Cat Spraying Problems And How To Solve Them
Cat spraying is a natural behavior among felines. Your cat will deposit small quantities of urine on vertical surfaces such as walls, furniture, and doorways.
This behavior is usually caused by the necessity to mark the territory. However, as we will see in this article, cat spraying can start for other reasons, including medical problems and stress.
Cat spraying is a huge problem if it happens indoors due to cat urine smell and stains. It is also one of the main reasons why people decide to euthanize their cats or give them to animal shelters.
Cats are territorial animals. They have a propensity to mark their territory outside the litter box, especially during mating season and in houses with more than one cat. This marking is a communication system between cats. Cat urine contains pheromones that send certain messages to other cats.
All cats can spray no matter their gender or if they are neutered or not. However, cat spraying is more usual in un-neutered male cats.
Main Causes For Cat Spraying And Possible Solutions
Let´s take a look to the main reasons that can cause cat spraying, and what can you do about it.
Cause: Marking the territory
As I have said before cats are territorial animals, they love having their own space. In multi-cat households this necessity can be even greater. The pheromones in your cat urine will tell other cats “be careful, this territory is mine”.
During the mating season cat spraying communicates to other cats that they are available and ready.
- Neutering or spaying. Cat spraying or marking can be avoided if the cat is neutered or spayed before the age of six months. If they are older, and cat spraying has begun, having the cat neutered or spayed is still effective to stop this behavior. Neutering will stop spraying within six months after procedure.
You can use repellents in the spots where your cat is spraying.
- Pheromone diffusers.
If you do not want to neuter or spay your cat you can use pheromone diffusers. These products can also be used if your cat is already neutered or spayed and he still sprays.
I have been using pherome diffusers to solve my cat spraying problems and they really work.
The product I personaly like to use is Feliway. It is an environmental spray that contains a synthetic chemical that mimics the scent found in the gland near the lips of cats (the facial pheromones).
With Feliway, when the cat returns to the area to mark again, he sniffs the pheromones and gets the message that this spot has already been marked, eliminating the cat motivation for spraying.
Cause: Medical problems - Urination Tract Disease
Urination Tract Disease (UTI) can cause cat spraying. Urination becomes a painful activity if your cat has UTI. He will urinate more often and with small amounts of urine. He will associate his litter box with the pain that urination is producing. For this reason, your cat will start peeing in different spots of your home instead of using its litter box.
If you suspect that your cat can have Urination Tract Disease, visit immediately a vet. They will know what to do.
Some signs of UTI:
- The spraying behavior appears suddenly
- Your cat urinates only a few drops every time
- There is blood in the urine
- our cat cries or meows when urinating
- Excessive liking of genitals
- Weight loss
Cause: Changing the litter box type or location
Cats are very sensitive to changes in their environment. One reason to start spraying can be that you have replaced his old litter box with a new and different one.
Also if you have change the location of his litter box, he can start spraying.
If you have change your cat litter box recently and he has started spraying, consider replacing the litter box with one that is similar to the one he used. Avoid changing brands and do not buy litter boxes that are perfumed.
If you have change the location of the litter box just put it where it used to be. Remember that cats like quiet places, easy to access and away from their food and water.
Cause: Stress and Anxiety
Cats are creatures of routine and very sensitive to any small change in their life. There are several factors that can cause stress and anxiety. All these factors can start cat spraying:
- Moving to a new house.
- A new family member: you have a new partner, a baby or a new pet.
- Changes in your lifestyle: you are out of the house more often or at different hours. Maybe you cook and eat at different times. Any small change in your routine can cause changes in your cat´s routine.
- Visitors: having more visitors than it is usual or someone that is visiting often.
- A new cat living in the neighborhood.
- Injuries or other medical problems.
Cat spraying that it is originated by stress or anxiety can be very difficult to treat. First you have to identify what is causing the stress and then you have to fix it. Ask the vet if you do not know how to solve this problem. The vet can decide if medication and therapy are necessary, and what type of medication your cat needs.
There are also homeopathic remedies to relieve stress and anxiety without the negative effects of pharmaceutical calmatives. Some of the best ones are available at Only Natural Pet Store.
They carry a product that I specially like, Nutri-Vet Pet-Ease Calming Mist & Diffuser.
It reduces stress by releasing a blend of natural herbal essential oils containing clove, lavender, cinnamon, sweet orange, thyme and juniper berry.
As you have seen there are different reasons that can cause cat spraying. The first step is always to identify the reason. The second is to find the best solution to stop cat spraying behavior.
If cat spraying is causing you problems with cat urine smell and stains, read my conclusions on Commercial Cat Urine Smell Removal Products.