Cats make good companions and are capable of bringing a lot of joy in your life. It’s because of this, that some behaviors can be overlooked and seen as cute. However, there are other behaviors, that are not so cute, which you’ll probably want to address. A common behavior that can cause some distress to an owner, is when a cat sprays—especially in the house.
If your cat is spraying and you’re looking for a way to minimize or even eliminate this behavior, the best place to start, is to first understand why your cat is spraying in the first place. Then you can proceed to finding a solution. Below is a brief description of why our feline friends spray and a few tips on “How To Stop A Cat From Spraying”.
When Cats Mark
When it comes to territory, cats like to define what belongs to them. This is because it gives them a sense of security. When they’re content with something or someone, they leave their mark. Humans, toys and specific areas in the home, are all things that cats like to mark as their own. They mark their territory with the glands on their chin, above the eyes and on their cheeks.
Every time a cat brushes his cheek against a chair or on a human, they are leaving their mark on something or someone that gives them pleasure and contentment. These markings are subtle and therefore don’t cause issues. You can take it as your cat’s way of communicating her love of the environment you created for her.
The Reason Cats Spray
When cats spray urine, it’s typically done outdoors, mainly when they’re competing with other cats for territory. This is a stronger form of marking and since it involves urine, the smell is distinct and noticeable.
In order to indicate to other felines about their territorial boundaries, a cat will occasionally urinate on bushes, tree trunks and/or fences when they are outside. Spray marking is usually done at a height, that is easy for other cats to smell—typically nose height. In addition to marking territory, a cat’s spray can communicate sex, health and age. Cat spray is like a sign post put up for other cats, so that there are no misunderstandings and very few physical altercations.
Outdoor spraying isn’t usually an issue, but if your cat is spraying in your home, it could be a warning that they are uneasy about something. If your cat is anxious about something threatening they witnessed outdoors—while sitting on the window seal—it can result in your cat spraying window seals, drapes and doorways. When your cat begins to spray household furniture like couches, tables and chairs, then it is possible that she is feeling a lack of confidence. She’s most likely spraying her scent around to feel more secure.
Stop Your Cat From Spraying
Since your cat is in a state of anxiety—as indicated by her spraying in the house—yelling at her or scolding her will only make things worse. You’ll only scare your cat more, increasing the frequency of her sprays, which is counter productive.
To begin, you should try to understand, the source of your cat’s anxiety. Below are some typical causes to consider.
- A new cat in the area
- A new pet in the house
- A strange person in the house
- Recently deceased cat
- New furniture
- Moved to another house
- Traumatic experiences
Make Sure There’s Enough To Go Around
If you have a multi-cat household, your cat may be marking his territory, because there aren’t enough resources to go around. Be sure to provide each and every cat in the house their own litter box, drink/food bowl, meals, toys and sleep furniture. Cats always benefit from hiding spaces—especially in a multi-cat home—so consider providing lots of places in which to retreat. Cats love to be in an elevated position, so it might be a good idea to have a few cat trees around.
Check Your Litter Box(es)
Litter box maintenance is very important. If for some reason your cat can’t get to the litter box, has to share or if it is not regularly cleaned, she may end up eliminating somewhere else in the house. To prevent spraying, it helps to routinely clean the litter box. Also, in a multi-cat household, each cat should have their own litter box.
Think About The Other Cats
If you have multiple cats and they’re not getting along, then it’s possible that your cat could be marking out boundary lines for her territory. Try to give each cat their own separate space/territory and hiding places.
It’s also possible that there could be an intimidating cat lurking around outside—making your cat anxious. In this case, consider keeping the curtains, blinds and drapes closed. This can prevent your cat from seeing the outside cat.
Clean Up Old & New Cat Sprays
Keeping your home tidy, fresh and clean can help a lot. Be sure to immediately clean every cat spray marking—old and new. If you don’t, the strong smell will encourage your cat to mark in that area again. Consider using a good enzyme based cleaner, to break down the acid in cat urine. Avoid ammonia based cleaners. This is because ammonia is a component in cat urine.
Consult Your Veterinarian
If you find that you can’t resolve your cat’s spraying issue, then you may need to consult your veterinarian—especially if this is abnormal behavior. There may be some underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. If this is the case, you’ll need a qualified veterinarian to help you with a medical solution.
Create Comfortable Surroundings
Basically, cats are fairly sensitive, solitary and routined creatures. If something happens to threaten certain aspects of their life, it can result in anxiety and subsequently lead to spraying. Creating a comfortable environment with scheduled feedings and playtime, can go a long way to helping your cat feel secure.
Consider minimizing stressful events in their life. The introduction of a new cat, person, furniture, decorations or a house can potentially make your cat uneasy to the point of spraying.
You can also try diffusing her favorite room with synthetic calming pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals that are released from your cat’s glands and are used to communicate with other cats. These chemicals have been synthetically replicated and made available as a way to communicate calm and relaxing messages to your kitty. Synthetic calming pheromones for cats are made available as sprays or plugin diffusers. They’re known to help create a relaxing environment for your cat when properly applied. Also, consider spraying your cat’s favorite blanket and bedding—to help reinforce her state of calm.
Bach Rescue Remedy
Bach Rescue Remedy is an homeopathic herbal liquid that uses 5 flower essences to help balance your cat’s nervous system. It’s typically used to help reduce anxiety in humans, as well as pets and is considered to be effective in that regard. You may find that in combination with any of the above tips, this herbal remedy can be helpful.
For more herbal calming remedies click here.
In conclusion, if you can’t figure out why your cat is spraying, consult a qualified veterinarian to help you determine why your cat is behaving this way. You may even need to contact a cat behaviorist, to give you tips on how to stop your cat from spraying. Once you figure out why your cat is anxious, you can begin a treatment to help her become more relaxed and secure. Thanks for reading, “How To Stop A Cat From Spraying”.