Ask Mellow
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Ask Mellow

Welcome to Ask Mellow. Here, you can find answers by reading other people's kitty dilemmas, or you can just e-mail me, Mellow, directly with your dilemma at I will then put your original question with my response on the page. Now remember, I am in no way shape or form a professional vet or a professional in general. My answers are only based on past experiences, and the little knowledge I think I have. Other then that, I'll try to get to your question as soon as possible. I will post new questions every opportunity I get, so hopefully I will get to all of the questions I am sent.

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My husband and I have 2 cats both 5 years old and no matter what we do we
just can't get them to behave. A few problems are said to be easy to fix.
The big problem is that we can't seem to keep them off the counters. It's
gotten to the point where we keep them locked in a room 24 hours a day
instead of just when we are working. I hate that we have to do this but it
was either that or get rid of them. If you could possibly give me any advice
so I could keep my husband, my cats and myself happy it would be deeply

Thanks so much,

Dear Misty,
This is a problem for many people. I trained, or tried to train, my cat when we got her as a kitten to stay off the counters. I used the time old classic squirt gun or bottle. Most cats don't liked to get squirted so a little squirt when they are on the counter will usually send them running. Hopefully after a time they will begin to realize that the counter is off limits. You could even dip your fingers in some water and just shake the water off on them. My cat doesn't like even a drop of water falling on her. The best thing, if you can, is to catch your two cats before they jump up on the counter. A stern "NO" usually does the trick. Don't point your finger because sometimes they take that as playing, and make sure not to strike your cats, not saying that you do, but that just makes the problem worse. As a kitten, my cat needed lots of training to stay off of the counters and to leave the plants alone. Thus, she became use to the water at times, and I had to think of another punishment. What I now do quite often is to pick my cat up and just hold her. I don't pet her, but I scold her instead, with some "no's", and "bad girl." She likes to be on her way, so this is punishment to her. Your cats may like that attention though, so it may not work. I hope this gives you some helpful ideas. If they don't work, just let me know and I will try to think of some other creative alternatives. Good luck!!!


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I have two grown indoor cats whom I never let outside, but I am still fighting a urine smell which is coming from the outside of my house where I have two large windows on the second floor that have soil infront of them, where it appears all other cats in the neighborhood feel it's a spot up for grabs for their own deification purposes, I am getting ready to place large rock in this area to deter the neighborhood cats, but first I need to find a way to get the stench out of my soil and bushes. Do you have any remedies for getting rid of outside smell? Please advise.....

I've been trying to think of a solution, but I really can't. I would say you would have to clean your soil area, almost like a litter box. If you can even do that, I don't know. I know this would cost a little, but you might want to change the soil there. I would do this only if you are planning on putting a large stone there, because you wouldn't want to keep changing the soil. I don't know of anything that helps get rid of odor in soil, I'm sorry. I hope that you can find some more helpful information somewhere, or that you somehow can fix your problem. Sorry I couldn't have been of more help.


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I got my cat Stimpy when he was like 3 weeks old so we had to bottle feed him. He was a very good cat and behaved good now that he is about 2 months old he bites, scratches, chases people, and kind of doesn't like to be held but at night he likes sleeping on my bed at my feet and when I hold Stimpy up to my face he licks my cheek also when he wakes up from naps he is very nice but he will eventually start to act up again does my cat hate me or what

I think all Stimpy is really trying to do is play. Many cats will bite or attack during play. The best thing I would say is to discourage his behavior. Tell him no sternly. Don't hit him because that sends the wrong message. Try to tell him no before he attacks or bites, or at least catch him in the act. The only other thing I can think of is to get him neutered when he gets a little older, because this usually has a calming affect on cats. I hope this will help.


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I have 2 cats and they are 2 years old. I recently moved into a new place and can't seem to keep my cats off of the furniture, counters, beds, etc. One is a big orange Tabby and one is a short hair black tortoise shell. They are both front declawed. When they were kittens we used the spray bottle approach and it seemed to work. But they are too active and curious to behave now since they are older and in a new place. We spray them when they
are caught somewhere they don't belong, but while we are at work, they think its their territory and keep doing it anyway. I bought them a cat tower to put in front of their own window and they have plenty other places to roam around to. Pet stay off sprays just don't work and they stink too much to keep reapplying to my furniture. I'm getting frustrated and don't know what else to do.

