The unmistakable odor indicates all is not peaceful in your cat’s universe. When a cat sprays, it can put everyone in crisis mode and it can put the cat at risk of being relinquished to the shelter, given away or sadly, even euthanized. Many people don’t understand why cats spray so they don’t understand how to effectively deal with it. All-too-often, cat parents simply label the behavior as territorial marking but that isn’t the only reason cats spray. Unless you can uncover the true cause for the behavior, you won’t have much success in stopping it. So it’s time to sharpen your detective skills and do some undercover work. Note: whenever you’re dealing with any behavior that involves a cat not using the litter box, it’s crucial you have him examined by the veterinarian.
Even if you’re sure the problem is behavioral, it’s important to rule out underlying medical causes. These are two different behaviors and can have different causes. Spray-marking is usually done up against vertical objects but some cats will spray regardless of whether there is a vertical surface present. In this case, the sprayed urine will form a thin line as opposed to the typical puddle during urination. The posture for spraying is different from normal urination. He may also close his eyes while spraying. When a cat indiscriminately urinates there may be an underlying medical cause or the conditions in the litter box may be unappealing.
The pheromones in urine spray reveal lots of information about the sprayer. It’s the feline version of a resume. Spraying should be viewed as an outward sign that a cat is communicating something. It shouldn’t be viewed as a bad or spiteful behavior. Even though we certainly don’t like the idea of a cat spraying inside our home, it’s important to remember that it’s a normal reaction to particular situation in the feline world. Confident and non-confident cats spray. A confident cat may spray as a grand display of his victory after a confrontation with another cat.
It’s a way of giving a warning without actually having to risk a physical altercation. The sprayed urine reveals information such as age, sex, sexual availability and status. These are important facts when it comes to cat-to-cat communication, especially in an outdoor environment where close encounters could result in injury or death. If you have a multicat household, the first step is to identify the sprayer. Unless you’ve actually witnessed the cat spray-marking, the most reliable form of CSI is by using a video surveillance. Set up a motion detector camera, use a webcam or you can even put a kitty cam on your cat’s collar. The latter won’t show you the spraying but it’ll hopefully show what the sprayer was reacting to when he felt the need to mark.
Pam Johnson-Bennett’s works are staple recommendations for my cat clients. Her books are highly readable and contain information based on the true science of cat behavior. If the spraying is due to the appearance of an outdoor cat, you’ll need to block viewing access. Cover the bottom on the windows with an opague window paper that will allow the light to come in but blur your cat’s view of any feline interlopers. If you know who owns the feline intruder, perhaps you can have a tactful discussion about the situation. If the appearance of outdoor cats is a real problem in your yard, you may have to consider fencing.
There are companies that make cat-proof fencing. Many of my clients have also had success with motion-activated sprinklers. Speaking of outdoors, if you allow your cat outside, that may be contributing to the spraying behavior. This article is just meant to provide a general road map for you. Your cat’s situation is unique so take time to carefully evaluate your cat’s environment and his behavior. If you’re not having success with behavior modification, talk to your veterinarian about whether the cat may benefit from behavioral medication. If your cat is put on medication, keep in mind this is to be an adjunct to behavior modification.
Your veterinarian may also refer you to a veterinary behaviorist, certified applied animal behaviorist or a certified cat behavior consultant. A qualified professional can help in pinpointing the cause of the behavior and set up a customized behavior modification plan. Need More Help about Cat Peeing? Books by best-selling author, Pam Johnson-Bennett, are available at bookstores everywhere, through your favorite online book retail site and also here on our website. Note: This article is not meant as a medical diagnosis. If your cat is displaying any type of litter box aversion or a change in behavior, contact your veterinarian because there could be an underlying medical cause. Please note that Pam is unable to answer questions posted in the comment section. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior, you can find information in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s health, please contact your veterinarian. Permalink to How Often Should My Cat Poop? How Often Should My Cat Poop?