3 Year Old Cat Female Cat Marking_What to do-long

jerseygirl_1August 6, 2011

I know there are many cat people here.

My 3 year old female started marking this past January. I adopted her when she was 3 months from Pet Smart. I know she was in foster care almost all her life prior. First it was our bed (my side). She is now not permitted in our room unsupervised. Now it's the living room and our newly upholstered sofa a month after it arrived. This morning it's a small pillow on an existing chair (just a little but enough to be marked). I truly believe it's behavioral. She is urinating normally. I even have Feliaway Comfort Zone defuser not far from the sofa and chair. She is very sweet and a perfect companion otherwise but I know she does have a temper. I also have a 12 yr old male who has never marked.

I have stretched aluminum foil from one end of the sofa to the other to deter her from marking the seat and it seems to be working. My concern is we have 2 new chairs coming soon and I really want to see if I can get her to stop. I don't want to live in a aluminum foil world.

Any experiences or suggestions? Outside of taking her to the vet which I do plan to do this week and if it is not a health issue.

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I have one possible suggestion -I'm sure the people on this board will have many more. My oldest daughter, who is a veterinarian, combined households with her husband, and between them they had 7 cats. Believe it or not, they all got along except for 1 female cat who started doing what you are describing, and exhibiting other undesirable behaviors. DD put her on a short prescription of paxil. It gave the cat time to adjust without being made nuts by her environment. When they stopped the paxil, the cat was absolutely fine, no more spraying or other behaviors.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 9:06AM
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Let's see:

a) Is she neutered? Is your male cat? Have her checked by a vet to see if she has any infections ..

b) One litter box or two? We had to get a second litter box for our Middle Cat -- because the Youngest Toad Cat was playing "mean troll" and driving her away from the litter box. MC was urinating in the living room -- but a another cat box in the kitchen helped out wonderfully!

c)Does she have a good scratching pole or place to relieve anxious feelings? Does she has a quiet spot to calm down?

Just a few thoughts!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 9:12AM
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Thank you for responding.

She is neutered and was when I adopted her.

We have 2 litter boxes that I clean 2-3 times a day. She has a very restful environment. No kids and we both work. Her favorite place is our finsihed basement under an ottoman when she is feeling stressed by company. Actually, I call it her Apt. because I think it's one of her favorite spots. Both my cats have declawed front paws. They have fantom feelings so they have a couple of places they like to stretch and scratch (yes, they still scratch and no they are not psychogically effected). One is a scratching post, the other is the base of our breakfast room table which is rattan.

Paxil....I will mention that to my Vet.

Any more thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 10:06AM
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My parents have a 2 year old cat that starting doing this. She's also fixed with a couple clean litter boxes to pick from.

Their cat is really attention needy and it appeared she was doing it out of spite when she wasn't getting enough attention, like NOW. They took her to the vet and it turned out she had a bad urinary track infection. The vet said how she probably related the pain to the litter box. After some antibiotics, she's since stopped going elsewhere in the house.

Hopefully you can get this problem worked out. That's not a fun thing to deal with.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 10:50AM
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shee beat me to it -- I'm guessing a physical cause. Get to that vet asap. If that's not it, you can try Rescue Remedy (a very safe homeopathic anti-anxiety formulation that's used on animals all the time -- get the non-alcoholic formulation) in her water or wet food first, before going all the way to paxil. Give the RR a good few days to a week (it's really hard if not impossible to OD on the non-alcoholic version) before going for the big pharma guns.

Good luck -- I have history with a cat (male, neutered) who did this and it was really frustrating. He was smart and peed on things like the radiator so it would always remind him of his Great Stature whenever the heat came on. I loved him dearly, but that was one thing I didn't love.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 12:02PM
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I agree with Shee and Fly. The only times my female cats "marked" was when they had a bladder infection which is extremely common.

Does your cat get in the peeing position? lol. The first cat that did this to me went to the end of the hallway and did it there, on the carpet.

Can you tell if your cat is also using the litter box, and if so, are there more clumps than usual?

