Why Do Cats Spray? : How to Stop It !
So a new cat has recently moved into the neighborhood and your kitty seems to be greeting the newcomer in his own way. He has been seen standing near the front door, with his tail straight up in the air while sending a stream of smelly urine down the wall. He is exhibiting a very common feline behavior known as spraying. It can occur in any age, breed or gender and is more common with males than in females.
What Is Spraying?
Spraying is when a cat backs up to a vertical surface with their tail erect and squirts urine. Their tail usually quivers while they are spraying. While most cats mark their territory through rubbing or scratching, spraying can also arise. This is not regular urinating. Regular urinating is when a cat squats to pee on the floor or other horizontal surfaces. This behavior comes from an instinctive urge to stake their claim by leaving their scent.
Scent is the primary way that cats communicate with each other. Leaving behind a scent is how your cat marks his turf, especially if another cat is spraying in your yard. Since your cat can not be in two places at once to guard their territory, they have many scent-based ways to leave their calling card.
Why Do Cats Spray?
Spraying can be brought on by the arrival of a new person, pet or even a new piece of furniture. Another possibility is too many cats in the household or the addition of a new cat. Sometimes the stressor is right outside your window in the form of an another cat. Cats who are allowed outdoors may spray to let other neighborhood cats know whose territory they are in. Inappropriate urination also can be caused by disruption of your cat’s daily routine. It is not entirely clear why cats spray but the behavior is usually accompanied by some sort of stress.
You should also consider the possibility that there may be a health related reason for this negative behavior. If your cat is spraying, begin by taking him or her to the vet to rule out any medical issues. The following are some possibilities:
- Liver disease
- Urinary tract, kidney or bladder stones
- Excessive glucose in the urine
- Old age
- Feline leukemia virus
- Recent medical treatment
- Urinary tract infection
How To Stop Spraying
Your cat’s litter box might be the source of the spraying behavior. The placement, cleanliness, type of litter and other things can cause your cat to prefer areas other than the litter box. After ruling out medical issues, addressing any harassment from other cats, keeping the litter box clean you may consider speaking to your vet about an anti-anxiety medication. It also is important to thoroughly scrub any area where the cat has urinated, cleaning it with enzymatic deodorizers to remove all traces of the odor, which your cat may find appealing. You can use a solution of water and vinegar then follow up with a spray from a product like Ceva, an animal health urine spray that removes urine stains and odors.
Consult your vet if there is a possibility that your cat is spraying due to health related reasons. Otherwise, work with your cat on inside or outside related triggers. If you have an un-neutered adult cat, get them fixed as soon as possible. Neutering solves most spraying issues, even if your cat has been doing it for a while.
Amy is the founder of Cat Mania and a life long cat lover. She also writes for various other pet related websites. She is passionate about helping pet parents create a healthy and happy lifestyle for their fur-babies.