I did not know how committed Lola was to this litter, or how particular she really was about her bathroom habits, until the clan and I moved to our second floor Brooklyn apartment.
Around this time, I became obsessed with "shrinking my footprint" and decided to change up her litter in an effort to be more environmentally responsible. Specifically, I tried a number of flushable, biodegradable litters, including Feline Pine Scoop Clumping Pine Cat Litter ($15.29 for 10.1 lbs.), World's Best Cat Litter Multiple Cat Clumping Formula ($36.49 for 34 lbs.), and Yesterday's News Softer Texture Unscented Cat Litter ($17.99 for 26.4 lbs.). These brands, while perfectly acceptable to Kitty (who, as an aside, liked to poop and pee standing up, R.I.P., Kitty), were the absolute worst thing that ever happened to Lola.
Even mixing in a few scoops of the new litter with her Tidy Cat (which allows for a more gradual transition to a new litter) would cause Lola to revolt. She would hold her pee for long periods -- as long as two days, no kidding -- and then release her entire bladder on one of our various throw rugs.
But long after the new litters were gone from the litter boxes and our lives, she continued to avoid the litter boxes and pee and poop on the rugs. When those were all thrown away, she targeted my brand new sofa bed. These were some of the worst months in our tiny Brooklyn apartment. We spent so much time and energy blockading the couch with folding chairs and, in the event she did release the floodgates of cat pee onto the couch, soaking the soiled couch cushions in Anti-Icky Poo (which incidentally is the BEST pet odor remover I've ever used). But even when you get rid of the cat pee, you can never escape that phantom smell of cat pee, that constant questioning in your mind: does this still smell like cat pee?
I took her to the vet to have her tested for various disorders that make a cat incontinent, including urinary tract infections and diabetes, but she came up medically clean. The veterinarian thought it was anxiety. He recommended a multi-pronged strategy featuring, among other things, clay-based scoopable litter (check), multiple litter boxes (check), Feliway Comfort Zone diffusers and sprays (check), scratching posts (check), a fountain (check), Cat Attract Litter Additive (check), toys (check), and Prozac.* I decided to wait on the Prozac because that seemed so extreme to me, and I was already
Then we moved to the first floor. And, because she was glad to be out of the God-forsaken second floor apartment or for some other reason unbeknownst to me, Lola has not peed on the couch or a rug or the floor ever since.**
Over time, our confidence built, and we got new rugs. And a new mattress for inside of the sofa bed (which I mention for the sake of my worried future house guests reading this post). And then I even bought a fancy top-entry litter box. But I'm still not going to switch up her litter. Lola is going to live out the rest of her days as a Tidy Cat. Because I still maintain that the environmentally friendly litters started the cat pee debacle. And because a bad-for-the-environment litter is still better for the environment than throwing out all your pee-soaked furnishings, and $20.99 is certainly less expensive than replacing them.
* Attempting to quantify the cat pee debacle is depressing because, unlike most of the goods and services I buy for the animals, anything spent on the pee debacle is a net loss: vet bills for the consultation and tests ($230.00), Feliway Comfort Zone Diffuser ($39.99 for each diffuser, $25.99 for each refill), Feliway Comfort Zone Spray ($26.99), Anti-Icky Poo ($29.95 for a gallon, and it takes more than one gallon to soak a couch cushion), Cat Attract Litter Additive ($16.00), SULTAN FLORVÅG foam mattress for the VRETA sofa bed ($99.99), Duro-Med Mattress Protector in zippered plastic ($12.77), etc. etc. etc.
** I'm not counting one grumpy outside-the-box poop that Lola made when I left her alone for a three-day weekend after Kitty died.