Carrie and Scott

Carrie and Scott,
This is a frequent problem that many owners have, including myself. I, too, used a squirt bottle, and after a while it didn't effect my cat at all. Although, when I first got my cat it was summer time, so I was home all day since I didn't have school, which allowed me to keep a closer watch her. One idea would be to confine the cats to a smaller area, such as a bedroom, while you are at work, and then when you get home and can monitor them more carefully, let them into other rooms. We sectioned off parts of the house to my cat, and slowly let her explore more and more, to help monitor her, and let her know what she could and couldnít do. Doing this may allow you to stop them before they do something wrong. Use a strong stern voice, and possibly a little punishment. Of course when I say punishment that in no way entails hitting your cats. That should never, EVER, be done. In fact it only makes the problem worse and they may become scared of you. I used to pick my cat up if she got on the counter or other furniture, and simply hold her for a minute, since she wanted to be off exploring right away. You might want trying to put your cats in a small room, one other then the one you would keep them in during the day, because you don't want them to think they are being punished during the day. This should only be done for a couple minutes though, no more then 2 or 3 minutes I would say. Of course, again, maybe no punishment would suit your cats better. Preventing them from committing the act is the best solution. Another thing you might try is putting double sided tape, or rolled tape on the areas you don't want them to be on. They usually don't like getting their paws stuck to the tape, and that might help deter them. I hope this helped, and if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to e-mail me. I hope this offered some help, and a possible solution.


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We saved a kitty from the pound after it was taken away from it's mother at 3
weeks old, we have successfully bottle fed it to health, it now eats solid
food and uses the litter box by herself (she is now 6 weeks) . When can she
be exposed to catnip?
We don't want to fry her brains by exposing her too young. Do you have any
Thank you for your time!
Mark and Tonia (Rocket too!)

Dear Mark, Tonia, and Rocket,
Just to be on the safe side, I might not give her any cat nip until she is 8 weeks old, because that is when they are suppose to be taken from their mother. I first have to say, that I am very impressed that you saved a poor kitten from the pound, and have raised her. You should be commended for this noble, and kind act. Giving your kitty cat nip now shouldn't "fry her brains out," but I'm not sure how her system would react to the cat nip, so I might wait until she is eight weeks old. Once you do give her cat nip, you should be in for a treat. My cat can't get enough cat nip, and tries to herd us to the pantry where we keep it, any time we pass through the kitchen. Cat nip is a fun treat for them, and it also helps their digestive tract. I hope this has helped you. And thanks again, for saving the life of a poor, abandoned kitten.


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My two cats are able to roam in our secure backyard, via a pet door.

Even though they have and use a litter box inside, the dig in the potted trees and plants outside.

Any suggestions on how to discourage this behavior?


You might want to try reintroducing your cat to the litterbox, or maybe trying to put some little netting over the pots so that it can't get into them. It's the cats natural instinct to dig in the dirt to use as a litterbox. I hope this helped.


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Hi, my problem is with my two cats who live outside and in the garage.
They are constantly walking all over our cars (they can't reach the van,
thank goodness) and it is very frustrating. How do I keep cats off our
vehicles so they don't keep getting them full of garage grease and cat
litter from their paws? Is there a humane way to deter them (someone
suggested mouse traps, but wouldn't that be dangerous?)
Please reply Soon!
D&H in Minnesota

Dear D&H
I would approach keeping them off your cars about the same way
someone would keep them off their furniture. One would be to put
tape on your car. You would have to put the tape on something else (maybe some cardboard or another thing similar to that) and then set
it on your car so that it wouldn't ruin the paint job, since they
wouldn't like having their paws stick to the tape. Another way I
trained my cat was to get a squirt bottle and squirt her whenever she
was on the furniture or counter. The only other suggestiong I would
have right now is also to yell at them if they are about to go up on
your car. Try to catch them before they do wrong. When yelling make
sure not to point your finger at them though, because many times cats
take that as playing. Just use a stern voice and look them in the
eye. I hope this helps. If you need further help with this, let me
know and I will try to think of some more ways to help keep your cats
off your cars.


