The top question I am continually asked is”How to stop a cat from spraying” This habit is not only annoying and stressful for you but will have your home smelling like a litter tray. What is it with that cat urine smell? It is absolutely horrendous. I am going to show you a way to stop this horrible habit using a method that actually works.
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Cat spraying has been one of the most common and intolerable behaviors among cat parents. Not only is it gross but it can turn out to be chronic if ignored. Furthermore, spraying is also the leading cause for cat owners surrendering them to a shelter. You understand why you need to get this behavior corrected before the worst comes. In this article, we are going to look at how to stop a cat from spraying as well as the reason behind it.
In order for the human race and the feline family to live harmoniously, we had to understand their behavior. We had to learn their way of life in the wild and try to incorporate it into our homes.
This way, our cats are quite comfortable even when living indoors completely. In addition to this, we had to learn how our cats communicate. Through deep research, it was established that cats use their urine to communicate with you and even other cats.
Why do cats spray?
In order to stop a cat from spraying, you must, first of all, determine the reason behind the behavior. There are several factors that you may need to consider in order to be able to tell the reason why your kitty is spraying. For instance, the age of your cat may be an important determinant.
This is because older cats may tend to spray more than younger cats. Cats that are also in their reproductive phase may also spray in efforts to mark territories and attract a mate.
Female cats also tend to spray more as compared to male cats. This makes gender a factor to consider when trying to understand cat spraying. Below are some of the reasons why cats spray:
As mentioned earlier, urine marking is a common behavior amongst cats. In fact, it is the way they communicate with each other and also with us. It is up to you to determine what your kitty is trying to tell you. However, this is not always an easy thing to do. Your kitty might be marked because of the following reasons;
He can see the outside world
The view of the outside world for an indoor cat might sound so appealing. You might think that it will keep your cat busy and occupied throughout the day. However, it is a bad idea, especially if you are trying to control urine spraying. This is because seeing passersby on the street could stimulate his need to protect boundaries. In order to do so, he might end up spraying the windows or even your front door.
stray cats coming to your home may also trigger your cat to start spraying. Cats are protective and attached to their space and even owners. Therefore, the slightest sight of another cat in your homestead. Remember that your cat can also pick the scent of another cat’s scent from afar. Therefore, you will need to keep stray cats away from your home.
A cat in heat is likely to spray. As much as people advocate for spaying and neutering cats, other people prefer not to. Therefore, whenever your cat is in the season, there is a likelihood that he is going to spray all over. However, this will only happen whenever your cat is in heat. Understand that causes of urine marking are mostly behavioral.
Cats in the domestication world need the owner’s attention. I mean, it is the least we can offer given that they are separated from their families. However, once you adopt a kitty, he becomes part of your family, and you become his. This means that, since cats are quite sensitive, even emotionally, your absence may cause your cat anxiety as well as vulnerability. When a cat is in this state, there is an increased chance that he is going to spray.
A cat that wants to ‘own things’
Now, this has probably occurred at one point in your cat’s life. Whenever exposed to new items, cats feel like they do not belong. This is because he cannot find his own scent in the new place. For this reason, he will want to own the latter. Cats that mark items including furniture tend to have the need to own it. He wants to feel secure and any new scent in the house is not going to be that easy.
We cannot put enough emphasis on how bad stress can be for your cat. Usually, your cat is only trying to tell you something. You will need to figure out the reason why your cat is stressing and eliminate it. This is the only way to eliminate spraying behavior caused by stress.
Before we proceed, you must understand the possible causes of stress in cats. Understand that cats are quite vulnerable and therefore consider making him as comfortable as you can. Some of the causes of stress in the feline family include:
Change in lifestyle
If you have recently made some change in your or his lifestyle, you might be dealing with spraying resulted from stress. This is due to cats’ inability to deal with change. It does not have to be massive a changing the daily routine could possibly lead to cat stress.
For instance, if you change your cat’s feeding time he will find it difficult to adjust to the new time and react by spraying. He is trying to tell you that he is not happy with the little change.
If you have to travel for business or even vacation, your cat is bound to feel your absence. Often, you will leave someone else to take care of him. Believe me, he is not going to react well to this sudden change.
Remodeling and rearranging your house will also be confusing to your cat. He will definitely find it hard to get around the house. Avoiding the litter box will be her quickest way to react. He is only trying to communicate his stress to you.
