Improper Elimination – Part 1 – Spraying
Written by Cat Behaviorist, Mirian Hassani
With improper elimination, we have two categories: Spraying and Urination outside the litter box. It is very important to figure out which of the two we are having to deal with, as they are quite different and the solutions are too.
Let’s talk about SPRAYING
First and foremost, the act of spraying is a very NATURAL marking behavior for the cats. It is a communication tool. Of course, we as humans do not like it, as we have to deal with the odor and the cleaning. It is of interest to mention that the cat’s DNA is approximately 95% similar to the DNA of the tiger, and tigers and wild animals spray to communicate. Cats do not have a system to work out disputes so they communicate indirectly, by leaving messages. Spraying is basically an ID message; it communicates gender, age, and status.
Signs of Spraying:
- Always vertical
- The target is at nose height
- It is always a squirt of urine
- The cat will back up against the wall or furniture
- Tail will quivers while spraying
- It has a pungent smell
- Both MALE and FEMALE can and do spray
Reasons for spraying (the most common):
- Territoriality – Usually spraying occurs close to exterior window or door if there is an outside cat roaming in the yard. Territoriality can be also found in multi-cat households.
- Stress – A cat may spray a guardian’s personal belongings if he feels threatened, if there has been a change of location, if there has been an addition – either another cat or a baby, or a member of the household moving out.
- Familiar Scent – If your cat is very territorial, he/she will spray any new object brought into the territory, in this case the household.
There are several things that you can do if you have a cat spraying:
- Clean the area thoroughly with enzyme cleaners
- Figure out and address the reason why your cat is spraying
- Deter any further spraying
Mirian Hasani is a Certified Feline Trainer and Behavior Specialist based in Santa Monica. A longtime friend and supporter of FixNation, she spends a generous amount of time at the clinic working with frightened homeless kitties in need of some extra TLC.