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Dear Mellow,
We are having such a problem with Whiskers, our 15 year old male cat. We have had him since he was a baby. Whiskers urinates in the house terribly and pretty constant. We are keeping him outside during the day, but during the night he must roam. Just like tonight, I got home, Whiskers had been on the porch and outside all day and he came in, while I was fixing his supper he went into the closet and wet. I just don't understand it. We just moved into our new home 6 months ago and I thought maybe the change would help, now I walk into our new house and instead of a nice, new smell, all I can breathe is cat urine. I desperately need a solution, he is totally ruining our carpet and the air we breathe. He is just like a baby to me in other ways, so loveable, I just don't know what to do. Thank you for any help you can give me. Whiskers has had Diabetes for about 4 years, but I think he was urinating before this. Thank you.

I'm not much of an expert in this area, but I will tell you what I think. I do presume you have a litter pan in the house for him. I might try re-introducing it to him. I don't know if he uses it at all, but that might help him urinate in the correct place. He also might not be use to where it is in your new house since you just moved. I would also consult your vet. Since Whiskers is a little bit older, there might be a problem that you don't know about, and the vet might be able to give you a lot better advise then I could. I only have one cat, and she has never had any problems like this, nor does she have diabetes. You said you didn't think the diabetes was connected to the urination, but I'm not sure. I might still look into that as a possibility. I hope this helps you. Like I said I am not an expert, merely a cat lover, who gives you my best opinions. I hope this helps a little. Asking your vet is always the best way to find out information. In the mean time go out and get some nice strong air fresheners. Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance.

If anyone who reads this has any other ideas, please e-mail me so that we may help this person out. Thanks.


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Our neighbors report that a cat came into the basement of their house
(through an open back door) and urinated on their basement carpet. The
stench is unmistakable but no one saw who did it. They believe that our
cat is the culprit, because one time our cat ran through their front
door. I am not so sure, since there are lots of cats in the neighborhood
and another cat once tried to come through our front door, too. Besides,
our cat is a 2 year old female; isn't it more likely that a male would
be marking territory than a female? We live in a wooded area, and I even
wonder if it could even be a skunk or possum. I want to remain on good
terms with our neighbors, but I do not want to accept responsibility for
something that seems unlikely to me. What do you think? And how can they
get the stench to go away? They have tried carpet cleaning. Thanks.

After doing a little research on the internet and checking a few of my own books, I have found that my thought and yours too is true. A male cat would be much more likely to be the culprit of the urinating. Most likely an un-neutered male cat was the culprit, since they have been known to urinate all over furniture and carpeting when they donít have a female mate. If I were you, I would calmly go up to your neighbor and explain this. I might also bring a few plug ins or other nice scented things to help with the smell. I also have a female cat, but she strictly stays indoors. To help with the smell of the litter pan, we often get some plug ins, some scented candles, or other things like that. I hope this helps clear up who exactly did what in the basement, and helps get rid of the awful stench.


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Hello, I hope you can give me some advise. I'm writting to you when I should
be sound asleep... but thanks to our new addition to the household, I'm wide
awake. I have quite abit experience w/ cats, I've had them all my life and
I've worked in vet clinics; however w/ this one I'm stumped.

We just brought "Speck" home from being outside for a year about 3 weeks ago.
I had him throughly checked before I brought him home to be with my other 3
cats. (blood work and all) He's fine. He and the other cats adjusted quickly,
to my delight, and he seems very happy to have a home.

The thing is at night he starts to meow which soon turns into this horrid
howl. I understand that cats (when their made "inside" cats go through a
phase, having done this with other cats in the past) but this is
redicilous!!!!! It goes on and on for hours and there's nothing you can do to
make him stop.


tired but true,

I unfortunately have never had to go through trying to bring an
outside cat in. My cat has always stayed indoors. I have heard that it is
very hard to bring an outside cat in. In our house, when it is nice outside, we
often open the windows. I live in Illinois, so it is nice out right now. My cat
loves sitting in, or by the windows, because it is the outside, but inside. I'm
not sure what the weather is like by you, but that might be one of my
suggestions. If you wanted you could open a window and let your cat be close
to the outside. One thing is, that my windows have screens, so that cat
can't go outside. If your cat can in a way go outside before night, maybe it
will help it from meowing. It also may make it want to go out more though,
so it is a tough call.

