Together with cat urine outside the litter box, cat spraying is among the leading causes of cats being given away, abandoned or put down. Marriages have come under enormous strain, when one spouse puts their foot down to stop the cat’s spraying problem or give the cat up. Tenants have been driven by landlords to either move out or get rid of the spraying cat.
This is extremely sad, because cat spraying issues can be solved or greatly reduced in many cases. First, however, we need to tell the difference between cat spray and cat urine. Spray is actually a little urine mixed with pheromones secreted by glands on your cat. The places your cat takes for spraying is also different from peeing – they stand straight up and lift their bottoms high up in the air to spray instead of squatting to urinate.
Unneutered males are the most likely to have this problem, neutered female the least likely. Although spraying is considered a problem by people, it is a perfectly natural behavior for cats.
Do be aware that your cat may suddenly begin spraying when he’s sick. If your cat is neutered and he develops this behaviour, you should take him for a checkup at the vet before doing anything else.
Female cats in heat spray to market they are ready. Male cats spray to mark their territory – they are saying “Keep out! Females here are mine!” . That is one reason why you should always neuter your cats. Unneutered tomcats are extremely likely to spray. After he develops this behavior, it is quite difficult to stop even after you neuter him. Many vets are ready to neuter your male cat as long as he’s at least 6 months old. Some want to wait until he’s 9 months old while others are eager to do it earlier. You should also spay female cats when they reach 6 months old, before their first heat.
When you bring a new pet or new family member home, this can also cause your cat to spray. Whether you explain it as anxiety and insecurity or territoriality or dominance behaviour, it doesn’t really matter. Once you successfully make him feel he’s still Numero Uno, he’ll stop spraying. While your vet can enable you to investigate why your cat is spraying, you know kitty best. You’re the best person to figure out why he is spraying. Asking your vet to play private investigator can take quite a long time – he will take a step-by-step systematic approach to the problem. Cases have been published in journals for veterinarians where it took years to solve the problem. If you truly love your cat, you are still the best man to make him stop spraying.
Once your cat has sprayed a specific location, he’s likely to go back and spray it again. One way to stop this is to thoroughly wash the place he sprayed. Normal soap and water will not do the job. Just because you can’t smell anything doesn’t mean your cat can’t smell anything. The ideal solution would be to use a blacklight (UV lamp) in the dark to find the spots and clean it with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle.
Cat spray is a really smelly problem that has caused many cats to be abandoned by their owners. Nonetheless, this is a problem that could be solved.