Spraying and Marking

Spraying and marking in cats is generally not a house soiling problem, but a territorial behavior. Therefore, to resolve the problem, you need to address the underlying reason for your cats’ need to mark his territory. This could be anything from tension with other animal residents, to seeing animals in the yard, to another cat’s scent being brought into the home on visitor’s clothing.

House Soiling or Urine-Marking – how to tell the difference.

Your pet may be urine-marking if:
– The problem is primarily urination – cats rarely mark with feces.
– The amount of urine found is small and primarily on vertical surfaces.
– Your cat or other animals in the house are not spayed or neutered.
– Your cat urinates on new objects in the environment, on objects with unfamiliar smells, or objects that have another animal’s scent.
– There is conflict in the home between your cat and other pets in the house.
– Your cat has come in contact with other animals outside the home, or sees another animal through a door or window. If this occurs, your cat may feel the need to mark his territory.

Preventing Marking:

Spay or neuter your pet as soon as possible. Spaying or neutering is effective in stopping this behavior in 90% of male cats and 95% of female cats.
– Resolve conflicts between animals in your home. See our article: “Cat Introductions and Avoiding Conflicts”
– Restrict your cat’s access to doors or windows which they can observe animals outside by closing drapes and window sills. Cats should also be kept inside.
– Clean soiled areas thoroughly with an enzymatic cleanser designed to neutralize pet odors.
– Make the previously soiled areas inaccessible, if possible. Try also making the areas unattractive by feeding, treating, or playing with your cat in the areas he is inclined to mark.
– Keep new objects likely to cause marking out of reach. Guest belongings and new purchases should be placed in a closet or cabinet.
– If your pet is marking in response to a new resident in your home (a new baby, roommate or spouse), have the new resident make friends with your pet by feeding, grooming and playing with your pet.

Don’t punish your cat after the fact. Punishment administered even a minute after the event is ineffective because your pent won’t understand why he is being punished.