Regardless of the breed of your cat, or how long they have been a house cat, they are not too far from their wild roots. Cats often feel the urge to leave their mark on their territory and lay claim to what is theirs, by leaving a certain scent there. Although most cats tend to leave their mark on the territory through innocent scratching or rubbing, it is likely for your cat to urinate in order to mark their territory.
This urge to mark their territory can sometimes go too far. Hence, the problem with cat spraying! That said, there are a plethora of reasons for cat spraying. So, if you are new to adopting cats or are experiencing cat spraying for the first time, here is a detailed guide on what it is, why cats do it, and how you can easily stop it.
But before we can get to how you can stop your cat from spraying, it’s important for you to know what scent means to your cat, the difference between spraying and urinating, and why it is spraying.
How to Stop Cat Spraying In the House
Moving onto the real meat of this guide, stopping your cat from spraying can sometimes be a little harder than what people usually think. Unlike litter training or obedience training, you might have to make major changes to your and your cat’s lifestyle. With that said, here are a few ways that you can stop your cat from spraying:
Discourage Neighborhood Cats
Cats can be sensitive to changes in their environment, which includes the presence of neighborhood cats. Your cats may become anxious because of the other cats outside of your house and will result in marking the inside of your house.
By placing safe deterrents around your house, you can keep stray cats away from your house and make your cat feel a lot safer. You can block some of the windows in your house so your cat doesn’t see the cats, and when the stray cats stop coming onto your property you can remove the blocks from your windows.
Use Enzyme Cleaners and Change Mental Connections
Enzyme Cleaners are one of the best ways for you to remove the pungent smell from your cat’s spraying behavior. But cleaning and reducing the smell of the spray is not all, as you now have to change your cat’s mental connection to that specific area.
By doing activities like clicker training, petting, or playing in the sprayed area will make them more comfortable in that area. You should do this after cleaning the area with enzyme cleaners, as it is possible that a specific area in your house is bothering your cat.
Introduce New Kittens Gradually
It is important for you to introduce new cats and kittens to your current cats gradually to avoid hostility and avoid cat spraying. New kittens that you bring into your house can often spray in fear of the resident cats.
This means you will have to keep minimal interaction between the new kitten and the resident cats for at least a month. This will make all of your cats a lot more comfortable with each other. This will also reduce stress on both your old and new cats.
Spay and Neuter
As mentioned before, spaying or neutering your cats is the best course of action for a multitude of reasons. Other than it reducing pain in female cats and improving behavioral issues in male cats, spaying, and neutering often eliminates the problem of your cats spraying inside the house.
By spaying and neutering your cats, you are able to eliminate a major possibility of your cats spraying inside the house. If your cats continue to spray in the house after being spayed or neutered, it is likely that there is something else that is bothering them.
Increase Personal Interaction
Sometimes the only reason why your cat is spraying inside the house is to get your attention. This means that one way to reduce the risk of your cat spraying inside the house is by simply spending more time with them.
play with them, pet them, or indulge in some clicker training to help them become more obedient. This kind of behavior is especially common in cats that love attention and don’t feel like you are giving them enough time. Some cats also enjoy walks with their owners, so don’t be afraid to try new things together.
Reduce Competition Between Cats
Although this is rarely the case, inter-cat competition can also be a reason for cat spaying in the household. In order to reduce the competition between cats, you will have to provide them with more versatility in terms of hiding places, toys, and scratching poles.
You might also have to keep their feeding bowls far from each other to further reduce competition between cats. This can greatly reduce the chances of your cats spraying inside the house.
Don’t Punish Your Cats For Spraying
Finally, no matter what you do, do not punish or negatively enforce their spraying. As we have established, spraying is not always to gain attention, but it is done out of necessity. So, make sure you do not hurt or hit them in any way.
