Cat Spraying: What Is It and How Do You Make It Stop?

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Your neutered cat spraying may be caused by a number of factors including:

  • Changes in your cat’s environment
  • Marking his territory
  • Litter box issues
  • Your cat has marked the area before and the scent is causing him to remark the area
  • Stress

To learn more about the causes of stress in cats and what you can do to help, go to 14 Things That Stress Cats Out!

Correcting cat spraying takes time, so be patient. Try to increase playtime with your cat, reduce stress and enrich your cat’s environment. In multi-cat households, provide high perches and cat trees to increase vertical space. Never punish your cat for spraying because that will only cause more stress and it could lead to even more spraying. See your veterinarian and make sure that your cat’s spraying is not related to a health issue.

For more information, go to Why Is My Neutered Cat Spraying?

How to Make Your Female Cat Stop Spraying

Unlike urinating outside the litter box, spraying is when urine is sprayed on vertical surfaces, like walls, doors, and furniture.

While most cat lovers know that male cats will spray urine to mark their territory, they may be surprised to learn that female cats (both spayed and unspayed) can also exhibit this behavior, although it is not as common in females. Female cat spraying can also be caused by stress, litter box issues or medical conditions.

Intact cats are more than twice as likely to spray compared to spayed females.

Regardless of its causes, female cat spraying can be difficult to deal with. If your cat is exhibiting this issue, it is up to you to investigate the problem and find out how to eliminate it.

There are many reasons for female cat spraying, including:

  • Changes in your cat’s environment
  • Increased levels of stress
  • Showing fertility to male cats
  • Changing litter or moving your cat’s litter box
  • Neighborhood cats outside your home
  • Other cats in your home
  • Moving

Cats have an instinctive need to leave their scents. They can do this by scratching because the paw pads emit pheromones. They can also do this by rubbing their cheeks against an object because their cheeks also have scent glands. Spraying is another way that cats leave their scents behind to mark their territory. The behavior is completely instinctive, but it can also be caused by stress. Marking her territory helps to calm her.

To learn more about feline pheromones, go to What Are Cat Pheromones?

The more territorial your cat is, the more likely it is that she’ll mark her territory by spraying. If you’ve got a female cat that is spraying, there are certain steps you can take to help remedy the situation.

  • Thoroughly clean the area where the cat has sprayed using an enzyme-based cleaner
  • Try to remove the trigger that is causing your cat’s anxiety
  • Try to remove any other causes of stress in the home

If you’ve tried everything and your cat is still spraying, see your veterinarian. It could be that your cat has a medical condition or that she needs some anti-anxiety medication.

For more information, go to How to Make Your Female Cat Stop Spraying.

Is a Cat Marking in the House the Same as Spraying?

When you have a cat marking in the house, it is a frustrating problem. In fact, this is the number one reason that cats are surrendered to shelters and pounds.

Cat marking in the house is similar to spraying. The difference is that spraying is done on vertical surfaces. This is when a cat backs up to a vertical surface with their tail erect and squirts urine. Oftentimes, the tail will quiver while they are spraying. Regular urine marking is done on horizontal surfaces. This is when your cat squats to pee on a horizontal surface, like the floor or the furniture. Both male and female cats can spray and squat while urine marking.

Urine marking is not a litter box issue.

Some cats will eliminate outside the litter box at some point in their lives. Some of these cats have issues with some characteristic of their litter box. To learn more about this problem, go to How Do You Deal with a Cat Urinating Outside of the Litter Box? The rest of these cats who are urinating outside the litter box don’t have any problems with their litter box. It’s a communication problem.

Urine marking is a form of indirect communication used by cats.

Whenever possible, cats in the wild will go off on their own and claim certain territories for themselves. Through urine marking, a cat is alerting other cats to his presence. He is showing what property belongs to him. Urine marking also tells other cats that they are looking for a mate.


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