Because what I’m doing now clearly isn’t working.
Four or five years ago I adopted Bobby from a shelter. His previous owners had died of old age, but before them he was a stray. More likely feral. They were cat people and took him in, and their daughter gave him to the shelter when they passed. He seemed sweet and fairly relaxed, and the unusual face was a draw. So I took him home. The vet said he was probably about 6, but on reflection he must have been older, maybe even as old as 10.
That’s the backstory. Fast forward to now. In the past year or so, Bobby has become…well, disgusting. Most cats are pretty fastidious; I know the two others currently occupying the house spend half their day cleaning up after themselves. Where the other two will cover their leavings in the litter box, Bobby drops a stinker and walks away. By the time it’s noticed, the house is drowning in the smell of shit. There’s a 50/50 chance that he’ll pee in the litter box or somewhere on the floor, preferably in a quiet corner that’s hard to get to for us big people. We noticed he was preferring to pee on stuff on the floor, like papers or empty cardboard boxes left in a corner, so we cleaned up. He merely started peeing on the carpet itself. He will go outside to do his business, but that’s not always a guarantee.
Since he grew up more or less feral, he has a bad habit of scarfing his food, especially if he’s been outside for any length of time. He eats like a demon since (presumably) he’s afraid there won’t be any more, and spends 20 minutes at the water dish. He eats way, way more than he can cope with, so he throws it right back up wherever he may be. He’s not so prone to this if he stays inside, but if he does then he’s likely to piss up the place.
The carpet’s ruined. I’ve long ago accepted that fact. I plan to move out of this house sometime in the next couple of years, and the carpet will simply have to be replaced before the place can be sold. Unfortunately, he also throws up on the sofa and my bed from time to time. In fact, the (already newly-washed) sheets are going through another cycle right now, which is what prompted this thread.
I’ve tried to bond with him, but he was already too old for that, and it’s clear he doesn’t fully trust humans. The best we’ve been able to do is coexist peacefully in the same house. I have a certain fondness for him, but it’s rapidly being overwhelmed by my utter lack of patience in dealing with his current state. He generates more filth than the other two cats combined. He is singlehandedly turning this place into one of those disgusting crazy-cat-lady houses faster than I can clean up after him.
I’ve thought hard about returning him to the shelter I adopted him from, but I worry about the stress that acclimating to a new household would mean, as he’s definitely a tired old man at this point. I’ve tried to come to terms with the idea of just waiting in this house and giving him as comfortable a life as possible until he passes of old age, because I cannot take him with me to a new house. I refuse to let him destroy it as he’s done this one. But I don’t know how much longer he plans to live, and while I do care about him, I don’t care enough about him to want to base my life plans on him to that extent.
I admit I haven’t done regular vet checkups, as my default position regarding doctors is to not go near one unless the situation is urgent, and it hasn’t been for quite some time. It doesn’t seem like his behavior is medical anyway, although I could be wrong; it seems more like that of a cranky old semi-feral cat who doesn’t really give a damn any more. It’s absolutely impossible to teach him anything any more; although the other cats will learn if you make it clear they’re to stay off the desk or what have you, he’s simply impervious to any kind of positive or negative reinforcement.
Add all this up, and he’s begun inspiring red-vision rage in me, to the point where it takes a great effort to not get physical with him. There is no animal or person I have ever met who generates such anger in me so consistently. It goes without saying that I’m utterly ashamed of my reaction to him, and although I know some posters here will think less of me for it, I still needed to write this post.
At this point, I really don’t know what to do. It’s a miserable situation, but the solutions I can think of aren’t really any better.