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My cat sprayed what?! Why cats spray and how to discourage it.

There are several good reasons why cats like to spray, but it’s really unsettling when a cat suddenly decides to spray things they’ve never sprayed before, particularly your furniture or areas of your home. Why do they suddenly start doing it when they never have before? Unfortunately, a cat spraying urine indoors is fairly common. Knowing this doesn’t make the job of cleaning it up any easier. So what’s going on?

There’s a difference between a cat spraying and a cat urinating outside of their litter box. When your cat sprays small amounts of urine in the house, he’s marking out his territory. It has nothing to do with house training; it’s everything to do with letting everyone know “You are now entering my home. This bit’s mine…and so is this…this is mine too!”

Cat spraying also takes place as part of the sexual reproduction cycle. A cat can broadcast to all other cats in the vicinity that they are available for mating.

Some Common Explanations for Spraying
– Stress or anxiety: A new house, either a change of location or even a renovation can be enough.
– A new addition to the family: This could be a new baby. It could also be a new kitten, pup or other animal.
– A reduction in attention: Do you have a new job, friend, hobby that is taking up more of your time?

Are Some Cats More Prone To Marking Than Others?
Potentially, all cats mark. However, having your cat neutered greatly reduces the likelihood of it happening inside your house. Intact male cats are by far the worst offenders and they really can’t help themselves. Spraying and marking is very much a part of who they are. Having a male cat neutered removes the strength of the odor of marking and also reduces the territorial urges of the cat. You need to be aware that neutering won’t solve the problem completely. Around 10% of toms and 5% of females keep on spraying even after they have been neutered.

How Do I Stop My Cat Marking?
As you may have gathered, there is no 100% cure for this habit. Cats find it highly desirable. It’s only us silly humans who are offended by it! However, there are some things you can do to reduce your cat spraying, and you never know, she may stop altogether:

– Take Her For A Checkup: Occasionally there is a medical reason for a cat to urinate in the house. It pays to rule this out before embarking on any other treatments. The vet will undertake an analysis of your cat’s urine and give her an overall checkup.
– Neuter Your Cat: If you have the ok from your vet, then the next step would be to neuter your cat. If you don’t have the cat specifically for breeding, then it is a responsible thing to do for your community anyway. And of course, the main benefit in this case will be an immediate reduction in your cat spraying urine inside. As much as 87% if cats stop spraying immediately and a further 9% stop during the 3 months after neutering.

Cat Behavior Modification
You can have real success in reducing cat marking through behavior modification. Yes, it takes time and effort, but you will see results with persistence. Some of the tools to use include water pistols and noise cans. A noise can is a tin with a few coins or small stones inside. When it is rattled it makes a loud noise that momentarily distracts your cat. Every time you catch her marking, give her a little jolt by either squirting her with the water pistol or rattling the can.

Redesign The Sprayed Areas
As with cat behavior modification, this little trick makes your cat think about marking in a different way. Cats don’t like to spray in the same place they eat or sleep. If your cat chooses the same place to mark every time, clean it up and then put her food and water bowl right next to it. You could even put her bed there and play there as well. Some areas must just look like they are made for marking; changing they way they look and are used makes them less attractive.

A Final Word On Cat Spraying
Give your cat every chance to use a litter tray when she needs to. If your house is multi-storied or very large it may pay to have a tray on each floor or at either end of the house. This is especially important as cats age. If you have more than one cat then make sure you have a tray for each of them. In fact, why not throw in one extra for good measure?! Clean the boxes often. Cats are fussy about the smell of the litter. With some understanding and patience, you can re-train your cat to stop (or at least reduce) spraying around the house. Remember, as frustrating as it may be at times, it’s NEVER acceptable to spank your pet. Mistreating your animal will only cause it to fear you. Any trust that you’d built between each other is lost. Always practice patience. And good luck with your training!

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