Why Is My Cat Spraying?
Your cat’s most important sense is her sense of smell. It’s how they communicate with the world. Spraying (urine marking) is how she stakes out her territory; she also rubs her cheeks, paws, and hips on things (including you) to put her scent on them. Scratching isn’t just for sharpening claws; it’s also another way that she leaves her scent behind. It’s just what cats (big and small) do to let the world know they are around.
Spraying is different from not using the litter box. When a feline is going potty, she squats down. When she sprays, she’s standing with her tail in the air. She will back up to a surface (like the sofa or curtains) and will squirt it with a little bit of urine.
First, let’s tackle the myth that only male cats spray. False! Both female and male cats engage in spraying behaviors. It is more common in intact felines – another good reason to spay and neuter your cat.
Why do cats spray? A common reason is to mark their territory. In multi-cat households, spraying is a way for the cats to set boundaries and a pecking order. In a single cat home, your kitty might be able to smell a neighboring cat hanging around outside. Mating season is another explanation for marking. Change, stress, and anxiety are other reasons your cat may spray. There could also be a health issue, so it’s a good idea to have your vet take a look at your kitty to be sure she is healthy.
What strategies can you employ to stop the spraying? Decrease the mating desire by spaying or neutering your cat. If you have a neighborhood cat hanging around, try closing your blinds for a while. If your cat can’t see the other one, it often stops spraying. If you have a multi-cat household and you think it’s territorial, you may want to try two litter boxes in different areas. Be sure you have separate hangouts for each cat, and give each cat their own food and water bowls. Play with your cat – mental and physical activity often decreases stress levels. If you think it’s anxiety, some people have had success with calming pheromones. Clean areas they have previously soiled thoroughly with pet cleaners. However, don’t use strongly scented household cleaners; your cat may mark over the spot.
It’s easier to stop spraying as soon as it starts, so employ these strategies early on, and you’ll have a happy cat household.