How to Stop Cat Urine Spraying By Katharine Hillestad, DVM
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Stop Urine Spraying

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Stop Urine Spraying

If your cat is urinating outside of the litter box, finding a solution starts with determining whether your cat is actually urinating as opposed to marking or “spraying.” How can you tell the difference?

Urinating vs Spraying

  • Cats normally squat to urinate.
  • When spraying, a cat will back up to a vertical surface, like a wall or furniture.

Start with a visit to your veterinarian to rule out medical causes such as urinary tract infections. Once your feline has a clean bill of health, it’s time to look at behavioral causes.

Blame it on stress

While cats often spray to mark their territory, another major cause of spraying is stress. Stress comes from a variety of sources such as new pets, new people, or bullying from other cats near litter boxes or food dishes. A change in your work schedule, neighborhood cats outside the window, and even new furniture can cause anxiety.

  • Feed feuding cats in different rooms, and offer multiple litter boxes (at least one per cat plus one extra) throughout your home. Explore our litter boxes here.
  • Close the curtains so your cat can’t see neighborhood cats coming into your yard.
  • Remove urine spray using an enzymatic cleaner. This neutralizes the urine odor that stimulates cats to re-mark the area.
  • Use a product such as Comfort Zone® with Feliway® Spray to help deter spraying. Feliway mimics the natural feline facial pheromones that help a cat feel secure in its environment.

De-stressing your cat’s life can be challenging, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist. Some cats benefit from a temporary course of medication to help them feel less anxious. Over 80% of cats that urine spray can be successfully treated, so don’t give up, and remember that urine spraying is caused by stress – it doesn’t mean your cat is mad at you.

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