How do cats spray?

Cat spraying can be a serious concern for pet parents especially in a multi-cat household. Imagine the embarrassment a house owner would feel if guests would try to politely hide the wrinkling nose because of the abhorrent stench caused by the overpowering smell of cat urine. Some cats are not trained to use the litter box. Litter box problem is one of the reasons why cats are abandoned by the owners. House soiling would not be due to the cat’s non-usage of the litter box alone. Urine stench inside the house can be caused by spraying. A cat would back into a vertical surface. With the quivering tail held up high and with a rapt expression on the face, the cat would shoot out a small amount of urine-based liquid. The likely targets of the shooting are walls and doors, drapes, furniture and any other vertical objects. Spraying is not a potty training concern. Spraying is a cat’s instinctive response to a threatening or to a stressful issue.

Spraying is a behavior that is more prevalent in intact male cats. But this does not mean that female cats do not spray. A first time cat owner that is not aware of these animals’ inclination to spray would be amused to see the pet back up to a vertical surface and squirt a small amount of foul smelling urine. Cats would usually spray doors and walls, furniture legs, curtains and other vertical surfaces. Spraying is associated with territorial marking. The urine stains would generally be at the nose level of other cats. This is why a cat would need to raise its tail and butt high up in the air before shooting the targeted surface with the urine-based substance. Cats would lay claim to territory with this olfactory sign. Imagine how the stench in a multi-cat household would be given that all the pets would be inclined to spray to assert the claim to the territory.

Aside from territorial marking, spraying is one of the ways by which a cat can find a potential mate. The substance used by cat to spray with is a mixture of urine and glandular secretions known as pheromones. Pheromones are distinct in each and every individual cat. The face, the chin and mouth, the ears, the paw pads and the anal area has pheromone producing glands. The hormone is released when the cat rubs its body on humans and on surfaces. When a cat sprays, the pheromones will in effect advertise the cat’s availability to other cats. While spraying can indicate clear territorial boundaries, the behavior can also indicate that all is not well in the cat’s world. Spraying can be stress related. A cat that feels it is being threatened by the introduction of another pet, by transferring to a new home or by the new baby in the family would have the inclination to spray to reinforce its claim on the territory.

Spraying is a serious concern but one that can be resolved easily. An owner has to understand the possible reason for the cat’s behavior. Commonly, the sprayed location will give the owner a clue. The pet that repeatedly sprays the wall or the curtain near the window may be reacting to the presence of a stray cat in the yard. The problem can be resolved by preventing the cat from having access to the window. Their own scent on the marked area will entice the cat to spray again and again. Therefore, the marked surface must be thoroughly cleaned. Motivation to spray can be considerably lessened by having the pet castrated or spayed.

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