Popular negative reinforcement techniques include hitting them, yelling at them, or rubbing their noses in their wrongdoings. This can only worsen relations between you and your four-legged companion and at times, escalate certain behaviors. Instead of using negative reinforcement, you should try to find the cause for the behavioral issue and use positive reinforcement to correct it.
How to Stop Cat Spraying In the House. Scent for Cats
Unlike humans, cats lack the capability to speak and have to depend on other means to communicate their emotions and what they are feeling. While cats often use scratching, body language, and rubbing to get their point across, urinating is another way for them to show their emotions.
Cats tend to urinate when threatened or when incredibly hostile, which essentially marks their territory. Urine smell is a primary form of communication for cats that they may not recognize cats from the same house if they happen to smell different. This is common when a cat goes to the veterinarian and is why other cats (at home) will take a little longer to accept those cats.
Since marking their territory is second nature to cats, they tend to mark their territory by rubbing or in more extreme cases urinating. Cats have glands on their paws, cheeks, and flanks, which essentially leave behind a scent when they come in contact with any surface.
However, there is a major difference between simply urinating and spraying, and it is important for you to understand the difference.
Difference between Urinating and Spraying
At times, it can be difficult to differentiate between your cat urinating and spraying as some cats urinate while standing. So, instead of checking on whether they are squatting or standing, the smell and the amount of urine as well as where they have done it can indicate whether they are spraying or just urinating.
spraying is almost always done on a plain vertical surface and in small amounts. Cat spraying is incredibly pungent and contains pheromones, and is sometimes the only way for you to even notice that your cat has sprayed. The good news is that cats release less urine when spraying making it a lot easier to clean.
Cats also give a visual indication when they are spraying. They back up to a vertical surface and their tail begins twitching as they spray. Cats may even close their eyes when spraying. So, if you happen to see your cat doing so, you should stop them immediately.
Why Is Your Cat Spraying?
While you may be able to stop your cat as they spray in front of you, it is also important for you to understand why they are spraying in the first place. It is not normal for cats to be spraying inside their house, and can often be a cause for worry. Here are some of the reasons why your cat may be spraying in your house:
One of the major causes of cat spraying is that they have not been spayed or neutered. Various experts state that the urge to spray is incredibly strong in intact cats, meaning that the simplest solution is just to spay or neuter your cat.
Neutering in the case of male cats is also necessary as it can reduce behavioral problems that stem from hormones in their bodies. Spaying and neutering your cat is important, as it mostly eliminates marking the behavior. Moreover, you will have to do this quickly, as cats are creatures of habit, and a habit of marking the inside of their home can be somewhat difficult to get rid of.
speaking of creatures of habit, cats are incredibly sensitive to even small and subtle changes in their routine or their environment can stress them out. Cats also stress over new members in the family, like a new kitten or baby, as well as things like neighborhood cats too close to the house.
Often, cats don’t spray to assert dominance but do so to help with their anxious feelings. By marking their territory as well as its boundaries, cats will calm down a lot more. Sometimes, all it takes to stop cats from spraying is to make your environment a lot friendlier to your cat. This is obviously easier said than done.
As mentioned before, cats cannot verbally communicate and have to resort to other methods in order to inform or get someone’s attention. Spraying or urine marking is often the result of cats suffering from a urinary tract infection or something much worse.
Experts also reported that cats will spray while crying to indicate that something is wrong. If this is the case, you should seek the help of a medical professional to help your cat.
Urine-marking can be a serious cause for concern and is nothing for you to sleep on. By trying all of these techniques, you can greatly reduce, or completely eliminate the habit. Since it is mostly a behavioral issue, it can sometimes be solved with clicker training and other behavioral exercises.
On the other hand, cat spraying can possibly be a sign of a serious disease. So, in order to be 100% sure, just make a trip to the Vet. If your cat starts spraying in the house to an extensive degree, it may be time for you to take them to the veterinarian.
In conclusion, cat spraying is an issue that requires your utmost attention. If you do not take it seriously, it can lead to your cat developing a bad habit of regularly spraying in your house.