Cat Spraying – We’ve Weathered the Storm…

Last post, we talked about inappropriate inside behaviour, ie. marking. In cat parley that means backing up to a vertical service and peeing a few short bursts to ‘claim’ the area. It is very typical behaviour but obviously for inside cats, not a desirable trait. Andy and I had several serious chats about this.

I also went online and checked out a few forums. I highly recommend www.thecatsite.com . Their forum has a lot of information and tips. I also have referred before to www.calgaryhumanesociety.com as they have a number of very informative articles.

But back to our experience….Andy has never done this before except once when he was very young. I suddenly remembered that incident in the thick of wanting to smack him silly. (I didn’t, of course, but I had a lot of terse questions for him.) As I watched the behaviour escalate, I remembered him leaping up onto the loveseat a few years ago, and doing a double take at a dish towel I had left over the back of it, when the phone rang. Evidently he resented the intrusion and backed his hiney to it and gave it a spritz, while I was on the phone, right in front of me! I mention this as it is apparently a normal response and not really a cause for worry.

Fast forward to recent weeks. We had a skunk in the yard, and all the dogs found it and got sprayed. It is Spring, and as this is a rural area, there are feral cats about and males are likely marking their territory and females of course are in heat. A squirrel has found its way into the attic and is making proprietary noises. And – darnit! it’s Spring!

Now if you visit the websites I’ve mentioned you will find references to tin foil on areas where the brat is spraying (great idea), double sided tape, cat pheromone spray, odour eliminators (plain old vinegar works well in this regard too, btw) and spraying with a water sprayer when you catch them in the act. The course of action in all cases, is to first find where the spraying is occurring (this can be accomplished, in the dark, with the aid of a black-light), applying an odour eliminator and then a pheromone spray. If these measures don’t work, tin foil as a temporary measure can work very well. If taped up on the favoured spots, the sound of the spray, and the back-spray is off-putting. 

One thing that is not mentioned much, but in our case was critical, is that cats do get a little stir crazy! Especially, obviously, inside cats which of course mine are. So! I opened up the basement door. Ordinarily the cats are not allowed down there. This seems to have alleviated the problem. Now Andy has some new territory to explore and his frustration level has gone down. He still scratches at the french door, wanting out into the ‘Big Yonder’ but he is much more relaxed. Pure frustration will lead a cat to spraying behaviour. It’s not that he wants to be bad – he just sometimes doesn’t know what else to do.

Some cats are fine amusing themselves and others require a lot of stimulation. Mine are a mixed herd, so this year, I will have a run built. The cats will access it through an inside window with a pet door built in. It will be very high at the house end and be like a lean-to. It will have chicken wire all around, including underground, with the grass and sod laid over the ground portion. There will be a door for me to go in and out, from the outside, so I can change litter boxes. And it will have all manner of climbing and hanging toys.

I cannot risk them going about free. Too many predatory animals and birds. But I think they will benefit from some sun and air, and perhaps I will never have to gape in outrage as my ‘angel Andy’ pees on my couch again.

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2 Responses to “Cat Spraying – We’ve Weathered the Storm…”


  1. 1 Carol Wingert August 21, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Nice post!
    We were/are having the same problem, but it’s calmed down.
    We have an older male cat, and a “teenager” that weren’t seeing “eye to eye”.
    Even both are fixed, the younger one wanted to “take over”.

    It’s calmed down a bit, now the only time it starts up is when and outside cat “talks” in the window at him.

    Oh well, that’s nature!

    Carol Wingert

    http://www.catladypublising.com

  2. 2 andythecat August 21, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Hey Carol. Thanks for the post.

    It’s a problem all right. Male cats, I’ve found, tend to be more easy going and affectionate than females, in a very general sense. But there is that guy thing!

    It’s too bad though that not everyone is as understanding as you. More cats are surrendered to shelters for that very reason than any other. When asked if the cat is neutered the answer is almost always – ‘No. That would be cruel’. As if turning them in to a shelter isn’t! Once they’re neutered the problem usually goes away.

    As you and I have found, that’s not always true, and it takes a lot of patience to cope. But they’re family, so we do cope.


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