How To Stop A Cat From Spraying Indoors



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Are you tired of dealing with unpleasant odors and ugly stains caused by your cat’s indoor spraying habit? You are not alone. We adore everything about our cats, from their cute faces to their can-do attitude, until it comes to the spraying.

How To Stop A Cat Spraying Indoors. A black cat wearing a blue collar, standing in front of a white car on a pebble path, tail held high spraying.

Being a cat parent means occasionally dealing with the not-so-pleasant act of cat spraying. But worry not, as spraying is a typical cat behavior that you can curb easily with the right approach.

In this article, I will cover what you need to know about cat spraying habits, from root causes to their effective solutions. Let’s get started!

Cat Spraying: At a Glance

Age startsTypically begins at sexual maturity, which is around 5 months old for most cats.
FrequencyIt can occur once in a while or be a daily occurrence.
Why it occursTo mark territory, attract mates, communicate with other cats, or indicate stress or anxiety.
How oftenCats may spray several times a day or infrequently.
SolutionsNeutering, addressing underlying medical or behavioral issues, creating a calming environment, using pheromone sprays, and consulting with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

What is the difference Between Cat Spraying And Urinating

Before you move forward, you must know that peeing outside the litter box and spraying are two distinct behaviors. They differ based on their unique causes, smells, and methods.

When a cat pees, they squat and release urine on a flat horizontal surface like a litter box or floor. There is usually a large amount of urine present.

On the other hand, spraying is when a cat stands upright with a raised tail and sprays on a vertical surface. Cats often choose a spot near a door or window to spray, such as door frames or curtains.

Why Do Cats Spray Indoors?

Cat Urinary problems can have multiple causes stemming from health and behavioral issues. Therefore, finding the root cause is necessary to ensure your cat is happy and healthy. Here are some of the common reasons:


Cats find comfort in routine and consistency. Therefore, any changes in their environment or daily routine can cause anxiety and lead to spraying since this is a way for cats to communicate their stress and create a feeling of safety.

We don’t always notice when cats are under stress. Consider recent changes, such as moving places, changing furniture, or having a new family member. While some minor modifications may seem insignificant, they can significantly impact your cat’s stress levels.

Health Issues

Cats show strange behavior due to medical issues such as UTIs or Cystitis. These infections can lead to the formation of crystals in a cat’s urine, which can block the urethra (especially in males). It causes discomfort and pain, leading cats to release small amounts of urine.

They may use changed behavior to signal that something is wrong. Don’t ignore these cries for help. Instead, take your cat to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Marking Territory

Your cat might need to mark its territory even if they live inside a house. For example, seeing other cats roaming in its backyard can trigger this instinctual behavior. Likewise, an outside animal will look like a danger to your cat.

Cats use spraying to communicate that the space is already taken. However, it is essential to know that this behavior is not limited to unneutered cats; even if your cat is neutered, it can show similar behavior.

Adding New Cat to Your Family

Bringing a new pet into your house can be exciting, but it can be a source of anxiety for your cat. Your kitty might feel like its territory is threatened and try to show seniority by spraying.

If you have recently adopted a new pet, it is necessary to acknowledge your cat’s needs and provide them with enough space. Keeping multiple litter boxes and a separate room for the new pet will help your cat feel secure. In addition, this will reduce the likelihood of spraying.

Mating Messages

Spraying for mating is more common for unneutered males, but neutered males and females can do it. Male cats spray to attract and communicate with neighboring female cats. This behavior mainly begins when they reach their sexual maturity, i.e., around 5 months old.

This is a natural behavior for cats in heat, but it can be problematic for your indoor cat. Neutered cats are less likely to spray if they are in a relaxed environment and their needs are getting fulfilled.

Old Age

As cats age, they may lose their strength, memory, and other abilities, which can lead to the spraying habit. Since they find it difficult to go outside, having a litter box indoors becomes necessary. You should choose one with lower sides for your old cat to get into effortlessly.

Additionally, aged cats experience health issues such as arthritis, kidney disease, and diabetes that can impact their urinary habits. Therefore, monitoring your cat’s behavior and consulting your veterinarian to protect its health and comfort is crucial.

Litter Box Issues

Another reason your cat is spraying inside the house is that there could be problems with the litter box. Let’s look at these issues and know how to tackle them.

