Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ted's in the slammer -- and it's a life sentence

Yes, unfortunately, Ted is now caged, and will have to stay caged for the foreseeable future, perhaps for the remainder of his life.

It’s that or put him down because he’s urinating all over the house. Territory marking, no doubt; stress at multiple males, perhaps; maybe simply the grumpiness of advancing age (he’s in his midteens). I never caught him at it, but I suspected him of house-pissing after Ed and Fred’s deaths. The episodes ended after a couple of weeks in each case; perhaps he thought he’d sufficiently marked his territory for the new world order?

Now, with Tomba’s departure and the arrival of Stan and Ollie, the house-marking has not only returned, it’s ratcheted way up. He’s hit my office especially hard, and I’ve actually caught him twice doing it behind my back – literally behind my back; I was working at my desk, heard THAT noise, smelled THAT smell, and turned to see him scram as I screeched. I’ve thrown out ruined stuff, scrubbed and pet-deodorizer-sprayed all the blasted surfaces I found by crawling about the room in the dark with a blacklight, have a steam rug cleaner with special pet-odor agent on order – and I just can’t trust him; within a day of the big all-but-steaming cleanup I caught him backing up to the wastebasket for another hit. He’s sprayed in the living room too; I suspect the upstairs bathroom (sniff – whiff?) but can’t find the exact place; who knows where else he’s gone I haven’t found yet, where he’d go next if I did nothing?

You ask, what about giving Stan and Ollie back to the shelter? And I reply, what if that doesn’t solve the problem? Once they begin this sort of pissing, they rarely reform. I could try kitty Wellbutrin, but (a) it didn’t do much for Tomba, and (b) Ted is a bear to pill. My office, to be blunt, intermittently stinks, and we’re not even into warm humid weather yet. I can’t work around, I can’t live with the stench and the constant vigilant mistrust of leaving Ted free to roam and piddle where he will.

Ted’s too old and too wary of strangers to try to rehome, even assuming anyone would want to adopt a known pisser. So it’s prison or death, alas, and I – judge, jury, executioner – have chosen the slammer for him.

I already had a small cage, the one I’ve used for housing cats on medical hiatus from freedom. After lying awake last night for hours pondering what to do, I went out today and bought a larger cage, the standard sort of large-dog-sized folding wire crate, and have tied the two cages together. Voila: Ted’s new prison. The white object above Ted is a rolled towel tied into place to block the gap between the larger and smaller cage openings.



On order is a six-foot-high, three-perch cat cage which I will tie into the other two cages. Since that has a door at all three levels, when it arrives and gets added to the current set-up I’m hoping to tie into the second-level door yet another crate I bought today, a cloth-sided dog den with a plush (removable) floor that I’ll put on top of whatever crate ties into the tower.

Oops! I might have to buy still another large wire crate to substitute for the one currently in use, because that one, what I was able to get on short notice today once I’d made up my mind, only has one door. (This crate, for example, has three doors, all removable, which would make tying cages together much easier, but I didn’t want to wait for the shipment to arrive to take action.) Would’ve been cheaper to euthanize Ted, eh? And no giant cage complex cluttering the living room!

But I just couldn’t do it. Maybe it’s selfish of me; maybe he’ll be so miserable caged that it would be kinder to call it quits. He’s already lived a good long happy life. But he’s handling the caging pretty well so far; complaining, yes, but after the first few minutes of looking for escape he seems to have settled down, and he’s eating, so he can’t be too freaked out.

So there it is: Ted’s a prisoner and I’m his warden. What a life.



No comments: