If you’re experiencing the odors that come from cat urine or spraying at home, it is important to understand why this is happening. If you are not sure, then catching the culprit in the act can help you determine what is going on. When cats spray, they remain standing and spray a vertical area with urine. When cats urinate, they squat and produce a puddle on a flat surface. Both yield odors, but the causes can be very different.

A cat that is urinating outside of the litter box may be suffering from a medical condition – or may be snubbing the box entirely. A cat that sprays, however, is doing so for different reasons. For spraying, the tips below will help – but for incontinence or urination outside the box, you should schedule a vet visit to check your cat’s health.

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Why do Cats Spray?

Often when cats spray, they are doing so to let other cats know that the territory in question is claimed; they are literally marking a surface with scent. When this happens outdoors, it lets other cats know your yard is claimed – when it happens to your living room sofa, though, the results are less than ideal.

Bringing a new cat into the home, moving to a new location or other stressful situations can increase spraying, as your pet struggles to cope with change and anxiety. He will attempt to define his own territory by spraying.

If you have an intact male cat, he may feel the need to spray as well, to alert both other males and prospective mates to his presence.

Coping with Cat Spray

His reasons may be understandable, but the aftermath is not pleasant for the humans in the home. Thoroughly cleaning the site of any former spraying can help reduce recurrence; use a product designed to neutralize odors to prevent repeat offenses.

  • If your cat has not been altered, having him neutered could remove the need to spray to attract females or to defend territory.
  • Distracting your pet from a new arrival or change by spending more time with him or offering some new toys or activities can also help reduce the anxiety and stress that can trigger spraying.
  • Determining why your cat is spraying can help you come up with a solution to prevent further damage to your home and property and to make him feel better about change, too

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Careful monitoring can help you determine what is causing your cat to spray and to figure out what steps to take to deter him. Depending on your circumstances and your cat, a trip to the vet could be in order; if you are concerned or need assistance, we’re just a phone call away.


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