Why do cats spray urine? This is one way that both male and female cats communicate. Although, neutering or spaying of your feline can cut down on the desire to spray, it is important to realize that they can still use this form of communication. A male cat most generally will spray at another cat's nose level by lifting its tail vertically and then shaking its tail while spraying urine horizontally. A female cat will usually squat and mark with urine. A cat's territorial instincts are strong when it is threatened or there has been a change in the cat's environment, thus leading to the urine marking. Patience and consistency by the owner is what is needed when breaking your cat of this habit.
After a veterinarian has ruled out illness, a look at the changes in the cat's environment and understanding the marking habits of a feline will help eliminate continued problems.
First look at what conditions exist to make your cat stressed or threatened. Are there visiting stray cats in your yard, or new members (animal or human) in your household, or something as simple as new furniture or the absence of a vacationing owner?
These changes can cause marking by your cat. Each cat reacts differently to these changes, but one thing they have in common is being able to recognize pheromones in their territory. Urine pheromones are scents unique to that cat and let other cats know that this is their territory or that they are looking for a mate. Facial pheromones are the scents your cat leaves when it is happy and it is a reminder to them that this is a happy, safe, stress free place. They deposit these scents through pads in their cheeks by rubbing against corners and furniture with their face while familiarizing themselves with their environment. Scratching vertically with their front paws also releases pheromones from pads in their paws.
Ideally, you want your house to be filled with facial pheromones, indicating to your cat that this is a no spray zone, because it is safe and familiar. Duplicating this good marking can be achieved by using synthetic feline facial pheromones. Facial pheromones have been successful in eliminating cat urine spraying when it is used in the areas where the soiling has occurred. It makes the cat calmer and less stressed. The facial pheromones are available in two patented forms, spray and room diffusers by Feliway. It is recommended to use both at the same time. Use for up to forty five days may be needed to see the results. It is important to follow the directions and be consistent. Spraying facial pheromones where urine marking has taken place and spraying an area in each room will help prevent your cat from thinking that it needs to mark or that it needs to pick a new area to mark.
Treating the stressed cat with anti-anxiety medicine may be something that your vet may consider using until the stressor has been eliminated. For instance a cat that is staying at a new place, a trip to the vet or visitors (human or animal) at your home may cause your feline to become stressed and take up marking of its territory. An anti-anxiety drug will help eliminate their reaction, but it will also give them a drugged up state that is undesirable too. Giving pills to a less than cooperative animal can be a problem too.
A natural method is to try flower essence drops on your cat. Flower essences address the mental and emotional states. They are completely safe and are not drugs. These drops have received good results and are found in a variety of flower formulas. They are formulated to make life more stress free for you and your cat. Dr. Bach's flower essence Rescue Remedy, Cat Faeries Territorial Rescue or HomeoPet Anxiety are examples of flower essences for cats. There is a variety of ways that flower essences can be given, but easy ways are to add the drops to their water or rub the drops on their ears or head.
With the use of facial pheromones and a flower essence, you will notice a change in your cat's mood and most likely this will also eliminate the desire for spraying. Just remember that this is a natural instinct for your cat and you can help eliminate this bad habit by being consistent and patient. These products will also cut down on vertical scratching.
It is important to note that when choosing a cleaning product for the urine marked area choose carefully. Cleaners containing derivatives of bleaches or detergents can actually increase the urine spraying. Choose cleaners with natural enzymes when cleaning the areas or articles. To find all soiled areas the aid of a black light may be needed to see all the areas.
In no time both you and your cat will be happy and at peace in your household once again!