few stinky socks were a-okay with me.
And then last Tuesday happened. Last Tuesday was the day that we had to lock the cats in the bathroom because pest control was coming to spray for bugs and the bathroom is the only seal able-room on our tiny studio apartment. It was also the last pee-free day for the Van Sandts. Suddenly, it was like she’d never stopped. Every day when we came home for lunch, we’d find that damn wet spot on the bed and that fucking smell, and would once again have to strip the bed and start another load of laundry. And let me tell you, at $1.50 a wash and $1.25 a dry, that shit gets real expensive real fast. And in a studio apartment, it’s not like we could just shut her out of the bedroom. Sheets didn’t have a prayer of making it 24 hours on our bed with Mila around.
Finally, out of options and over the laundromat, we took her to a local vet, in the hopes that maybe one more option out there. Turns out there is: Prozac. Her peeing seems to stem from anxiety, and what better way to combat anxiety than with an anti-depressant? It’s known to have good results in curbing inappropriate urine marking in cats, and frankly, to use the cliche, at that point we were willing to try damn-near anything.
So last night, just before bed, Mila got her first kitty-happy-pill. And damnit if the results weren’t nearly instant. By morning, she was a totally different cat; calmer, quieter, less twichy. But most importantly, when we came home for lunch our sheets were totally dry.
It’s now Night 2, and I’m currently lying on the same sheets I slept in last night, which is a record in our house. It’s as if the idea of peeing on the bed no longer occures to her. And this is great. But at the same time, I feel a little guilty for having literally doped up my cat. There’s definately some lethargy going on in little Mila. Sure, she still pounces on my feet under the covers, chases after her favorite string, and plays with her sister, Allyse, but without her usual spastic energy. She spends more time curled up on the couch like a throw pillow, and I’m afraid that Mila Backflips just might be a thing of the past. She’s still my kitty, but she’s a quieter, more subdued version of my kitty.
But sadly, being heartless bastards, we value our clean sheets more than we value the unaltered personality of our cat, so we’re just thrilled that she went today without accidents. I feel like one of those mothers that shoves Ridalin down the throat of a hyper child; like I’m more interested in the results as they pertain to my life than the well-being of my “child.” Hopefully, this is something that she will grow out of, so we can loose the drugs and get our wild, psychotic kitten back. And in the meantime…I have a cat on drugs.