Do you have a cat that sprays outside the litter box? If yes, then you have smelled the horrible odor and experienced frustration when attempting to get your cat to stop spraying. To resolve the problem, you must first figure out what is motivating your cat to spray.
Territorial marking is the number one reason why cats spray. Felines are compelled to let others of their kind know that they are around. They may also spray when they are looking for a mate. If you have another cat in your home that fights with the culprit kitty, the spraying may be done to show aggression. Cats hanging around outside of your house can also cause your cat to spray. A move to a new home, the arrival of a new child, or other upsets to the cat’s daily routines can cause the behavior. A cat that is under any kind of stress such as living in a noisy household can also resort to spraying.
Generally, male cats are the prime spraying offenders. But, some females will also spray, especially if they are in heat. The unique smell of spray is due to chemicals in the anal glands that are expressed along with a small amount of urine.
If your cat has not been neutered or spayed, doing so is likely to solve the problem. But, some altered cats will still spray. For the best results, the surgery should be performed before the age of six months.
One thing that you should not try is punishing your cat. Kitties do not understand the relationship between behaviors and punishment, and the stress may cause your cat to spray even more.
Regular cleaning and scooping of the litter box is important as some cats will spray as a form of protest against poor litter box maintenance. Keep routines consistent including bed time, play time, and feeding. When your cat sprays, be sure to clean the area with enzyme cleaner so that no odor remains. Otherwise, the cat may return to the same spot to spray again.
After trying measures to curb spraying, take your cat to a veterinarian. Bladder infections and other health issues can lead to the behavior. Drugs for anxiety such as Prozac can also be prescribed, since your cat could be anxious even if you are not aware of it.
For fighting cats, put them in separate parts of your home if possible. Unfortunately, sometimes the best choice is to give the spraying cat to a new owner. Neither cat will be happy if they are constantly picking fights. Especially if no other cats live in the new home, the cat may stop the behavior.
Another option if the spraying appears to be over territory is to confine the cat to a small area of your house. The feline will not have as large of an area to defend, and may decide to stop spraying. At least the number of messes to clean should be lessened.
Cat behaviorists analyze cat behavior and develop plans to change unacceptable actions like spraying to more desirable behaviors like using the litter box. They can be successful in working with you and your cat to develop better behaviors.