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Why Is My Cat Spraying? And How Can I Get Him To Stop?

calico-kitty.JPGTo figure out why your cat is spraying, you need to think like a cat. A feline will spray walls, furniture, clothes, and bedding to let other cats know that this is “his” territory. This is called “urine marking” or “territorial marking,”, and as gross as we think it is, it’s perfectly normal behavior for both male and female cats.

In this article, I’ll outline a few reasons why a cat will start spraying, and make a few suggestions for solutions to this problem.

Try To Avoid The Problem In The First Place

An unneutered male cat will spray urine to mark his territory, pure and simple. There’s no stopping it. To prevent this problem, have your male cat neutered by the time he’s six months old. Sometimes females will spray, too, so it’s a good idea to have your females spayed around five months of age. Be sure all cats in the household are neutered or spayed as an intact male or female can cause tensions among the cats that can lead to spraying.

Spaying or neutering will solve the spraying problem in nearly all males and females, no matter how old the cat is, or how long he’s been doing it.

Spraying For No Reason?

If your kitty suddenly starts spraying for no apparent reason, a little detective work is in order. First off, think about his litter box. Have you changed your brand of litter lately? If you just started using a perfumed litter, that could be causing the problem. Is his box clean? Is it too noisy and busy around his box? Kitties are like people; they like a quiet private area when going to the bathroom.

Take your kitty to the vet for a check-up, as sometimes health problems can cause a cat to start spraying.

Is Something Or Someone Stressing Your Cat?

Cats are creatures of habit, and they don’t like changes. They can become stressed very easily by changes in the household routine. Have you added a person or another cat or dog to your household? Perhaps your work schedule has changed, or you’re away from home more. Have you remodeled your house or moved recently?

Can your kitty see another cat outside? Sometimes even the scent of another cat on a visitor’s clothing can make him feel threatened enough to start marking his territory.

To solve a problem like this, you need to reduce your cat’s stress levels. Try to keep the stranger out of your yard, if possible. Close the curtains so your kitty can’t see outside.

Clean up any urine around doors and windows. If there’s a new cat in the household, you may need to separate them for a few days and then reintroduce them. Be sure each kitty has his own litter box. Sometimes there are just too many cats in the household. As hard as it is, you may need to find a new home for somebody.

If you’ve just moved, try keeping your kitty in one room for a few days. Be sure his familiar things are around him. These would include his food and water dishes, his favorite pillow, and his litter pan. You may want to give him an article of clothing you’ve worn, like a sweatshirt or t-shirt. With lots of love and attention, he should settle into his new home quickly.

With love and patience, and a little detective work, hopefully these suggestions will help you to solve your litter box problems with a spraying cat. In my next article, I’ll talk about how to choose the best cat litter for your kitty.

SpiritEssence Safe Space for Cats 2 oz. SpiritEssence Safe Space for Cats 2 oz.For the cat who is stressed because of territory conflicts with other animals in the home or because of a neighbor’s cat outside.

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  1. 2 Comment(s)

  2. By Jo Singer on May 26, 2008 | Reply

    I have a horrendous problem with a spraying neuter. All of the things you have suggested, of course. We are now looking into getting a testosterone level done for him before going further. He is an 8 year old Oriental Shorthair Neuter. You can read more about him here:

    He was diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus and is on medication for it, as well as Buspar for anxiety… and an herbal product in his water designed to reduce spraying.

    This is one of the most stressfully challenging feline conditions I have ever encountered.

    Very informative blog. Thank you for creating it.

    Jo Singer’s last blog post..Memorial Day: An Opportunity to Save Animals

  3. By admin on May 29, 2008 | Reply

    Wow, Jo, this is a really frustrating problem. Sometimes a cat will start spraying for no obvious reason, and nothing seems to work to get him to stop. I checked out your blog, and he’s sure is a pretty boy. Does he ever get to go outside, in an enclosed area, or on a leash? Maybe if he gets to eat some grass? There might be something in it that would help him. Just brainstorming here.

    This has got to be driving you nuts. I certainly do sympathize, and I hope you can get him to stop. I admire you for sticking with him and not giving up.

    Best wishes,


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