Let the vet check her out, unless you've already done so.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 2:08PM
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I have females who mark and they don't have infections. They learn that habit as a kitten and just like males who mark, they may never stop. Have you tried Feliway? It's a cat feramone spray. You can buy it at Petsmart. I would spray it 12" from the floor on door ways, edge of furniture she passes, etc. It will not stain. You have to refresh it everyday. I had one marking my kitchen windown, sprayed that a few days and the spraying stopped. Mine was marking due to a new cat. Depends what is going on yours psychologically to determine if the behavior will stop. They also have the feliway plug in's for entire rooms. I did use those when I moved into my new house and it worked well. All the cats who had sprayed from time to time at the other house, stopped with they arrived at the new one.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 4:28PM
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I have a feliway defuser not even 12" from the chair and sofa. Bought is 2 weeks ago when she spayed the sofa.

She is using the liter box. Yes, she squats just like in her liter box and gets that look. LOL

I know about Rescue Remedy. I may have some around. Will try it.

Fly: Are you the one that makes you own cat food? She has allergies to food and her food costs a small fortune. I am also wondering if this has anything to do with her marking.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 5:34PM
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If she's squatting like she's peeing, then it's probably not simple territorial marking. Even females sometimes do that standing up, like males.

Have you seen her doing this, so you know it's her, for sure? Is there any pattern, day, time, occupants, feeding schedule, stimulus like TV or other noise (people in other rooms reacting loudly to a TV sports event might be one), arrival tardiness, or schedule alterations? Even another stray cat that appears and looks in at the window might do it. It's possible the other cat has something to do with this, too, in a way that's not obvious to you.

Would you consider using an animal communicator? (Yeah, I know a pet psychic). I hesitate to suggest this as it marks me as really, really, out there, but I have used one for this exact problem and it worked like a charm. I do feral cat rescue (currently have 9 cats living with me in my house) so I have to deal with this from time to time.

Do you have good emotional connection with her, so you could sit and "discuss" this with her in a relaxed way? Or has the tension over this escalated?

One way I explain this my cats (which I learned from my pet psychic) is this:

"Long, long, ago there were really huge cats around. Much bigger than humans and very dangerous to us because they liked to hunt and kill and eat us. The big hungry cats made our ancestors very afraid and even now when we smell cat pee in our houses, it still reminds us of that scary time and the danger of big cats. So that's why our indoor cats need to put their pee in the designated litter boxes where we can clean it up and take the smell away quickly. It makes us humans feel much safer in the our house/den. When we find pee around the house outside of the box, it upsets and scares us, that's why we react with so much distress/anger. etc."

When I first heard this fable I thought it was vey odd. But I've used it many times since. I often use the reminder of "where to put your pee" and a thank you and praise whenever I see one of the cats using the litter box. Part of it is defining it as a choice the cats can make, i.e. to put it or not. Despite not being pack animals, most house cats are quite attached (in their own cat-like way) to their owners. I find it's useful to acknowledge that I believe they do have a choice here, and that I am grateful when they make the one that's best for us all.

I think any time there's no medical reason (e.g. UTI, kidney failure or diabetes) for out of box peeing in a previously compliant cat, it's almost always stress. But it may not be a stress that makes sense to you. That's another thing an animal communicator can help with.

I could suggest a good one, if you are interested. (The psychic part isn't that she can "talk to animals" or even hear what they have to say - anyone can learn to do that, I think. The psychic part is that she doesn't have to around the cat to do it.)

Of course, there's always paxil (which I have never used with my cats, though I have known people who have done so).


    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 7:09PM
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Just wanted to share that I had a female cat, less than a year old that began marking ONLY on my then fiance's leather jacket when he came to visit. He gave her alot of attention, and she grew to like him best. Long story short, the markings stopped which is a good thing because we got married.:)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 8:22PM
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I think it's part territorial. This morning, I heard her scratching the pillow on the chair where I had my pocketbook. I was in the kitchen which was not far away. I caught her so she only did a little pee. She then went to her litter box to finish. When I went down to clean it, it had that smell. She has marked my side of the bed numerous times since January. We do keep the door shut when we cannot watch her. She is allowed in our room when we sleep. As a matter of fact, that's our time and she runs upstairs to be with me since DH goes to bed much later than me and just purrs away.

So, that's why I think it's more behavoral.

