Regardless of your cat’s breed or how long they have been a house cat, they are not too far from its wild roots. Cats often feel the urge to leave their mark on their territory and lay claim to what is theirs by leaving a specific 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 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 experiencing cat spraying for the first time, here is a detailed guide on what it is, why cats do it, and how to quickly stop it.
But before we can get to how to stop your cat from spraying, you need 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
First, visit a veterinarian to resolve any medical issues contributing to the behavior.
If their health is satisfactory, try to identify what may be influencing the spraying – have there been recent changes in the home environment?
Once you have identified potential sources of stress for your cat, try to mitigate them by making positive environmental adjustments or providing toys or resources to keep them entertained.
Desensitization can also help decrease undesirable behaviors.
Try introducing stimuli associated with their triggers, such as people or sounds, gradually and at low intensities while providing treats and plenty of affection to help reinforce desirable behaviors.
Effective communication is critical to stop unwanted behaviors like a cat spraying in the house.
How to Stop Cat Spraying In the House. Scent for Cats
Unlike humans, cats lack the capability to speak and depend on other means to communicate their emotions and feelings. While cats often use scratching, body language, and rubbing to get their point across, urinating is another way to show their feelings.
Cats urinate when threatened or incredibly hostile, which essentially marks their territory. In addition, urine smell is a primary form of communication for cats. They may not recognize cats from the same house if they 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 urinating in more extreme cases. In addition, cats have glands on their paws, cheeks, and flanks, which leave behind a scent when they come in contact with any surface.
However, there is a significant difference between simply urinating and spraying, and you need to understand the difference.
Difference between Urinating and Spraying
Sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate between your cat urinating and spraying, as some cats urinate while standing. So, instead of checking whether they are squatting or standing, the smell and the amount of urine and 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. Unfortunately, cat spraying is incredibly pungent and contains pheromones, and it is sometimes the only way for you even to 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 tails twitch as they spread. Cats may even close their eyes when spraying. So, if you 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 essential for you to understand why they are spreading in the first place. It is not normal for cats to spray inside their house, which can often cause worry. Here are some of the reasons why your cat may be spraying in your house:
One of the significant causes of cat spraying is that they have not been spayed or neutered. Various experts state that the urge to spray is powerful in intact cats, meaning that the simplest solution is 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 essential, as it mainly eliminates marking the behavior. Moreover, you will have to do this quickly, as cats are creatures of habit, and a tradition of marking the inside of their home can be somewhat challenging to get rid of.
Speaking of creatures of habit, cats are susceptible 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, and 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. Cats will calm down by marking their territory and its boundaries. Sometimes, all it takes to stop cats from spraying is to make your environment a lot friendlier to your cat. Of course, this is easier said than done.
As mentioned before, cats cannot verbally communicate and must resort to other methods 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 spray while crying to indicate something was wrong. If this is the case, you should seek the help of a medical professional to help your cat.
Urine marking can be a severe cause for concern and is nothing to sleep on. You can significantly reduce or eliminate the habit by trying all these techniques. Since it is primarily a behavioral issue, it can sometimes be solved with clicker training and other behavioral exercises.
On the other hand, cat spraying can be a sign of severe disease. So, to be 100% sure, make a trip to the Vet. If your cat starts spraying in the house extensively, 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.