Due to hormonal triggers, un-neutered male cats spray urine on anything they come in contact with in order to mark their territory.
However, it comes as a surprise to many pet owners when their neutered male cats or female cats (un-spayed or spayed) begin to exhibit similar behaviors.
Why do female cats and neutered male cats spray urine? This type of spraying is not associated with territorial behavior, but rather it is associated with reasons ranging from litter box issues to underlying medical conditions such as anxiety.
If your cat sprays, it’s important to visit your vet to ensure that there is no underlying medical problem.
So, What is Cat Spraying?
Spraying is when your cat urinates inappropriately – outside of the litter box. Your cat may squat to pee on a rug, bed or even pile of laundry.
Sometimes, the cat can also stand on a surface such as a door, wall or furniture and spray urine vertically onto inappropriate objects.
Thinking like a cat may help you understand this behavior and stop it. Cats like to be in control and in charge.
Anxiety and stress cause fear, insecurity, and timidity in cats, which explains why they spray when experiencing such negative emotions. Spraying can help resolve these emotions by giving them a sense of security and content.
Causes of Spraying in Cats
Underlying medical conditions including anxiety can result in cystitis (inflammation of the bladder due to urinary tract infections), bladder stones (cystic calculi or other causes of inflammation of the bladder) or sterile cystitis (inflammation due to reasons other than infections or stones).
These inflammatory conditions can cause discomfort in cats making them eliminate outside of the litter box.
Find out why your cat is stressed in order to find a solution to the spraying. Keeping many cats in your home or adding a new cat to the existing family can cause spraying.
When you keep many cats, a more timid feline can find it difficult to exert control in spaces like the sleeping area, litter box or food bowl.
You might not even know that your cat is feeling intimidated. A single bully cat can harass other cats under your care without you finding out.
It can be obvious aggression or more subtle behavior such as staring, but you might fail to notice it.
Provide enough resources in your household to prevent competition for the same supplies. Make sure there are water bowls, food bowls, sleeping areas and litter boxes for each cat, and if possible, even extras to eliminate chances of the cats fighting for anything.
When introducing new cats into the home, prevent or minimize stress levels in your existing cats by using treat rewards, scent exchange, and calming pheromone sprays to gradually introduce new cats into the household.
Outdoor neighboring or stray cats can sometimes be nosy, often peeping through your windows. They can cause anxiety in your cat, causing them to spray.
You might not see your nosy neighbor cats, but your cats do, causing them stress and anxiety. As a result, they often spray near windows and doors. Just like you feel safe with a deadbolt on your door, cats feel secure when they spray.
Close blinds on your windows so your cats can’t see your nosy neighbors to prevent them from getting stressed and resorting to spraying behavior.
The State of the Litter Box
The type of litter you use, litter box positioning or placement, cleanliness, etc. can stress your cat and cause it to spray outside the box. Keep your cat’s litter box clean and pristine to resolve the issue.
Furthermore, thoroughly wash and scrub the surfaces on which your cat urinates using enzymatic deodorizers to eliminate the bad smell your cat might find appealing.
Removing the urine spots ensures that the cats don’t continue to urinate on those spots. If you can’t find the urine marks or spots, use a black light to make them visible.
No, the Cat isn’t Angry with You
Disrupting your cat’s normal routine can also cause them stress, leading to spraying. For instance, you can go on vacation and leave your cat under the care of a neighbor or friend to change its litter box and feed it. When you return, you find the cat has sprayed all over the house.
You might think that the cat is mad at you for going away and leaving it behind; however, that’s not true. Your cat probably just became anxious in your absence or the litter box was not as clean as it was accustomed to.
How to Stop Your Cat from Spraying
Spraying is a complex issue that calls for a multi-faceted solution. First, rule out any likely underlying medical conditions, make sure no other cats are harassing the spraying cat and keep the litter box clean on a daily basis.
It’s also important to work with your vet to come up with a solution that’s good for both you and your cat.
When you visit a vet, the professional will assess your cat to find out the reason your cat is urinating inappropriately or spraying.
The vet will rule out medical reasons and determine if the cat is spayed or neutered. Furthermore, you can talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications to help calm your cat.
However, keep in mind that not every cat requires medication to stop the spaying.
You can also talk to your vet about various other options available to stop spraying, including natural remedies with minimal side effects. For example, tools such as Feliway help mark your cat’s behavior.
It’s a substance that mimics your cat’s pheromones (feel-good hormones) to reduce stress and its urine-marking behavior.
If you keep many cats that keep fighting and harassing each other, you can use Feline Multicat to calm them down.
Another solution is to buy good scratching posts for your cats. Cats scratch to mark territory and the activity also relieves stress.
Make sure the posts you purchase are tall, sturdy and strong; get many of them depending on the number of cats you keep.