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Questions Answered and Topics Addressed:
Reasons why cats spray
How to prevent cats spraying
How to clean cat urine odors

Feline Spraying Cat Spraying Urine
Reasons why cats spray urine, prevention, cleaning and treatment


 

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.
 

Why do cats spray?
 

Urine marking is a communication system for cats. Cat urine contains pheromones which are chemical substances that tell other cats certain messages. Spraying is a common component of cat behavior during the mating season with males and females communicating their availability with their pheromones.

The male cat will also mark his territory, letting other male cats know that these are the boundaries and this area belongs to him.

 


Stress can be the cause of your cat spraying

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?


Do only male cats spray?

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. 


Can I stop my cat spraying? 

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 that
87% of all male cats stop spraying after castration

78% stop immediately
9% stop in a few months
13% keep spraying

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.


Mechanical Devices

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.
Watch this video to see how it works

To keep cats out of certain areas there is a product called ScatMat. The ScatMat responds to your pet's touch with a mild, harmless static pulse. Pets soon learn which areas to keep away from.
 

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. Cleaning and 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'
Further Reading  Common causes, management and diagnosis of feline stress

 

Medical Conditions

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.

 

 

 


 

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