Male domestic cats and some female domestic cats sometimes spray their area in order to mark their territory. They may also spray out of fear, anger or because they want attention.
For many cats, neutering will cut down or reduce the number of incidents of spraying, but for some cats, especially cats that are neutered well into adulthood, this may not be the case.
If you have a cat that is spraying in the house there are things you can try to reduce the amount of spray. But first, you need to clean up the spray that is in your house.
Cats spray on vertical surfaces so, if there is a urine smell in the area, check all the walls, furniture and other surfaces for signs of spraying.
The spray is usually a small amount so it may take some investigation to find the spot.
You will then want to clean the area with cleaner specifically designed to remove urine stains and odors.
An enzymatic spray bottle may work best. Spray the wall all the way down to the floor (assuming that some of the spray may have dripped down to the floor).
Allow the enzyme cleaner to set for the allotted time on the instructions then clean up.
Clean It Up and Look For Solutions
Cats often come back to places that they have marked so removing the evidence may help to discourage the behavior.
There are other products you can try such as calming collars and Feliway.
These products specifically produce synthetic smells that mimic the chemical produced when a kitten is around its mother.
For some cats, this will have a significant effect in how the cat reacts to its environment and for many cats it will alleviate the problem.
The key is to make sure everything is cleaned up so they won't be reminded to continue to spray.
A Squirt of Water Discourages Bad Behavior
You can sometimes teach a cat that this behavior is not wanted.
If you catch your cat in the act of spraying, a squirt of water from a spray bottle will not hurt the cat and will begin to discourage that from this behavior.
Although it may be time-consuming to follow your cat around all day, this is a cheap and easy way to begin training the cat.
Prevent the mess: If there is a spot the cat keeps spraying
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there is a spot that the cat is continually attracted to and he or she will continue spraying.
After following the instructions for cleaning up the spray, I have found an easy solution to these favorite spray spots for your cat.
House training pads, usually used for dogs, make a great, new target for your cat and make clean up easier.
They also absorb the spray and keep it from running down the surface. They can cut down on the smell as well and are easy to replace. Over time, it will help your cat to forget to spray that surface.
Here's what to do:
Put a Dog Training Pad On The Wall
- Center the pad over the spot where you cat likes to spray.
- Attach to the wall with adhesive or painter's tape.*
- Check several times a day for any spots of spray.
- Replace the training pad with a new one as soon as you notice the spray.
*Note: Some training pad come with peel-off adhesive.
Over time your cat will not notice the spray smell (because you are removing the whole pad) and may begin to not associate that spot with spraying. Plus clean up is easy and quick and cuts down on odors.
Spraying can be a frustrating experience for a pet owner. Even if your cat does spray less often after trying these methods, it is still a smelly and messy problem to deal with.
Many cats are given away or placed in shelters or outside because of this problem. But the cat is not being bad on purpose and giving the cat away will only stress it out more and may make it a target for abuse or neglect down the road.
Pets are a lifetime commitment.
If your pet continues to spray, talk to your vet about trying some anti-anxiety medications such as Prozac. Some cats do much better with medication like this.
Your cat may need it for a short period of time or for the rest of its life but prescriptions are usually very cheap.
The Best Way To Prevent Spraying From Ever Starting
There are several ways to prevent spraying from ever happening in the first place.
- Neuter or spay pets before six months
- Keep cats inside.
- Introduce new pets slowly.
- Create a calm environment for the cat.
Cleaning up after your cat and looking for ways to change your cat's behavior will help restore harmony and happiness to your house and your pet.
L C David (author) from Florida on November 29, 2015:
This is true. You've got to catch them in the act. I had a cat with kidney issues once that dealt with it by going beside the box. I put dog pee pads out by the litter box and he started using those. It didn't solve the problem but it made it manageable and easier to clean up.
moonlake from America on November 29, 2015:
It' so hard to figure out when owning more than one cat and trying to figure out who has the problem. Unless you have a camera on them all the time or happen to catch them in the act. I had one cat that went next to the litter boxes, I clean the boxes all the time. He has finally stopped and I still have no idea who it was.
L C David (author) from Florida on November 29, 2015:
We had one male cat that had to go on a low dose of Prozac and that completely stopped the spraying. You could talk to your vet and see if that is an option?
want2laf on November 29, 2015:
We have two rescued male brother cats since they were babies (almost five years now). Emmett & Carlyle are amazing ! They are huge (not over weight) ! People often mistake them for dogs :) Both are very playful, social, gentle, fun and snuggle buggles. They have received excellent medical attention and TONS OF LOVE. However, Emmett seems to have an issue with going potty in places other than his box. He will go months without doing it and then suddenly will do it a couple times in a row. Plus side, I hope, is that his urine has NO cat odor smell. Occasionally it smells like faint human urine. I have tried just about everything to help him out. We have two litter boxes, bought expensive "special cat urine cleaners", used the squirt bottle, used training pads etc. He will even soak through a thick folded up blanket, and on to the cushion. I'm at a loss. I don't know what to do to help him, to save our things and reduce costs for a single Mommy with children. Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated !
L C David (author) from Florida on June 10, 2014:
Yes, go to a pet supply store or to Amazon and search for pet urine odor remover. There are many safe products (that are safe for pets too).
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 10, 2014:
L.C. I don't have a problem with spraying, but for a while one of my cats (it was hard to determine which one it was) took to peeing on my wooden kitchen table, wooden rocking chair, and my fabric couch. I finally got it under control by buying a second (uncovered) litter box. I don't know why, after 5 years this was occurring, but it has stopped since I bought the 2nd box. Thank goodness, there are products out there that helped me get the stink out of my furniture. Wood? Really?