Cat Spraying: Understanding Feline Inappropriate Elimination

Cat spraying is not only a nuisance; it's an unacceptable behavioral problem. Because the smell is horrible and it destroys many of the valuable possessions in your home, it can make you angry and frustrated with your cat. It's important to understand that spraying is purely behavioral, and is a cat's way of sending some type of message. The biggest hurdle with cat spraying can be identifying the reason and correcting it. 

Reasons Why Cats Spray

Cats can spray for a variety of reasons; however, the most common reason is the innate desire to mark their territory. Male cats are more dominant by nature, and more problems with spraying will arise from a male cat. When there are other males in the house or outside males that hang near the house, your cat will want to spray to let it be known that the house is his domain.

Another reason for spraying is the sexual orientation of cats, and is the most common cause of female spraying. Female cats have a reproductive cycle and it's in the nature of both the male and the female to reproduce. In order to this, the female needs to tease the male to let him know that she is there and coming into a state of readiness. The only way to convey that message to the male cat is to leave her scent so that he can find her.

One of the slightly less common reasons for spraying is stress and behavioral aggression towards humans. Cats are very versatile animals and can usually adapt well to change. Occasionally, a glitch will occur and your cat becomes unhappy with some recent movement or change which has affected his environment. This can occur when there is a change of location or you are unable to spend the same amount of time with your cat that you normally do. Likewise the introduction of a new baby or a new animal can cause your cat to act out. In this case, the act of spraying is meant to let you know that your cat is unhappy about something. What cats don't understand is that the message is not as easily interpreted as it's delivered.

Prevention of Cat Spraying

It can sometimes be difficult to figure out why cat spraying is going on. If you can't accurately diagnose the problem, your attempts at correcting it will go unnoticed. However, to prevent the most common causes of cat spraying, the best thing that you can do is to have your cat spayed or neutered.

Spaying and neutering is the process of removing all reproductive organs within the female and removing the testicles of the male. When the reproductive cycle is in full affect, these organs of reproduction give off hormones to your cat and the innate sexual behaviors are activated. This is when the act of spraying comes in at full force.

When your cat is spayed or neutered, he or she is left without those critical reproductive organs. Without them, the cycle of reproduction no longer exists, and those hormones are no longer generated. When you are able to eliminate the reproductive hormones, in most cases you are then able to effectively eliminate the behavior of spraying.

If the spraying is occurring due a stressful change for your cat, you may notice that the behavior still occurs even after he or she has been spayed or neutered. The best way to handle this situation is to start the process of elimination to figure out what has caused the problem. Once you can figure out what's causing your cat to spray, you can make the appropriate changes and hopefully correct the behavior.