What is spraying?
When a cat sprays, they deposit a relatively small amount of concentrated urine on a vertical surface. You will see the cat orient their bum towards the spot they want to mark with their tail pointing straight up. While the cat sprays their target with urine, you will often see their tail quiver.
Why do cats spray?
Cats communicate with one another in various ways, including through scents. By scratching a surface or running their chin across it, cats let other members of their species know that they were there. When a cat sprays, they are taking things to the next level. By urine marking a spot, a cat basically tells other felines “Hey, you are entering my territory, back off!”. Unneutered males also spray to let the ladies know that they are willing to mate.
How to stop cats from spraying?
When cats mark their territory outdoors this usually isn’t a problem, but when a cat sprays indoors, the stains and foul smell are a nuisance to say the least. If you want to stop your cat from spraying indoors, you first need to figure out why they do it.
Spaying and neutering
While spraying is mainly something tomcats do, female cats can spray as well. Unneutered male cats will instinctually flag their territory with urine to shoo away competitors and let females know they are ready to mate. Getting your tomcat neutered will stop the behavior in 90% of the cases, but 10% of male cats and 5% of female cats will still occasionally mark their territory with urine. Read more about cat spaying and neutering.
Removing stress factors
Indoor cats usually spray because they feel insecure. Perhaps they don’t have a spot to themselves where they feel safe, or maybe they feel like someone else might be trying to take over their territory. Below we have a look at 2 very common causes of spraying behavior and how to solve the issue.
Indoor cats may become stressed because of things that happen outdoors. For example, your indoor kitty might look out of the window and spot other cats roaming around in the garden. This will definitely stress out any insecure indoor cat, causing them to defend their territory by the strongest means they have available: spraying urine to mark that this house is theirs. To resolve the stinky situation, there are 2 things you can do. The first option would be to make sure that no cats enter your garden, which might be very difficult to achieve. The second option is much easier and involves applying translucent window film to the bottom half of the window. Your indoor cat won’t be able to see and be taunted by the outdoor cats and thus will no longer feel the need to mark their territory.
Other indoor pets
Sometimes, a cat’s insecurity can be caused by another household pet. If you have multiple cats, make sure they each have their own litter box, plus add an extra one. Also make sure that each feline has their own cat tree where they can perch and escape the terror of any other pets, whether it be a cat, a dog, or something else entirely. Our Catit Vesper cat furniture is perfect for this purpose, as they have various lookout platforms with comfy cushions that can be detached for easy cleaning in case of an accident.
Getting rid of pee stains
Cat urine has a much more potent odor than that of most animals. The stench can linger for months and is notoriously difficult to get rid of. We dedicated a blog post to the topic of removing cat urine stains and stench so a small accident doesn’t have to be a big drama