If any other visitors that read this have any better ideas or
suggestions, please e-mail them to me so that we may help Lori.


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Hi my cat litter box really stinks....what can I do or put in it so it wont stink so bad. I clean it everyday

The first question I ask you is, do you feed your cat canned food or wet food? This for some reason usually makes a catís urine more smelly than a cat who just eats dry food. I feed my cat canned food, so I often times encounter a smelly litter box, too. Usually the smell is only really strong every so often, and then we make sure to clean it right away. My first suggestion is to put the litter box away from your usual living area. We have ours in the laundry room. Some litter boxes have a little thing on the top where you can purchase filters(usually found right next to the litter boxes in the store) to put there. Some people get liners for the litter box. This would help keep the smell from soaking into the plastic litter box itself , so when you clean it, it should smell better. My last suggestion is to find an air freshner that you really like and keep it right around the litter box somewhere. We use a combination of all of these to help minimize odor, except for the lining, but Iím very tempted to start doing that, too. I hope this helps keep your nose a little happier.

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I can't seem to break my cats habit of climbing my window screens. The first time they found out that they could claw one corner and get out I have been trying everything to prevent them from doing this. I allow them to go out when they are at the door but they seem to have a mind of their own, it seems almost like a game to them. I have tried double stick tape, balloons, plastic chicken fencing and they always seem to find a way to tear out the screen. Is there anything I can do except keeping the windows shut to stop this behaviour.

This is a difficult problem. You've done pretty much everything I would have told you. The only thing I would say is to try and catch them in the act. Squirt bottles usually help, but it would be better, if you do catch them, to pick them up and put them by the door, then let them out there. This might help to re-establish the fact that they go out when they're at the door. I know catching them in the act is the hardest thing to do. The only other thing to do is find some screws or nails and really attach those screens to the frame. These are the only things I can think of. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. I wish the best of luck to you.

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I unfortunately lost Pamís original e-mail, but she asked about her newly rescued young kitty and when it would be able to use the bathroom. She explained that she had been helping but was wondering when it should be able to on its own.

A lot of times the things that a kitten/cat will eat affect its urine. My cat, for example, eats canned food which makes her urine very strong, while other cats who don't eat canned food have a much less smelly urine. It seems like over all, the diet is your problem. I don't know what you're feeding the kitten, but that's what needs to be looked into. Kittens are technically not suppose to be separated from their mother until they are eight weeks old, so the kitten's diet is crucial right now. If you would like to e-mail what you are feeding the kitten, I will try to help. If not, I'm still going to try and find a diet and e-mail it to you. It may take a couple days, but I will get it to you as soon as possible. I hope this gives you a little help. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to give advice and search for some answers. Best of luck to you and your kitten.

Hi Mellow, the only thing my kitten is getting now is milk replacement formula. It is probably only about three weeks old. When do kittens usually start being able to use the potty by themselves?

I searched some more and also found this website. It specifically states that kittens can usually be trained to use the litter box between the ages of 3-4 weeks. It gives suggestions on training your kitten. Here is the address: I would also like to share some of my personal experience tips. I didn't get my cat until she was 8 weeks old, so I know it is a huge time difference, but I would imagine that training would be similar. At first, since my cat was so small, we used a small foil pan so that she could get in the sides. I took her out there for the first time, and in the clean, unused litter I scratched around a little. Then on her own, my cat went in and scratched for herself. She didn't use it just then, but she got the idea, and I don't think she had any accidents. I hope this also gave you some good information and the best of luck with potty training your kitten.

I found this web site with a lot of good information on raising your kitten. I suggest checking the whole page out, but it sounded like your kitten won't use the bathroom on its own for another week or so. Check out If you just want to read about the bowel movements, check out Constipated / Not Urinating at the top of the page or just go to I hope this helps, and again, feel free to ask any more questions that you might have.