How to Stop a Cat from Spraying Inside. A helpful & useful guide.
A lot of animals mark their territory by depositing a scent. If you’ve ever seen any nature documentaries, it’s pretty common to see wild animals rubbing themselves on trees, for example. Lions and other big cats do it, and so do our very own domesticated house cats. That is why you are asking the question “How to stop a cat from spraying inside”. It’s an instinctive behavior that annoys both new and experienced cat owners alike.
So, what can you do when your beloved feline friend starts to spray in your home? In short: how to stop a cat from spraying inside the house. Let’s explore this very common issue and help you come up with some practical strategies that actually work.
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Why Do Cats Spray Inside?
So, why do they spray in the first place? Even though all cats spray, it’s mostly the male cats – or toms – that exhibit this annoying and sometimes hard to break the habit. This is because it’s largely a territorial behavior, and, in the cat world, it’s the males that have a stronger instinct to mark out their territory.
Did you know that roaming cats actually create corridors for other cats to a walkthrough? The male cats will mark their territory through spraying so that other cats know whose turf they are on. But the spraying cats are polite enough to leave these little corridors so that other cats can enter without having to get into a fight. It’s really quite a sophisticated way of communicating, even though we humans find it most distasteful.
How Do Cats Spray?
If you’ve never witnessed a cat spraying, this is how they go about it: They will choose an object to spray, turn around and raise their tail high up, and then direct a stream of urine onto the object and anything in its path. The scents and chemicals in the urine mark out that the cat is then the owner of that area. This sprayed area now represents a no go zone for other cats in the neighborhood.
Is It Different from Urinating?
If you see that your cat is squatting down leaving puddles inside the house, this is just normal urination. You may not like it, but it generally is a result of one or more reasons. If instead, you see your cat’s tail upright and quivering as they leave small puddles in consistent locations around the house, this is spraying and is a different behavior.
Being observant of your cat’s behavior is vital, not only to your own peace of mind but also to your cat’s well being. Knowing the difference is important because cats can urinate excessively due to changes in their health. Conditions like diabetes or urinary tract infections can bring about a sudden onset of messes in the house.
Are There Any Other Reasons That Cats Spray?
Clearly, marking out territory is a big reason for spraying, but are there any other reasons? Consider the following:
- Female cats: Male cats also spray as a way of attracting the attention of female cats for mating purposes. In this way, it’s a bit like spraying around a personal perfume around the place. It’s also why female cats might come calling at certain times of the year to your home. This too can be annoying but something that is cyclical and will soon pass.
- Stress factors: Just as dogs get stressed and start leaving unpleasant little packages in the house, cats can also become stressed and anxious and start to spray where you don’t want them to. This means that you could have a house full of spraying cats, which is not great for any homeowner. In these cases, it might be time to identify the root cause of the cat’s stress and anxiety.
- Overcrowding: When too many cats, especially males, are living in the same home, it can cause them to start spraying in the house. They are marking their turf as a way of telling the other rivals in the home.
Are There Any Health-Related Reasons That Cats Spray Inside?
It’s important to understand that your cat could be spraying due to some health issues. Some of these are serious, and you should definitely seek veterinary attention if you notice anything amiss in terms of eating or behavior. In fact, if you see your cat acting unusually, then seeking expert advice from a professional is vital.
Here are just some of the health reasons that your cat could be spraying in your house:
- Urinary tract infection,
- Bladder or kidney stones,
- Liver disease,
- Bladder infection,
- Feline Leukemia,
- Old age.
Certainly, some of these issues are serious, and you should be alarmed. However, being forewarned means that you know what to look out for. Remember it’s important to understand that there is a range of factors that affect your cat’s spraying in the home.
What’s So Bad About It?
Obviously, cats spraying is a normal thing for them to be doing, but when it gets out of control, it can become really annoying to a cat owner. Once they start to spray in the house, many cat owners become frustrated. This can even lead to some owners simply giving their cats away, as they cannot see any way of resolving the issue.
One of the worst things about cats spraying inside a home is the smell. Cat urine has a distinct chemical smell. This is ammonia, and it can make a lot of people feel pretty sick. You’ll know when your cat is spraying inside because of the smell it gives off. This smell can become more prominent on hot days or when central heating is turned on. This is very unpleasant to live with.
So, how to stop a cat from spraying inside? Can preventing spraying actually be achieved?
How Can You Stop A Cat Spraying?
There are some people who simply allow their cats to spray inside. This is not a good thing to do because the cats learn that it’s perfectly fine to spray anywhere they want. Just like dogs, cats do need boundaries for their behavior, but they cannot do this without structure, support, and reinforcement. So, how to stop a cat from spraying inside? Here’s some sage advice:
20px;”>Neuter Your Cat
Though some people are against the whole idea of neutering cats, it’s actually one of the best ways to stop a cat spraying inside the house. Since marking territory is directly linked to the sex drive of the cat, neutering the cat before they reach sexual maturity will have a significant impact on this unwanted behavior.
The other benefit is that you won’t have an unexpected little of kittens hanging around the home, either. And, in many areas, controlling cat populations is integral to protecting native wildlife.
Address the Stress
Whenever any animal is stressed out, it will start to act up and behave in a way that may be bothersome to humans. Cats are exactly the same in this way. If your cat is spraying in the house because it’s stressed, you need to get at the root causes of the stress and work things out. This is not always so easy.
