If your neutered cat is spraying around the house, don’t freak out – though we know from experience that the smell alone can cause major freak out! Unfortunately spraying is a common issue – and can happen when a kitty suddenly feels territorial. Good news? There are actions we can take as cat parents to stop this behavior.
While male cats tend to be the main culprits for marking territory (peeing around the house), it’s important to note that some spayed female cats will also do this. It’s a cat thing, not a gender thing. Don’t discriminate. 😉
What do I do if my cat starts spraying?
Recently we wrote about the importance of not punishing your cat. If your cat is spraying it’s an instinctual act and should not be approached with punishment. No matter how upset it makes you. Or how terrible it smells. Honestly, punishing him will not change the behavior – so it’s a waste of your time anyway.
The first step we need to take is assessing why your cat suddenly started spraying. Often this starts when there’s been a change in the house. When we adopted kittens our neutered cats started spraying because they felt the need to mark their territory and show the newbies that this was their home first.
Sometimes finding the root cause can be difficult. Your cat might have seen a stray kitty outside your window while you were sleeping. Or maybe you had neighbors shoot off fireworks while you weren’t home… You may never know the root cause, but a little bit of positive reinforcement can be a game changer.
Our cats learn best through positive reinforcement. Taking a little time to build their confidence can create an assurance in them that can curb their behavior quickly. Click the link above for instructions on how to do confidence building sessions with your kitty.
Scent swapping is another great tactic that can help if your neutered cat is spraying around the house. Take a clean sock, put your hand in it and rub your cat’s face and whiskers. Immediately take the sock and wipe it all over the area that your cat wants to mark. This marks the territory for them so they no longer feel the necessity to mark it themselves.
Another tactic that has been helpful for us in this situation is adding a new litter box – specifically for the kitty with an issue – and letting him (or her!) mark (pee) in the box first (if you have multiple kitties). We are not fans of clay based litters, but if the situation is dire enough, we recommend filling the new box with Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract litter. Over time, we transition the litter back to our pine pellets once the issue is resolved.
The key is to help our cats not feel as if they have to mark their territory. Many times, the real root of this very inconvenient issue is our cat’s sense of security. As cat parents, we want to do all we can to provide that security – and sometimes (sometimes for unknown reasons), our cats will let us know they need a little reminder.