Spraying is actually one of the ways of the cat to communicate with other cats, by leaving its urine marks. Even though it seems normal for a cat, especially male cats, but it can be annoying for the cat owners.
Cat’s urine contains ammonia, this is the reason why the odor is very unpleasant. Thus, the spraying act should be stopped as soon as possible. But how to stop a cat from spraying if it is actually a common behavior, especially if you have more than 1 male cat in the house?
Yet again, how do you know your cat has sprayed or just has litter box problem? Know the difference first before taking an action.
It takes an extra effort to observe your cat, whether it is has urine marking or litter box problem. Please know that cats that spray still use their litter box. However, the urine marking or spray, is a bit different the urine which is usually deposited inside the litter box.
Here are some characteristics indicating of spraying or urine marking, not a litter box problem.
If you see your cat is urinating on a vertical surface, then you know your cat is spraying. Vertical surface can be stereos speaker, a wall, side of desk, side of chair. The cat usually stands still and his tail is straight up in the air. After that, it will spray its urine to the surface. His entire body and often only its tail usually twitches during the process.
When cat sprayed, the amount of urine is usually less than the actual urine it deposits on the litter box. So if you see only a small marking on the surface, it may be spraying.
Spraying is an urine mark which is a warning for other cats that it is your cat’s territory. So, it’s not just an urine, it contains another chemical which acts as a communication for other cats. And the chemical smells pungent to human.
If you are still not sure, it’s better to get verification from your vet. After you has one hundred percent sure that it is spray or urine mark, then you can take some steps to overcome it.
As stated before, cats spray as an act of communication. However, it may not be as simple as that. Even though most urine mark is sprayed in a vertical surface, in some cases, there are also cats that spray in horizontal surfaces, and they don’t only spray, but also defecate!
It’s important to know that generally spraying cats are unneutered male cats, and their hormones play a big part in this case. Male cats spray to mark their territory, and also when they feel threatened and anxious.
Although usually cats spray inside the house, if you set them free in the garden, they can also spray outside. Commonly, cats spray near doors and windows.
If you adopt new pets, your old cats (or even the newly adopted one) can spray because they feel insecure in their new habitat and have to face the new cats. Spraying can also occur if there’s conflict between two pets in the same area, which force them to mark their territories.
If you change the environment of the cat, like moving to a new house or rearranging the furniture pieces or living space, this can make the cat stress and lead it to marking. Commonly, cats spray in bedding or clothing.
When treating the spraying cat, you have to know the reason why it is spraying first, so you can solve the solution right from the root.
If you find your cat sprays or urinates outside the litter box, it’s recommended to check to the vet first. Why? Because sometimes litter box problem can be caused by medical conditions. Once your vet has confirmed that there’s no medical issues in your cat, you can follow these steps.
It’s true that spraying is not litter box problem, but if there’s only one litter box for several cats in the house, conflict will happen over the usage of the litter box. So, to avoid such conflict, always prepare at least one litter box for each cat in your house, even though having an extra is even better. For instance, if you have two cats, having three litter boxes is highly recommended. Place the extra litter box in an area where the spraying cat usually spends its time.
If you have more than one cat and you can’t decide which one is spraying, you can ask your vet to give you fluorescein to one of the cats. Fluorescein is a harmless dye which cause urine to go blue under ultraviolet light within 1 day. If there’s no fluorescein, confine each cat at one time temporarily to know which one is spraying.
This is useful to avoid conflict among the cats. Plus, if you have dog too, keep your cat’s litter box away from the dog’s water bows and dog. Marking territory is not only for other cats, but also to dogs.
Unlike dogs, cats are solitary animal. They need their own space. Conflict often arise if there’s not enough perching area, making cats have to face other cats frequently and it makes them stressed. Create a place for each of your cat to rest and hide away from others. This tip is only for those who have more than one pet in the house.
