5 out of 8 cats marking - urinating outside the box
OK! I've really REALLY HAD IT!!! I'm afraid to say this but here goes.
I am the proud parent of um... 8 cats. Yes 8! They are all fixed.
They, not sure how many but at least 5 that I know of, are peeing/marking EVERY DAY!
I have been using cat urine enzyme cleaners as directed for years trying to contain the problem.
(I literally do pee checks all over my home every single day and find them every time!) Over the years, I have "catified" my home. Here's what I mean:
1) I have 9 kitty litter boxes spread out on both floors and in different private areas of my house and they are kept clean at all times.
2) I switched years ago from mostly dry food and some canned to mostly canned food and only some dry which is said to reduce urine concentration and therefore prevent chances of infection. There are food and water bowls in several areas of the house to prevent guarding and bullying.
3) They have climbing trees and cat shelves near most windows, catnip toys and I personally exhaust them everyday with a laser pointer.
4) I have placed added bowls of cat food to the areas where they always pee after reading that cats never soil where they eat. And to my delight they didn't! They just found NEW places to do it! :(
5) Health checks all OK.
6) Pheromones and lavender fills the air.
7) Anxiety drops in their water.
8) I've accepted my life of scrubbing my ruined wood furniture, baseboards and anything metal and spending a fortune on cat urine cleaners because I know I cannot part with any of them.
They are all rescues from shelters and the streets and sending them back would kill me. I would die first! (I probably will too from all the cleaners I'm inhaling LOL!) Any ideas anyone? Anyone? Sincerely crazy cat lady.
Wow, Kathleen, I'm sorry to hear that you're having so much trouble. I'm glad to hear, though, that you're sticking it out with these kitties.
I'd say that you've done a pretty darn good job of catification of your home. You've done a lot of things right, including lots of litter boxes and making use of vertical space.
Let me state the obvious:
With this many cats in the house and the amount of time this has gone on, you have a rather difficult and complex problem here. There could be a number of different personality dynamics that come into play as well.
Stress is often a big factor. Is it possible that you simply do not have enough space for each cat to live stress free?
Is it also possible that the relationships that have developed between some of the cats could be part of the issue?
Does everyone get along? Are there any sub-cliques within the group of 8 cats?
Is it possible that there are cats outside who are urinating and this is a reaction to that?
It sounds like you haven't identified all of the culprits, but have you tried separating the cats into smaller groups to see if behaviors change?
Also, if there's that much urinating going on outside the box, it must be impossible to keep on top of it (at least I think it would be for me). Are you using a black light to detect it? If not, I'd pick one up since, as you know, they'll keep reusing the area.
Have you discussed the possibility of anti-anxiety medications with your vet? Can your vet recommend a qualified cat behavior specialist? It sounds like you may need someone to come assess the situation and suggest some changes and see what happens.
I hope that helps.