He's At It Again
Blog commenters and many resources on the web told me he probably had a urinary tract infection, so we made a journey to the vet in town. Henry hates riding in the car, so that was a fun time. Then we had to pin him down twice a day for two weeks and massage his throat into swallowing antiobiotics.
As we'd been told, once they start peeing outside the litter box, it's hard to break them of it entirely. Henry's occasional "accidents" took on a more determined quality - he peed on my coat and anything else of mine I left lying around, and whenever he escaped into the office (where I'd first caught him peeing behind my desk), he immediately, determinedly peed on the first object he could find.
So we also made some "lifestyle changes." First, no more clothes or plastic bags (his favorite target) lying about the house. He was no longer allowed in the hall bathroom or the office, his two favorite pee spots, and we thoroughly cleaned the carpet beside the chair in the living room.
To make Henry's litter box appealing to him again, we got a second, larger litter box (apparently, you're supposed to have one per cat) and established a better routine of more frequent scooping. We also used a special, expensive herbal litter that's supposed to attract Wandering Pee-ers.
All of that seemed to work, mostly, and we gradually weaned him off the special litter. We relaxed and left the bathroom door open again. For a while, things were good. We still suspected him of occasional sneaky transgressions - I'd catch a whiff of something and travel around the living room floor on hands and knees, sniffing - but could never find anything definite.
Somehow a year passed this way. Then, suddenly, it started again. I brought a plastic bag out of the office and found pee on it the next day. Then I went to wipe my face on the hand towel in the bathroom and was hit with the unmistakable aroma of cat pee. Darwin felt angry; I felt like weeping. And washing my face. Twice.
This weekend, I caught him in the act of peeing on my bath towel, which was draped over the bathroom counter. Then this morning while I was getting ready in the hall bath, Henry strolled right in and peed on the bathroom cabinet.
There was none of that pitiful mewling or pained expression from the time I caught him last year, the time that persuaded me to take him to the vet the very next day. Maybe he is defiant. Maybe he is spraying instead of peeing. Or maybe it's just still in an early stage of UTI.
I don't know, but it's back to the vet and the special litter he must go. And if anyone has helpful, practical suggestions, I welcome them.
However, if you - like the belated commenter to last year's Henry UTI post - think I should "keep the house, get rid of the cat," feel free not to comment. That is one solution - along with, "put him outside" - I will not consider.
Bath towels and even furniture are disposable - animals are not.