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Cats Spraying | Discover the Reasons and Answers for Cat Spraying

Spray or urine marking is a familiar character trait in all felines. But, why do cats spray? It is a normal way of conducting themselves or addressing their territory and boundaries, as cats do not prefer sharing their personal space. Spraying can also be regarded as a method of communication among cats.

Urinating vs Spraying/Scent Marking

Sometimes, one might get confused between cat urinating and spraying, as it possess similar behavior in both situations. To draw a contrast, we can consider their litter box behavior. A typical trait in felines is that a cat peeing outside litter box for marking its territory. They can, sometimes, even leave their feces uncovered as a way to represent their boundary and protect it from other cats.

However, a significant difference between urinating and spraying can be observed in the amount of discharge. During urination, cats squat on the ground and excrete urine in a usual manner. Whereas, while scent marking, cats commonly tend to urinate in a lesser amount at different areas, one after another, to mark their possession and dominance. However, a question arises on how do cats spray? Unlike urination which is often backed up at horizontal surfaces, cats spray vertically on surfaces such as walls, curtains, etc. Also, they do not squat; instead, they lift their tail and move their legs back and forth to spray urine straight up at a vertical surface.

Why do Cats Spray? | Ways to Address It

Before addressing the problem, determine whether your cat is spraying or urinating. As urinating is a normal tendency, spraying can be caused due to a lot of other reasons. Similarly, if your cat has recently started urinating outside its litter box, keep the litter box and its surroundings clean. This would encourage them to use litter instead of outer space. However, if the behavior persists, it can probably have some underlying issues. For instance, urinary tract infections can cause cats to urinate while standing, which could resemble the act of spraying. These infections have common symptoms such as reduced urination, low frequency, discomfort, urinating outside the litter box, etc., which resemble spraying. Under such circumstances, you can consider taking your kitty to a vet.

In addition to the above reasons, the following factors may also contribute to why does cats spray issue:

  1. In some instances, relocating to a new place may have caused discomfort to your kitty leading to changed bathroom habits. Try making a more comfortable environment for your cat to keep it from spraying indoors on the floor, furniture, walls, curtains, couches, etc.
  2. Avoid shifting furniture within the house, as this would lessen the chances of spreading of the cat spraying smell. This can be depressing for your cat, causing it to urinate at different spots, spread its scent once again, and get familiar with the changing environment. 
  3. The arrival of a new pet or a person can also cause your cat’s change behavior. To prevent a threat to their territory, cats can tend to spray more frequently to keep others from intervening.   
  4. To avoid spreading your cat’s scent, consider wiping their face from where the smell arises. 
  5. You can also try cleaning the places thoroughly where your kitty has sprayed, as this would ultimately limit the cat from revisiting the spots.   

When Do Cats Spray?

There are several reasons why cats spray. However, there is often a question in every cat parent’s mind: When do cats start spraying? Any of the below causes can be the reason for when do cats spray.

1. Can Cats Spray When Neutered?

Unneutered cats tend to spray comparatively more. With any cat, male or female, neutering can reduce this behavior. Cats in heat are more intended to the habitual behavior of spraying. Once neutered, the tendency to spray is decreased to much extent. Hence, if you ask can cats spray when neutered we must say that the chances are less.

2. Illness

Spraying can be an indicator of a cat’s bad health. In many cases, cats suffering from urinal tract infections tend to spray or urinate more often. Under these circumstances, it is recommended to see a doctor for analysis and treatment.

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3. Stress

Stress can cause cats to spray more frequently. If your kitty is also spraying more regularly than usual, there are possibilities that it is facing stress or anxiety. Stress can result in pressure leading to more discharge. This can be due to a change in their routine or diet. Consider switching their dietary supplements and daily routine to observe any positive changes. Also, give them best toys for cats to reduce their stress.

4. Litter Box Problem

Your kitty might be having trouble using its litter box. It generally arises due to their preference for a type of access to the litter box. Consider changing your kitty’s litter box to the one that best suits it. Also, make arrangements for easy accessibility of the litter box. If you own more than one cat, if possible, have separate and multiple litter boxes for them to increase availability and access. Make sure to keep the litter box clean to encourage a positive habit.

5. Territorial Conflict

Spraying is one of the most common ways to mark their territory; all animals and cats are inclined to spray to establish their territory and draw boundaries. Cats tend to take their territories seriously, and any threat posing can prompt them to spray quite often. As urinating in larger amounts leaves behind a scent, it is preferred by cats to keep intruders away.

6. Relocation

There are chances that your kitty is not feeling comfortable when you relocate to a new place. Moving to a new location or refurbishing your existing place can remove their scent from the area. This can lead to a sense of insecurity in your cat and even cause discomfort. They might adjust to the new surroundings and adapt to routine life.

7. Habit

There is also the possibility of a cat marking its territory or scent marking as a habit. Spraying and returning to that place by recognizing their smell to spray again is a common gesture in felines. To prevent it from becoming a regular habit, try discouraging your kitty by limiting its access to that area. Also, use cleaning solutions to remove stains and odor removers to reduce the smell.

How to Stop a Cat from Spraying?

  1. First of all, how to keep a cat from spraying? Always clean the places properly where your cat has sprayed. If the scent persists, your cat will likely return to the spot. This would cause them to spray again at that spot. Therefore, use water base solutions or the best cat urine odor remover for cleaning and controlling foul odors for how to stop a cat from spraying. 
  2. Use calming pheromones. These would work efficiently to calm down your cat while reducing its anxiety and stress at the same time. You can also opt for other varieties, such as diffusers, sprays, collars, wipes, etc.
  3. Monitor your kitty’s day-to-day activities and try engaging it in other activities to encourage healthy physical and mental health. This would not only reduce their stress but would also help them in adapting to a healthier routine life.
  4. Try reducing your cat’s stress by offering attractive toys and treats to keep them engaged and happy.
  5. You can also take the help of supplements, but only if your cat suffers from health problems. To tackle spraying, the vet often prescribes medicines for those cats dealing with urinary infections.
  6. For families having many cats, it is better to have separate litter boxes, food, water bowls, and other accessories to avoid conflicts between pets.  


Spraying or scent marking in cats is a common tendency. However, dealing with unusual behavior can be tiring. It is better to predict the condition of your cat if it demonstrates any symptoms of health issues or other problems underlying behavioral spraying. The best method of preventing spraying is to create a comfortable atmosphere for your cat and provide a sense of peace and comfort to adjust to.