Stop The Spray: Curbing Cat Communication In Its Smelly Tracks

28 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Cat spray is a common concern for pet owners. Spray is similar to urine, but it is used by cats to mark their territory. Cats turn their backs to a surface and spray the substance from their glands, sort of like a skunk would do. If you are struggling to deal with your cat's method of communication, understanding why he is doing it can be helpful.

You may have wished at some point that your cat had a cell phone so you could send important messages back home:

"Defrost some meat for dinner."

"Can you make sure the oven is off?"

"Did my package arrive today?"

In reality, cats kind of do have their own cell phones. It's just not one that humans usually recognize unless it's in their house. It's cat spray. In addition to body language, rubbing, and vocalizations, cats use spray to communicate. They probably don't get why you aren't a big fan of their methods either.

How Do I Know My Cat is Spraying?

You will know that your cat is spraying first by most noticeably smelling or seeing spray on items that are level with your cat's body. You might also see your cat spraying by standing and wiggling his tail, releasing pheromones that even you can sense stronger than cat urine.

Why, Fluffy, Why?

Fluffy is communicating with other cats when he sprays, advertising to other males that he exists. If your cat is not neutered, he may also mark his position to show female cats that he is ready to mate with them.

The spray is commonly used to mark boundaries, kind of the equivalent of setting up a sign that says "No Trespassing." If your cat sees unfamiliar things around or you bring home items with a new smell, he is likely to mark more often.

Spraying is often behavioral too. Your cat may be stressed, struggling to adjust to a new environment. If you recently moved, remodeled, or changed your schedule, Fluffy could be feeling threatened.

How Can I Prevent Spraying?

Unfortunately, even some neutered cats spray, despite the fact that the intact ones tend to be the most guilty. Punishing your cat for spraying can have a detrimental effect because it makes the cat feel even more stressed out. Your best bet is to take preventative measures that will make the cat want to pursue other avenues of territorial behavior.

-Consider using an enzyme cleaner that breaks down the scent and discourages future spraying in this location. Washing with soap and water is not enough to eliminate the smell, which encourages future marking.

-Take away stressful stimuli.

-Replace or move common targets. You might also consider placing aluminum foil or plastic wrap near items your cat loves to mark, discouraging them from entering the area.

-Keep your cat out of targeted rooms.

-Encourage your cat to have friendly socialization with other animals in the house. Allow the cats to play together and provide treats to reward positive behavior.

-Keep neighborhood cats out of your yard.

While marking is normal behavior in the cat world, it is certainly not acceptable in your human-oriented home. Curbing the behavior is essential to maintaining a happy and healthy home.

For a local veterinary clinic, contact a company such as Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic.