Urine marking in cats: What to do about your cat spraying in the house.
Remember, your cat’s instinct will be to stake their claim by leaving their scent. While most cats will mark their territory by scratching or rubbing, others might urinate. Scent is essential for cats because it helps them to communicate.
For example, when your cat comes home from the vet and smells of a foreign place, your other cats at home might give him a good sniffing over before they become a part of your family again.
What is Spraying?
Spraying is when your cat backs himself up to a vertical surface with his tail erect and squirts some urine. His tail might quiver while spraying. Regular urinating is when your cat will squat to urinate on your furniture, floor or any other horizontal surface.
Urine-marking has two different forms:
- Spraying urine on vertical surfaces (like the side of your couch, walls or windows)
- Urinating on horizontal surfaces
Remember – marking with urine is not a litter box issue.
Why do male cats spray?
Cats will spray or urine mark as a way to communicate with others. The majority of cats who spray are not neutered. Sex hormones play a huge role in urine marking.
Cats spray due to territorial reasons, they might also feel threatened or anxious. Perhaps there is a stray cat in your yard which can result in your cat marking your windows and doors to defend his territory. Or if there is conflict between existing pets in your home.
Changes to your cat’s environment can also cause him to spray such as rearranging his living space or moving to a new house Some cats might also target a new visitor in your home or clothing or beddings.
4 simple steps for how to stop a cat from spraying in the house
1. Neuter your cat
The first thing you need to do is neuter your cat as sex hormones are a significant factor in scent marking. If you have pet insurance, then these costs are usually covered under your Routine benefits. (We love Oneplan Pet Insurance because you can get paid out for vet visit claims BEFORE you see the vet! To find out more about their pawesome comprehensive pet insurance plans, you can click here.)
2. Find out if there is an underlying medical issue
Visit your vet to make sure there is not a serious medical issue resulting in your cat spraying. Cats might spray for a number of issues such as:
- Urinary tract infection
- Feline lower urinary tract disease
- Kidney infection
- Thyroid or liver disease
Your vet will then run a series of lab tests to rule out any of these issues. Most of these tests will require a blood or urine sample. In some cases, your vet might need to perform X-rays or an ultrasound. If no physical problems are detected, then your cat is spraying because of a behavioural issue.
3. Find out if there is any conflict in your home
The next step to take is assessing if your cat is stressed due to an issue of conflict. Maybe your cat is being chased, tormented or bullied by another dog or cat in your home. If this is the case, then you need to address this issue with the help of a qualified professional who might recommend techniques such as temporary separation or training to improve the issue between your pets.
If a stray cat is coming into your yard, then try to limit your cat’s outside view by installing temporary window blockers. If the cat belongs to a neighbour, then inform your neighbour that he is stressing your cat out. If the cat is feral, then alert your nearest SPCA for them to come and collect the cat.
4. Find the spots your cat sprays on and clean them
You will probably be able to smell these areas but to clean them properly, you can use a black light to reveal where your cat has sprayed. Your cat is likely to have sprayed entryways, near his litter box and vertical surfaces like chairs, your bed, side of the couch and even windows.
Make sure you regularly clean these spots. To get rid of any urine on your furniture you can use biological washing powder and hot water. Wipe down the areas with a cloth and washing powder in hot water. You can then use an enzymatic neutralizer.
Once you have cleaned the area, then spray the neutralizer on the areas that your cat often marks. This spray will stop your cat from spraying there. Do not use this spray near your cat’s litter box as this can cause them to not use this spot for future urinating. Do not use cleaning products that contain ammonia or bleach as these can amplify the scent of your cat’s urine.
Oneplan Pet Insurance clients get up to 25% discount in the Onepet Store, which stocks Natures Miracle, who have a range of deterring sprays and neutralizers. Find out more at this link.
We hope this has been helpful and can aid in your fur baby refraining from marking his territory in your home.
Yours in Not-So-Average Pet Insurance,
The Petinsurance.co.za Team