Nothing damages a human and cat relationship more than when the cat begins spraying urine around the home.
Not only is it unhygienic, especially if you have young children, but it can also begin to make your house stink!
So how can you stop your beloved pet from his anti-social urine spraying habits?
Why Do Cats Spray Urine?
To understand why your cat has suddenly started to spray you need to look at the reasons why cats spray urine. Spraying urine is natural, and 99% of unneutered male cats and many unspayed female cats will spray.
- Unneutered male cats will spray to mark their territory and warn other male cats away.
- Unneutered male cats will spray to attract female cats that are in season and want to mate.
- Unneutered female cats will spray to attract a male when they are coming into season.
However, neutered cats may also spray urine outside and less commonly in the home. They might spray because:
- They are marking their territory
- They are stressed by changes in the household
- They are frightened because they are being bullied by another cat
- They have a hormone imbalance
- They have a medical problem requiring veterinary attention
Spraying can be triggered by a variety of changes in the household, such as moving home, the arrival of a newborn baby, the introduction of a new cat into the household or the arrival of a new cat in the neighbourhood. Spraying around their home can make a cat feel more secure in their surroundings or can communicate to other cats that this is their home and they are in charge here.
How Can I Stop My Cat Spraying
In order to prevent your cat from spraying you need to understand the reasons why he is doing it.
If your cat is spraying because he or she is unneutered then having your cat neutered or spayed should stop the behaviour. The spraying may not stop overnight but depending on the age of your cat should stop over time.
If your cat is stressed out by changes in the household then there are a number of things that you can do to help lower your cat’s stress levels. If your cat is less stressed then he will be less likely to spray.
- Reduce the cause of the stress – If your cat is stressed out because you have builders in the house, for instance, then try confining your cat to a room in which he feels safe whilst the disruption is going on.
- Use a pheromone spray or diffuser such as Feliway, it can make your cat happier and reduce stress by increasing the happy pheromones in your home. They don’t work with all cats but they are certainly worth a try. You can buy these online or from your vets. Feliway can be bought without a prescription and is available on Amazon. Quick link – Feliway Diffuser Pack 48ml
- Introduce cats to new situations slowly – If your cat is stressed at the arrival of other cats or a newborn baby then try introducing your cat to the scent of the new arrival first. Slowly build up the introductions so that the new arrival is not so much of a shock for your cat to deal with.
- Use stress relief medication – If your cat is prone to stressing out then he might benefit from some medication to lower his anxiety. Consider using Zylkene to help keep your cat calm, very often this will take the stress level of your cat down and prevent them from spraying. Zylkene is available without a prescription and can be found on Amazon. Quick link – Zylkene 75mg x 10 capsules
- Keep your cat happy – There are numerous ways to lift your cat’s mood and help keep him happy. A variety of ways are discussed in the article Keeping Indoor Cats Happy, found on Siamese Cat Breeder.
- Clean the area thoroughly – If an area smells like urine to a cat, then he is likely to keep scent marking there. How you clean an area can make a big difference to whether or not your cat keeps on spraying. Follow our tips to keeping the area as clean as possible.
If you suspect that your cat is spraying because of an underlying medical condition then you must make an appointment to see the vet as a matter of urgency. It could be that your cat has cystitis or a blockage in his urethra and may need medication right away. It could also be that your cat has a hormone imbalance, making him act like an entire male cat. If this is the case your vet may prescribe your cat oestrogen to help rebalance his hormones. I remember as a child having a lovely chocolate point Siamese boy who just loved to mark his territory, particularly in the kitchen. Eventually he ended up taking oestrogen on a daily basis and we always joked that we had a cat on hormone replacement therapy! He did, eventually, stop spraying.
The Best Way to Clean Cat Spray
Cat urine should be cleaned as soon as possible. Make cleaning up cat spray the number one priority and never leave it to do later. The sooner you clean it up, the less likely it is to make your home smell. Remember, that even though we may not be able to smell it your cat still can. If your cat can smell where he has sprayed he is more likely to carry on doing it.
To thoroughly clean the area use hot water mixed with biological washing powder to break down the odour (remember to wear gloves). You could also try a mix of water and vinegar to clean the area well or use a solution from your vets or pet shop specifically tailored to clean cat urine.
Never use bleach to clean up cat urine as bleach is ammonia based. To a cat, bleach smells like urine and will only encourage your cat to continue to spray in that area.
Commonly Asked Questions:
My cat is 8 years old and has been neutered since he was 6 months old, so there is no chance that he will start spraying now is there?
Cats of any age and breed can start to spray. Just because he has never done it before does not mean that you should not remain vigilant to situations that might cause your cat stress and cause him to start spraying. If he is happy and content then he is unlikely to start spraying now.
My cat only started spraying when a new cat moved in next door. How can I stop him from spraying when he is being intimidated by the new cat?
First of all make sure that there is no way the new neighbourhood cat can gain access to your home via a cat flap. Use a magnetic cat flap that responds to your cat’s microchip or better still don’t use one at all! Try using a pheromone diffuser in the house to help lower your cat’s anxiety. Give him a space in the house with everything he needs, such as his food, water and litter tray in case going outside is the cause of his anxiety. Try going outside with him, so that he feels safe as the new cat is unlikely to approach when you are there. Eventually he should start to feel safe in his own territory again.
I just saw my female cat spraying! Female cats don’t usually spray though, or do they?
Female cats do not spray as often as male cats, but some female cats will still do it. Is your female cat spayed? If not then she is probably coming into season and doing all that she can to attract a mate by spraying her hormone rich urine around your house. If she is spayed, then she may be stressed or unhappy. Spayed female cats do not often spray, but when they do they are usually part of a multi-cat household.