Cat Spraying: How to Deal with Cats Who Mark Their Territory
Although domesticated, remember that your cat is still a descendant of a wild species and may tend to cat spraying and urinating. It is their inner drive to use their scent in order to claim a territory with cat spray. Usually, they leave their scent by rubbing or scratching, but there may be problems when they decide to use their urine to mark their territory. However, there are ways to train your cat so that the cat spraying stops.
- What is cat spraying?
- What is the difference between cat spraying and cat urinating?
- Why is your cat spraying indoor?
- How to deal with cats spraying?
- How to stop your cat from spraying?
Cat Spraying: It’s All About Cat Scent
Cat scent is their basic way of communication. So, sometimes, when a cat visits a vet, the other cats back home may ignore her because of her new scent. It takes a lot of sniffing to recognize the old scent and accept the estranged cat back home. Because they are very sensitive about their territory and they cannot watch over every part of it at all times, they leave their scent so as to warn the intruders off.
There are multiple glands on cats’ cheeks, paws and flanks which secrete scents. So, when your cat rubs against you or anything in your home, it leaves its scent so as to claim the person or the object as their own. This way, cats signal to other cats that something belongs to them and warn them to retreat.
If you have more than one cat, these territory claims are only temporary, but scents are used to establish relationships between cats. Two cats that are sniffing each other, rubbing against each other or even grooming each other are actually bonding.
Another way of leaving scent is scratching. So when you see your cats ruining your furniture, remember that it is not only about claws sharpening.
There are multiple glands on cats’ feet pads which leave a scent when they scratch a surface. It is important to allow your cat to do this. Yet, there are different ways of training her so she doesn’t use and destroy your furniture. Don’t forget to buy your cat a cat scratching posts. Your furniture will thank you.
Cat Spraying: Why Your Cat Is Urinating Indoors
There are two ways of using urine for territory marking:
- Cat spraying urine on vertical surfaces
- Cat urinating on horizontal surfaces
When a cat encounters a vertical surface, it leaves its urine by squirting it. This is achieved by backing up to it and erecting the tail and it is called cat spraying. Usually, the tail quivers during such action.
When they encounter a horizontal surface, they urinate regularly, by squatting on a flat surface. Both of these types of urinating are present in both males and females and have nothing to do with litter boxes.
However, it is important to make sure whether your cat is spraying due to some medical problems. As opposed to regular urinating, where they release a considerable amount of urine, spraying is their way of releasing small amounts of urine while standing. It is best to have a veterinarian check your cat, because there may be a problem behind such behavior.
Cats avoid urinating in their litter boxes not only due to territory marking, but due to some medical issues as well. They may suffer from problems with kidneys or urinary tract, or may even have arthritis or diabetes. Another possible reason why cats ignore the litter box is the type of litter that may not suit them. Also, cats may have problems with litter boxes that are dirty or located in places that don’t fit them.
Is your beloved cat peeing and pooping everywhere, destroying your floor, carpets and furniture? Are you looking for a way to stop your cat from spraying indoors?
Cat Spray Stop, a new book by Susane Westinghouse, is providing cat owners with a simple and effective way to prevent their cats from spraying. Her unique TTS method is renowned by cat owners worldwide and got me impressive results in a very short time. Read my in-depth review of her work and watch the free video explaining her method.
Reasons Why Your Cat is Cat Spraying
The reason for your cat spraying may be one of the following.
It is possible that cats have health problems if they are marking the territory with urine. Specifically, this may be the case with male cats and it may be caused by urinary tract infection, inflammation or even blockage.
There are also other symptoms that can help you determine if your cat has such medical problems – he may put a lot of effort into urinating, lick his genitals, and even cry while urinating or do it in a sink.
Being in Heat
Intact cats are more likely to have the urge to use urine for marking. The easiest way to solve this problem is to get your cat spayed or neutered, best before the age of five months. Look out for behavior changes when your cat is in heat.
