A Case Study.
Why was this magnificent male
urinating outside the litter box?
When Renie Morris contacted me on November 30, 2016, about her beloved cat, Viggo, she was, to use her own words, "in desperation."
Although she had worked with me for a few sessions in 2015 to change Viggo's inappropriate urination behavior, the situation with Viggo had deteriorated over time.
THE "DESPERATE" SITUATION
Viggo is an elegant black male cat. He was found by Renie and her husband, Ross, at a veterinary office where his family had left him to be adopted. He was around 2 years old. At that time, Viggo used the litter box consistently.
About a year later, Aidan, a lovely male, orange tiger kitten, came to live with them. Aidan and Viggo integrated well. It wasn't until Aidan was about a year old that Viggo began urinating outside the litter box.
Over the following 3 years, Viggo had episodes when he would urinate inappropriately and then return to using the litter box. His preferred spots were on a queen-sized bed, a day bed, and finally, a brand new sofa. The sofa was a kind of "last straw" for Renie and Ross.
Viggo had not had any UTI (urinary tract infections), so further investigation was needed. The frequency of his inappropriate urination had increased over time, and was now intolerable for his other family members.
Viggo's relationship with Aidan deteriorated. Aidan likes things clean and neat, and was expressing his displeasure at finding urine around the house by attacking Viggo. Renie's husband, Ross, was losing patience with the whole situation and was asking that Viggo be caged. This is where things were when Renie contacted me on November 30, 2016
Renie was open to trying a variety of approaches to resolve the situation because of her strong heart-bond with Viggo. I was willing to creatively brainstorm and ask for higher guidance for assistance.
Ultimately, a combination of approaches applied over time and overlapping each other have brought about significant changes.
Viggo was already receiving homeopathic remedies chosen by Dr. Loops, a veterinarian trained in that approach. According to Renie, Dr. Loops felt that Viggo was compulsive in his behaviors. While the homeopathic remedies helped Viggo in many ways, the chronic peeing outside the litter box continued, and Dr. Loops could not promise that homeopathy alone would resolve the issue.
Although I had spoken to Viggo in 2015, we began in December, 2016, with Animal Communication. Viggo needed to understand how desperate his family was to help him. He needed to commit to wanting help.
Viggo did understand his humans' unhappiness, but didn't feel that he could stop himself from peeing on the sofa that Renie and Ross had just purchased. During the months that followed, I continued to work with Viggo and Renie.
Aidan had started attacking Viggo when the inappropriate urination become chronic. One of the first things I did was to negotiate, as much as possible, a peaceful settlement between the two cats. To support this, I suggested flower essences for both the boys, as each needed different ones.
Viggo is extremely sensitive to how others are feeling, so I suggested to Renie that calming the energy of the house might be helpful. Misting the house with Rescue Remedy once a day after she and her husband return home from work might make a difference.
We also discussed other things she and Ross could do to keep the energies at home more peaceful, such as clearing their own energies when returning home from work.
In addition, Viggo was given flower essences for developing clearer and stronger emotional boundaries.
THE EMOTION CODE™¹
By December, 2015, Viggo's inappropriate peeing behavior had not significantly changed, although his overall attitude towards life was better.
At the time I was training to become a Certified Emotion Code™ Practitioner². I explained to Renie how the system worked and suggested that clearing trapped emotions and removing Viggo's heart wall might help change his behavior. Both Renie and Viggo agreed to try it.
"PHANTOM LIMB SYNDROME" IN DECLAWED PAWS
In my experience as a professional Animal Communicator, I have found that some declawed cats experience phantom limb pain, just as a some humans do after losing a part of their extremities.
Viggo had told me that his paws hurt. A cat with painful paws may find certain types of cat litter uncomfortable. I decided to check with the Emotion Code™ to see if there were emotional blocks in Viggo's paws that might be contributing to his discomfort.
Sure enough, he had emotions in both forefeet that had been declawed. By releasing all the emotions trapped there, we eliminated Viggo's phantom limb discomfort.
