by Sam Mazzotta
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I have a precious little kitty (1 year old) that I got from a rescue that has taken a liking to relieving herself on my bed! What do I do other than keeping her caged? — Frustrated in Philadelphia
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Take her out of the cage! I have a good idea why she’s relieving herself on your bed. I don’t know much about your living situation, but cats should not be caged or crated for long periods of time, and only to protect them from harm — not as a barrier or punishment.
Cats are very different from dogs, and using a cage will not “train” her to do anything but be more angry. And cats will express anger and frustration in a way that you can’t miss. Her relieving habit is most likely directly related to being stuck in the cage. She knows full well that you sleep on that bed!
I’ve had only one cat do the same to me, and it was entirely my fault. I accidentally shut him in my bedroom as I left for work. Cut off from my other cat, his food and his litter box, he expressed his displeasure quite clearly. But it only happened once. I made sure he was out of the room from then on before closing the door, and he never again was put in that position of having only one way to communicate.
If you don’t want your cat to soil the bed, keep her outside of your bedroom. Even if you’re in a studio and can’t close off the bedroom, you can screen the bed (literally — a roll of window screening at the hardware store costs less than 10 dollars) to keep her away. But she needs relatively free rein around the rest of the house or apartment, access to food and her litter box, and a view of the outside. And put the cage into a closet, out of sight. Don’t use it unless you’re transporting her to the vet.