Ugh! This is not a nice problem to have. There’s nothing more frustrating than repeatedly cleaning up after your cat’s ‘accidents’ indoors. It’s important to first define the problem: is your cat avoiding the litterbox or actually spraying? Spraying is a particular type of marking that male cats do. They will often raise their tail, back up against a wall and spray urine onto a vertical surface. If your cat is urinating in the house but not spraying, it is a different problem altogether. You can find more information and advice on inappropriate urination elsewhere on our website. Here are our 5 tips on how to stop cats from spraying.
1. Neutering. This is often the first recommendation in attempting to stop the behavior. Do male cats spray after being neutered?
Often it is non-neutered male cats that will exhibit this behavior so neutering them may help. However, if the behavior has been going on for a long time, then it can become a ‘learned behavior’. This means that even though the behavior began due to the cat’s elevated testosterone, your cat may continue to spray out of habit despite being neutered.
2. Try to ‘reset the behavior’ using behavior modification.
Why do male cats spray? They do this because they are marking their territory and telling others to stay away. It’s very natural behavior but it can also be caused by anxiety. You could use natural supplements that are known to reduce anxiety while implementing other techniques to encourage elimination in the proper place. Many vets recommend the use of pheromones such as a Feliway diffuser. This is a non-drug option that works by mimicking the natural facial pheromone that happy cats use to mark their territory. In some cases, it may be helpful to use prescription medication to reduce the anxiety and bring about change.
3. Try to remove the stimulus for marking.
Other cats in the area may be causing your cat to mark so limiting exposure to them, if it’s possible, may help prevent the problem. Blocking visibility of other cats outside by using curtains or blacking out windows could.
4. Have multiple litter boxes and remove the odours.
This gives them more places that are appropriate to eliminate and using an enzymatic cleaner for cat urine in the areas where he has marked may reduce the problem. Placing treats by the litter box and using a large, low lipped litter box may be more inviting and stimulate regular use of it.
5. Make him an outdoor cat.
This may be a last resort but it could be the only one that works if all other attempts have failed.
By: Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM
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Disclaimer: Our authors do not endorse any products or services that may have been mentioned. All advice presented is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.