I will make an appt. for the Vet on Monday. She's due anyway for her yearly visit.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 10:01PM
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We are going through the same thing. A two year old girl is marking. On the wall in two spots in the bedroom, on the floor in the living room, on the desk and on a bookcase in the office and ON THE STOVE! I have been spraying with feliway, but it doesn't seem to help. We have four cats and we clean their boxes twice daily. She even comes and pees in the box sometimes when I'm cleaning them. When she does, I praise her lavishly and give her a treat when we go back to the kitchen. After she sprays I scold her, and I know she knows she isn't supposed to do it. I just got some Rescue Remedy on Friday and started it immediately. I'm rubbing it on her ears because that is less stressful than trying to get it in her mouth. There has been a feral cat in our yard a lot and I think that is the stressor. That is the only thing that I can tell that is different around here. I'm praying the Rescue Remedy will work. If it doesn't, I'd like to get the name of the animal communicator from you. BTW, I got some stuff called Odor X-it from the internet, and it works even better than Nature's Miracle. I don't remember off hand what the website is, but you can google and find it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 11:06PM
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It doesn't sound exactly like it applies in this situation, but if your cat is only peeing on soft things like upholstry, it might be the scotch guard finish. Apparently there's something about the smell of it that attracts cats. I also have a peeing cat whose vet says it's not medical.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 6:44AM
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I don't think it's scotchgard. The chair is 10 years old and probably does not have any left, if it did have it at all.

Feliway is not working. Daisy just did the chair the pillow was on this morning and my pocketbook was not on it. Should have silver foiled it yesterday.

I don't think I can afford anymore expense routinely to maintain my cats. Feliway is $$. Because Daisy has allergies, I have been buying prescription food for her and it's expensive. Looking now for recipes for cat food with limited ingredients to replace store bought. I also have to buy perfume free liter since I have allergies to perfume and it does not come in bulk.

Judithn: Daisy is also only peeing on soft things. I am going to Whole Foods today the get the rescue remedy. Flyleft recommended it also to me. Anything is worth the try.

Liriodendron: Daisy definitely has an attachment to me and me her. She is very sweet and fun other than this. I would love to speak with an animal communicator. I just recited the little story to her that you sent. I will try anything at this point. Curious, did the people you know who used Paxil find it helpful. Did it eliminate the marking issue?

One thing I have been noticing is that she is hardly using what is "her liter box." Hers is empty most of the time. When she does use the liter box, it's Zacks. Not sure why this is happening since I have been using the same liter and liter boxes for years.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 9:56AM
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I've learned a lot here, because I had no clue female cat's sprayed!

This suggestion may sound abusive but it's not. You may have already tried it. It worked wonders for me to get my cats to stop using furniture as a scratching post.

When I'd see a cat scratching furniture, I'd hiss as loud as I could. One of my cat's was very obstinate, my hissing wouldn't faze him. I was sitting in the LR and he came and did it to a chair again, so I got up, put an angry face on, and hissed big time. He went running to the back of the house, and he never did it again!

I think our pets see us as their parents..seriously..and this was a way for my cat (he lived to be 14 and passed away a couple of months ago) to see that I was teaching him.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 10:19AM
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Boy, do I empathize with you. As a long-time owner of cats, there's nothing worse than the smell of cat urine. Here's a great comprehensive article on the subject. On page 3, it even mentions a cat marking the stove (I'd never heard of that until you mentioned it). Maybe it will help.


Here is a link that might be useful: Reasons why

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 10:22AM
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wow what a mess and it will NOT get better unless you remove the cat urine from areas already marked.

This is how you treat this, obviously a visit to vet is in order FIRST. Then you simply keep her, her litter box, her food in a small confined space, like a bathroom with tile floors. (easier to clean) You MAY NOT let her out-she will get doing her business only in the box. It will be several days at first up to a week! DO NOT LET HER OUT! You can go in and love on her and clean box, etc. (Important to keep litter box extremely clean too during this time.) She will get it this way. then slowly expand her territory, say a larger room or basement only. It is important for you to make sure you did not change anything prior to this happening and if you did, go back to what worked. New litter? new feel of litter, smell, container? IF she begins to mark then back into the bathroom for several days. Also, you have to get the urine smell out, almost removing the carpet and pad if necessary. SCour scour scour! Also, increase the amount of litter boxes, you will find one she prefers. Note too if she is covering her urine/poo versus leaving it on top.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 1:20PM
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I'm *so glad* you'll call the vet on Monday. See if you can get her taken care of Monday, too. With any luck it can be cured and she'll be relieved not to be so uncomfortable anymore.

