Whole Living Daily

Kitty Case Study: The Case of Smokey the Cat

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Poor Gary was at the end of his rope.  His neutered male cat Smokey just would not stop urine marking around the home.  If it looked different, Smokey would urinate on it. If it looked the same, Smokey would urinate on it.

The Problem

Cleaning up after Smokey was a full time job. There wasn’t an odor neutralizer that Gary had not tried and he was tired. He built Smokey a bigger, better litter box, making one as big and deep as a child’s sandbox - to no avail. He allowed Smokey to wander outside, where Smokey sprayed his bushes - but then Smokey would come back in the house and urine mark there, too.  He would locate a likely target, say a fire screen, back up to it and spray a thin stream of urine on it while treading with his feet and giggling the tip of his tail. Smokey was versatile. He could urine mark on horizontal surfaces too and did so quite frequently, often on household appliances. Gary spent some weekend days dismantling large appliances to remove all traces of urine from inside the machine where it had dribbled down.  If he didn’t keep up this arduous cleaning routine the house quickly began to smell like a feline latrine.

Searching for Answers

No one was able to help Gary with his problem and some vets even recommended the ultimate solution, euthanasia.  Wondering if Smokey had been properly neutered, Gary phone the vet practice where Smokey was castrated years before and he was told that the procedure went as planned. Two testicles were removed, the practice manager assured him.  Another vet, suspicious of the barbs on Smokey’s penis, an indicator of residual maleness, decided to check the level of testosterone in Smokey’s blood. But the results came back in the normal range for a neutered cat.  Everyone was stumped and Gary was so torn with his affection for Smokey and yet this unbearable situation he was almost on the point of giving up. So he came to see me.

At first I was confused by the negative results of all the examinations and questions that had been done before and decided to try Smokey on some anti-anxiety medication. It helped, but not for long as Smokey rebelled against being pilled. By now he had started humping Gary legs, too, and was becoming a nuisance and embarrassment. Finally it dawned on me, as I reviewed all the case notes and consulted with veterinary behaviorist colleagues that evidence in favor of Smokey having been improperly castrated was building, despite some evidence to the contrary.  That was when I conducted a special challenge test with a neurohormone, GnRH, to make absolutely certain that Smokey did not have a lurking testicle somewhere in his body. Long story short, the test was positive proving that the original vet practice was wrong and that the first testosterone test was misleading (the sample was not taken in the breeding season).

The Solution

So Smokey was scheduled for surgery to remove the offending object and the Smokey’s objectionable behavior will be history.  On hearing the true cause of Smokey’s behavior and its almost certain resolution, Gary (and his wife) almost cried for joy.  After years of being sent around the houses and after $10,000 in veterinary bills, the monster problem would at last be gone. Hallelujah!

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