We adopted Oso, an adorable black kitten with a crooked tail from the Multnomah County shelter, three years ago. We wanted to keep him as an indoor cat, but suspected that the first six months as a kitten before we met him were outdoors at least part of the time. After two years of indoor living, he started pawing at the windows and doors, which we took as a sign he wanted to go outside.
Being bird aficionados, we built him a catio and opened it to him when he was about two years old. Little did we know that this timing coincided with a socialization period that makes male cats like surly teenagers and want to scrap with every other cat that comes near our yard. That summer, Oso started urinating outside the box all over the house. We tried some behavioral changes, but the only think that worked was Prozac. A few months later, the peeing was under control… or so we thought.
Nine months went by. This past spring, when we flung open the windows to receive fresh air and sunshine, the spraying started again but this time, Oso targeted under each of the windows. He also started pacing all of the windows at dusk, over and over again, culminating in spraying somewhere along his route. We decided to try letting Oso outside, which only made the situation worse. He was acting very territorial, fighting with other cats and also with us. We hardly recognized him.
At wits end, I finally called Marci at the recommendation of Laura at Roar. She was so kind and understanding I knew right away it was the right thing to do for our family and Oso! She met with us right away and spent a few hours with Oso at our home and identifying his issue as territorial anxiety and stress. Her tips were practical and doable right away, and we started noticing improvements that same night. We also started “station training” Oso, who is very food motivated, which is working! Now instead of pawing at the cupboards and meowing when he is hungry, he patiently sits on top of his scratching post. After a few weeks of our new program, Oso stopped peeing outside the litterbox entirely. He is no longer pacing the windows in the evening and sleeps through the night on my feet.
Marci has an amazing combination of talents: smart animal scientist, honest about what will and won’t work, and genuinely cares about cats and their guardians. I highly recommend Marci to anyone looking for help with the feline members of their family. You will be so glad you did.