Here’s how you can start solving the problem of cats who are super-scared or super-sprayers (yuck).
We asked Jackson to share a little bit more about the cases of Lita and Princess Puffy Pants.
See below to read his comments.
And when you’re done, check out this companion post with more from Jackson about how he used his own line of holistic remedies for Lita and Puffy Pants.
Lita – scared and vomiting
This is one of those cases, actually, that show you that physical health is compromised by emotional stress because the only thing that caused the extreme irritable bowel disease that we saw in Lita was Buddy, was Derek. The stress that this cat felt caused her to throw up everywhere. The stress that this cat felt caused her to lose her bowels and her bladder and that was all that it was.
Literally, as soon as the negative energy from Derek and Buddy were jettisoned from this cat’s life, it all stopped. We didn’t have to medicate her, we didn’t have to change her diet. She literally got better overnight.
It’s one of those things, like what we saw with Lily and Ozzy, that as soon as Lily stopped feeling territorial stress, she stopped over grooming. The same thing goes for Lita. (Ed. Note: Though in Lita’s case, she was vomiting instead of over-grooming.)
Buddy was a cat that I wish I had more of an opportunity to work with. I never saw him again although I hear he was doing fantastic. But with him it was really about Derek not rewarding this really jerky behavior. But y’know, the apple don’t fall far from the tree. Derek was really obstinate, he was just determinedly a little boy about everything. I love him because he loves his cat. That said, he made things very difficult, and so did Buddy. But everyone’s happier now, especially Lita.
Tools of the Trade
Jackson had Ryann use these corrugated cardboard squares as “confidence building blocks” for Lita.
First, stack up the blocks to form a giant staircase.
Then, use treats to lure your cat up the levels slowly over time. This will help your cat gain confidence and give them a positive experience of being out in the open, and getting up onto things.
For more from Jackson about how he works with scaredy cats, see this post about Lita.
Princess Puffy Pants – territorial and marking
That, I kid you not…walking into that house was a smell adventure. It was absolutely rank. That couch was soaked.
And it was actually a very interesting story because Puffy Pants had to go and live with Jen’s mom for a while. Jen’s mom had a lot of cats. And when Puffy Pants went there, she was territorially accosted by her mom’s cats, and also outdoor cats, and that’s why she came back to Jen’s world with such a sense of territorial/impending doom. That’s why she was peeing all over the place.
She didn’t trust that she wasn’t going to have her food taken, that she wasn’t going to be attacked. She basically — the first time she ever met multiple cats — she was attacked, she had her food stolen. And if that’s your experience, uh, y’know, what are you gonna do? I mean it’s the human equivalent of you having your house broken into five or six times. You might go out and buy a gun. And that’s exactly what Puffy Pants did with pee.
So…yes, we built Ft. Knox around the house. When I was black lighting outside and you saw that this garden that Jen was planting had been completely peed on by other cats — they were claiming the garden for themselves — there was telltale signs all over the place that the territory was like swiss cheese. So of course Puffy Pants was feeling bad.
Another thing — you might not have seen on the show — I used donut beds and I used them all over the house. And those donut beds were placed at the sliding glass door, on the dining room table, at every window where she was peeing, so she could soak her scent into it. Another thing you gotta remember: [there was] no pee, no problems at all, upstairs where the bedrooms were. [So] I introduced something like a donut bed or lots of donut beds up in the bedroom and then we rotated them out into the “dangerous” parts of the house once Puffy Pants establishes that “OK, this (the donut bed) is safe, I can use this.” [Once that's done], rotate it out. So then “home” comes out into the “dangerous” part of the world. And that worked really really well.
Also, don’t give up if your cat’s not using a litter box. Remember you’re trying to re-associate the experience of that litter box. That’s why we used every shape and size of litter box that you can possibly imagine and put them all over the house. When she identified the type of litter box she liked, and a new association with a different type of litter — by the way — then we got rid of the other litter boxes and we used only that.
Tools of the Trade
Jackson had Jen and Nicole use all kinds of motion activated deterrents in their yard, to keep both domestic and wild animals from encroaching on Puffy Pants’ territory.
This one works with both a spray of air and sound, and can also be used to train cats to stay off of countertops or out of plants.
Another kind uses water.
Want more? We got you covered.
Click here to read more from Jackson about what holistic remedies he used for Lita and Puffy Pants, and why.
We regret that Jackson does not answer questions posted in the comments. This is due to his demanding schedule and the high volume of requests he receives. But most importantly, since he has not met your cat, it would be contrary to his approach for him to give specific personalized advice for your specific situation. That being said, general questions and issues are addressed throughout this blog, in his book CAT DADDY and of course, the show My Cat From Hell.