Cat Spraying

Cats are known for being fastidiously tidy when it comes to their bathroom habits. Kittens are born with natural instincts that make litter box training them nearly effortless. Cats automatically seek out private, sandy areas to relieve themselves and instinctively bury their waste to control odors.

However, there are times when a cat may spray urine on vertical surfaces around the home, such as walls or furniture. This can be a concern to potential cat owners, but cat spraying is often an easy problem to identify and correct.

In their natural environment, male cats spray vertical surfaces, like trees, to mark their territory. While this behavior is instinctive for cats, it is typically exclusive to unneutered male cats. To prevent this behavior from developing, it is vital to neuter male kittens before they reach sexual maturity, which typically occurs around 6 months of age. Once a cat has been neutered, his body will stop producing the hormones that drive him to spray.

It is possible for cats of either gender to spray in situations where they feel their territory has invaded. This sometimes happen when a new pet is introduced into the household. The best solutions for this are to introduce new pets slowly, to provide separate litter boxes and food dishes, and to use products such as Feliway that help to eliminate territorial behavior in cats. It is also vital to thoroughly clean any urine markings by using enzymatic cleaners. Cats often spray or urinate in areas where they have already detected urine, and their noses are much more sensitive to lingering odors than humans’.

If neither of these reasons explain the cat spraying, it is also important to consider a medical cause to the inappropriate urine. Cats may urinate outside of their litter box if they have a urinary tract blockage. A cat should be brought to the vet immediately if a medical cause is suspected.