As well as a being a nuisance, feline spraying can be harmful to our health and environment.
This is due to the presence of ammonia in the urine – a toxic chemical that can cause damage to plants and soil.
Why Do Cats Spray?
Often confused indiscriminate urination, spraying describes the spraying of urine or pheromones from a cat’s glands.
Although both male and female cats spray, the behavior is most often seen in toms.
And there are a number of potential reasons behind it.
Being highly territorial, cats spray in order to mark their territory in order to communicate with other cats.
The cat’s natural instinct is to spray around the house or outdoors to let other cats know that this area is theirs. They do this by spraying a pheromone.
Stress and Anxiety
Cats are also known to spray due to stress and anxiety. Moving home, the presence of new people in the household, a new cat in the neighbourhood or being left alone too often are common causes.
Female cats tend to urinate more regularly than usual or even spray urine on objects around the house to indicate that they’re in heat.
The urine contains pheromones and hormone which signal here reproductive status to male cats.
When Do Cats Start Spraying?
Usually, cats start spraying when their six months old, once they’ve reached sexual maturity. Some male cats however reach maturity at around four to five months.
How to Stop a Cat from Spraying
So how to stop cats spraying in the house? Here are some things that you can try.
Try to identify the source of your cat’s stress or anxiety. Keep any other animals out of your home if they are known to bother your cat.
If another feline is visiting your garden, consider using a humane outdoor cat deterrent such as a motion-based sprinkler.
Clean the Area Thoroughly
Spraying can sometimes be triggered by previous marks, so these areas should be cleaned thoroughly.
This is often easier said than done due to the pungent odor of cat urine.
A mixture of dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide may help to neutralize the smell.
Create a mixture including around 3% of hydrogen peroxide and apply it to the area that’s affected by the spray.
You could also use a cat urine eliminator – these contain enzymes and special bacteria that break down the proteins in feline urine to remove lingering scents.
De-sexing your cat is probably the most effective way of preventing it from spraying.
In fact, studies have shown that only around 5% of de-sexed females and 10% of de-sexed males continue to spray after they’ve had the procedure.
A cat pheromone diffuser is an air freshener that you place in your home to relieve your cat’s anxiety.
It works by releasing a scent from a diffuser that is designed to mimic the natural pheromones of cats.
Diffusers can help cats feel safer and more secure in their environment, which in turn can lead to less stress.
Consult Your Vet
Underlying medical conditions can sometimes cause cats to spray. So if your cat continues to spray after trying some of these methods, it’s probably a good idea to consult your vet.