Though spraying is a natural part of a feline’s survival instinct, it can be a very frustrating issue to deal with as a pet owner. Not only will you find yourself constantly welcome by unpleasant odors, but you also may be scrubbing the stench off on many surfaces, if the problem remains unchecked. If your cleaning gloves, cleaning bottles and carpet stain spray are running low, here are some helpful tips on how to stop your cat from spraying inside.    

Curbing the Spray

Identify the culprit. If you live with more than one cat, it can be difficult to know for certain which pet is the offender. Since many kitties tend to be private, you may have difficulty catching them in the act of spraying. Some pet owners will set up a small surveillance camera or (a “nanny cam”) over the typical spray zone see which cat may need medical attention, or more space, etc.

Determine the reason for spraying. Cats spray for many reasons. Observe your cat’s behaviors to identify the causal issue. If the animal is not neutered/spayed, get them fixed as soon as possible, and 90% of the time, the spraying issue will dissolve entirely. If the cat is fixed, see if there are any other symptoms that might suggest a health problem with the cat, or if there were things that happened recently which could contribute to his stress (such as the arrival of a new cat or a new baby, moving house, fighting with the other pets, etc.) Find out what might be causing your kitty to spray so you can know how to amend the issue.

Use the right cleaning tools. Choose cleaning supplies that indicate they are an odor neutralizer, or an enzymatic cleaner to help fully absorb any lingering traces of cat urine. Some felines will return to spray/urine in the same place, so eliminating the stench is absolutely imperative.
Once the area is thoroughly cleaned, try spraying a synthetic pheromone in the same place to help erase any association. Products like Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers help calm the cat and distract him from spraying or marking surfaces.

Help your cat succeed. Whatever may have caused your cat to spray may be solved one way or another, depending on the circumstances. Here are some ideas to help you resolve the spraying issue in your home.

  • If he was simply stressed, do what you can to reduce his anxiety with catnip, calming collars, soothing sounds, his own space, etc.
  • If the cat is incensed by the presence of another cat, try to help the two of them build bonds. This can be accomplished by playing with them together, or encouraging them to groom each other and connect that way. (Simply wipe the cats down with a wet wash cloth, and they will begin to groom themselves, and possibly their neighbor afterwards.) If communing with the other cat doesn’t work, maybe consider giving the cats their own separate living areas, toys and beds if you can afford to do so.
  • Try clicker training your cat every time you see him back against a surface (a tell-tale warning signal!). Interrupt him, click and then reward him with a treat.
  • If one area of the house proves to be a constant temptation for the kitty, simply keep that space off limits for a while. This will give the new fragrances and pheromones a chance to settle in while your cat is away from the spraying hot-spot.
  • Remove other triggers. For example, if you live in a single cat household, but you notice your kitty gets agitated whenever he sees another cat or dog walk past the window or even traipse in his yard, this could incite him to spray out of frustration and a wish to claim his territory where he feels those animals have violated his space. If this is the case, close the curtains or keep the cat away from the windows.
  • Alternatively, you could put the litter box in the same corner where the cat likes to spray, as long as it is not too much of an eye sore or distraction. (If you are worried about the smell of the litter box permeating the house, consider getting an automatic litter box that compacts the contents and minimizes unpleasant fumes.)
  • Provide a positive place to play. Get your cat a multi-surface cat tree where he can climb, scratch, play and rest all to his heart’s content. This will enable him a way to mark his territory in other ways, and will associate the area as a fun place instead of the spot where your cat releases stress.