Experiences with "kitty condos"?

I’m looking into buying a kitty condo for Mojo, because he’s been peeing on things for a year now. I feel like I can’t trust him to be loose in the house, and I am so tired of everything smelling of cat pee. He has peed on carpets in at least three rooms, on chairs, blankets, and clothing. He likes peeing on grocery bags, both plastic and canvas. I’ve gotten a lot tidier, by necessity, so there are fewer targets for him, but the carpet problem is a big one.

He’s been checked out for bladder and kidney problems. He had dental surgery to remove four rotten teeth. He’s slightly hyperthyroid (not really showing symptoms except possibly the peeing), but allergic to the medication, so we’d need to do the radioactive iodine therapy, which, at $1500, seems a little much for an asymptomatic 12-year-old cat. We tried anti-anxiety medication. We added litter boxes, we changed litter types, we put the boxes in different places. Nothing is helping, so the only alternative I can see is to keep him locked up when there are no people around to supervise him.

I could put him in a room by himself all day, and then again all night while we’re asleep, but I came across those “kitty condo” cages and thought maybe that would be a better idea, because he wouldn’t be as isolated, and could see the other cats and more of the house from there. And, worryingly, I had him in the mud room today (with a litter box and food/water) while we were at work, and he pooped on the floor. Until today, he’s always been at least pooping in the box. Any room I’d keep him in is still a room I need to use, and emptying it of everything in case of pee or poop damage is just not feasible.

Do any of you cat people have kitties in their own little residences? Are they happy? What do I need to look for when buying one, and how can I help Mojo adapt to living in confinement? Does he have to stay in all the time, or will letting him out sometimes just turn it into something he hates being put into, like the carrier? He is such a loving, purring, wonderful cat, but I can’t live in a home that smells like cat pee all the time. I need to do something.

Aww, poor kitty, and poor you. :frowning: I have no experiences with this, but can’t really think of anything better to do; it might not be as bad as it seems.

I had to resort to using one, I also resorted to using a room for another such a cat. I didn’t like it, the cat didn’t like it, and when I finally went to get that one ‘put down’ it was like she thanked me for that, so in some ways I wished I did it sooner. She was 17 IIRC and was having other problems.

I now tend to look at the cat’s quality of life and would rather have a cat for a shorter time having a good life then having the cat longer and not be happy. It is for this reason that if the cat expresses he/she wishes to go outside they can go.

Going outside the litterbox is generally a sign that something is wrong, either medically or the cat is just unhappy. You have checked out the medical side, now start looking at other reasons and try to determine if there is anything you can do, and if this is a temporary condition or a permanent one. But the longer it goes on it will tend towards making it permanent.

Does he go outside? If not it may be better to allow him out, expand his area instead of contract it. Even if declawed he may be much happier taking his chances out there then life in a cage. And flees are easier to deal with then urine/cat feces.

Is there a relationship you are having with someone? Cats bond with their owners, and I have found are partial to a particular gender - and not like the other, so sometimes a relationship is seen as competition which can lead to territorial ‘bad bathroom habits’. I have not found a solution to this one except to end the relationship or remove the cat from the household.

We’ve changed nothing that I can think of. We moved into this house two years ago, and he didn’t start peeing, as far as I know, until 6-9 months after we moved in. The other cats bully him a little, but they always have, even at the old house, and he never peed there.

The yard isn’t secure, and he is declawed. I don’t like the idea of letting him fend for himself against the neighborhood cats. He has to stay indoors.

I’m not sure what you mean. I’m having a relationship with my husband, and I don’t think we’re going to divorce over this! I lived with my husband (and Mojo, and the other cats) for two years before getting married, so Mojo and I have a long history. He loves me, sits in my lap to watch TV all the time. I don’t think it’s a personality problem in that respect.

So you’re telling me the kitty condo was a bad idea, at least in your experience?

An outdoor kittywalk sounds like it would be a good solution. They aren’t that expensive, your cat would be outdoors so who cares if he pees in the yard, and he would be suitably entertained. It may be the stress reliever and his very own place in the world that he needs.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Kittywalk-Systems-Town-Country-Outdoor-Pet-Enclosure-Cats-Dogs/13180447?findingMethod=rr

Do you know about Nature’s Miracle? It can at least get rid of the smell.