Moving to a new residence
Even though sometimes we cannot help but move from one home to another, it is important that you understand the effects it might have on your cat. He is definitely going to settle in as fast as you. In fact, he is going to feel the need to spray in order to get rid of the anxiety. He may be feeling anxious because of the strange environment and hence spray to ‘own’ it.
You must be prepared to help your cat settle in with you when you move. Expect a few undesirable behaviors as a result of the stress that comes with moving.
Once you adopt a kitty, this means fewer house parties! One thing cats cannot get over is living in a noisy environment. Therefore, if you are living near a noisy neighborhood, your cat may spray quite a lot before he adjusts to it. It is important to recognize that cats have a stronger sense of hearing than we do. Avoid playing loud music in the house.
Having strangers in the house
Your kitty has already picked your scent and those of your family. This means that he is going to sense when you have visitors over. This will automatically subject your cat to stress. In fact, you may notice your cat isolating himself or even needing more petting than usual.
And once again, we cannot live without such scenarios.
Litter box issues
Spraying can also be as a result of your cat experiencing litter box issues. Litter box issues actually lead when we are talking about inappropriate elimination. There could be several reasons why your cat won’t use the litter box no matter how much you try. However, you will need to identify what you are doing wrong to piss off your cat that much. Your cat may be having litter box issues as a result of the following factors;
Inappropriate litter type
To be able to encourage your cat to keep using the litter box, it could be of help if you provided the correct type of litter. It is therefore important to know exactly what your cat prefers in terms of litter. Although each cat is different in terms of what they prefer as cat litter, most of them will prefer the common type. Usually, good cat litter should be soft and loose material. This is because mot cat prefers to bury their waste after relieving themselves. Furthermore, hard and rough material will definitely upset your cat’s paws.
Cat litter should also absorb cat pee instead of holding the latter.
Dirty Litter Box
As we all know, or should know, cats are pretty sensitive to their surroundings. They are also sensitive to smells which means that he is not going to use a dirty box. This includes a smelly litter box. Therefore, it is important that you clean all the litter boxes and scoop at least twice daily. Consider changing the entire box every few months.
If your cat appears repelled to the idea of using the litter box, you might consider checking the overall hygiene of the latter.
Location of Litter Box
In order to encourage your cat to keep using the litter box, you must strategically locate the latter. Your cat is definitely not going to use it from just anywhere. Cats like a private but easily accessible to eliminate at peace.
Therefore, place the litter boxes in place with no movement or activity. This will provide the serenity that your cat requires in order to relieve himself.
To strengthen your bond
Here is another reason why your cat is spraying all over your items and even clothes. When you first adopt a cat, he has no other choice but loves you. I mean you provide care and feed him, every day and even play with him. He may get to like you as soon as you bond. However, this is a bond that you will have to nurture at all times. He is going to always depend on this connection between you two in order to feel secure.
However, we cannot manage to spend every hour and every day with our kitties. The modern way of life is demanding as we have jobs, school and other things to do. Should you leave home for a couple of days, your cat is going to probably wonder why you are missing. The longer you stay without seeing him, the more he is going to feel a void in your bond. In order to restore this bond, your cat may result in spraying your items, clothes and even bed. This makes him feel closer to you, even in your absence. It is his way of coping with the void in your connection.
Cats can sometimes spray because they are sick. Feline urinary problems are a common worry among cat parents. In the case your kitty is spraying because he is sick, you should look out for other signs. Usually, spraying will be the obvious symptom of illness accompanied by painful and frequent urination.
There are several illnesses you might be dealing with if your cat has the above symptoms. These include
Feline urinary tract infection
This is rather a common illness in cats and especially female cats. This is not to disregard the fact that male cats can also contract a urinary tract infection. However, younger cats are not at the risk of UTIs as compared to older female kitties.
If you notice your cat spraying everywhere, you may consider looking into it further. This way, you are going to notice other symptoms that might include drinking more water than usual, litter box avoidance as well as blood in the urine. Upon noticing these symptoms, you should contact your vet as soon as possible.
Treatment will be administered after your vet has made a conclusive diagnosis
Cats are also prone to the formation of crystals in the urine. This condition makes it difficult for your cat to pee. Spraying small amounts of clouded urine is the first symptom you will have to look into. This will be accompanied by the difficulty to pass urine for your cat. In severe cases, you will have to deal with blockage of the urethra by having your kitty operated on.
Treatment will depend on the stage of this illness. In most scenarios, your vet will administer a solution to dissolve the crystals. This will clear the urethra and restore your cat’s ability to pee. This may be followed by drug therapy to clear the illness. You should also focus on encouraging your cat to drink more water. Make sure that your cat is free of stress and any other discomfort.
