There Are Many Reasons Why Cats May Mark Their Turf
A cat urinating outside the box can be marking behavior, where a cat feels the need to mark its territory. But there are some underlying health conditions which may cause a cat to urinate outside the litter box and some environmental causes as well.
If this behavior has happened more than once or twice, you may want to bring your cat to the vet to rule out any health issues. If it is, in fact, marking behavior, there are steps you can take to curb it.
Not Enough Litter Boxes
Cats are very particular about their litter boxes, so when they are not available, they may start to spray on furniture.
Cats need to have a litter box available at all times because they dont want their scent lingering around the house.
Make sure each cat has one litter box each if you have more than one cat.
Urine Marking In Cats
The most common behavior problem reported by pet parents of cats is inappropriate elimination. Its estimated that 10% of all cats will eliminate outside their litter box at some point in their lives. Quite a few of these cats have issues with some characteristic of their litter box , but approximately 30% dont have litter box problems at all. These cats are urine marking, and urine marking isnt a litter box problemits a communication problem. Urine marking is a form of indirect communication used by cats.
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Why Do Female Cats Spray
Cats are territorial animals and the more territorial they are the more they will spray to mark their territory. There are a number of reasons why female cats spray
- Introduction of a new animal to the household If you have got yourself a new pet for example another Cat this will trigger your female Cat to spray because of territorial. They will spray to let other Cats know that this is her territory.
- Change in environment Cats love routine and they love everything the way it is. As soon as things change your Cat will spray due to anxiety and stress. Even if it is just a new piece of furniture
- Recognize their scent You Cat will sometime spray in their territory to recognize their own smell
- Stress Yes Cats do get stressed and when they do this will result in Spraying. Its important to understand if your Cat is stressed and how you can calm a stressed out Cat down
- Other Cats coming into the area When unfamiliar Cats start to hang around in your kittys territory They will spray around the windows or doors to let other Cats know that this area belongs to your Cat. Do you see how territorial Cats are?
How To Stop A Cat From Spraying
While staying indoors is healthier for your kitty overall, if he’s spraying, it might be a signal he really wants you to pick up on. “Cats have a lot of evolutionary needssuch as hunting, marking, roaming, climbing, and hidingthat aren’t often met when they’re kept indoors,” Anthony says. “This can result in scratching, urine spraying, aggression, and other unwanted behaviors.”
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How To Prevent A Cat From Spraying
This article was co-authored by Brian Bourquin, DVM. Brian Bourquin, better known as Dr. B to his clients, is a Veterinarian and the Owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a pet health care and veterinary clinic with three locations, South End/Bay Village, the Seaport, and Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston Veterinary Clinic specializes in primary veterinary care, including wellness and preventative care, sick and emergency care, soft-tissue surgery, dentistry. The clinic also provides specialty services in behavior, nutrition, and alternative pain management therapies using acupuncture, and therapeutic laser treatments. Boston Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA accredited hospital and Bostons first Fear Free Certified Clinic. Brian has over 19 years of veterinary experience and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 82% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 210,243 times.
Is Your Cat Really Spraying
Unless you catch them in the act, you may not be able to tell if your cat is urinating or spraying. When cats urinate, they typically squat down on a flat surface. Theres normally quite a lot of urine present when this happens. On the contrary, when cats spray, they tend to stand upright, lift their tails, and spray a vertical surface like the bottom of your sofa or a wall. Theres typically less urine present, too. If your cat is urinating outside their litter box, give it a thorough clean. Cats are extremely finicky, and they may let you know their box is dirty by urinating where you can see it. If your cat continues to urinate outside their box, try changing the litter, relocating the litter box you should never place litter boxes near food and water bowls and taking them to the vet if their behavior continues. Once youve determined that your cat is really spraying in the house, you can attempt to curb the behavior with the following tips.
