Stress in cats manifests itself in many ways.
But of all these ways, urine “spraying” is one of the most common problems amongst cat owners. Certainly, this is the case among many of our readers.
Why Do Cats Spray?
Urine spraying, or marking, is a territorial behaviour mechanism which is used by felines to deter others from visiting “their” patch. In the wide-open spaces, that wouldn’t be a problem.
But in the confines of one’s own home, this is SERIOUS trouble! Many cats consider some, or all, of the house to be a territorial area of their own.
And if another feline is perceived as a threat to the patch, then the spraying sends out the message “keep off” to the unwanted feline. This situation starts for one of 4 common reasons:
- A new cat is taken into a stable feline household
- Owners (& cats!) move house
- Another cat from the neighbourhood gains entry to the house
- The problem is also exacerbated in male cats by the presence nearby of a female in season
What Can You Do About It?
Well again, there are a number of possibilities:
- If you’ve already a household with a balanced, and happy collection of felines, think hard before introducing another cat. It may not be welcome!
- If you have a cat flap, and the problem is of visitors from the area, use an electronic cat flap, triggered by the cat’s own collar or microchip, so only YOUR cats can use the flap
- When you move house, be patient. Keep the cats indoors for a few weeks. Make the set up of beds, food bowls, drinking bowls, litter trays, toys etc as similar as possible to the old house. If then a problem occurs, try spreading the cats out into different parts of the house, giving each cat a part of the territory. Check out our guide on how to move house with your cat
- If the cat has not been neutered, then get it done!
- Keep the place clean. After a cat has sprayed, use a household odour eliminator on the area, to eradicate the organic material. Don’t let the cat get into the habit of spraying in one place continually. Try to prevent the cat from gaining access to a commonly sprayed location
- Try pheromones! Cat “spray” sends out the message “Get Lost” to any intruders
Facial pheromones do, more or less, the opposite. Cats rub their whiskers on things when they’re happy and content. And this leaves pheromones behind which give the message that “Things are OK around here”
Always remember that your cat could also be stressed due to medical reasons, such as feeling unwell or an issue with an organ which you cannot see. If the problem persists after around a week, take them to the vet to ensure there is nothing wrong.