Why Cats Spray

Feline spraying can be a real problem that can frustrate even the most devout cat lover. Spraying occurs when the cat ejects a stream of urine to mark territory. Many people believe that only male cats can spray and that spraying only occurs when he is in heat. This is not true. Both male and female cats can spray and there are many causes for this undesirable behavior other than the occurrence of the heat cycle. Cats may begin to spray once they reach sexual maturity in an attempt to attract a mate. If there are other cats of the same sex in the household they will spray to mark their territory and to show dominance. They may even do so if they see or hear another cat nearby such as outside the house. Cats may also spray due to illness or stress. Any change that takes place in the home that disrupts the regular routine can provoke stress related spraying. This may include the addition of a new pet, the birth of a baby, the absence of a family member, a litter of kittens being born, moving to a new home or even moving the furniture around, among other things. Cats are comfortable with routine and may not always adapt well to change. If there is more than one cat in the home tension may build between them and that can cause inappropriate behavior such as spraying or soiling outside the litter box. If tension with another cat is the problem, it may help to limit their contact or separate them for a time and then reintroduce them gradually. Spaying and neutering can help stop or reduce the problem of spraying in cats although it may be prevented from starting if it is done before or by the age of six months. Although it is best to have the cat spayed or neutered it is possible that the spraying problem may still occur. If spraying still continues it may be best to discuss alternatives with your veterinarian. He or she may recommend the use of a product such as Feliway, which is a synthetic chemical spray that produces the scent of the feline’s facial pheromones. The product is quite effective for reducing spraying and it has a calming effect on the animals as well. Although it is a bit costly it may be an alternative worth considering. Some cats are more prone to anxiety than others, which may make them either overly aggressive or extremely timid, both of which can lead to excessive spraying. If all else fails, ask your veterinarian about prescribing and anti-anxiety medication. Spraying can be eliminated by finding the underlying cause of the behavior and treating it appropriately.

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3 comments

  1. I wonder if dogs share the same kind of reasons for spraying as cats do. Taking my dog out for walks can get very frustrating, as every corner seems to be a place for them to spray and “mark their territory.”

  2. It is odd to see this and I wonder if dogs share the same kind of reasons for spraying as cats do? Taking my dog out for a walk can be very frustrating as just about every corner becomes an opportunity for my dog to “mark its territory.”

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