M. Giant's
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Monday, June 02, 2008  


I had mixed emotions about replacing the bed in the guest room with a futon, and now that we have one, it turns out I wasn't the only one. I'd just like to think that I've been expressing my doubts in a healthier manner than the cats have.

We got it used off of Craigslist early last month. The lady who sold it to us had been nice enough to take it apart before I showed up to pick it up, which is good, because it barely fit in the station wagon even disassembled. Reconstituting it without instructions, using only the photo from the original listing as a guide, was kind of a fun challenge, especially since I've never owned a futon frame before and don't really get how they work. But I managed to pull it off with bolts and washers to spare.

All seemed well, until our very next houseguest LPG tried to go to bed on the second night of her visit and found an ammonia-smelling damp spot where her feet were supposed to go. Good thing we have a comfy sofa in the basement to use as backup, but of we wanted our guests to sleep on the sofa, we wouldn't have splurged 85 bucks on a used futon. I still don't know who the culprit was; while I could differentiate the odors of Strat's and Orca's pee, I don't yet have that skill with Exie and Phantom and they never seem to want to practice with me.

I thought it was because I'd skipped a night of cleaning the kitty boxes, and vowed never to do that again. But several times in the past couple of weeks, we've been finding puddles on the couch-configured futon. And they're the worse kind. The kind with height.

I say "we," but it was mostly M. Small. He'd go in, follow his nose to the futon, and cry, "POO, DADDY! POO!" Then he would make a long series of theatrical retching noises, as though he was the one who was going to have to clean it up. I wish.

Just the poo on the futon was bad enough, but whoever was doing it insisted on being "considerate" enough to cover it up with something else, which then also had to be either cleaned or thrown away. I'm not going to go into a whole list of those items here, but I will say that it'll have to be raining pretty damn hard before I ever think about using a certain umbrella again.

We've been trying to get into the habit of locking both cats out of there, but it's easy to forget, especially since that room serves as our main entrance into the house. We're getting better, though. Tonight M. Small came home, sniffed the futon, inspected everything on it, and asked me, in all seriousness, "Why the cats didn't poo?"

I've been meaning to make an appointment for Phantom at the vet, but since she's been locked out it hasn't happened anywhere else, which suggests to me that it's a behavior issue and not a health issue. And today I realized that it wasn't a Phantom issue at all.

Trash was the one who suggested that it might actually be Exie, even though he doesn't have her history of this kind of thing. I was skeptical, until a couple of hours into my workday I heard some rather mournful mewling coming from down the hall. Yes, I had locked Phantom into the bedroom with the poo-ton. And she hadn't defiled it even a little. Which made me glad we hadn't punished her for it.

(By the way, I accidentally typed "punched" for "punished," oddly enough. That we did. Sorry.)

But now we have to figure out what's up with Exie. Again, I'm pretty sure it's a behavioral thing, just marking his territory in the vilest way possible. Could it be because of the open window in there? I doubt it, because he's done it when the window's closed. And even if it wasn't that, I'm not about to close that window and trap the smell of cat poo and pet-stink remover in there indefinitely.

So that's where we are now. In unrelated news, anybody want to buy a futon and frame? I can let you have it for $110.

posted by M. Giant 7:56 PM 11 comments


i work for these guys - zeroodor.com, and I have to say the stuff rocks. my last dog was incontinent for the last year or so of her life and without ZO I'd've had to chuck a LOT more stuff.

By Blogger katie, at June 2, 2008 at 8:07 PM  

Maybe the last owners had a male cat? If Exie smelled another unknown male anywhere on the futon or the frame that would explain the territory marking.

I'd try the zeroodor stuff or Nature's Miracle on the cushion and the frame. That might take care of it. Otherwise you need to catch him in the act and give him the old spray bottle treatment.

By Blogger lumenatrix, at June 3, 2008 at 12:47 AM  

We had the same problem with one of our cats about a year and a half ago. A phantom pee-er. Our vet suggested Anti-Icky-Poo (www.antiickypoo.com) over many of the other brands (even nature's miracle) and it worked.

In addition, we are pretty sure ours was a behavioral thing too and we moved the litter box. After we did that it stopped. Ours were downstairs in the basement but we had to move them upstairs into the laundry room and it never happened again.

The things we do for our cats.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 3, 2008 at 8:16 AM  

I agree with beginning with a whole-futon spray-down with Nature's Miracle. If that doesn't do it, our vet also taught us a useful trick: put the culprit's food bowl on the futon and feed him from there. Cats don't want to mix the two so the peeing stops.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 3, 2008 at 8:28 AM  

(Psst. Your DHAK link is broken.)

We have six cats, and one of them was a pee ninja. We ended up using these little, um... well, these things that are like Glade plug-ins, except they exude kitty pheromones instead of lavender mist or whatever. I wish I could remember the brand name -- I can't, but they should be easy to find. They worked really, really well; it takes them about a week to ger up (so to speak), but after that there is no more kitty pee. You might consider sticking one of these in the guest room.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 3, 2008 at 10:04 AM  

Sigh. I meant "gear," of course.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 3, 2008 at 10:05 AM  

The plug-in things are called "Feliway" (at least, that's the brand I've used). They're basically diffusers that send out hormones to reduce anxiety. It's the last step before kitty Prozac (I work for a vet, and I have a very neurotic cat, so I've dealt with this many times). The Feliway usually works great, but always get your cat checked out first to make sure the problem isn't medical (which is almost always easier to fix). Unfortunately, defecating outside the box is almost always behavioral.
Oh, and putting the food where they're marking is a great idea, too.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 3, 2008 at 10:19 AM  

I'll second (third, sixteenth) the suggestions for the odor neutralizers, but want to add that peeing is not always a health issue. One of the downsides to have some cats with Serious Issues is that I occasionally have to deal with inappropriate peeing.

If the futon is being kept in a room where it's not being used very often, I'd highly recommend covering it up with something to protect it from any future peeing. Heavy duty shower curtains are actually pretty effective, and the plastic is sturdy enough that they can't rip it. You may think 'oh, we can just use one of those waterproof mattress covers' but trust me when I say that those were not built to handle cats and their claws.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 3, 2008 at 5:53 PM  

I have a mystery poo-er (I have suspicions about which cat it is...), but fortunately she confines her activity to within a foot of the cat boxes in the basement, so it's really not a big deal.

Then again, we lived 16 years with a cat that peed on and behind furniture, on carpeting, in corners, etc., etc. It's such a relief not to have to deal with that anymore that I think my standards have shifted.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 3, 2008 at 6:07 PM  

Poo-ton. Poo-ton.

That's all I have to say.

By Blogger Unknown, at June 5, 2008 at 7:26 PM  

Get Exie checked out, just to make sure it's not medical. But yeah, it sounds like the previous owners of the pooton had a cat that either sprayed or peed on it :-(

By Blogger Teslagrl, at June 16, 2008 at 8:09 AM  

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