Vet Q&A: How can I stop my cat spraying indoors?

by PDSA | 2 September 2019 #VetQ&As

Cats spraying isn't pleasant - especially when they do it in the house! Our vets have looked at some of the reasons your cat might be spraying inside and the solutions!

Spraying in the house is commonly thought of as a male cat thing, but actually females and even neutered males might spray, too. It’s not a very nice thing to catch your cat doing and the smell can be a little overwhelming. There are lots of reasons your cat could be spraying in the house, each with their own ‘treatment’.

The first thing you should do is take your cat to the vet. They can rule out any medical reasons your cat might be spraying indoors. If it’s nothing medical, it might be a behaviour related reason.


Reason one: your cat isn’t neutered

So this one is sort of medical. Cats are very territorial animals, more so in males that haven’t been neutered. They spray so they can mark their territory so other cats know what is theirs and where they’ve been. Unneutered males might also spray to let any females know how to find them (and they say romance is dead!).

The solution: one of the easiest ways to stop your cat spraying indoors is to get them neutered! Neutering also has lots of other benefits, too, like preventing unwanted litters and can also stop your cat straying as far from home.


Reason two: everything is too new

This is especially true if you’ve just moved home or your cat is new to the home. Cats prefer familiar smells and so might spray new objects because they’re trying to make them smell familiar. Not what we want as owners, but you can sort of see their reasoning.

The solution: it might be worth temporarily reducing the size of their ‘territory’. By this, we mean not letting them have free reign of the entire house by limiting them to just one or two rooms at first. You can gradually let them into more areas as they get comfortable with them.


Reason three: they’re feeling insecure and stressed

If you have more than one cat, or other cats are coming into the home, this can make your cat really stressed. Cats prefer to be on their own with their human family and don’t like other cats in the house. A strange cat or a roommate they don’t get along with can make them feel insecure and they might spray around the house to show everything is ‘theirs’.

The solution: if other cats are coming into your house, consider getting a microchip cat flap that only opens for your cat. This way intruders won’t be able to come in and your cat will feel happier. If you have more than one cat, make sure they are fed separately, each has their own space to go and that you have enough of everything to go around. As a rule, you should have one of each ‘resource’ per cat (food bowls, water bowls, toys etc.) plus one spare. Find out more about creating the ideal home for your cat.


How can I clean the area my cat has sprayed?

It’s important to clean areas your cat has sprayed as soon as possible. Don’t get angry at your cat as this could make the problem worse.

Mix a little biological washing powder with warm water and wash the area down thoroughly. Then, scrub it with something which will help remove the scent, like surgical spirit. Rinse the area with cold water and let it dry.

If you put your cat’s food in an area they have sprayed, they’re less likely to spray there again because they don’t tend to spray where their food is!

Share this article on:  PDSA | 2 September 2019


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