Friday, April 23, 2010

Caturday Saturday--Introducing Bebes

Bebes is a Furrydance kitty, who lived in Baltimore Maryland with Kiki's mother, Kely Bray and two young lawyers. She was recently returned to me so I could determine why she had begun urinating outside the litterbox. I am very hopeful that she is "rehab-able" and that she could return to her adoptive family, as it is obvious they care about her, but I also want her to be happy, too.

I asked them to write me a "time-line" of when Bebes problems began, as it would be a great help to me in helping resolve her problems and if I had to re-home her, in finding the right environment for her. Here is what they wrote to me (and I truly appreciated the time and thought that they put into their letter):

I've had Bebes since approximately November 2003. She's always been a very needy girl. For the first two years of her life, it was just me and her in my apartment. I was a full time student but I was only in class about 10-15 hours a week. The rest of the time I was in my apartment with Bebes, studying.

She slept in bed with me and when I was awake she was on top of me as much as I'd let her (it was actually difficult to study for the bar exam with her on my lap all the time but I'm such a push over I let her). She cried when I left or went in another room and cried for attention if I was cooking or doing something else, was pretty bad at the vet, but nothing I couldn't handle.

Then my now husband moved in. He has "no cats in the bed" rule so Bebes started sleeping in the other room. I was still home with her most of the time but she couldn't sleep with us. He had to sleep with ear plugs because she would cry outside the bedroom door for hours. This never let up for the three years we lived at that apartment.

Because Bebes seemed so stressed and upset when I left, I came to you about getting another cat to keep her company. That's when I got Kely/Kebbles. The girls became friends pretty quickly. Aside from the occasional "fight" over who gets to the best spot on my lap (never any blood, just a little hissing or batting each other with a paw), they are very close.

They always snuggle and sleep together. With the addition of Kebbles I don't feel as guilty leaving Bebes alone, but I would not say that Kebbles as calmed Bebes. As I told you- I think Bebes taught Kebbles to be needy! Despite the slight change in Kebbles's neediness, she is such an amazing cat (my husband says she's "his" cat!).

About a year and a half ago, we bought a brand new house that's about three times the size of our apartment. Bebes was very upset when we moved. She would run around the house crying. She does come to me when I call her (I use the more passive "Where's Bebes?" to get her to come) so I was constantly calling her to let her know where I was in the house (she almost always responds to this).

Bebes proved herself to be destructive with the new furniture, so when I was at work (I'm generally gone 7:30-4:15) and when I'm sleeping (I go to bed around 11:00) I put the girls "to bed" in the basement. The basement is completely finished and is actually bigger than our old apartment.

The girls have everything they could want in the basement- including a big window which I open a little in the nice weather. Bebes learned to open the basement door so we had to change the doornob. She has also scratched up the door from trying to open it. About six months ago I realized she was peeing in the basement near the door. I started cleaning the carpet and that's when I realized how long the problem must have been going on, because months later the water still comes up yellow.

I first took her to the vet shortly after realizing she was peeing on the carpet. I forgot to tell you this on the phone (Paolo reminded me) but the vet did actually give me some medicine to give Bebes for a possible UTI. When that didn't work I took her to another vet. The cat-only vet did a urinalysis by cystocentesis and when that didn't show anything she concluded that Bebes needs more stimulation.

She has plenty of toys but I did try moving the cat towers and beds and tunnels around in the basement (that's when I realized she was peeing in one of the cat tunnels). After watching Bebes pee on one of the blankets in the basement, I took her back to my regular vet. This time he said it's behavioral and I should consider medicating her. Because medicating her is extremely difficult, I instead tried the calming plug in and collar about two months ago.

I don't believe she's urinating on the carpet every day, and we'll have a few days, maybe a week, where she doesn't do it. She occasionally pees in the sink and while at my parents's house she actually urinated in the toilet! (I keep the toilet seats down at my house but since my surgery I have to keep them up; so far, she's only peed in the toilet that one time but regularly drinks from the toilet).