As much as we might like to think that we understand our pets, we must always remember that they’re a different species. This also means that they communicate differently. When you want to de-stress your cat, you need to watch and listen.
Look at their behavior
How are they behaving? Is there anything different in their environment that could be causing them some distress? Do you have a different routine that might be stressing out your pets? Have you recently introduced a new person or pet into the home? Have you recently relocated to a new home?
The best way to combat the stress of cats is to establish a daily routine and stick strongly to it. Just like dogs, cats respond to routines, habits, and reinforcement. Make sure that you feed them at the same time each day, for example.
Don’t switch the furniture or their litter box around too often. These things might seem minor to us as humans, but they are a big deal to your cat. In this way, cats are like toddlers. They need to know the rules so they can follow them.
A Room Without a View
One reason that cats spray inside a home is that they detect the presence of a rival cat on their territory. When your cat looks out of the window, they aren’t just daydreaming as a person might do. They are actively looking out for other cats, threats, and prey – like birds.
If you want to reduce the chances of your cat spraying in your home, one way to do it is to restrict their view of the outside world. By moving furniture away from the windows, keeping the curtains draw, and the blinds closed, you can stop your cat from seeing if there are any threats outside that might make them instinctively spray inside your home.
Cats Making Friends
If you have multiple cats inside your home, you really need to encourage them to play positively with one another. This might seem fanciful at first, but cats who have friends in the house are less likely to start spraying.
Making cat friends actually helps to build positive behavior and reduces the occurrence of stress and anxiety. In this way, they’re not much different from humans. When we are occupied, satisfied, and engaged, we are far less likely to become bored or act out.
Repel them with Chemicals
If you’ve tried just about everything else, and you find that your cat is still spraying inside your home, it’s time to turn to chemical repellents.
You can buy special sprays that are filled with scents that cats don’t like. If you spray this on or near the objects they usually spray on, they’ll simply leave it alone. Now, this might not be the best solution on its own.
You’ll really need to be doing other things as well, rather than just relying on a chemical repellent. But don’t worry. While they sound like they are a miracle cure and perhaps hard to find or expensive, these repellents can be purchased at department stores and don’t have to cost the earth.
The Litter Box
Cats are clean animals and like to be clean. If they can’t urinate or defecate outside, they’ll gravitate to a litter box indoors that they have been trained to use. It’s one of the joys of having a cat: that they can be trained so quickly to use a litter tray.
Unfortunately, there are times when a cat might be spraying or urinating inside because there’s something they don’t like about the litter tray. Here are just a few things to think about:
- The litter tray needs to be cleaned out regularly; otherwise, it will not only smell, but it will also put the cat off from using it,
- If the litter tray is in a remote location in the home or is in an area that the cat finds unpleasant, they may prefer not to use it,
- A cat box that is covered will hold the smells that the cat may find unpleasant,
- If the cat is being harassed by children or other animals in the location where the litter tray is, they will likely become stressed and start to urinate inside the house in a place they feel more comfortable,
- A change of litter materials can often annoy a cat and cause it to become stressed, as the area is now unfamiliar to them.
So, if you’re wondering how to stop a cat from spraying inside, the litter tray might actually be the culprit. Just be aware that your cat is sensitive, and you do need to be in tune with what your cat is telling you.
Use “Feel-Good” Chemicals
Just as there are cat repellent sprays, there are also sprays that use synthetic pheromones that most cats like. If the root cause of your cat’s spraying inside seems to be anxiety, spraying some of these “feel-good” chemicals around the house might help to calm them down or curb their territorial behavior.
Give Your Cat Some Positive Attention
Sometimes, your cat gets anxious because they simply miss your company and your affection. This can happen if you’ve just started a new job or you’ve been on holiday. As we mentioned earlier, any significant change to their routine can be the cause of spraying behavior.
The best way to deal with this is to simply spend good quality time with your cat. Providing them with affection and normal cat play consistently can help them to feel more secure at home and less anxious. Using cat toys, balls of string and a host of other toys can really make a big difference here.
As aloof as we think our cats are, and as independent as they seem to be, they do consider us a part of their family. Recent studies in cat behavior conclude that cats do actively seek out human affection and feel more secure because of it.
In this context, spending time with your cat and giving them attention is one of the best medicines for both species. It’s also possibly the easiest and most fun fix for spraying in the house.
Should You Clean Away the Urine?
It’s important to eliminate the urine from the areas where your cat constantly sprays inside the home. It might be frustrating, especially if they continue to spray, but doing this will get rid of the smell and will also reduce the chances of your cat continuing to spray.
Some people like to use a black light to see where the urine is, but in most cases, the smell will be obvious. There are special enzyme-based pet cleaners that can be purchased easily. Using these will eliminate both the urine odor and get rid of the pheromones that attract cats to the area.
Cleaning away the urine spots in conjunction with trying other methods of reducing spraying is the best way to figure out how to stop a cat from spraying inside. Remember how important it is to remove the offending smell so that the cat will not want to re-mark the location.
Listen to Your Furry Friend
Cats are wonderful creatures that can also be wonderful human companions. They are different from us, and sometimes cat owners forget this. The way that they communicate is different, and we need to try and understand them and listen to them.
Cat spraying is a natural and perfectly normal cat behavior. Though many people find it distasteful, it’s a cat behavior that is instinctive and vitally important to the cat. It can certainly be curbed through neutering, for example, but it will not completely stop.