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Why do cats spray?

Updated on November 29, 2007

Our oldest cat Misko started spraying a while back. However I have never caught him spraying in the house... until the kittens came. Of course it was fair to say he was just marking his territory after all he was here first and he is the alpha cat of the house, however I did some research as to why the cats spray and of course want can you do to prevent it, because lets face it can smell down right horrible.

How to recognize urine spraying or urine marking?

Well anyone who has ever had a cat will almost immediately recognize the signs, however for the newbies cat will stand with the tail erect and his back against an object. You can notice the spraying has commenced as the tail will be quivering. Cats can also sometimes spray while squatting down. The urine that is used for the marking is not the same as the normal urine as it is mixed with the oil secretions from the anal glands so most commonly it has different smell.

What are the occasions when cats spray?

Most commonly during sexual encounters, to mark the territory and during a conflict with another cat. When done outside most usually it is to mark the territory as there might be more then one cat in your street or neighborhood. Cats will mark visible objects so other cats know this is their territory and they can keep out of their way. Spraying happens on the inside of your home when like in my case the resident cat feels threatened by the newcomers or in case there is a dispute sort to speak with another cat in the household. More often then not, the spraying will be done by male cats that have not been neutered, but it can be done by female cats as well. And even though neutered males are less likely to spray, it can still happen.

How to prevent your cat from spraying?

· Neutering or spaying a cat should cut down on the spraying significantly

· If cat is spraying on the inside of your home, you can booby trap the designated spots with one of the motion activated devices that are available on the market. They are triggered by movement and give a burst of spray that is harmless but has an odor that your cats will not like.

· Alternatively you can place tin foil or plastic wrap where your cat sprays, but more often then not cat will only find a new place to spray.

· Feliway is another thing you might give a go as it is a synthetic pheromone that should decrease levels of stress and anxiety in your cats so he will be less likely to spray.

· You will also have to clean the sprayed areas with enzymatic type of cleaner to remove the odor.

· If your cat sprays because he can see cats outside in his yard you might want to block his view from the window and leave your shoes outside of the house as that way you will not bring another cat's smell in the house.

What will not work? Punishing, hitting, slapping your cat or bringing him to the place where he or she has sprayed. In all probability this will only add to anxiety and more often then not even increase the spraying.

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