Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Sunday, January 10, 2016

#Adventures In #Pet #Advice

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back with another installment of my pet advice series.  Today's topic is what to do when a pet starts going to the bathroom in the house.  Below are a few questions to ask yourself when you first notice the problem.  Once again, I am not a veterinarian, so these are things to consider only after you have spoken with your vet.

So Your Pet Is Peeing In The House...
The first thing to ask yourself is, is your pet fixed?  If your pet is fixed, was it fixed young?  Did you just get your pet fixed?  If your pet is not fixed, get it fixed.  Intact animals often spray because their mating drive makes them territorial.  If your pet is fixed, but it was not fixed young it may have developed a habit of marking which you will have to work to correct.  There are many websites, vets, shelter volunteers, and animal behaviorists who will be able to give you advice on how to do that.  You may need to try several different methods before you find one that works.  If you just got your pet fixed, then give it some time.  Just because its gonads have been removed that doesn't mean all the hormones they have been producing for months/years magically disappear from the animal's system over night.  It might take a couple months before you notice a difference. 

If not being neutered isn't the problem, have you taken your pet to the vet? Your pet may be going to the bathroom in the house, number 1 and/or number 2, as a way of letting you know that they are in pain.  Take them to a vet.  A vet can do diagnostic tests, such as a urinalysis, to check for urinary tract infections, a CBC to check for other signs of infection and/or other blood abnormalities, a blood chemistry panel to check organ function, etc.  You may think that your pet is healthy, or that there is another explanation for the behavior, but you are not a vet.  Neither is your aunt Marge, or your friend's cousin's upstairs neighbor, or me.  Only a vet can properly diagnose and treat a problem with your pet's health. Even if you think there is another reason, that reason could have put stress on your pet and caused a health problem.  Your pet's health has to be checked before anything else can be done.  Yes, vets and tests are expensive.  But part of the responsibility of being a pet owner is taking your furbaby to the doctor when they are sick.  If you need help paying for the visit, contact your local animal shelter and ask about any financial assistance that may be available in your area.  There are some charities that will help people pay for vet visits, so see if there are any where you live.

If it's neither of the first two possibilities, and you don't know if it's the second one until you have taken your pet to a vet, have you just had a change in the household?  Is your pet dealing with a new person, pet, home, cat litter, food, routine, etc.?  If so, your pet may need time.  That probably means more than a couple of days, and it may mean several months.  During that time, you need to take steps to figure out what is triggering the behavior, and either remove the cause or help your pet cope with it.  That may mean creating a quiet place for your pet to be alone, with frequent visits from you. It may mean changing your pet's diet.  It may mean hiring a professional to help you understand and correct your pet's behavior, etc.  Many animal shelters have an animal behaviorist who you can speak with for free, but you may need to hire someone to come to your house.  There are also a lot of websites that have advice for correcting your pet's behavior.  Yes, this all means work and inconvenience for you but, just like all children, sometimes the furry people in our lives require a little extra attention.  Considering all that they give us, aren't they worth the trouble?

One additional possiblity, if your pet is a cat and you have declawed it, litterbox problems are an unfortunately common result of that decision. Inappropriate elimination, both #1 and #2, is common in cats that have been declawed. There are a variety of physical and psychological reasons that this occurs, which I have discussed in more detail in my Is Declawing A Good Idea post, and one or more of them may apply to your cat.  If your declawed cat starts going to the bathroom in the house the first thing to do is, of course, take it to a vet.  Some things you can also discuss with your vet are products like Feliway, Rescue Remedy, and Prozac.  You can ask your vet if they think any of these products might be beneficial for your kitty.

Something to keep in mind is, if your pet is having bathroom issues, it is highly unlikely that anyone will want to adopt it. You have, presumably, had your pet for some length of time and have formed an emotional connection with it.  If you aren't willing to take the time and trouble to help them when they need it, why would someone who doesn't even know your pet want to do so?  Please keep that reality in mind before deciding to take your pet to a shelter.  Loving an animal, just like loving a human, means taking the good with the bad and loving the whole package.  Remember, even if they are having trouble, your pet loves you too.


  1. Pet peeing is almost always a form of communication. This may seem odd, but for cats, who don't speak English, this is the best way they know to get our attention, and if we don't listen the problem compounds. The problem could also be related to urinary tract and kidney issues, so it's imperative to listen to your cat as soon as the peeing starts rather than waiting until the peeing escalates. Mystral's right, a trip to the vet is the best first step.

    If a new cat has come into the house, your cat may be communicating her displeasure that you have moved her down in your list of priorities (just like a child would), A period of separation and adjustment and making sure to show her that she is not being subordinated to the new cat is important.

    1. Thank you for your comment! :-) Yes, cats often do use inappropriate urination as an attention grabber. Either because they're upset or because they're nit feeling well and that's their way of letting you know. Also, psychological and physical causes aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. A stressor, such as introducing a new pet, may lead to or exacerbate a health issue. Any number of physical ailments might lead a cat, or other animal, to pee in the house. A veterinarian is the only person qualified to evaluate a given animal's health status and symptoms. That's why it's so imperative to consult with them first. :-)