What is spraying in cats? Spraying is the straight back spraying of urine. Both males and queens can spray, even if they have already been castrated or sterilized. Usually a cat sprays upright, but sometimes squat. During spraying, the tail stands straight up and vibrates.
urinate versus spraying
Usually only small amounts of urine are sprayed, but with some cats it can also be a considerable puddle. When spraying, besides urine also odorous substances are excreted. As a result, the sprayed urine can be somewhat oily and sticky, and has a strong odor.
Why do cats spray?
Spraying is a form of communication for cats. You can compare it to a sticky note on which you write a message and that you stick to the wall.
So by spraying, cats want to convey a message. This can be a message for other cats, for themselves or for us. For example, the cat does not feel well, is in pain or is stressed. Non-castrated cats can also spray to indicate that they are fertile.
In any case, a cat never sprays for bullying, but wants to tell something.
When is spraying normal?
For non-castrated males and cats, indoor and outdoor spraying is normal. Spraying in the garden is also normal for castrated cats. In this way they exchange information with the neighborhood cats. If castrated cats spray the house, this is not normal. The spraying cat then indicates that something is wrong. Follow the schedule below to discover why your cat is spraying.step by step spraying cat
Usually a cat will spray against something without paying much attention to its housemates. If the message is specifically intended for a specific person, the cat can look at that person closely just before spraying. In extreme cases, a cat can even spray against the legs or face. The longer the cat has a problem that has not yet been solved, the greater the chance of this becoming.
What can you do about it?
Remove the cause
If the male or female that is spraying has not been neutered, the hormones probably play a role. You then do well to let your cat neuter. This also has many health benefits and in many cases is even legally required . Of course there may also be something else going on. Ask your veterinarian to perform a health check at the same time as castration.
With a castrated cat or cat, spraying in the house is a sign that something is wrong. To stop spraying, you have to find the cause. Spraying can usually be solved quickly as soon as the cause is known.
Cats are masters in hiding pain and illness. A cat can be seriously ill without the owner noticing. Spraying is sometimes the only sign that a cat is not feeling well or is in pain. This does not necessarily have anything to do with the urinary tract, even toothache or diabetes can cause spraying. Therefore always have a medical cause excluded in the event of a spray problem. A thorough medical examination, including urine tests and blood tests, is necessary.
If you have a frightened cat, you can take various measures to limit the stress of a veterinary visit .
Only when your cat has been declared healthy can you see if the spraying has a behavioral cause. Cats are very stress-sensitive animals, and the slightest change in the environment can upset them. This is particularly the case with animals that were separated from the mother at a very young age. Cats that stayed with the mother and littermates for at least 12 weeks are generally much more resistant to stress.
A behavioral cause is therefore often a combination of a problem in the environment and the personality of the cat. Common causes are: threats from other cats in the neighborhood, a change in the family situation or conflicts with other cats in the household.
Contact a behavioral expert to solve the problem as quickly as possible. During a home visit, they analyze the situation, determine the cause and draw up a treatment plan with you. For a certified behavioral expert you can contact the Association for Animal Behavioral Therapists VZW .
Clean the spray areas
In addition to removing the cause, you must also thoroughly clean the spray spots. In the urine there are fragrances that encourage the cat to spray on that spot again.
Ordinary cleaning agents are not sufficient to remove the odorants – which people cannot smell -. Therefore, always use special cleaning agents designed to dissolve pet urine. Ask for a suitable product at your vet or at the pet shop.
After spraying, wait until the cat is away from cleaning. If the cat sees that his message is immediately removed, the spraying can get worse.
What should you not do?
Never punish your cat for spraying! The cat does this to tell something, not to bully. Punishment causes extra stress and can make spraying worse.
Do not get started with tips on all kinds of forums and social media. In most cases the tips don’t work and sometimes they are even dangerous or make the situation worse. Searching for the cause frees you from the problem faster and is more animal-friendly. Calling in expert help can save you a lot of costs and maybe even save the life of your pet.