How to Break Your Cat’s Spraying Habit

House cats are wonderful creatures. They love to play, they catch mice and other rodents, and they make cuddly companions. Since they can’t speak verbally, cats communicate in other ways. They purr when they’re content, hiss when they’re upset, and they also have a tendency to spray urine for a number of reasons. If this is a problem in your house, then you need to know how to break your cat’s spraying habit.

The first step in this process is to make sure your cat actually has a spraying habit. That is, are you sure your male or female cat is actually spraying? Or, does he or she simply miss the litter box? Are you finding pools of cat urine on the floor? This isn’t a sign of spraying either. Normally, cats that have a habit of spraying will back up to doors, windows, walls, and furniture, et cetera. You’ll find squirts of urine about a foot or so up from the floor.

The second step to break your cat’s spraying habit, is to find the cause of the problem. It’s a common fallacy that only male cats “mark their territory” by spraying urine. While it’s true that male cats spray urine during the mating season, they do it at other times too. Female cats also spray urine to arouse the interest of a tomcat. And, they spray for other reasons as well.

However, research shows that cats who are spayed or neutered are less likely to spray than cats who aren’t. If your house cats aren’t “de-sexed”, talk to your veterinarian about performing the surgery. Not only can it break their spraying habit, but it will help keep the problem of overpopulation down.

Ideally, all cats should be spayed or neutered by the time they reach six months of age. However, they can still be “fixed” when they are older than that.

If your cat is already “fixed”, then their spraying habit must be caused by another reason. It’s their way of telling you they are jealous of another living being in the house. This can be another cat, a human, or even another type of animal. Or, maybe you’ve changed your household environment and your male or female cat doesn’t like something about it. Or, maybe you’re house cat is spending more time alone, and he or she doesn’t like that. These are just a few examples of the reasons why your cat has developed a spraying habit you need to break. The bottom line is, your house cat is unhappy, and spraying urine on the doors, windows, walls, furniture, et cetera, is his or her way of showing it.

Now that you know what the problem is, and you’re sure your house cat has it, the third step is to actually break the urine spraying habit. As long as your house cat has been to the veterinarian recently and is in good health, that rules out a medical problem as the cause of their urine spraying habit.

Once you find a place that your house cat is spraying on, you need to clean the urine up completely. If you just spray a nice-smelling commercial product on it, that won’t do the trick. It might cover the urine odor for a short period of time, but your cat is no fool. He or she will still be able to smell their own scent and will continue the habit of spraying urine on that same area.

Instead, you’ll need to launder the object, such as a curtain, for example. Add a half of cup of baking soda or the same amount of white vinegar to your washing machine to help neutralize the urine odor. Or, if the object your cat is spraying on is a piece of upholstered furniture, you’ll need to shampoo and extract the urine from the fabric.

For a door or a wall, use a commercial disinfecting product. (Don’t use household bleach! It will just make the problem worse.) Then, clean the area with a strong solution of white vinegar or baking soda mixed with warm water.

Being that I have a household with eight cats in it, sometimes just locating and cleaning the cat’s urine from the area has resolved the problem. But, sometimes the urine spraying habit wasn’t
broken that easy.

Sometimes, house cats will actually spray on a door or window if there’s another cat outside it can see. This is a natural response to mark its territory. To break this habit, close your drapes or curtains, or pull the window blinds shut.

House cats can also become jealous of another feline that’s living in the same home. The result is the jealous feline starts a habit of spraying. If this is the case in your home, then maybe your cats don’t have their “own space.” Provide cat beds, separate blankets, et cetera, so your cats can have their own domain with their own smell on it.

And finally, keep your cat’s routine the same. Cats are creatures of habit, and they don’t like change. Your cat might develop a urine spraying habit you’ll have to break just because it’s unhappy about a change you’ve made in the house.

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