If you see your cat standing by a door, piece of furniture or curtain, and she lifts up her tail and urinates, alas your cat has picked up a spraying habit. This may happen particularly when you move into a new home. It sprays an object to simply mark its territory, letting everyone know who the new feline boss on the block is.
Spraying has nothing to do with the cat not wanting to use its litterbox. It sprays to christen a particular location with its unique scent. If you have a cat that is spraying, understand that it is completely natural for him or her to do so. Cats who live outdoors, such as feral cats spray their territory instinctually. The smell of the cat’s urine alerts other animals to get off its property.
A cat may also spray to relieve stress, or more commonly to try and attract a mate. If your cat is in heat, he or she releases pheromones that let other cats know they are searching for a mate. This will attract other cats in heat to your cat.
Even though it is a natural behavior, that doesn’t make it a desirable habit if you have a cat that lives indoors. The scent of a cat’s urine can be quite unpleasant, and you surely don’t appreciate having it sprayed on your pretty furniture or delicate draperies.
What to Do
Having your cat neutered is the best thing you can do to prevent spraying. Whether male or female, your cat should be neutered before they are 6 months old. Veterinarians report that if cats are neutered before they start spraying, 90% of them will not pick up the behavior.
Restricting their view of the outdoors is also particularly helpful. This is because if your cat sees another cat through the window, his natural response will be to mark his territory, which is your home. It may be helpful to move furniture away from the windows, or keep your draperies closed.
If you have several cats, you may find they are competing with each other to stake their claim on your house. To help your cats get along with each other, experts suggest playing with your cats together, giving each one an equal amount of attention. If they eat and sleep together that may help to suppress their competitiveness.
Changes in your cat’s routine may also cause him or her to spray. Creating a predictable routine will help to stop this. The first step is to feed your cat at the same time each day. Secondly, keeping their food bowls, litter box and bed in the same place will also foster a sense of normalcy. When visitors come to your home, it is a good idea to place your cat in a separate room, particularly if they have cats of their own (and therefore are carrying their scent).
If spraying becomes a persistent problem in your home, you may want to try a pet repellent. This will leave an odor in the area (undetectable by you) that your cat will want to avoid. Another option is to try a product called Feliway. This is a product that was developed to help reduce your cat’s anxiety levels, which may decrease a spraying habit. It contains feline pheromones, like the ones that your cat is trying so hard to leave all around your home.
To discourage additional spraying in the same area, it is important to clean the area thoroughly. You need to use a special product that contains natural enzymes that will eliminate odor-causing bacteria, instead of just covering up the smell with a perfume.