Anti-spraying strategies for your sake… and your sofa’s
Spraying – when your cat sprays urine anywhere and everywhere other than in her kitty litter – is a problem many cat owners have to deal with. It’s a common myth that cats spray primarily to mark their territory; in fact, it can a sign of something completely different.
It’s one of the most testing moments between you and your four-legged furball – when you come home and find an unexpected damp patch on your sofa, despite fresh cat litter sitting mere metres away. Your cat spraying in the house can be a sign that she is stressed or insecure – peeing helps increase her self-assurance. Here are five strategies to stop your cat spraying.
Desex your kitty
Female cat spraying is just as common as male cat spraying. The first step to putting a stop to this behaviour should be getting your kitty neutered – as hormone levels diminish, so too will the urge to spray.
Get to the source of the stress
If your pet is spraying because she feels anxious, you need to find out what is causing the problem. Check that there are no feral cats lurking outside threatening your kitty’s authority, and if you have other pets, try to determine if there is any animal bullying going on.
Check her living area
We all know cats are control freaks and don’t like sudden changes. Your kitty may be feeling anxious if you’ve moved house, or if you’ve gone away and asked friends to look after her. Have you rearranged her living area or moved her food and water bowls? Is her litter clean and tidy? If you have enough room, consider putting out several litter boxes so that she always has a nearby option when nature calls.
Keep your kitty active
A regular schedule gives your cat a sense of stability and structure. Leave your pet some educational and interactive toys to keep her busy while you’re not there, and enjoy some regular play sessions when you come home so she feels loved and cared for.
Keep it positive
As annoying as it is to have to remove the cat-spraying odour, you should never yell or punish your kitty – this will only make her feel more stressed out and increase the spraying. If she’s returning to the same spot each time to spray, try getting her to play or sleep there instead – this will help her associate that area with fun times instead of feeling nervous.
If you can’t beat them…join them
There are a number of house sprays or diffusers on the market which, while odourless to humans, can have a calming effect on cats, making them less stressed and less likely to spray.
Ask the expert
If all else fails you should discuss the problem with your vet, who can check for any medical or physical issues that may be contributing to the problem. Your vet can put you in touch with a cat behavioural specialist.