How to Keep a Cat From Spraying Through Training

Male cats often spray to mark their territory, but it's possible to keep a cat from spraying through positive, consistent training.

Litter Box Training

If your cat has always had this problem, he may just need a refresher in litter box training. Regulate your cat's feeding so you can catch him using the litter box or anticipate when he may use the litter box. When you think it's time, lead your cat to the litter box and reward him with treats for being near it and showing interest in it. When you catch him using the litter box, reward profusely with extra special treats.

Make sure the litter box is appealing by cleaning it daily and changing litter frequently. Rinse the box in lemon solution to reduce the ammonia smell.Thoroughly clean any place your cat regularly sprays to remove scent. Since cats have better noses than we do, this will take several soakings with a non-ammonia based cleanser.

Sometimes, cats may become frightened while on the litter box and begin to avoid it, though we can't figure out why. He may now associate the location, smell or feel with a scary event. Try changing the location of the litter box or swapping the litter for another type or scent.

Reducing Anxiety

If the problem is new, identify changes that may have occurred in your cat's environment. Did you recently move? Add or lose a family member or roommate? Change furniture? Construction on your block? There are many things that can cause your cat anxiety, and these factors can cause him to begin spraying.

To reduce your cat's anxiety, try to determine what is the cause. If it's noise, move your cat to a quieter room and play soothing music or white noise. Keep the room dark and low in stimulus except for scratching posts, cat toys and other comforting items.

Consider installing a DAP diffuser, which releases soothing hormones into the air, or supplementing your dog with a calming supplement.

Massage your cat to calm him when he seems stressed or play a game to distract him. Reward him when he calms down so he can see that this is the behavior you prefer.

If you can pinpoint the cause of your cat's stress, condition him that the cause of the stress is actually a good thing. For example, if your cat is afraid of loud noises, feed him tuna or another favorite treat every time the noise begins. Then, he will begin to associate the noise with good things.

Avoid Punishment

Many owners recommend using spray bottles or loud noises when your cat misbehaves, but this could actually make the problem worse. If the spraying is caused by anxiety, you are going to make your cat more anxious with punishment. He doesn't know what he's doing is wrong. It feels natural to him.

Thus, when you catch your cat about to spray, redirect him and bring him to the litter box. Reward him for going there. Teach your cat where to go and then reduce any stressors that may be causing additional problems. This will benefit your cat much more than punishment.