Why does a cat spray urine all over the walls, floors, furniture, and even his owner's clothing and shoes? Believe it or not, he's not just being evil or trying to get back at you for something.
What he's doing is claiming his territory. This is also called "urine marking," and as nasty as it is to us, it's perfectly normal behavior for both male and female cats.
Most of time, you can prevent this problem from starting by having your feline friend spayed or neutered before she or he is six months old. And if your kitty has already started spraying, neutering and spaying will stop the problem in the vast majority of both males and females, no matter how old he is or how long he's been doing it.
However, a kitty who suddenly starts this behavior is stressed over something. The first area you should check on is his litter box. Are you remembering to clean it often (like at least once a week)? Are you doing anything different? If you just changed to a perfumed litter, or you just started using a strongly-scented cleaner, you may have found the problem. Cats have a very strong sense of smell, and they really dislike strong odors.
If you just bought a new litter box, you buddy may not recognize it as such. Put the new box next to the old one for a few days. You may even want to put some used litter in the new box so he'll get the idea.
Is his box in a noisy, busy location? Like us, felines like a quiet, private place to do their business. If his box is in a high-traffic area, he may find a place more to his liking.
The next step is to take your furry friend to the vet for a check-up. There are several health problems that could cause your kitty to start spraying.
If these two areas check out, you need to start playing detective. Kitties don't care for change. They like things to stay just the way they are, especially when it comes to their territory. Any changes that make a cat feel insecure about his world can cause him to start claiming his little corner of it.
Ask yourself a few questions. Has a new person or animal recently joined your household? Has someone left? Maybe you're working more hours, or you've started traveling more. Have you recently moved? Have you done some remodeling? Not only are things out of place, but there may be strange people around, too.
Does your neighbor's cat come in your yard? If your kitty can see somebody else in "his" territory, he may start spraying, even if the other feline can't smell it.
Has someone who has a pet visited lately? Sometimes just the scent of another animal is enough to make your cat start claiming his territory.
Removing or lessening whatever is stressing your little friend will often solve the problem. If you've just moved, you may want to keep your buddy in one room for a few days. Be sure he has familiar things around him. His favorite pillow, his food and water dishes, and his litter box can help him feel less bothered. You may also want to give him something you've worn, like a sweatshirt, to lie on. Being able to smell you will reassure him.
If your kitty can see a stranger in "his" yard, close the curtains so he can't see out. Try to keep the intruder out of sight, if possible. Be sure to clean up any urine around doors and windows so he doesn't smell it and be tempted to mark again. Clean up outside if the other cat sprayed there, as your buddy will be able to smell it from inside the house.
Introducing a new kitten can be a huge stress on your cat. Keep the newbie in a separate room with her own food and water dishes and her own litter pan. Don't be alarmed if they hiss and yowl under the door at each other and try to bat each other. This is how they get acquainted. After a few days, they usually settle down and get used to each other.
Did you know that when your cat rubs his head on you, he's marking you? When you see him rubbing his head on other items, he's doing the same thing--claiming everything in his territory as his by marking things with his pheromones. You can use this to your advantage. Rub your kitty gently with a soft cloth between his eye and his ear. Then wipe the place he's been spraying with this cloth (be sure to clean the area first with an enzymatic cleaner). Repeat this daily for several weeks.
You can also put a scratching post in the area he's been marking. When he uses the post, he'll be putting scent from his paws in the area, instead of from his urine.
In any stressful situation, be sure to give your feline friend lots of extra love and attention. Most urine marking problems can be resolved when you think like your kitty.
Darlene Norris has been owned by many cats over the years. She invites you to visit her website, www.your-cat-care-guide.com
to learn more about holistic health care for your cat.
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