Yesterday we put one of our 8 1/2 year old cats to sleep. My husband adopted the cat and his brother from a shelter when they were just a few months old. We gave both cats love, attention, toys, scratching posts, good food and a warm home, but within a few months one of the cats began spraying all over our home. Neither cat is de-clawed and both cats were neutered at the appropriate age, so we took the cat immediately to the vet to find out what was wrong. The vet put our cat on pills for a urinary infection, but the spraying never stopped from that point forward. We took him back to the vet multiple times but they could never find anything wrong.
Our poor cat has always been anxious and high-strung, so we tried a few types of anti-anxiety medications. I read all sorts of cat behavior websites and provided that cat with extra love and attention, but nothing seemed to calm him. I spent hundreds of dollars on Feliway plug-in pheromones and all sorts of deterring devices, but none of them did the trick. During those eight years he sprayed just about every corner and piece of furniture in our home. We threw out four living room chairs, stereo equipment, books, book shelves, sheets, tablecloths and even demolished a bar in the basement. We used Nature’s Miracle and all sorts of other cleaners, but the more we cleaned the more he seemed determined to spray elsewhere.
After over eight years of trying to stop the spraying we finally called it quits. We certainly gave it our best effort, but clearly we still failed. It’s amazing how much you can love an animal, even while it continually destroys your home. I didn’t have the heart to put him up for adoption or put him to sleep, I know that spraying is an ingrained behavior and I didn’t want to punish him for something he was born to do, but after eight and a half years we knew something had to be done.
So my husband called the vet yesterday morning and asked her what to do. Based on our cat’s temperament, age and our concerns about placing a frightened cat in an unfamiliar shelter with strangers she advised us to put the little one to sleep. It is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. We miss him so much already.