Just like in the name, a cat with bladder stones will have larger crystals in his bladder and urinary tract. This can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated. Unlike treating crystalluria, bladder stones will require surgery to rectify the urinary tract.
Therefore, it is important to get your cat examined by a vet to determine if he has an illness. Look for the above-discussed symptoms if you suspect that your kitty is ill.
How to stop a cat from spraying
As we have mentioned earlier in this article, to be able to stop a cat from spraying, you must first determine why he is doing so. In most cases, you will figure out that you are dealing with a behavioral issue. It is up to you to figure out what your cat is trying to tell you.
Before we proceed, if you are looking ‘how to stop a cat from spraying,’ it means one of these two things: your cat is spraying or other cats are spraying your house. Either way, this section of the article is going to outline all the methods you can use to stop a cat from spraying.
How do I stop my cat who is spraying?
Well, having a cat who won’t stop will have you going crazy about it. As a matter of fact, it is something that most cat owners cannot put a finger on. However, once you determine the reason behind the spraying, it should get easier trying to solve it. Now that we have looked at the possible reasons why your cat is spraying, how then do you make it all stop?
Get rid of cat stress
Treating and preventing cat stress is an essential measure for when you are looking to curb spraying. Whether or not your cat is suffering from cat stress, it is something you cannot ignore. To be able to do this, observe your cat keenly. If you have recently made changes in the house, consider going back to the routine.
Spend quality time with your cat in order to reassure him of security. This especially in you, has moved from your previous residency. This will keep your cat moving while he adjusts to the new environs. Consider getting a few tips for your cat. This will keep him occupied throughout the day.
Idleness can possibly lead to your kitty getting all stressed out. This is because it is likely to lead to boredom and with nothing to do, your kitty will definitely have a chance and intent to spray.
Leave the curtains closed
Cats, like mentioned before cats are motivated to spray. This is especially if your cat has a view of the outside world. This may lead to him wanting to mark boundaries. Seeing people and even other cats in your homestead, or passing in the street is a good reason for your cat to spray. By leaving the drapes down, you are helping eliminate this problem. No sight of the outside, no marking territories.
When your cat is spraying to mark territories, removing the stimuli will have your cat stopping the behavior. Instead, provide indoor toys to keep your cat busy when you are away from home. Instead of staring out the window, you can also leave the TV on for your kitty to watch before you get back home. Soothing music will help keep your cat calm and also serve as a distraction from the outside world.
Maintain high litter box hygiene
As discussed earlier, your cat may be finding it hard to use the litter box because it is dirty or smelly. The truth is, you will need to take care of your kitty’s litter box problems every day. Make sure you scoop the latter after every use. Alternatively, you can come up with a schedule whereby you scoop at least twice every day.
This way, you will be ensuring that your cat has clean and ready to use litter boxes at his convenience. It is also important that you provide several litter boxes for your cat. This way, he can use whichever one he wants and also alternate. This will give you just enough time to make sure that the litter boxes are always clean.
In addition to this, make sure the litter boxes are strategically located in the house. Cats prefer peeing in private areas with less movement or human traffic. Do not forget to make the place as accessible as possible for him.
The type of litter should also be of consideration if you are trying to get your kitty stop spraying. Make sure that you get odor-free litter which will absorb cat pee. It should also be soft on your cat’s paws.
Wash the sprayed surface with enzymatic cleaners
Your cat will definitely come back to spray a place that she had recently sprayed. This is because when he chose the place, he made it there own. Furthermore, the smell of the urine will attract your cat to spray once more. Therefore, you should find a way to make sure you wash away the urine and get rid of the urine smell.
Enzymatic cleaners are going to help you remove all the stains as well as the smell of urine all over your items. Alternatively, you can also use water and vinegar to remove the smell. It is even a better choice considering vinegar is a cat repellent. This will prevent your cat from coming back to the soil the place.
Treat Urinary tract infections
If you suspect that your cat has a urinary tract infection, you should get have him checked. Your cat will definitely be in so much pain and especially when spraying. One of the major symptoms of feline urinary infections is the small amounts of urine with a pungent smell. Your cat may even be teary from the pain that comes with spraying.
Your vet will be able to fully examine your cat to determine the illness. Thereafter, he will be able to recommend the best method of treatment. In the case your cat is suffering from bladder stones, your vet will either dissolve the crystals or perform surgery.
