‘Cat spraying’ is when a domestic cat will soil its house to mark its territory by backing into furniture or any household item and release a pungent spray. Approximately 40% of all soiling complaints are made of such instances. Females cats will sometimes do it when they are in heat, but generally it is mostly un-neutured male tom cats.
Cats spray for a variety of reasons. They spray during territorial disputes, when they are aware of another cat in heat, when stressed and often after fights with other cats. So the cats, normally solitary creatures, mark their territory as a way to reduce conflicts with other cats in the area. Mostly cats will spray outside, but if there are conflicts within the home, they will spray inside as well.
When a cat “sprays” an object, the spray releases a rancid odor most akin to ammonia. The smell may encourage the cat to spray again, so it is importantly to remove the smell rapidly and completely. When removing the smell, clean the object thoroughly with an enzymatic cleanser, one specially designed to remove bad odors. Avoid cleansers that contain ammonia: they will only make the smell worse!
So, how does one prevent this annoying habit? Can it be prevented from happening in the first place?Neutering a tom will significantly reduce the occurrence of cat spraying. Identifying conflicts within the home with the help of a cat whisperer, or someone attuned to cat psychology, can help resolve or minimize the problem. If a cat is spraying in one location, you can arrange furniture or objects around to make them less appealing to spray. Outside the home, you made need to keep your cat inside until conflicts are resolved with neighborhood cats.
Cat spraying cannot be cured by punishment. A stressed cat may even spray more often, and hitting your cat will simply encourage fear, not obedience. Nor will taking your cat to the sprayed area for punishment be an effective deterrent.
Even with taking all the precautions, cat spraying will be difficult to eliminate completely but can be easily be controlled and minimized. It is just an occurrence that comes along with the responsibility and pleasure of owning a feline friend.