Nothing can ruin the relationship between a human and a cat faster than the cat spraying. And it’s not just male cats who spray. Females do, too. But while this behavior is maddening and offensive to humans, spraying makes perfect sense to the cat.
Cats spray to mark their territory, set boundaries and cope with stress. It’s a way of keeping other cats away from their personal space and reassuring themselves with their own scent.
Is your cat spraying? Here are some ways to get him (or her) to stop.
- Relieve stress. Going outside is a great stress reliever for “strictly indoor” cats. Try taking your cat out on a harness and leash, provide supervised outdoor time or consider building an outdoor enclosure so the cat can go outside whenever he wants to but won’t be able to roam.
- In multicat households, provide more personal space. High places for perching and low spaces, like tunnels and boxes, for hiding can create the feeling of more space and reduce stress.
- Be relentless is discouraging outdoor cats from visiting your garden if you have “strictly indoor” cats. The strictly indoor lifestyle is difficult for many cats, and having strange cats stopping by makes it even worse.
- Sprinkle catnip in the places where the cat sprays. Catnip is a “friendly” scent and discourages urine marking. Although I find catnip more effective, Feliway plug-ins can also discourage urine marking. The synthetic pheromone mimics the friendly scent in a cat’s cheeks and relieves stress. Put a plug-in in every room your cat uses.
- If your cat is spraying furniture, rub catnip on the legs of the furniture or spray them with Feliway.
- Use an electronic deterrent to keep the cat away from walls and off counters and other surfaces where he sprays. The cat won’t like the tingling sensation the deterrent causes when stepped on and will stay away. Bubble wrap also works. When claws meet bubbles, the sounds will startle the cat and he’ll stay away.
- Try anti-anxiety medication. I consider this an absolute last resort! It will relieve your cat’s stress and possibly stop the spraying. But unless you identify and eliminate the cause of his stress, he’ll begin spraying again when you discontinue the medication.
Remember, cats spray because they’re stressed. Never yell at your cat or hit him when you see him spraying. Punishment, including spraying him with a water bottle, will just confuse him and increase his stress. And that will make him spray even more. This is normal behavior for him, and your challenge is to relieve his stress so he doesn’t feel the need to spray.
Top Products To Keep Your Cat From Spraying
- Your cat won’t like the tingling sensation when he steps on the ScatMat and will stay away from places where he sprays.
- The StayAway makes a sound and emits a burst of air when the cat approaches a place where he’s not supposed to be.
- Feliway mimics the “friendly” pheromones in a cat’s cheeks and discourages urine marking.
- Catnip, too, is a “friendly” scent and discourages urine marking. Yeowww Catnip is very potent, and cats love it.