Avoid having strangers in the house
Your cat may spray out of the anxiety that comes with being around new people. Having guests might be a great thing for you but not for your kitty. He may feel like you are exposing him to a world that he does not understand yet.
If your guest is only short term, you should not have so much trouble as the habit will stop as soon as your guests are gone. In the case where you have someone move in, let’s say a spouse or roommate, you will have to do more than wait it out.
First of all, you should introduce your guest to your cat. This should not be in a hurried manner. Instead, give your cat some time to get the whole idea of having someone else in the house. Once your cat appears more comfortable, have the other person engage with him during activities like feeling and playtime. If your friend is moving in completely, then it is up to them and your cat to get to know each other
Whenever the other person is engaging the cat, the more they are going to get along well. Consider leaving the other person’s items in your home before moving in completely. This way, your cat will have picked the stranger’s scent long before your friend moves in.
The goal here is to make your cat familiarize yourself with your friend. This should not take a long time before your cat stops acting up.
Do not punish your kitty
Understand that as much as you might be annoyed with your cat, spraying is just but a normal behavior for him. It is you who has a problem with it and so you will need to try and understand his behavior. This is why punishing your cat is ineffective when you are dealing with spraying disorders.
Beating or forcing your cat to smell his pee from soiled surfaces will only increase his anxiety. It is understandable how angry you can be when your cat is spraying all your things. However, do not punish him at any cost. Instead, focus on correcting his behavior.
Get your kitty spayed/neutered
As mentioned earlier, if you have an unneutered/unspayed cat, you may have to deal with spraying every not and then. This is because when your cat is in heat, she will often want to attract a mate. There is no better way of doing this since cat spray will contain her age, sex and also intentions. This way, other cats can approach your home for mating.
However, getting your kitty neutered or spayed will make sure that he does not desire to mate. Well, of course, unless you want a litter of kittens around. You can be able to sterilize your kitty at the age of four months before the reproductive maturity. In addition to this, refrain from getting your kitty neutered/spayed while in heat. This may lead to a health complication.
How to stop neighborhood cats from spraying your house
In some cases, you are probably looking for ways to stop other cats from spraying your house. The best thing you can do about this is going to keep these other cats away from your homestead. It can be very unfair to have your house, car or garden all stained with cat pee when you don’t even own one. It gets more difficult because you are not able to spend time and get to know the kitty. Therefore, deterring these cats will work best.
Before we proceed, I would like to mention that once again, the goal is to stop cats from spraying your home. This should not include any punishments or harmful methods either.
Home remedies to stop cat from spraying
There are several ways in which you can be able to deter cats from accessing your home. They include the following;
Essential oils: In order to keep cats away from your homestead and lawn, essential oils work well. Not only is it because of the smell but also the benefits of the latter in your garden. The oils that act as strong cat deterrents include the eucalyptus oil, lavender and citronella oils. To apply this method, you may add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to a spray bottle with water. Mix the two thoroughly before spraying your lawn, or front door.
Orange/lemon peels: Well, if you are having trouble trying to keep cats off your home, consider using citrus fruit peel on your advantage. Cats detest the smell of citrus. This makes them effective when you are trying to deter cats from your garden. To apply this method, you may place orange/lemon peels on the lawn, front door and wherever else the cats are spraying. This will keep them from accessing your home.
Vinegar: This is also a major cat repellent that most of us know about. If you have cats spraying all over your house, consider spraying a vinegar+water solution to the sprayed surfaces. This will work well to deter cats from spraying your door, or walls. However, refrain from using this method on your lawn. This is because vinegar can be harsh on plants.
Alternatively, if cats won’t stop spraying your lawn or flower bed, placing a twig on the ground will be of help. This is because your cat will find it hard to access the beds. Twigs are quite uncomfortable for your cat’s paws. In addition, placing pebbles on the surface is also going to discourage your cat from coming to your garden.
In conclusion, most cats spray because of behavioral reasons. Although we cannot disregard the possibility of your cat having an infection, spraying should not cause havoc. This is because you can either be able to correct the behavior or treat any underlying illnesses. However, too many visits to the vet can end up increasing stress in cats and thereby promote even more spraying.
The first step you should take is to determine the reason why your kitty is spraying. Then focus on correcting the behavior. Spend more time with your kitty and engage him during playtime. This will help eliminate the anxiety of any kind. It will also provide the affection that your cat needs. And lastly, watch out for cat stress which is a major perpetrator when it comes to spraying. I hope you find this article helpful and effective to stop a cat from spraying.