Why Cats Spray



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If you find your cat spraying and have no idea why it’s happening, continue reading to learn everything you need to know.

Most pet owners will have to deal with inappropriate urine spraying at some point. Unfortunately, not knowing what’s causing this behavior can be frustrating and will continue to occur unless corrective steps are taken.

Why Cats Spray. Orange tabby cat looking from behind a brown post with a white background.

There are several reasons why your furry feline may spray inside the home, but first, you’ll need to know whether it’s the cat spraying or urinating.

What’s the Difference Between A Cat Spraying and Urinating?

When a cat urinates, it’ll typically squat and relieve its bladder on surfaces that are flat. This can include the floor, carpet, rugs, and even a couch. You’ll find the urine pooled up in a place.

Usually, a cat sprays only a tiny amount of urine on vertical surfaces such as walls and furniture. If you’re unsure whether it is spraying or urinating, look out for the following changes in behavior:

  • Cats will position their back toward the target surface before spraying. Their tails stand straight up and may occasionally quiver.
  • Cat spray is rarely marked with poop, but if you find your furry feline marking spots on the wall, it’s due to sprayed urine.

Do Both Male and Female Cats Spray?

Yes, they do, and as a matter of fact, male cats spray more frequently than female cats. In addition, the likelihood of spraying behavior increases if they haven’t been neutered.

Why Do Cats Spray?

While it may seem weird, cats’ urine and poop are more than fecal material. It’s a mode of communication, and they spray for various reasons.

Here are some of the more common causes of why your cat is spraying.

Signs of Stress in a Cat

Changes in a cat’s routine, such as moving apartments, a new diet, or external stimuli, can contribute to stress. An indoor cat may respond to stressors with urine marking. If you suspect something around you is causing your cat to become worried or upset, try your best to eliminate the cause or block it from being able to see or hear it.

Alternatively, you can ask your vet for anxiety medications and supplements. L-theanine and milk whey protein work like a charm to curb its anxiety and help it calm down.

Cats Mating Behavior

Spraying is a natural instinct for cats when they’re in heat. Stray cats spray urine to attract potential mates, but it can quickly become a problem if your furry friend is doing it indoors.

The likelihood of spraying urine increases if you own multiple cats or numerous outdoor cats residing in your neighborhood.

Cats Marking Their Territory

The presence of other cats in your neighborhood presents a territorial threat to your furry feline. Marking their territory is a typical behavior in wild cats, and some domesticated cats may also exhibit it.

The scent of their urine stays longer on walls, discouraging outside cats from hanging around.

Cats Litter Box Issues

Litter boxes are like a second home to cats; they’re precise about their pooping habits. If your cat dislikes the litter box or you haven’t cleaned it out in a while, it will refuse to use it.

It would be best if you cleaned out the litter box frequently, preferably after each use. However, this can quickly become a nuisance if you’re a multi-cat household. Consider purchasing an automatic litter box that takes the stress of cleaning it regularly off your daily task list.

Medical Issues in Cats

Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs, can cause your cat to spray urine. Blockages in the urinary tract can be a source of discomfort, causing them to urinate as soon as they feel any pain.

If your cat is suffering from a UTI, it’ll also display other symptoms. These may include the following:

  • Changes in behaviors
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive meowing
  • Weight loss

Ways To Help Stop Your Cat From Spraying

Knowing what causes your furry feline to spray is only half the solution. You’ll have to take preventative measures to ensure spraying decreases and ultimately stops.

Un-Marking the Favourite Spraying Spot

The spot in which cats spray is often termed as marking the site. Since they’re territorial creatures, the likelihood they’ll spray in the same spot increases once the urine smell isn’t as strong anymore.

A simple household cleaner or detergent will not do the job, and you’ll have to purchase a strong enzymatic cleaner and a deodorizing agent to unmark the spot.

The second step is to convert the spot into a happy place. Once the cleaner and deodorant are dried out, and you can no longer smell the urine, consider converting the space into your cat’s play area.

If it marked an object, remove it temporarily and store it in an area where it cannot be accessed. These actions help change its understanding of the area. Instead of viewing it as hostile, it considers it a friendly space.

Close the Blinds for Your Cat

Your cat may feel threatened when it sees another cat roaming around in the neighborhood. They don’t necessarily have to interact with one another, and even spotting them from the window can trigger your cat’s natural mechanism of spraying urine.

You can either close the blinds completely or invest in opaque blinds. They’ll block the outside view, and sunlight can still penetrate them.

Mentally Stimulating Toys for Cats

Some people think that cats engage in urine-spraying behavior when they aren’t receiving enough attention from their caretakers. While it can be challenging to set aside hours of playtime for your furry friend daily, you can help it stay busy by purchasing mentally stimulating toys.

These may include puzzles dispelling treats when the correct buttons are pressed or a remote-controlled mouse it chases around the house.

Visit the Vet with Your Cat

If you notice your cat displaying symptoms of a disease or illness alongside urine spraying, take it to the vet immediately.

A vet’s advice can also come in handy when you’re about to travel and engage in an activity that may stress out your cat. Ask your options regarding anxiety medications and which ones will be a good fit for you and your furry friend.

Change the Litter Substrate for your Cat

Cats are highly selective of their litter substrates. Changes in their litter box can trigger another set of annoying behaviors, and you should only consider doing so when all the other options have been exhausted.

Final Thoughts on Why Cats Spray

Whether it’s a male or female cat, urine spraying is problematic and should be dealt with immediately before it escalates. Once you’re aware of what’s causing this sudden behavior change, consider making changes and, if all else fails, seek out the vet’s assistance. We hope you found this article helpful.

Before you go, you might find these articles helpful:

How To Stop A Cat From Peeing On Your Carpet

How To Stop A Cat From Spraying Indoors

Chew Toys For Cats

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