Last updated on October 22nd, 2016 at 06:30 pm
Cat spraying is a form of urinating outside the litter. Aside from scratching furniture and drapes, this form of urinating is by far the most common problem cat owners have to face. Other than that, cats are mild and like to be
lazy all day long. They rarely seek any attention, so they just sleep or stare at particular things without bothering you. This reality is sad, especially since inappropriate spraying is not always a matter of bad will. Sometimes, it might have medical causes, yet uneducated cat owners fail to consider this aspect.
Clearing medical causes before moving on
Most people find cats to be quite mysterious and hard to research. However, they do everything with a reason in mind. When it comes to spraying, a common dysfunction of the urinary tract is one of the main reasons. It is also known as the urinary syndrome in felines. Learning how to stop a cat from spraying implies knowing that this medical condition causes painful sensations while urinating. The cat inevitably associates those pains with the litter. Under such circumstances, it will try to avoid the litter. Inappropriate spraying might be the first clue that your cat requires medical attention. The disease is not so mild and tends to evolve. It can even become life threatening if left untreated.
More cats in the same home?
If you have other cats around, identifying the one responsible for spraying is the first step in clearing this habit. There are situations when more cats spray around, so don’t stop your research once you catch one of them doing it. If it seems impossible to identify the target, your veterinarian can give them a substance that will color urine. The respective colors are visible under ultraviolet lights. In other words, you just have to spot the color and remember which cat it was assigned to.
Considering other potential causes of spraying
If the vet has already evaluated your cat and no medical conditions were discovered, spraying is obviously caused by other factors. The solution to stop feline spraying starts by determining what has changed in the environment. Perhaps something might disturb it. Cats are very picky by nature. They like things to be unchanged in their environment. Any simple change can be very unpleasant. Therefore, the cat tries to notify you that it does not like something in particular. So what other cases should you think about?
- Permanently removing claws – a very painful mutilation that causes months of pain
- Recently moving – a very confusing move for your cat
- Having a baby – a decent threatening to the cat’s sovereignty inside the home
- Having a new pet – the cat might feel like it is losing your heart
- Failing to keep the litter clean – would you use a terribly dirty toilet?
- Replacing the type, style or scent of litter – a massive change in the cat’s environment that might chase it away
- Moving the litter – affecting the cat’s routine
- Having a sick cat in the same home – medication odors from a different cat’s urine might chase other cats away
- Unhappy past memories – being scared or attacked by a different cat while using the litter
Understanding all these potential causes can help you think like a cat and figure how to stop a cat from spraying. Put yourself into the cat’s shoes and ask yourself what things might be uncomfortable to you. If one of these causes draws the attention, try to eliminate it. If spraying is a long lasting problem, you might need to dig deeper in order to find the triggering cause.
What you should never do
Never punish the cat for spraying. Don’t scold it or discipline it by putting its nose in the urine. Do not brutally throw it in the litter either. These actions lead to a lack of confidence in yourself. If you have such reactions, you might want to give the cat up for adoption before you traumatize it.
Instead, you can fix this problem in two simple steps. First, you need to make the litter more attractive. Second, turn the spraying areas into the most unattractive place in the world.
Turning the litter into an irresistible place
The first step in stopping cat urinating implies giving it a clean litter with brand new sand. Cats like the sand to be available in small granules. Forget about those fancy odors you may see in the stores.. Instead, stick to odorless sand. Once you identify the perfect sand for your cat, stop changing it. The layer should not exceed 2 inches, otherwise you’re wasting it. Also, consider getting a self cleaning litter box. Read our guide here.
Do not place the litter into the middle of the living room. Instead, find a more private, quiet area. Cats like to be isolated, especially while eliminating. They do not like being watched. If you have more cats around the home, ensure that they will not come over and intimidate the one that is eliminating.
Clean the litter at least once a day. Eliminate the granule lumps, as well as the feces. The sand should be entirely changed once a week. Wash the litter with warm water and do not even think about using detergents because their smell will annoy the cat. If possible, let it dry in the sun, since sun kills a lot of microbes.
Turning the spraying place into an unattractive area
The second step in learning how to stop cat spraying indoors implies focusing on the spraying areas. Even if you do not observe an actual pattern, pay attention to the targeted places and write everything down. Fortunately, there are many cleaning products specifically developed with this purpose. They are organic and designed to be protective. However, you can begin with classic water and soap for floors. When it comes to carpets and other textile materials, stick to specialized cleaning solutions from commerce.
As a general rule, never consider using ammonia based substances. The odor is probably sharp enough to disturb you, but it will not disturb the cat. If you think about it, it actually smells like urine. The cat will inevitably associate the respective place with urine, so it will try to cover it with a new elimination. This is how spraying becomes a habit. Instead, stick to mineral water. It is a lot more efficient in neutralizing the fresh smell of urine. But then, if the area is severely affected and also involves some textile materials, you will most likely require enzyme based products.
It may also be a good idea to temporarily place an aluminum sheet over the affected area. Cats dislike the sounds made by such foils, so they will most likely look for a different place. Sooner or later, they will get the point – they need to reach to the freshly cleaned litter.
Once you are done following these steps, pay attention to your cat and follow its moves. Feel free to reward it whenever it uses the litter. This entire process can be time consuming, but both you and your cat will love the final result once you reach to the destination. Take your time, be dedicated and ensure that you have a lot of patience.