That’s not a bad idea, but at three times the price of the “condo”, it’s a little steep. I will look into other models, maybe he would like to be outside at least some of the time.

I’ve used it to varying success. Sometimes he pees in an out-of-the-way spot and I don’t notice it till later, and older stains (and smells) are really hard to get out. I found it to work well on carpets and not very well on pillows and upholstered chairs.

Perhaps it was the move, at 6 months it is not out of the question. Not sure what to do about that one if it is. It is possible he never found ‘home’ at the new pace.

Looking back, for me and my cat, yes - the condo was a bad idea. The cat was not happy and I really hated to see him in there. The solution for this cat (this was not the one put down), was that he went to live with my parents, where he did enjoy himself and my parents did like him, and he no longer had litter box problems. (this one was a relationship issue)

One of my cats (a male) sometimes does this. We’ve had him checked out by the vet (presumably you’ve done this already) and found out that for one thing, he is diabetic. He has been put on a special diet and has lost enough weight that he looks like a cat again and not a football. This has helped a lot.

However, he is also reacting to the smell of neighborhood feral cats that lurk around the property. He’s actually a rather insecure, emotionally needy cat, and is trying to protect his territory.

One of our cats was doing the same thing - SO annoying! We had to replace the carpet & pad in the room she usually peed in, and treat the underflooring with enzyme cleaner stuff - it was the only way to truly get rid of the smell.

Her problem was that she didn’t like the size of the litterbox. She did fit - she pooped in there no problem - but she was big enough that she didn’t like the box. It was a Litter Robot, which we loved (she used it no problem until she gained weight), but it wasn’t worth it if she didn’t like it. We got her a plain ol’ box, uncovered, and the problem stopped.

I don’t have any experience with that kind of kitty condo, but maybe your kitty is having a similar problem? Regardless - good luck!

Sam ething happened to my (now deceased) cat. His blood sugar was totally out of whack. Diet modification fixed everything.

We tried different boxes and litters, with no luck. Thanks, though.

His blood sugar is fine. The only abnormal labs were his thyroid hormones, he’s just outside of the normal range towards hyperthyroidism. While peeing more (and outside the box) can be a symptom of thyroid disease, I hesitate to go through an expensive therapy just because it might fix the peeing problem. The vet can’t tell me why he’s doing it - she says the thyroid might be the issue, or maybe anxiety, maybe nothing specific at all.

We did something similar with our big ol’ male Maine Coon, except we borrowed a large dog crate (former resident having recently gone off to that big pet store in the sky) and set it up with a water bowl, food dish, litter pan, and a folded towel for naps. Al is not a fan of heights anyway, so other than the shelves, which he’d probably ignore*** his setup is very similar to what’s pictured.

He. LOVES. It.

I think he really likes the idea of having his very own special place in the world, which totally meshes with his personality in general. I caught him giving one helluva glare at the other cat when she went into it once. He now routinely goes into it on his own, the way a well-trained dog might retreat into its crate for some me-time. The first night, he did howl and complain. But we let him out in the morning, and petted him and gave him breakfast, and everything was OK again. That night, he didn’t fuss much at all, and after that there were no problems. We always treated putting him into it as a matter-of-fact thing and not a punishment, and this is IMHO extremely important.
Oh, and best of all? Our bathmat doesn’t stink of piss anymore. :smiley: He hasn’t peed on anything since we started doing this, about two months ago, and boy did I just jinx myself there or what? Anyway, we originally had him closed up all night, and during the day IF neither of us was home. We haven’t even bothered closing him up anymore, and still no accidents, and he’s usually napping in his kennel anyway when I get home from work.

So, there’s one anecdote on the plus side for you. I imagine a lot of it depends on the individual cat’s temperament and personality.
** Warning: are the shelves cleanable? They look carpet-covered to me, which sets my patented Mental Cat Pee Possibility on high alert.

ETA: hanging the water bowl off the sides helps a great deal to prevent litter and kibble from getting in, or water sloshing out.