  • Dirty Litter Boxes: Cats don’t like using dirty litter boxes. Remember to remove the waste and clean the litter tray at regular intervals. Keep multiple trays if you have more than one cat.
  • A Smelly Tray: Strong-smelling deodorants or disinfectants can restrain your cat from using his tray. Use animal-safe disinfectants to keep it fresh. Rinse it thoroughly with clean water monthly if possible.
  • Type of Litter: A change in the kind of litter, like its texture or scent, may not sit well with your cat. Most cats prefer fine-grained litter that has a sand-like consistency. Slowly introduce the new litter over time to ensure their comfort.
  • Location of The Tray: If your tray is placed in a busy, open area, your cat may feel insecure about using it and seek a quieter spot. Try keeping the tray in a quiet but easy to get to location and avoid putting food near it.
  • Type of Tray: If your cat uses an open tray, he may feel exposed. Going with a closed tray or one with a lid can help him have a sense of security. You can also try covering it with a box with holes on each side.
  • Past Traumas: Sometimes cats don’t use litter boxes because they have a bad experience connected with them. For example, they were medicated in the tray or felt threatened by other animals. You can help them by moving the tray to a secure place and adding a lid for privacy.

Ways to Stop Cats From Spraying Inside The House

Now that you know about the causes of spraying, it’s time to look at some helpful solutions that you can try.

Eliminate the Stressors

If your cat is spraying because they are stressed, you need to find the exact reason. Also, watch for stray cats or other pets bullying your cat. Finally, you can help your cat by giving them more attention, playing, and getting them new toys.

Even if you can’t find the cause for spraying, you can still help make your cat feel more secure. For example, restrict their patrol area to only one or two rooms, and provide them with a cozy bed. This will increase your cat’s comfort level and decrease their desire to spray.

Un-mark the Area

When trying to stop your cat from spraying inside the house, it is essential to unmark the area where they have sprayed. This means thoroughly cleaning the area to remove all traces of your cat’s urine. Avoid using scented cleansers as it can encourage cats to re-mark the spot.

Record where and how often your cat sprays and the steps you have taken to address the situation. This way, you can track your progress, detect if your strategies are working, and modify them accordingly.

Neuter Your Cat

Neutering your cat is the most reliable solution to restrict them from spraying. Not only does it significantly reduce their hormone level, but it also promotes a more relaxed and laid-back attitude in them. This further reduces their urge to spray.

Studies show that only 10% of neutered male and 5% of neutered female cats continue to spray after the procedure.

Change Your Cat’s Environment

The environment around your cat has a significant effect on its spraying habit. For example, if your cat feels threatened by other cats outside the window, you should close the blinds and channel its attention inside.

Providing different types of litter and extra litter boxes can make your kitty happy. However, it would be best if you always had an additional litter box for each one of your cats. 

Fostering a Good Bond with Other Cats

When introducing new pets in your house, you must help them adjust to each other to prevent stress. You can support them by providing adequate resources like litter boxes, food bowls, and resting areas.

Ensure you put every litter box in a separate area so your pets don’t need to fight over resources. In addition, each pet should have a personal bed to ensure a safe resting place. Not forcing your pets and giving them enough time to adjust is crucial.

Regular Activity

Physical and mental stimulation can offer stability to your cat. Indulge your kitty in daily activities like playing with interactive toys, regular grooming sessions, and spending quality time together. A consistent schedule will release your cat’s excess energy and bring a sense of stability to its surroundings.

Consult With Your Veterinarian

If your cat’s spraying behavior continues even after all your efforts, you should consider consulting your veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination to rule out any medical issues. If there are no health concerns, your vet will examine behavioral issues like habits, traits, and lifestyle and offer advice and strategies to assist your cat.

Have Patience

When dealing with cat spraying, keep calm and avoid scolding your cat. Yelling or punishing your cat will only increase its stress level and lead it to spray even more. Instead, maintain good hygiene in the sprayed area and encourage your cat to do activities there to associate that area with something positive.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cat Spraying

Given below are some more FAQs to help you know more about cat’s spraying habits:

How to Get Rid of a Cat Spray Smell?

When cleaning the areas, your cat has sprayed, use an enzymatic cleanser to eliminate the smell and dirt. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, as they can provoke your cat to continue spraying in the same area.

Do Cats Eventually Stop Spraying?

Spraying typically begins around 5 months old, when cats reach sexual maturity. Neutering male and female cats can lessen or stop spraying behavior in about 95% of cats.

Why Do Male Cats Spray?

Unneutered male cats usually spray because they are searching for a mating partner. Spraying allows males to mark their territory and attract female cats in heat.

Final Thoughts on Preventing Cats Spraying

If you are a cat parent, you will most likely have to deal with cat spraying at some point. Although it is pretty displeasing, it is not something that you have to deal with forever.

The most critical part is identifying the cause and taking the necessary measures.

Before you go, you might find these articles helpful:

When To Neuter or Spay A Cat

What Scents Do Cats Hate

Chew Toys For Cats

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