A Crazy Cat Lady Gives Advice

If you have a cat, you know you don’t really have a cat. They have you. Living with a feline beast means expecting the unexpected and adjusting a few of your previous, pre-cat habits. If you’re new to the world of cats, you may benefit from a little insight from a lifelong crazy cat lady.

How can we have a cat accept changes without showing his/her anger and peeing on everything?

Cats are creatures of habit, and they do not like change (unless you’re offering tuna instead of their regular food, then they are okay with it). Any changes made have to be made methodically and very, very slowly. Which can be a challenge. For instance, if you need to move the litter box, experts say to move it a few inches at a time until you get it to where you want it to be, over the course of a few days. Admittedly, my method has been to move the litter box, find the cat, and put him or her in it, expecting they will figure it out from there. But the bottom line is, cats just don’t like change. Forcing it upon them will result in some unwanted behavior. Just be patient and give them time to adjust.

How do you remove the stench from cat urine? Especially on clothes or on a couch?

The simple answer—you don’t. You can spend a fortune on pet odor removers that promise to remove cat urine. They rarely (if ever) work. While they move remove the odor from OUR sense of smell, cats have much better noses than we do…but all is not lost! For clothes, a couple of cycles with plain old white vinegar usually does the trick. For furniture, well…again, that’s a different matter. You can remove the smell from being obvious to you, but for a cat, it’s unlikely you’ll ever remove it so well that they forget about it.

One of the cats scratches her claws on the carpet. What is the best tactic to eliminate this recurring problem? Obviously throwing things at her doesn’t work.

They say cats hate water and a simple spray bottle can solve such unwanted behaviors. Unfortunately, every cat I’ve ever owned has never minded water, so the spray bottle has never worked for me. A cardboard scratch pad is a great distraction, especially if you shake a bit of catnip on it. She’ll be flying high in kitty wonderland.

How do we keep an overly affectionate cat from constantly rubbing herself on our legs or insisting on being petted?

You pet her. Sorry, cats are notoriously stubborn and if she wants to be petted, then, yep! She’s gonna get petted, even if she has to do it herself against your leg, your sleeve, the wall or whatever her adoration is targeted towards.

With a female and male cat living together, is there ever harmony instead of aggressive fighting and chasing during the night?

First, a question: Are they both fixed? You don’t want a bunch of little kittens running around you will have to find homes for. Second, it doesn’t matter if they are male and female, male and male, or female and female. They will occasionally fight. And whether it’s in play or in a moment of aggression, they will have chases throughout the house during the night. Heck—they’ll do that even if they are an only-cat! A word of advice: close your bedroom door lest the kitty races have a track that leads right across your face or stomach. Neither is a fun experience at 2 AM.

How to change the habits of a cat—walking on the kitchen counter tops (this really grosses me out) and other spaces (bathroom and bedroom), knocking things over?

In all my years of having cats, I’ve only ever had one who didn’t jump on the kitchen counter. And like you, it grosses me out. I should have taken out stock in Lysol and Clorox years ago, but it’s the Lysol and Clorox wipes that I keep handy on my counter that are now just a part of my routine, every time I prepare a meal in the kitchen. And honestly—whether you have pets or not, it’s a good practice to wash down your counters before you cook, anyway.

As far as the cats knocking things over—well, that’s just what they do. Sometimes, cats can be jerks.