How Do I Stop My Cat From Spraying in the House?

Scrubbing the floor
Thinkstock

Q. My cat has been urine marking the side of my couch, near the window. What can I do to stop this behavior?

A. First, it’s important to determine if your cat is truly spraying, or whether he is urinating. With urine spraying, cats tend to stand upright and eliminate a small amount on vertical surfaces. Cats that are urinating usually squat and eliminate larger amounts on horizontal surfaces. If you’re not sure, it’s best to have your cat examined by a veterinarian to determine the cause of the problem before you try to treat it on your own.

There are a number of medical conditions that can cause cats to urinate outside their litter boxes, including kidney failure, urinary tract stones or crystals, diabetes and arthritis. Cats may also avoid the litter box because they have issues with the type of litter, as well as the cleanliness or placement of the litterbox.

If you are sure that your cat isn’t urinating but is in fact spraying, there are some things you can do to curb the behavior.

What Causes Spraying

Cats spray, or urine mark, as a normal way to communicate with others. While most cats mark by releasing small amounts of urine on vertical surfaces, occasionally they may also spray on horizontal surfaces, or even defecate.The majority of cats that spray are males that have not been neutered; hormones can play a significant role in urine marking.

Cats may spray for territorial reasons or when they feel anxious or threatened. The presence of stray cats in your yard may cause your cat to mark near windows and doors as a way to identify that this is his territory. New pets in the household, or a conflict between existing pets in the same household, may also make pets feel a need to mark their territories. Changes in your cat's environment, such as rearranging his living space or moving to a new home, can add stress and induce marking. Occasionally, the spraying cat may target the clothing or bedding of a person or visitor in the house.

Google+

Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!