Another thing, she never covers in the litterbox. We have 3 boxes--a littermaid with their brand litter in it; an open box with Dr Elsey's Cat Attract litter, and another box with unscented clumping litter.

One possible factor that may upset her is the feral cats in the neighborhood. There's two that I feed outside my house, and they often hang out on my deck. There's a glass door separating the cats but Bebes never seems interested in the feral cats (she never watches them or pees on the floor near the door). One time, a couple months ago, while I was feeding a feral cat Bebes snuck out the door. She made it about 5 feet from the feral cat because I was able to grab her up, but neither cat hissed at the other or seemed to be in attack mode.

I don't know if this could be a cause but I have been feeding the feral cats for a while. (I'm not their main source of food, and a lady who owns the warehouse nearby has had them fixed and feeds them regularly. I just give them treats and water. My bird feeder also serves as a "feral cat feeder").

Bebes always has to be on top of me. She doesn't like to be held but always has to be on or near me. This behavior doesn't really bother me, although I do feel bad about leaving her because I know its upsetting.

Finally, Bebes and Paolo don't really get along. He doesn't play or pet her, and she knows not to try to snuggle with him. He is also the only person she listens to (she ignores me when I tell her to get off the kitchen table or the countertop).

I got Bebes back on Saturday, and set her up in the large cage next to my desk (where I am a lot, on the computer) and she was anxious and hissing, but that is the norm when a cat comes into a new environment. She settled in quickly and within a couple of days was bunting and affectionate to me.

I took her into work, and yes, she was difficult to examine, so we sedated her so we could do a thorough exam on her, collect blood and urine and it would be much less stressful for her. Stress can affect some lab results, and we probably gave her the best exam she's had in quite some time, due to her reluctance to be examined elsewhere.

Her blood and fecal tests were all normal, but she does have a UTI! She has a Staph infection and is now on antibiotics (she is a bit of a pill to pill) and today I started her anxiety medication, too (Buspirone) and so far, she has been a good cage patient--keeping her bedding neat and clean, and using the litterbox AND covering, too! She may be telling me she likes a box all to herself, or she may like the style of boxes I use or the litter I use.

So, in another week, if all is going well, she will make the transition to Step 2--to the guest bathroom with more room and where she can hear and smell the other cats in the house. That step will last 2 weeks, and then she can move into the library room, then to the guest room.

I will then add a "companion cat" to her bedroom and see if she is ok sharing her space and litterbox. If she is, then she can start having free run of the house when I am home. It will be interesting to see if she has separation anxiety here, and if she meows when she can't get to human companionship. I do not want her in an environment where she is unhappy and am saddened to know that she cried outside the bedroom door at night for 3 years, and am glad the addition of Kely helped that.
I am hopeful that the anxiety medication will help, too.

Then if all is 100% good then, we can try her back at her home, if I think that is right for her personality and temperament--confined at first, just like here. Her previous owner said she was stressed by the move into a bigger house, and she may be a cat that is happier confined to a's just too early to say, but it's obvious she wasn't happy with being confined to the basement, as nice as it was but she may be more at ease confined to another room without the emotional issues she associates with the basement.

If her behavior reverts to not using the box again, I will, of course, take her back and then seek a home for her where she will be happy once again. As you who follow me know, I am very committed and passionate about my cats and consider this a labor of love and my way of "giving back" to the cats I bring into the's only right!

Just so you can hear how "vocal" she is when she wants something, here's a short video (when she cries for attention, I bring her out and sit with her at the computer. When I put her back, she settles down right away).


  1. Poor Bebes, that is so sad; we're glad she has you, Teri, to try to help her and possibly find her a new home...It's a good thing you found her UTI and she's getting treatment...Good luck to Bebes, we hope she feels better and becomes a happy cat...xo...Calle, Halle, Sukki

  2. Gosh. These things are always so complicated. Bebes looks like a sweetheart and we are all keeping our paws crossed that her problem will go away.