There's a product called "Get Serious" available at Petsmart which is wonderful, we think. We used it to get rid of our little girl's barf spots...it works on the stains like nothing else ever has (she's 14, so we've been dealing with it for a while and have tried all sorts of products -- we recently solved the cause, though, which makes me just cringe for our ignorance for all those years, but at least it's solved) and the label says it works on pee pheromones too, so there would be no incentive to re-mark anywhere that's been sprayed, as peytonroad mentioned. Just another (highly recommended) product to try to address the 'fallout', as it were : )

(or you could try the other products I see advertised on the right hand side here--sheesh!)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 2:14PM
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Ugh. We are going through this same thing with our neutered male cat marking. I'm glad to hear about Odor X-it and Get Serious, because Nature's Miracle just doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore. I've been working on this problem for about 6 months now, so I won't go into our issues or details, as it exhausts me to recount it yet one more time.

BUT....a friend of mine had a female cat who peed outside the litter box. After ruling out health problems, she began experimenting. She finally found that the cat will pee in the box if she uses rags instead of litter. She replaces the rags as needed throughout the day, and drops them into a diaper pail. A couple of times each week she washes/sanitizes the rags just as you would with cloth diapers (she doesn't use bleach).

It might be worth a try. You could set up a separate box with rags in it and see if it gets used.

Also, there is a series of books by a cat behaviorist, I can't remember the author, but a couple are Starting from Scratch and Cat vs. Cat, that addresses this problem. You may wish to check them out in case there is something helpful there.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Along the lines of what Kimberly wrote, my female cat quit using the litter box for pee after she had surgery for something else and had trouble urinating for a few weeks. She would poop in it but not pee. She'd go right up next to it though and pee on the floor next to it. Instead of rags, I found some puppy pee pads (like disposable diapers) at the pet store and put those down for her. She immediately knew what they were for (apparently they have some kind of attractant) and voila! no more problems.

I'm glad you are taking her to the vet.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 7:32PM
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This is a very informative discussion. My peeing cat is actually a foster from a rescue organization. Once the cat is peeing outside the box she is taken off the roster for adoption. The organization demands that cats that are up for adoption use the litter box reliably. There is an outdoor situation where animals that are no longer up for adoption mainly because they are too feral can go, basically to become barn cats in a heated barn. They are fed daily and have human caretakers. My foster is not feral, she's just not peeing politely. I am keeping her as a long term foster. My hope is that we can gently retrain her to pee reliably in the box and make her eligible for adoption. We are actually creating a special "room" for her in our garage and will give her indoor/outdoor access. I hope it goes okay. I figure at least this way she will not lose her social skills whereas I think if she's outdoors in the other place she may. She was born outdoors to a feral mother and so she has some experience as an outdoor cat but I think ultimately the best thing would be for her to have a forever home of her own. I'm going to try some of the tips in this thread, thanks everyone who left comments.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 8:56PM
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Bless you, judith : )

Any news, jerseygirl?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 11:21AM
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I see there is interest in this so I'll link to my animal communicator's website.

The communicator, Gayle Nastazi, has always been very helpful to me. I have used her services with many of my cats in various situations; from dire emergencies (missing animal- found after 3 weeks!), to behavioral issues, to intergration and rescue issues with feral and abandonned cats that come into my care. I always learn something from every session.

Although I know the whole idea strikes some people as pretty far-fetched (and that's OK), I feel comfortable saying that it has worked very effectively for me, and that I think it makes resolution of some difficult issues much easier.

One thing I can say for certain is that Gayle is completely legitimate. I have met her in person. I also have no financial interest in this referral - just a hope that my suggestion might be useful.

Click on the clink below and look for the Animal Communication link at the top left of the page. Carry on from there if you are interested.

RE: Various Animal pee cleaners/destinkes - I think many (most?) employ some kind of enzyme. My conclusion after using all of them is that after the bottles are opened and partly used that it's possible that exposure to air in the emptying bottle degrades the enzyme significantly. It always seems to me that they work like gangbusters at first and then less so, particularly if not used up in a short time. Then I try another brand and it seems to work better (even tested side by side), but eventually poops out, too. I have tried Odor-X, Nature's Miracle and Get Serious, along with scads of others. The pattern seems to hold for all, so now I only buy in quarts not gallons, even though it's 'way cheaper in big jugs. I haven't experimented with decanting a gallon into smaller jars and keeping them closed until I've used up the other portions. Also I find it's helpful to vigorously shake the plastic bottle before applying.