You have to notice the sanitary and hygiene of your cats, because cats always like to be cleaned. So, you have to clean your cat’s litter box everyday. Once you see there’s elimination there, you have to scoop it right away. In addition, you need to clean to the litter box with unscented soap water. Baking soda, as an alternative to soap, can also be a good choice. This method is useful to remove scent of other cats. Make your cat believe that the litter box is exclusively his.
You need to provide more than one source of water, food, or even toys to each of your cat, so they can use all of them without interacting or even arising a conflict with other cats in the house.
Not play with all of your cats, but spare some time to play with each of your cat in different space in your house to minimize conflict. When using toys, it’s recommended to use ones which dangle. If you want to play with all your cats, you have to encourage them to play together. However, this should be avoided if your cats hardly see each other. It will only arise a conflict.
Yes, there are products like this which can give an artificial pheromone aroma to cats. This method is believed to relieve the stress of cats. In the products, usually there’s a diffuser which can pass through the aroma. Whenever your cat sees other cats and the anxiety arises, you can use this product. Artificial pheromone is formed in diffuser or spray. You can find them in pet stores.
This is important to make sure that the cat won’t find the mark it made before. Because if your cat manages to find the scent of urine marking it made, chances are it will mark again in the same spot. So, clean the spot with enzymatic cleaner to neutralize the odor. Baking soda can be used as well in this case as an alternative.
Urine marking or spraying is commonly a sign of anxiety or stress in a cat. You can have a medication approach in this case. Discuss the case with your vet or to Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. Those experts can check your cat’s behavior problem and give your the recommended treatment plan. Never use over the counter products in this case.
If you only have one cat but still it sprays in all over your house, here are some things you can do to overcome this.
This is a widely used and proven method to stop your cat from spraying. It is because commonly spraying is caused by hormones in male cats, so you need to stop the hormone production in order to stop this behaviour. When neutering your cat, it’s recommended to do it when the cat is still 6-month old.
This is useful to detect the presence of other cats in your neighborhood. Other cats may be the reason why your cat can be so anxious and stressed, so they have to spray.
It’s good to prevent your cat from seeing cats outside in the neighborhood.
When treating spraying cat, despite what you read on the internet or in the books, please AVOID these things:
Why? You may think it’s good to let your cat know that urine should be deposited in the litter box by rubbing your cat’s nose to its urine. In fact, it may even encourage cat to spray even more.
Cat could never understand why you get angry, so it’s useless to spend your energy just to be angry. Plus, when you throw things at your cat, it will only make your cat traumatize and give your further problems.
It is a thing that should be avoided at all cost! Cat urine already contains ammonia. When you clean it with a cleaner product containing ammonia, cat will still smell the scent of its urine in the affected spot. Thus, it will spray again in the same spot again in the future.
When you have tried all those stuffs but still things can’t seem to work the way you expected before, maybe you should try other options.
Once everything has been cleared, you need to make your cat relax by soothing it. Spray the affected area with feline artificial pheromone (instead of diffuser, choose the spraying one). Feliway is a good product to try. This is useful to may your cat feel safe and secured. This way, in the future your cat will only mark with its cheeks, not with its urine.
Your cat may need productive toys which can help it stay focus and active during the day. Cat food puzzle is a good recommendation in this case. Interactive toys like that can be played even when you’re not around to play with your cat. When your cat is busy enough, it won’t have time to stress. Thus, the risk of spraying will be minimized.
You have to try to set a time in trick training or play and divide them into several sessions. Let your cat feel secured, safe, and stable during its interaction with human being in the household. Make it understand what time to play and what time to trick train.
It’s also recommended for you to visit a vet regularly, despite your cat being healthy. Because sometimes there are underlying medical conditions which have to be treated as soon as possible and you don’t see it coming.
Neutering and spaying your cat should be conducted before your cat grows up and ready to mate. The process is like having a usual operation, where there are several procedures to follow. And this should only be executed by experienced vet. Never have the operation done under unprofessional staffs.