If your cat is already an adult and still unneutered, it is best to do this as soon as you can. This way the marking habit can be fixed. However, if you leave it for too long, your cat may acquire this as a pattern of behavior, which would be difficult to rectify.
Cats like having things their own way and dislike changes in their habitat intensively. All changes, starting from the slightest, like rearranging the furniture or leaving home for a vacation, to some more significant, like having a new cat or any pet or even a baby in the house may trigger stress in your cat.
To deal with it, cats use marking their territory as a strategy of stress relief. Think of it as a subtle way in which your cat is telling you that she is bothered by something. However, if you notice any other symptom that may indicate a medical condition, contact your vet straight away. Problems with urinary tract may be potentially fatal for your cat, let alone painful. They may cause serious infections and organ damage which would be difficult or even impossible to cure. Remember that these problems do not go away on their own and that they must be treated properly.
Cat behavior specialist Jonas Jurgella suggests you try figuring out what causes your cat’s distress and how to fix it. If you have multiple cats in your house, this may be one of the reasons of distress, as well as one particular cat that may harass the other, tamer and shyer cat. Jurgella says that a great number of cats may make it difficult for a shy cat to use the litter box, sleeping place or bowls.
We may not notice the signs that our cat is scared of other cats as their aggressive behavior toward each other can be as subtle as a simple stare. Jurgella also mentions that these quarrels may pass unnoticed by the owner.
The solution that Jonas Jurgella offers includes buying enough litter boxes, bowls and cat toys, as well as making sure there are enough sleeping places, so that your cats are not fighting over them. Moreover, the introduction of a new cat should be gradual. Make sure that they exchange scents, use treats to reward them for good behavior and use pheromone sprays to calm them if they start being aggressive.
There are some cases in which the thing that causes your cat’s stress is not even in your home. A strange and unfamiliar cat may beset your cat through the window.
Jurgella warns that your cat can be triggered to strengthen the borders of her territory by spraying around doors and windows. In the feline world, this is the equivalence of a door being locked in our world. The solution to your problem, says Jonas Jurgella, may be shutting the blinds so that your cat cannot see the intruder.
At times, cat owners complain that when they go away on vacation, their cats urinate all over their favorite furniture or things. However, this shouldn’t be interpreted as your cat’s revenge.
Jonas Jurgella says that there are more chances that your cat is scared and anxious that you are away and that an unfamiliar person is now taking care of her. Furthermore, perhaps there is something bothering her, like the litter box that is not as clean as she would like.
Speaking of the litter box, if it is not as clean as it should be, it may trigger cat spray. Moreover, the position of the litter box and the type of litter in it is what may also make your cat rather avoid it and do its business elsewhere. Jurgella has an advice for this, too – keep the litter box cleanness up to the highest standards.
He also warns that cat spraying requires more approaches in order to solve it. He uses what she calls “the shotgun approach”, which means he focuses on more thing at once – like checking for medical issues, trying to spot any sign of bullying among cats, cleaning the litter box in detail and even giving her cat a medication which may treat their anxiety (such as Prozac).
However, pay attention that medications are not a requirement for every cat in order to deal with spraying. Ask your vet for some natural ways in which this type of behavior may be fixed.
How to Deal with Cats Spraying
Determine who is guilty
Try separating one cat from others at a time and follow the behavior of the rest. However, you should be aware that this won’t give you definite answers. It may happen that the cat that has been behaving badly and affecting other cats only did that because of stress. So, when you remove the stressor from them, they may stop but that will not reveal you the source of stress.
There is a simple hack that may be more effective, though. You can add a bit of fluorescent dye to cat food, which is safe for your cat to use, and which will show itself in cat’s urine if you hold a black light over it. Add it to one cat’s food at a time and there it is your mischief-maker. Once you find the guilty one, that’s when the fun starts.
How to solve the problem?
