A few weeks ago, my cat, a six year old DSH named Leo, escaped from the house from the back porch while the Murse was taking out the garbage. Usually, we notice right away when he slips out, but it was late in the evening, and we didn’t notice. He ended up out all night, and in the late afternoon of the next day, I noticed I hadn’t seen him all day. My cat is front declawed (yes, I know, I’m opening myself up for a royal trolling), and he doesn’t spend any time outside unless he liberates himself by stalking the windows and doors. I feared the worst for him: The longest he’d ever been out for was an hour or so, and he usually stayed pretty close to the house. I couldn’t find him.
I circled the house making kissy sounds and clicking my tongue to attract him, but I saw and heard nothing. I thought for sure I’d find him splattered across the busy road that’s half a block up, where people scream by at ludicrous speed. Just as I was about to climb the back porch steps and give up, I heard the tiniest of meows. I couldn’t even figure out where it was coming from, it was so faint. I clicked my tongue and listened some more. He was under the porch, sandwiched in a window well, and he wouldn’t come to me.
Because I’m not always so bright, I attempted to remove the lattice from the porch and go under after him, but after a few failed attempts at this, I went inside to the basement and let him in from the window. I probably should have thought of that first, but it just wouldn’t be me if I had. Anyway, he was hesitant, but I picked him up, and pulled him inside. The next day or so, he was very lazy. I mean, yeah, he’s a cat, and they sleep a lot, but this dude was completely lethargic, and just spent all day curled up in one spot. I went to check on him, and then I noticed that he had a very deep gash in his side.
By big, I mean pretty ridiculously big. It was gaping and you could see down into him. I felt horrible for not noticing sooner, but I made an appointment with the vet as the Murse and my mother, who is also a nurse, had a look at it. When we arrived at the animal clinic, he looked like this, and there were many questions about what had happened: Had he gotten snagged on a fence? Was there a fight with another animal? I have no idea — both were distinct possibilities. The vet took him overnight for surgery, wherein she did a debridement of the wound, stitched him up and updated all of his shots. She reported that the had been very close to Leo’s abdominal cavity, and that he was incredibly lucky not to have died.
When we got him the next morning, he had a prescription for antibiotics and was fitted with a collar that he absolutely hated. Well, I quickly grew to hate it, too. In our house, the basement door is fitted with a cat door. He comes and goes as he pleases to eat and use the litter box. Sometimes, Kaeloo will climb down it, too, which is annoying but not the point. Leo was drained by his surgery, so I closed the cat door, and I left him downstairs to rest for a while. I put out Kaeloo’s crib comforter for him to sleep on, filled his food and water dishes, and made sure the litter box was sparkly clean for him. However, he was so completely perplexed about his surroundings without the use of his whiskers that he stopped being able to use the litter box at all. The crib comforter, which was very cute and that I’d hoped to sell to another family on eBay, became his urine station, and he would drop feces all over the basement. I was upset but understanding: I probably wouldn’t be able to use the bathroom if you put my head in a cone, either. I didn’t scold him, I just cleaned up behind him dutifully.
When the collar came off and the comforter went into the trash, I was so happy! We could go back to our normal litter routine, and everything would be amazing! Or not. Leo had become accustomed to using the entire basement as a litter box, and I was completely disgusted when I went down to clean the litter pan after a few days. There was poop everywhere on the floor, and he’d used a corner repeatedly to relieve his bladder. I was no longer understanding: I was pissed off. How dare that little furbag, after the hundreds of dollars we spent caring for him because he decided to fly the coop, forget about the litter box?
I’ve only ever potty trained one other cat in my life, and she was a little princess named Sunshine. Sunshine was the sweetest little cat ever, but she had social anxiety and would stop eating and other normal functions whenever Leo was around. As the only cat, she thrived, but there was no way to keep the two separated for extended periods. Ultimately, the anxiety was the end of her: She starved herself to death. Anyway, Sunshine was acclimated to the litter box with a product called Cat Attract. It’s a hard-clumping blend of litter and herbs that is supposed to make kitties want to use the box. I fondly remembered the product and insisted to the Murse that we go out and buy some at our earliest convenience.
That earliest convenience was yesterday, and Leo is already back using the litter box. I don’t know why it works, and I honestly don’t care: The litter is magic. How it goes is that you start with the Cat Attract straight in the pan and then slowly incorporate regular litter until the Cat Attract is gone and your cat is no longer dependent upon it to use the litter box. This time, since Leo was already litter trained, I started with a mixture of about 75% Cat Attract and 25% regular clumping litter. So far, I’d have to say I’m in love again with this product. It’s expensive, but it’s worth every penny, whether you’ve got a stubborn old cat like Leo or a new litter of kittens to train.
For the record: This is a completely unsolicited review. The Murse and I paid for the litter with our own $15.00, and I was not contacted by the company to do a review. However, as always, the opinions expressed in this blog are my own and should not be attributed to Dr. Elsey’s or Cat Attract.