Male cat spraying is often caused by an innate instinct to mark territory, while female cat spraying is usually caused by other reasons. As you increase the number of cats you own, the likelihood of them spraying goes up. Before you dig into this article, see my post on How to Litter Train Kittens if your male cat is still young.
Spraying differs from urination outside of the litter box. Spraying is urinating on a vertical surface, while regular urination occurs on flat surfaces. Sometimes your male cat may do this for the same reasons, but often the underlying reasons for each of these actions differ.
Why do Male Cats Spray?
The most common reason for spraying is to mark territory, especially if your cat is unaltered. If you are not planning to breed your cat, you should have him neutered. If you have your cat neutered before he has already started spraying, there is a good chance that he will not spray. But if you neuter a cat after it has already started spraying, it may not stop spraying after the operation, without a little more effort.
If your cat is stressed it will often spray, especially if it becomes stressed about its territory. If neighborhood cats are encroaching on his territory or if you bring a new cat into your home, this can often cause the kind of stress that encourages spraying. If his litter box is in a bad spot or if it isn’t clean enough, your cat may not want to use it and may instead spray.
Sometimes if your cat is upset, it may also spray out of anger. If a particular family member’s things are singled out, this may mean that your cat is having an issue with this person.
The main way to deal with spraying caused by these types of issues is to address the source of the issue. Try to ensure that your cat can relax in your home, rather than be stressed out all of the time.
Tips to Halt Spraying
Spay or neuter your cats before they are fully mature at around four to six months of age.
Keep their litter box clean and as far away from their food as possible. Aim to have one litter box per cat.
Keep your cats stress free by sticking to a routine when feeding them and don’t move their things around unnecessarily.
Play with all of your cats: give each of them a lot of attention.
Keep your cats away from areas where they can see and be threatened by neighborhood cats.
Clean sprayed areas with products designed to eliminate the scent of cat urine.
Don’t yell at your cat when it sprays; instead find a way to ease the source of his stress.