  3. You are sure doing all you can to help this little lady! We hope it all works out for the best!

  4. Seems like she needs to be able to sleep with her much like momma Ellie!

    She sounds like a love. Thank you for taking good care of her.

  5. Oh poor thing.I feel liking crying.Im glad she will be with just one person.She will get used to it very soon Im sure.Thanks for sharing this.I get to have some great insight into cat behaviour.Even though I dont have any problems with mine...except the youngest who is 2 loves to beat up on the oldest who is 12.The oldest really cries and growls too,lol.

    Happiest of weekends Terri!

  6. Oh Ter. Poor Miss Bebes! Her story is nearly identical to my foster Ms. Jenga. Bengals need to sleep with their people too! Much love to Ms. Bebes in her trying time right now. xoxo

  7. Good luck with Bebes. We hope that things get resolved--we are glad that they found the UTI

  8. Just stopping by to wish you a happy, happy weekend.

  9. We are wishing you the best of luck. We have an anxiety tinkler at our house...a needy meezer. It's always something with 12 kitties!
    Kat Mommy

  10. I think she is beautiful. I hope the buspirone helps her.
    I feel sad that she cannot snuggle with her mom at night. I think she loves her mom very much and is a bit afraid of the dad. She does not like this new set up. She wants it to just be her and mom.

    So many possible triggers here but I for one am thankful that she is back with you for a while. I hope she calms down. Now "pretty bad" at the vet - is that just completely freaked out and struggling to get away? or biting clawing?
    I was brave at the vet today.
    I sure hope sweet Bebes gets all better. Mom says I am way too quiet. Caesar and Princess were very vocal - but I let out a few good ones today at the vet, ha!

    bonkbonk to all of you there
    a big headbutt to Disco and Brighton, and Sammyin the basement too. Pawtaps for the little boys and a purr for all of the girls.
    I think I got everycat.

  11. Good luck with Bebes, she looks very nice and I hope that she gets sorted out soon.
    Thank you also for commenting on our tags, it's so great that you like them Thanks Cate

  12. Poor Bebes, I'm sorry but I just dont understand why people get a breed of cat that loves to be with their humans and then lock them out of the room, Now sometimes I feel like doing that with my 4 guys but I dont.
    Hope Bebes feels better soon.

  13. Hi Bebes, you are a pretty little thing. I hope you get your happy back soon :)

  14. Wow! What a meow! We feels for the sweet kitty! Did she get what she wants?

  15. A Responsible OwnerApril 24, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    This is a terribly sad story and I feel so bad for poor Bebes. Who in their right mind would agree to a "no sleeping with the cat rule"? Screw that, anyone ever heard of "BEBES WAS HERE FIRST??" What the hell? FYI animals are NOT disposable and/or "things" you put in the basement at night. Better for BeBes that she is back with you. I hope you find someone to love her just the way she is. After all, she's just being a Cornish Rex and believe me I'd know, I have 2 of them.

  16. It seems obvious to me that she does not like being locked away in the basement! Who would? Saying prayers thst she gets a good home where she can be babied. xoxo

  17. Awh...I recognized that whine well. She's out of her element and not very happy. I'm sure she'll be oK. Maybe I need to come work on the basement sooner rather than later

  18. Hope this gets resolved and the rest of her life is happy. She sounds so sad.

  19. Poor love! WE wonder how long she had the untreated UTI? Quite upsetting.
    We also wonder how her male owner treats her when her mum is away. Indifferent? Hostile? Scares us a bit. Her cry breaks our hearts. We wish we could cuddle her and make her distress go away.

  20. Bebes story is very sad. As I read, and reread her owners description its very clear that Bebes wants to sleep with her human. Cornish Rex cats temperment is such that they need their human companions. My Cornish Rex and actually any cat I have ever had sleeps in the bed if they want. They have full run of the house and clearly Bebes was miserable, and ill as well with the UTI. Perhaps the owner can be re-educated. Not sure though because of the husband. Sometimes people just don't want to invest the time, or just don't know what to do. Hopefully you can get it sorted out. I am praying for Bebes and for you. Goldie


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