Urine Marking , Better known as spraying can prove a frequent problem for cat owners . So why do cats spray and how do we tackle the problem of how to stop cats spraying. Just like juvenile cats, older tomcats and females also mark various areas and different ways in order to communicate with other cats and to establish its territory.
Marking The Territory
A cat will typically smell an area then turn and squirt( Or Spray)urine on an area which will be usually some sort of vertical surface.Often the back legs are paddling on the ground and the tail is moving rapidly or quivering. Cats will generally stand to spray although it is not unusual for them to assume a squatting position. It’s also important to recognize the difference between spray marking and urination especially in older cats because they may be suffering from urinary incontinence rather than marking of their territory. If you are at all concerned of the frequency of spraying then it might be a good time to consult your local vet for some friendly advice.
All scent marking is quite normal for a cat but numbers from the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors ( a useful resource for pet behaviourists)show that spraying is one of the most difficult behaviors to deal with in cat owners. When a cat sprays in your home it usually means that they are anxious for some reason and possibly there’s been a change in the home environment, The change may be a subtle one or it could be something more significant such as bringing a new baby into the home. If your cat hasn’t been neutered , the spraying could be sexually motivated It’s important to understand that the spraying isn’t happening to annoy you. Your feline companion is most likely spraying so it can be surrounded by their own scent so they can be comforted.
Older cats are susceptible to problems such as endocrine disorders,dementia and sensory loss, all which can lead to heightened anxiety and therefore increase the urge to spray. Older cats tend to be quite stubborn as well and can be set in their ways and are very reliant on routine .If the routine is disturbed like bringing in another animal or even moving to another house for example , may lead to anxiety issues and spraying may occur.
So what can you do about it?
So if your cat starts spraying suddenly and for prolonged periods of time then it’s time for a visit to your vet to rule out any underlying problems that may be lurking around . If your Vet gives the all clear then it’s time to get to the bottom of the problem. I find the best way to tackle this is good old observation.Start writing down the times that your cat sprays and start taking notice of the cats behaviour such as,is your cat looking out the window? or does he get anxious when you start moving furniture around ?. Think about other factors that may have occurred such as visitors that you may have had that may have brought their pets with them and possibly introduced other scents into the house.If spraying is sexually motivated then neutering may help(as well as other health benefits).Try not to scold your cat for spraying(as tempting as may seem)because this may lead to your cat being more anxious and potentially make the problem even worse.Instead thoroughly clean away the urine with one part of a biological washing powder or liquid to 10 parts warm water . Try not to use ammonia based products as these tend to smell a little like urine to your cat and may encourage them to continue to spray the same spot again.
A Relaxed Cat Is A Happy Cat
Your cat needs to feel secure and relaxed before they can stop spraying so in order to achieve this ,you may want to try a pheromone spray to help relax and calm them down.Sprays such as Feliway imitate the natural pheromones that the cats produce , helping to reassure and to relax them. Your local vet will be able to provide you with information about this .
You could also try to rub your cats cheeks with a soft cloth and then rubbing the cloth over a previously sprayed and cleaned area which will replicate bunting which may negate the need for your cat to spray if he thinks that the area has already been marked. Another way to discourage your cat from spraying is to place a scratching post near the area that he sprays and encourage him to mark by stropping rather than spraying . Cats don’t always like to live with fellow cats either ,as a matter of fact spraying can occur of they don’t get along at all. A good clue as to whether this is happening is to observe whether or not they are grooming each other. If not, then that’s a pretty good sign that they are not happy together.
As difficult as this may be , the best solution for this is probably separating them for a while to see if this improves over time.
Unfortunately,the short term answer on how to stop cats spraying( particularly your own) is just a matter of experimenting with different situations and being observant to the nature of the occurrence’
Spraying is just a natural part of your cats life and their way of letting other cats know that their the boss of that area and if they don’t like it .Too Bad!!
*This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care professional concerning any medical condition or treatment plan.*