TAKING DOWN VIGGO's "HEART WALL"
In over 20 years of working as a professional Animal Communicator, I have found that many animals who have been in rescue situations have put up protective walls around their hearts. These are actual walls around their hearts that were created to prevent the physical/emotional heart from breaking.
Heart Walls are a form of protection, but can also become a barrier to giving and receiving love. When we are unable to let love in, we often develop behaviors that get us attention, even if the attention is negative. That's what a compulsive behavior does, i.e., it's an inappropriate way to ask for attention and love.
The first step was to take down Viggo's heart wall, which was 2 inches thick.
After only 2 Emotion Code™ sessions, Viggo's Heart Wall was completely gone. However, he needed a month to integrate this change.
To help him feel protected, I installed an energy shield that would help him keep out uncomfortable feelings that belonged to other people. Renie agreed to remind him each day to make sure his shield is activated.
ADDING A SECOND LITTER BOX
Over many years of having cats myself and working with clients' cats, I've learned that when you have more than 1 cat living indoors, you often need more than 1 litter box. The typical rule for cats who live entirely inside is
# of litter boxes = # number of cats + 1 (one)
In other words, for 2 cats, you need 3 boxes.
Sometimes you can get away with 2 cats sharing one box, but if you have a cat who is urinating inappropriately, having at least 1 box per cat in 2 different locations may make it possible for each cat to have his or her own private spot. For some cats, privacy is essential.
So Renie got a second box. Renie showed the box to Viggo and Aidan, and encouraged Viggo to use it. Within a few days things began to shift. What surprised both Renie and me was that Aidan began using the new box, while Viggo began using the old box more regularly to urinate. Of course, as long as Viggo was using one of the boxes, Renie and Ross were happier.
ELIMINATING COMPULSIVE BEHAVIORS
With Viggo's heart wall gone and Viggo feeling safe and more love, I was then able to release the energy of his compulsive urination behavior. All living beings need attention, and psychology has demonstrated that negative attention is better than no attention at all.
In Viggo's case, he was getting plenty of attention from Renie and Ross, but the heart wall had kept much of it at a distance. With his heart wall gone, it was no longer necessary for Viggo to seek negative attention.
With the energy of the compulsive need gone, Viggo could consciously make some new choices.
"DON'T EXPECT THINGS TO CHANGE QUICKLY OR IN A STRAIGHT LINE"
As I worked with Viggo and Renie over the weeks and months, each step we took, each technique used, and each aspect healed contributed to helping Viggo shift into a new way of living. No one thing that was done would have been enough to resolve the situation.
With each step, Viggo would change in some way. He might become more playful, or more affectionate, or more relaxed. He might use the litter box more frequently, but then go back to using inappropriate locations.
There is no magic pill or incantation that will resolve inappropriate urination, especially when the behavior has been going on for a long time. It takes commitment, creativity, and the application of a variety of healing methods to move things along in the desired direction.
AND FINALLY ... OR AT LEAST FOR NOW ...
Viggo's story demonstrates that the road to success may have many ups and downs, twists and turns, and even the illusion of detours before inappropriate urination behavior can be fully resolved.
From my perspective, it's clear that no single approach was enough to completely change Viggo's behavior.
It took a lot of creative thinking and experimentation on everyone's part to come up with the approaches that were taken.
It took a lot of willingness on Renie's part to experiment with different approaches.
Renie's love for Viggo propelled her on, and her determination and love for him were key factors in bringing things to a better place.
Once you accept that there isn't going to be a "quick fix", you are more open to creating the real solution that will enable a cat to have a happy, loving life.
On February 17, 2017, Renie wrote to me,
A week has passed and it's been quite uneventful. Viggo has been using the bedroom litter box every couple of days and in between goes in the bathroom one. Still not going in the wrong places. He had his [homeopathic] remedy today and we continue to tell him to keep his shields up. He is acting very outgoing and loving and he and Aidan interact a lot.
Thanks again. I'm a lot more optimistic now.
In my mind, Viggo is still a "work in progress."