Well, first of all, bear in mind that it will take you some time to deal with the problem, so arm yourself with patience. There are several ways of resolving this problem of cat spraying, and I offer you a few:
- Be meticulous when you clean soiled places. However, don’t use strong products as it may make your cat feel the urge to mark the territory even more.
- Try making your cat avoid the areas that were previously soiled. You may have to play with your kitty more in the areas she is prone to mark.
- Be sure that the objects which are foreign to your home are inaccessible for your cat. These objects that may trigger marking may be your guests’ clothes and things or anything new that you bought and brought to your home.
- Try to reduce the time your cat spends near doors and windows where something from outdoors can upset her.
- If your cat exhibits strange and anxious behavior during training you may want to give her a small amount of medication during a small period of time. However, be sure to consult your veterinarian before using any drugs.
Is your beloved cat urinating everywhere, destroying your carpets and furniture? Are you looking for a way to stop your cat from spraying indoors?
Cat Spray Stop, a new book by Susane Westinghouse, is providing cat owners with a simple and effective way to prevent their cats from spraying. Her unique TTS method is renowned by cat owners worldwide and got me impressive results in a very short time. Read my in-depth review of her work and watch the free video.
How to Stop Your Cats Spraying in 7 Easy Ways
Are your cats spraying or marking? There are several ways in which to deal with such bad behavior like cat spray. The most important thing, however, is that you should never punish her, as it will have a negative effect and could even increase the inappropriate behavior.
Is your cat stressed?
Try finding out where the conflict lies and if it is the reason of your cat’s distress. In case your cat is being harassed by either another cat or a dog, you may want to ask a professional for help. There are various methods for dealing with this problem, from training your pets to cohabit to short-term separating them or desensitizing. When the stress element is stray cats, you may want to limit your cat’s view of the world outside your doors and windows.
You can use special blinds that only cover the lower half of your windows or you can shut the blinds completely to help your cat feel more at ease. If you haven’t limited your cat to indoors before, you may want to try this now. This way you can remove the stressor from your cat’s environment.
Clean your home
Make sure you clean your household, using specific products like enzymatic cleaners which can remove all scents from your furniture and other things which may cause your cat to spray over this area all over again. When you get rid of all scents, you can apply a feline pheromone spray (like Feliway) which would make your cat feel safe at home. This could result in your cat choosing to mark her territory by rubbing her cheeks on furniture over urinating or cat spray.
Litter Boxes are key
Also, make sure you have enough litter boxes. Put them in various places equally distributed around your house to provide your cat with enough space which is not claimed by another cat. Such strategy prevents stressful situations, especially if you have more than one cat.
Keep your cat busy
Find ways to keep your cat busy and productive. You can buy different toys for your kitty which will keep her occupied even when you’re not around. More time she spends entertained, less time she will have for cats spraying.
Create a structure
Create a timetable which can offer a way to structure your cat’s free time. You can arrange play sessions or feed your cat at a particular time each day so that your cat feels some stability. This routine could also make her feel less stressed out.
Rewards may help
Try rewarding your kitty for good behavior. If you organize your cat’s favorite activities in the area that she is prone to mark, she may eventually feel less tense around that specific place. You can pet her, feed her and cuddle or play with here around the area that she used to spray.
But what you want to do first is neutering your cat. Most probably, once the sex hormones are reduced, so will be cats spraying.
If none of this help and the urine-marking continues, it would be best to seek advice from a veterinarian. Your cat vet can offer some professional help, either by suggesting medication or another expert in animal behavior who can help your train your fuzzy friend.
I highly recommend the book Cat Spray Stop by Susane Westinghouse which really made a difference for me.
I hope you find this article on cat spraying and urinating helpful. If you have more tips please let me know in the comments.
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About The Author
My name is Isabelle and I’m a proud cat mommy, cat blogger and amateur photographer. As a passionate pet enthusiast and long-time cat owner who has experienced the many aspects of what it means to care for cats I love to share my experiences with you.