What is Feline Spraying.
Feline Spraying (also called marking) is a cat depositing a small amount of urine on vertical surfaces, such as furniture, doorways and walls. The spraying cat may be seen to back into the area, the tail may quiver, and with little or no crouching the cat sprays the urine.
Spraying is marking behavior, not a
litter box problem. The cat does not need to pee, he is leaving a
message for other cats.
Un-neutered male cats will usually start urine spraying behavior once they reach sexual maturity.
The age at which a tom cat sexually matures can vary greatly but in general it occurs between 5 and 12 months. Many factors can affect at which age a male cat starts spraying. Male cats in multi-cat households or in close proximity to other cats are more likely to spray at a younger age.
Spraying is territorial and can also be stress related. Neutering or spaying a kitten at an early age can prevent spraying problems in the future. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best age to neuter your kitten.
Multi-cat households usually have a far greater problem with spraying than single cat households. Overcrowding of cats will often result in problems with territory marking.
Sadly, feline spraying and
inappropriate urination problems are
among the most common reasons for pet cats to be euthanised and
surrendered to cat shelters.
Cats are creatures of habit and thrive in a consistent and familiar atmosphere. When their 'comfort zone' is disrupted it can often result in stress which contributes to spraying.
It is vital to discover under which situations the problems occur as treatment often depends on defining any specific anxiety-inducing triggers for the behaviour.
Here are some questions to ask yourself. These could be reasons your cat may be stressed and has begun spraying.
1. Did someone new come to live in the house.
2. Is there a new baby?
3. Is there a new pet?
4. Could your cat be a victim of a neighborhood cat that is coming into your yard?
5. Has your cat's daily routine been changed in any way?
6. Is your cat part of a multi-cat household?
7. Has your cat been ill?
8. Has the layout of your house or yard changed in any way that may be affecting the cat.
9. Is your cat being bullied by another cat?
10. Have you changed your cat's litter brand or changed it's litter tray?
No, all cats, male or female, neutered or not, may spray, however, urine marking is most common in un-neutered male cats. It is not usual for female cats to spray, but it can happen if she is in heat and leaving her scent to attract a male cat. It can also be a problem when there is overcrowding of cats in a household.
When an intact male sprays urine, it will have the characteristic tom cat smell that is very strong and unmistakable.
There are several approaches you can take but not all may work for your situation.
Castration of males or spaying of females can reduce the cat’s motivation for spraying.
Early neutering of your kitten will in most cases stop your cat from spraying in the future. Neutering after spraying activity has commenced may reduce it.
For older cats, one study showed
Another study showed that
77% of cats reduced or stopped spraying within six months of being
neutered or spayed.
Anti anxiety drugs for cats who spray.
Anti anxiety drugs are available from your vet which may be used in preventing your cat from spraying. Discuss the use of drugs with your veterinarian.
Clomicalm and valium are drugs available only from Veterinarians and are used for treating spraying problems in cats. Some cat owners report that their cats lose their personality and become zombies when on anti anxiety drugs.
Personally, I don't recommend anti anxiety drugs.
Friendly Pheromone diffusers and sprays.
Feliway®, pheromone products offer a solution to help manage unwanted, stress-related behaviors in cats. This therapy works by spraying a 'friendly' pheromone in places where your cat sprays. Also available are plug in diffusers. These pheromones pacify cats who are spraying urine around the house.
If you have the problem with your cat spraying in one particular area then a repellant called SSScat might work for you. SSSCAT ™ has two elements: a motion detector and an aerosol can. It will detect the cat's motion and will release a harmless spray that will deter your cat from frequenting this area. Once this is repeated a few times, the SSSCAT will keep the cat away from unwanted areas. See this video of SSScat in action.
You can usually purchase this product on ebay.
Removing the Odor
Clean up all areas where the cat has previously sprayed as the scent can trigger them to spray again in the same area. First wash all surfaces that have been sprayed with cat urine with a laundry detergent containing enzymes. Then mix up 50% white vinegar and 50% water in a spray bottle and spray the area well with the vinegar solution to discourage the cat spraying urine in the same place again.
For cleaning up on carpets try our
home remedy method.
removing Cat Urine Odors
which uses common household products.
Stress related Cat Spraying
Identify and remove stressful contributors to the problem of cat spraying.
Get your cat back into its 'Comfort Zone'
Have your cat examined for lower urinary tract diseases to rule out medical conditions which could be causing the problem. For example a painful case of cystitis or urethral blockage may have your cat associating the pain of urination with it's litter tray and it will therefore avoid it's litter tray.