The idea mentioned by olychik about using rags is v. interesting and I will keep it mind.

I hope that my link may be useful to you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Gayle Nastazi, Animal Communicator's webpage

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 1:43PM
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I'm really glad that I started this thread. Seems there a many of us who love our kitties and want to fix this problem.

Flyleft, thanks for inquiring I could not get an appt with our Vet until the 19th at night. I will try to squeeze a day off later this week and get her in during the day. Not sure I can since I am getting ready for a business trip next week and I'm just plain busy. In the middle of the whole thing, we are having a minor bathroom reno done this week in the masterbath and tile work in the hall bath. I just love stress.

Liriodendron-Thanks for sending that link. I will go through it tonight.

It seems aluminum foil has deterred her from her marking areas. Maybe that will be part of the retraining.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 8:42PM
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I received the Rescue Remedy and have steadily been using it. It seemed to be doing the trick until today. The one I was having issues with came into my office and peed on the carpet while I wasn't watching her. I noticed when I heard her scratching around it. Also, last week her sister was running through the house, jumped on a chair and pretended to scratch it, turned around and marked on the back of it - while I was sitting on the couch! I yelled at her and managed to get most of it before it had a chance to soak in. Then I doused it with Odor X-it. I guess I'm going to have to try the animal communicator. I don't know what else to do. I have been talking to them both and telling them how upset I am when they go outside the litter box. They both seem to like the Rescue Remedy being massaged onto their ears.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 7:36PM
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Haven't read all the replies...so please forgive if this has been said.

One of my cats was marking...we couldn't catch them at it so we were never sure which one. Both have had mild bladder infections in the past..though they didn't when the marking incidents occurred. Both ended up on a prescription diet for urinary health. I also got a pet fountain, because they both liked to drink running water. Haven't had a problem since.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Jerseygirl, how is your kitty doing?

Thank you to liriodendron for the info on Gayle. I had a session with her. She talked to my kitties and said that I have a sibling rivalry issue and that they blamed each other. Which apparently is unusual. They knew they were doing wrong, but didn't think it was that big of a deal. They told her that I loved them so much, that basically they can get away with anything. She told them the story about the sabertoothed tigers, etc. and they dismissed her, saying that I know that they aren't going to eat me! She said they are very smart kitties. She told them that they were going to be put in time out if they did it again, and stressed how upset it makes me when they pee in the house. About an hour after that, one of them jumped on on the dining table and peed on the table runner! So they were both confined to the screened porch for two hours. They seemed contrite when they came back inside, and they didn't get any treats for the day. Before I let them back in, I took the runner out there and pointed it out and scolded them. Max growled and yowled at me while I was scolding them. Did okay for three days, then Max marked on the wall in our bedroom. We put her in a guinea pig cage for three hours, and she freaked out. (They lived in that cage as babies, and slept in it at night until they were about 4 months old) After she got out, she cried and cried. It actually sounded like she was saying she was sorry. No treats for Max, but everyone else got them that day. No treats is a BIG thing for her. Her world centers around food. That was Monday. So far, so good. I'm hoping that Max has realized that I mean business. I wouldn't have done it, except that after talking with Gayle, she says that they know why they are being punished. I'm glad I called her. Max still loves on me, and our relationship doesn't seem to have changed. I hope this last time made an impression on her. It is so hard to punish them, and it breaks my heart to look at her little face when I'm doling out the treats and she doesn't get any.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 9:25PM
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The update is she has not seen the Vet yet. I could not get her in her crate and had to cancel her appointment twice. The last time we both tried to shut the door but we were not fast enough with me pushing her in and DH trying to get around my arms. She ran up the stairs and we could not find her for the life of us. She's a great hider. We will have to trap her into a bathroom for the next one.

The good news is she has not marked now for 3 weeks. What I think has helped is the aluminum foil on the seats and keeping her carrier by the chair. I sprayed the seat for a second time with Nature Miracle Advanced and about 3 days ago have taken the foil off the seat. The crate is still there. I am hoping she has associates the chair marking with the carrier. Feliway is in between both the chair and the sofa she initially marked. Time will tell.

Jeane Gallo, you are an angel. Having 2 cats marking and not losing it is remarkable. I hope that little punishment did the job. I never called the communicator.

I really do believe it is behavoral.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 9:19PM
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