Only time will tell how this situation will ultimately work out. For now, the important thing is that Viggo has made a great deal of improvement in his letter box usage, and everyone is optimistic that he will continue to do better.
¹ The Emotion Code™ is the creation of Dr. Bradley Nelson. For more information about this approach to healing, visit http://www.theemotioncode.tv
² I am now a Certified Emotion Code™ Practitioner and am using this technique with both my animal and human clients. If you would like assistance for yourself or for one of your animals, please contact me at email@example.com.
Blogging with Nedda Wittels
Here is a list of some types of situations that can cause cats to not use litter boxes and/or to stop using litter boxes. The list is not all-inclusive, as other factors can contribute to the situation. Sometimes, more than one factor listed here may be relevant to a specific case.
PHYSICAL ILLNESS: "How can I tell my person there is a physical problem?" These can include all types of urinary tract illness, bowel blockages, scar tissue left over from spay/neuter surgeries, and pain from declawing (phantom limb) problems. Please note that urinary tract problems can become chronic.
EMOTIONAL ISSUES: blockages or imbalances; cans can be emotional sponges for their humans, as well as dealing with their own emotions.
ENERGY IN YOUR HOME: the energy of your house, of the people living and/or visiting your home can all affect your feline's energy field. Find ways to keep the space energetically clear and peaceful.
EXCESSIVE YANG - meaning, lots of male chi (even if the testosterone levels are low and even if the cat is a female) can lead to aggressive behavior, including spraying and not using the litter box.
TOO MANY CATS!! How much space (territory) does a cat need? Just because the house feels a comfortable size to you doesn't mean it feels big enough for your cat. Cats don't normally live in community with other cats that are not their siblings, aunts, nieces. Males don't usually live in community at all in the wild. We have created a totally unnatural environment for our cats and then we complain when they don't all find this environment comfortable. In addition, another cat in the house may be an old enemy (past life) or a current enemy (not all humans could necessarily live comfortably together.
CATS NEED TIME TO ADJUST TO LIFE CHANGES and sometimes, just like humans, can't make the adjustment to certain changes. Every personality is different. Some of the changes that might set off this behavior are:
- New baby arrives.
- Baby becomes a toddler and chases the cat, grabbing at them by the tail or even just the body.
- New animal upsets the balance of things; smells new & different
- New life partner for you
- Separation or divorce (grieving)
- Move to a new place and having to adjust
- New place smells from other animals who lived there before you moved in.
YOUR ATTITUDE: How you react to your cat when he or she stops using the litter box directly affects your cat. My recommendation is that your first reaction should be concern for the cat's health. If you begin by being negative and judgmental, you are not creating an opportunity to work out whatever is going on.
If you cat has stopped using the litter box or is occasionally leaving you little presents and this has gone on for some time (months, years), and you are now at the end of your rope or your spouse/life partner is at the end of his or her rope, this will make it harder to solve the problem.
BREAKING A LONG-TIME HABIT: Just as it is difficult for you to break a habit, so it is for any animal. Once the cause of the change in behavior is uncovered and resolved, many cats still find it challenging to break a life-time habit. Patience and perseverance on the part of the human is essential.
GETTING RID OF THE SCENT: Cats use their scent to get rid of other scents they don't like. Finding the right cleaner to get rid of a urine scent can be challenging, especially if you don't want to use anything artificial or toxic.
ANIMALS AS MIRRORS: Many times animals mirror our issues to show us what in our life is "not working" for us any longer. If your cat is not using the litter box, does this reflect something else inside your or going on in other areas of your life?
Because each animal is unique and different, it is impossible to apply generalities to the question of why an individual cat has stopped using the litter box. Therefore, I will be happy to answer general questions in the blog about the topic of litter boxes and felines, but I cannot and will not try to solve a particular situation about anyone's cat. That requires speaking with the cat directly, and often with other members of the household as well.
Please visit my website, www.raysofhealinglight.com and subscribe to my mailing list to receive free "Eleven Keys to Creating a Win/Win with Your Animals."