How to Stop My Cat from Spraying

By Valdette Muller| April 20, 2018 | Blog

It is important to determine whether your cat is truly spraying on the furniture, or just simply urinating inappropriately and by accident.

Identifying this difference will help you understand if your cat has a health issue or if your cat is simply just being territorial.

Urine marking is one of the most common behaviour problems that cat owners identify with.

Urine marking or spraying: 

Approximately 30% of cats urine mark/spray as a form of indirect communication.

It is the inappropriate act of urinating while standing vertically against a surface deliberately when marking territory.

The obvious signs of spraying and marking are:

  1. Seeing your cat or a wet spot marking which is usually deposited on vertical surfaces (such as a wall or door).
  2. The amount of urine sprayed on or found on a surface is very little. They often do not use excessive amounts of urine, as they would during a regular urination in a litter box.
  3. The urine marking is more pungent in smell. It contains extra communication chemicals brought on by hormones used to communicate with other cats.

The majority of cats that spray for territory reasons are males that have not been neutered; as hormones often play a significant role in urine marking.

Urinating inappropriately on an area or missing the litter box:

Roughly 10% of all cats are estimated to miss and urinate outside their litter box. This is usually either pertaining to problems they may have with litter box access or as the result of a medical condition. For senior cats it can be a result of old age, such as not being able to hold it in or not being able to get into the litter box.

One should always investigate and evaluate the situation to find the root cause as to why their cat is marking or missing the litter box. Reasons can vary between hormonal, instinctive or health related.

Medical Reasons:

These can include kidney failurestones or crystals in the urinary tract, diabetes and arthritis. In which case you should take your cat to a vet and have them examined properly and get the right treatments for any conditions they may have.

Cats may also avoid the litter box because they have issues with the type of litter or the cleanliness or placement of the litter box. See more about the importance of Litter Box Cleanliness here.

What can I do?

Spay or neuter: The first step to eliminating spraying of territory is to neuter or spay your cat. When sex hormones are decreased, the amount of spraying/urine marking will most likely decrease as well.

Is your cat being bullied by another cat:  Assess if a conflict with other cats is causing your cat’s stress levels to go up. If stray cats in your yard are causing your cat to stress out and mark it’s territory, limit the outside view so that your cat will not see the other bullying cat. Do this by installing temporary window blockers around your house, or limit the time your cat spends outside during the day and at night. Use stress relievers on your cat such as Feliway Spray or CalmEze Gel to help calm and soothe your cat from their territorial anxiety.

Clean and soothe: Use enzymatic cleaners such as Stain and odour removers. These should be used to eliminate any odours on bedding and floors. These products can also prompt a cat to respray an area where they had previously sprayed, so once all odours have been eliminated, spray this area with a feline pheromone spray, such as Feliway; this helps your cat feel more secure in the area and may encourage marking with their cheeks rather than marking with urine.

Get more litter Boxes: If your home is multi-cat home, it is recommended that you get a litter box per cat in the house. Cats are fussy creatures by nature, and some will simply refuse to use another cat’s soiled litter box.




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