What does it mean when cats are spraying? How do you stop a cat from spraying? Cat spraying is a common problem amongst cat owners. It is their approach of marking their territory. However, it can also be triggered for varied reasons.
Spraying in cats
Regardless of the gender and cat breed, felines find the inclination to spray as part of their normal behaviour. The occurrence is higher in males, especially the intact ones than the neutered ones. This is believed to be caused by sexual hormones that reveal their reproductive status. Research indicated that there’s a significant decline in spraying after spaying, with 90 per cent in males and 95 per cent in females. The number of cats in a household is also another matter to consider. Studies show that there is 100 per cent chance of spraying if there are ten or more cats in one household.
Various possible reasons on why cats spray and tips on how to deal with it are discussed below.
Cats are territorial.
If you have one or more cats, you need to establish equal positive relationships with each of them. Make sure that all cats get along well with each other. They may eat together but they should be provided with food in separate bowls. The more they feel secure with each other, the lesser chances they are to engage in spraying.
Your cat may be feeling threatened.
Apart from establishing dominance within the cats in the household, there are also stray cats around, which can be one of the factors why you have a spraying feline. Perhaps they feel threatened by the other cats from the neighbourhood. The most common place where your cat will likely spray is in a cat flap. This is to discourage interlopers from invading her territory.
However, if the roaming cat is more dominant than yours, then your furry friend may spray uncontrollably as she is stimulated by fear. The roaming cat may enter your house whilst you are away and will most likely bully your pet. This can be avoided by using a magnetic cat flap. How does it work? It can only be opened by a specialised magnetic collar worn by your feline. This will prevent other stray animals from entering your house as well.
Cat spraying can be caused by mating initiation.
Intact cats are most likely the culprits that spray all over your house. The females may spray to attract males when they are in heat. That being said, they usually release strong-smelling urine. If you have no plans in rearing a breeding queen, it is best to get your feline neutered as early as possible.
You may have an overly nervous cat.
There are cats that are nervous for no reason at all. This may have been elicited by the following factors:
- Recently rehomed
- Previously wild or feral
- Bad experiences
- Exposure to other aggressive cats
Assist your cat that is suffering from anxiety. There are homeopathic treatments that can help calm and relieve anxiety in cats. There are calming herbs that can also be given to cats such as catnip, chamomile, kava kava, and St. John’s wort. Before proceeding with these suggested treatments, it is best to bring your feline to your veterinarian first to confirm the situation. Your vet is an expert to aid you with such necessary processes.
Your cat may be asking for more of your attention.
Yes, there are some cats that are very creative in telling you that they need love. Make sure that you give time each day with your cat. Interact with her positively through petting, brushing, and playing games.
Further, to avoid having a bored cat, give her toys that are physically and mentally challenging. These toys can be fake mice and feathers balls. There are also different cat furniture that allows them to climb and perch on top when the mood calls.
Your cat may be stressed.
Cats are creatures of habit. Thus, when interruptions or further intrusions occur, they may react badly. Here are the aspects that could be stressing your cat:
- The presence of a new pet or baby in the family.
- Conflicts with other pet animals in the household.
- Invasion of stray cats.
- Changes in furniture placement, decoration, or extension.
- Inappropriate forms of punishments.
- Absence of owners or change of working schedules.
Perhaps marking its territory is one way of coping with stress.
How to deal with cat spraying smell
Now that we have demystified the puzzling behaviour of cat spraying, let us deal with the odour emitted from cat spray. The best way to keep your house clean and fresh is to prevent spraying before it starts. But there are also ways to get rid of the spraying smell.
- Clean the sprayed area.
Carefully clean the area where your cat sprayed. If the sprayed area is already dry, empty a cup of cold water on the dried area, then wipe it with a towel.
- Use cleaning products.
There are other products that are made to counter cat spray odour, although any product will do. Be sure not to purchase cleaning products containing ammonia. The smell of ammonia encourages cats to repeatedly mark that area. The enzymatic cleaner is a better option. There are usually instructions placed on the bottle on how to safely apply it.
- Repeatedly clean spray stains.
If the smell persists, repeat the process and ensure that the spot is thoroughly clean and dry. It may be hard to find out the exact spots where your felines have sprayed. If this is the case, you may use a portable black light which could help detect the stain. Such stains appear as yellow spots.
Still got questions? Read more of our pet blog that may be of help.