You know when your cat has urine marked or "sprayed" an item by the smell of cat pee. The odour is very distinctive and can be particularly unpleasant.
All cats – male or female, neutered or not – will mark their territory using urine. While it’s completely normal for cats to spray outdoors, when your cat urine marks indoors it’s usually a sign that they’re feeling distressed.
In stressful situations, some cats will urine mark to increase their self-assurance, cope with emotional stress, or to tell you something is wrong. Of course, none of this makes you feel better if your cat has peed on your favourite piece of furniture or even worse your bed!
Urine marking and house soiling both involve inappropriate elimination outside of the litter box.
Urine marking typically occurs on a vertical surface (walls, sides of furniture), with your cat standing in an upright position and releasing a small volume of pee. House soiling on the other hand typically occurs on a horizontal surface, with your cat in a squatting position and releasing a larger volume of pee.
Both can be stress-related; however, in either case it’s important to speak with your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues that may be contributing to the behaviour. Studies have shown that about 1/3 of all cats who pee outside the litter box suffer from a medical issue such as feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC)—an inflammation of the bladder or urinary tract.
Read below for practical advice on how to control urine marking at home.
Visit the International Cat Care website for even more great information on cat behaviour, including urine spraying in cats.
Check with your vet to make sure there’s no underlying health reason for the behaviour.
Check for any changes in your cat’s environment that may have triggered the urine marking such as conflict with other cats, new additions to the family or new furniture or renovations.
Clean the marked area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner and allow to dry. Do not use ammonia, bleach or other strongly scented products as the unfamiliar smell may encourage remarking.
When dry, apply 8 pumps of Feliway Spray to each marked area. Reapply spray daily for 3 to 4 weeks to reduce the likelihood of remarking.
Plug in a Feliway Diffuser where your cat spends most of its time or where the problem is occurring to reinforce your cat's feeling of security.
For best results, keep the diffuser plugged in continuously for a minimum of 30 days. Replace refills monthly for ongoing support.