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Determining The Cause Of The Spraying
Reacting To Neighborhood Cats
Inside cats sometimes spray around doors and windows when they see or smell unfamiliar cats hanging out around their homes. They spray to mark territories and because they cant reach the intruders to chase them away or engage with them. Often, the unwelcome visitors leave their own calling cards, which the resident felines smell.
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Introduction: What Is Cat Spraying
What and why does a cat spray? Cat spraying is done by cats to mark their territory. The cat releases a special pheromone that other cats can detect.
When a cat sprays, it is releasing a chemical called the Fel D1 protein. This protein can be found in the urine of many different animals, so it isnt only limited to cats. The Cat Spraying may also release this chemical through their saliva, glands near their anus, or even through their skin pores.
The pheromones are important because they help other felines know what the cats gender and age are, where they live, and how healthy they are.
Use Feliway And Rescue Remedy
If you have more than one cat, your cats may be at the age when theyve reached social maturity and may be jostling for position within the household. The Feliway synthetic pheromone can be helpful because it signals the cat that its environment is safe. Rescue Remedy also works for a percentage of cats for reducing stress.
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Decrease The Cat’s Stress Levels
Some cats will spray due to stress from changes in the household. Cats can be very sensitive to changes in their environment or schedules. Try to think if any changes have occurred in your house and if there’s any way you can minimize the change.
Feliway can be helpful in reducing anxiety in cats. It is a synthetic feline pheromone and can help cats feel like their territory is sufficiently marked. Feliway can be sprayed in the area that the cat was spraying or room diffusers can be used in problem areas.
It is important not to punish cats that are spraying. Punishment can increase the cat’s stress level and cause them to spray more!
Feeling Unhappy Or Stress
Cats who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or unhappy will sometimes mark their territory by spraying a little urine. This is a natural reflexive behavior that helps cats feel better and regain their confidence.
Another is that the cat may feel like theyre not getting enough attention and will also try and communicate this by urinating outside of their litter box to attract your attention.
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Diagnosis And Management Of Feline Urine Marking
Ilana Reisner is a veterinary behaviorist and consultant in Media, Pennsylvania. She has served as the director of the Veterinary Behavior Clinic at University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital and assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Penns School of Veterinary Medicine. She is past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. She received her DVM from Oregon State University and her PhD from Cornell University.
Although urine spraying is typical in sexually intact cats, approximately 10% of neutered males and 5% of ovariohysterectomized females urine spray.1 Inappropriate urination of all typestoileting behavior as well as markingis the most common behavior problem encountered in cats.
Although statistics of lifetime occurrence are not known, it is likely that a significant percentage of pet cats will urinate or defecate outside the litter box at some point in their lives. However, a substantial number of these cats are marking rather than toileting. Knowledge of the risks, presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of urine marking is, therefore, critical for veterinarians.
Why Is My Cat Peeing On My Furniture
The first and most obvious reason why cats pee on furniture is because they are not trained.
If you have a well-trained kitty, then they should be doing their business in the litter tray and nowhere else. If your kitty is still young, then they might have the occasional mishap every now and then, but they shouldnât be doing it on a regular basis.
The second and most common reason why cats pee on furniture is because they are marking their territory. Also known as cat spraying, in this case, the cats arenât actually urinating on your furniture but instead they are spraying.
To understand the difference between the two, take a look at the diagram below.
When a cat goes to the toilet to urinate, they sit down in their litter tray or on the floor. But when a cat sprays, they back themselves up against a wall and raise their tail. Itâs also important to note that they donât continually spray. Instead, they let out a few streaks which leave the marks and smell on the surface.
If youâve found lines of liquid sprayed on the side of your furniture then itâs most likely your cat spraying and not peeing.
However, if they all look fine and have been using their litter tray regularly, then its probably a behavioral issue.
Whatever the reason your cat is spraying, remember that itâs not permanent and all cats can be taught to stop. So how exactly do you stop them from peeing on your furniture?
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How To Clean Up Cat Pee And Get Rid Of The Smell
Cat pee is pungent! And its notoriously difficult to get rid of. I couldnt use my oven or stove for months after Max began spraying on it.
