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Cats/Bad Behaviour or Dementia

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Question
Hello,

I have a 20 year old spayed male cat who over the past 2 months is exhibiting an odd pattern of behaviour which appears to be intentional and deliberate, we just don't understand if it is an attitude or behaviour issue or if this is somehow an indication of early dementia. Floyd is in otherwise good health, eats well everyday, uses his litter box, and still likes to go outside.

However, if he wants your attention, or his special treat and you do not give him your attention or his special treat he will get in front of you whether to do so involves climbing onto the microwave if I am cooking or onto the kitchen table if I am sitting talking where he will proceed to deliberately turn his back to us, squat and then pee or poop (he has done both on four separate occasions) right in front of us. The first time was on the microwave he peed on the emergency radio, the second, was on the kitchen table in a basket on top of two melons he pooped, the third unbelievably was right on our bed in front of us after tapping us with his paw indicating his wanting his treat and when he didn't get it turned his back raised his butt and pooped at our feet on the bed. The fourth was on the keyboard, after tapping my husband w his paw. The problem is his wanting the treats all the time, or constant attention, he takes everything out of the cabinets to look for them but they are in the fridge now. Everyone is nervous about his behaviour and what he will wreck with his deification or urination and are even scared he might pee or poop on one of us while sleeping. Again, it's always deliberate and in front of us, we can hardly believe our eyes. Any advise or information would be greatly appreciate.

Answer
Cheryl,

At age 20, your cat is quite geriatric, so anything could be going on.   I would check with your vet to make sure there is not a health issue (e.g., a urinary tract infection, worm, or any other not so obvious problem.

If there is not health issue, then you have quite a bit of detective work to have to do. See if you can remember if there was a precipitating event that might have started this behavior. E.g., a change in the type or brand of litter you are using, a change in the location of the litter pan, the addition of a 2 legged or 4 legged addition to the household, a new outside cat hanging around the household, just to name a few.

You might also look at:

http://jacksongalaxy.com/category/cat-behavior-and-care/behavioral-issues/

There are a wealth of suggestions on this web site.

Two things to remember about cats is (1) that discipline or any other negative reinforcement technique is usually wasted on cats and (2) that cats respond better to positive reinforcement techniques, especially when they are convinced it is their idea.

Please let me know what your vet finds, if anything.

Best regards... Norm.  

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Norman Auspitz

Expertise

I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.

Experience

I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.


Organizations
Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Publications
Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

Education/Credentials
I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

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