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How to Stop & Prevent Urine Spraying in Cats
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Race Foster, DVM
Problem Behaviors
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Click here for a pdf version of this article. 
'Spraying is a cat's way of marking territory.'

Many cat owners confuse urine spraying with urinating though they are quite different. Urine spraying is a normal, innate territory marking behavior that has nothing to do with your cat's sanitation.

Most common in non-neutered males and multi-cat households, the spraying of urine on vertical surfaces like drapes and furniture is his way of identifying 'his' property or covering the scent of other cats.

Here are a few suggestions for controlling spraying:

Have your cat neutered

Neuter your cat before he is 6 months old. In addition to the many other good reasons to have your cat neutered, more than 90% of cats will not start spraying if they are neutered before the behavior begins.

Restrict the view of the outdoors

If your cat sees another cat, his natural response will be to mark his territory - your home. Move furniture away from windows, pull the drapes, or cover the lower portion of your window.

Foster a positive relationship between your cats

Cats that get along are not competitive and are far less likely to spray. Play with them together and give each one equal attention. Have them eat and sleep together. Encourage them to groom each other by wiping them down with a damp cloth.

Keep to the routine

Change often causes spraying. Feed at the same time each day and keep his food, litter box, and bed in their respective places. When people visit, put your cat in a separate room (particularly if your visitors have cats of their own and may carry in their scent).

Use a pet repellent

If your cat repeatedly sprays in one spot, spray it with a product designed to keep pets away by leaving an odor they prefer not to be around (but is OK for you).

Clean sprayed areas thoroughly

Clean up requires special products which will remove the urine odor. Use products that have natural enzymes to actually devour odor-causing bacteria instead of just covering up the scent.

Please note: If your cat urinates outside of his litterbox, you should call your veterinarian immediately. He may have a urinary tract infection (cystitis) that needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Reduce anxiety

FeliwayThere is a product called 'Feliway,' which was designed to help reduce anxiety in cats, and thus decrease spraying. Feliway contains pheromones like those normally found on a cat's face and chin. Pheromones are chemicals which are used to communicate with other members of the same species. You may notice your cat rubs her face and chin on vertical surfaces. She is leaving a scent there which contains these pheromones. The pheromones from the face have a calming effect on other cats. When Feliway is sprayed onto multiple vertical surfaces which your cat may spray, the cat receives this calming effect, and in many cases, spraying will be reduced.

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