That was before I learned about the right way to clean up cat pee and get rid of the smell for good.
Once youve identified the reasons for your cats indoor spraying and found the appropriate solution, youll need to revisit the scene of his crime and clean it properly.
Certain enzymatic cleaners, like this onefrom Angry Orange, are designed not to just clean the mess, but actually eat up the bacteria that cause the odors. Once the odor is gone, your cat is far less likely to spray there again.
Heres the step-by-step process to effectively clean up cat urine.
- An enzyme cleaner like this one
- A heavy object
Step 1: Saturate the surface with an enzyme cleaner. Be sure to test a small spot to ensure there is no discoloration.
Step 2: Agitate the surface with a clean terrycloth rag. If the surface is soft, rather than hard, youll want to do this for at least 60-90 seconds.
Step 3 : Lightly respray the surface with cleaner, lay a new clean cloth over it, and then place a heavy object on top to weigh it down. Let it sit for at least 12 hours.
Step 4: Using a clean cloth, blot the spot dry.
If the stain is deep or has been there a long time, you may need to repeat this process. However, once the odor is gone, and youve gotten to the root of your cats spraying behavior, your house should once again become pee-free!
Treating Urine Marking Caused By Conflict In A Multi
The first step in fixing any elimination problem is to rule out medical problems. Although there is no medical problem that contributes specifically to urine marking, physical problems can create increased anxiety in a cat, which can contribute to marking. Once your veterinarian has determined that your cat doesnt have a medical condition or issue, consider the following guidelines:
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Try Adding Another Litter Box
Even if you keep your cats litter box clean, that might not be enough to make your finicky feline happy. Adding another litter box to your home may be the perfect solution to the problem, especially if you have more than one pet in the house. Your cats may be the best of friends most of the time and still become competitive when it comes to litter boxes.
Some Final Thoughts On Cat Spraying
Although cat spraying can happen with any cat, it is a behavior that intact cats are more likely to engage in than those who are fixed. Once the reasons for the smelly behavior are identified, you should be able to stop it or at least reduce the occurrences by addressing the causes and modifying the environment.
This piece was originally published in 2015.
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Getting To The Source Of The Spraying
Investigate what could be the source of your cats stress and figure out how to eliminate it, Dr. Cox says. One possibility is too many cats in the household, or the addition of a new cat that is a bit of a bully. In the former case, the number of felines can make it hard for a more-timid cat to get to the litter box, sleeping area, or food bowl, she says. Pet parents might not be aware that their cat is feeling intimidated.
One cat might be a bully or is harassing another cat without you seeing it, Dr. Lund says. A threat to another cat is just a stare. Its an act of aggression, but we dont see it.
To solve the problem, provide multiple sleeping areas, food/water bowls, and litter boxes so the cats are not competing for resources, Dr. Cox says. When a cat joins your household, try gradual introduction of new cats using scent exchange, treat rewards, and calming pheromone sprays, she says.
Sometimes the stressor is literally outside your window in the form of stray or neighboring outdoor cats.
Your cats see them outside, and they get a little wigged out by it, Dr. Lund says. This can trigger them to spray near doors and windows. Dr. Lund puts it this way: For cats, spraying gives them the security that locking a deadbolt gives us. To remove this stressor, close blinds on windows to keep your animal from seeing those outdoor cats, Dr. Cox suggests.
Your cat isnt mad at you
What Are The Medical Causes For Cat Spraying
Some cats spray indoors because they have a medical problem, so if your cat is spraying indoors, take them to your vet to have them checked over. For example, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease is a common, treatable condition which can be potentially life threatening if ignored. It usually causes blockage or partial blockage of the urinary tract, which makes urinating difficult or almost impossible.
The causes and treatments for FLUTD are very different to spraying, so its a good idea to speak to your vet if you think their spraying may have a medical, rather than emotional, cause.
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