Let’s start with some facts about cats.
Cats are solitary creatures who like (and need) privacy and independence. They like to have their own territory and to feel safe in that territory. They don’t really like to share their territory with other animals.
So an ideal world for your cat is to live in is a house with a garden with high fences and for no other pets or animals to be able to get into that house or garden. This allows your cat to be able to eat, sleep and toilet peacefully and safely.
And when it’s not like that?…
When you ask your cat to live in a house with other cats (and/or dogs) you unfortunately introduce a level of stress. Some cats cope better with this stress than others. Also if you install a cat flap, and other cats in the neighbourhood come in through that cat flap and into your home, your cat can start to feel really threatened. He will feel like he is unsafe in his own home.
So what is spraying?
Spraying is when your cat urinates on things to mark them with his or her scent. You know your cat is spraying when he stands up to pee with his tail high and the urine stream is horizontal. Cats usually spray onto vertical objects like door frames or furniture or new things you bring into the house like shopping bags.
Spraying is your cat’s way to try to mark his territory and feel more safe and secure.
How can you stop your cat from spraying?
A bit of detective work is useful. Ask yourself if something stressful has just happened. Have you just installed a cat flap? Do you have a new pet or a new baby? Are you doing building work or major renovations?
Simple changes like locking a cat flap or giving your cat a safe room to hide in where children can’t get access can often help. It’s important to clean areas where the cat has sprayed with biological washing powder solution (to remove the proteins of the urine fully) followed by a wipe with surgical spirit (to remove the lipids). Ammonia based cleaning products will only make the problem worse.
If you’ve tried the above and the problem persists call us. As mobile vets we have a huge advantage because we get to see your cat in his own environment which helps enormously in understanding the problem holistically. After we have done a full clinical examination and assessment we may need to do a urine or blood test to check for underlying medical problems. In some cases we can prescribe medication and pheromone treatment to help break the cycle of spraying.
A side note about Tom Cats
If your male cat is not desexed you might like to know a few more facts. Un-neutered male cats are constantly on the look out for new territory and opportunities to mate. They roam far and wide, expanding their territory and spraying to mark it as they go. And their urine stinks.
So if your male cat is spraying and he’s not desexed, your first phone call should be to arrange for us to come and chat about his operation.