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Author Topic: Adult Cat Spraying (Marking) Issues  (Read 13492 times)
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caylee
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« on: June 24, 2010, 02:34:38 PM »

I'm starting this topic because I didn't see any other topic that addresses these issues. This thread is for general information on the subject. So if anyone has had cats that have done this, your personal experiences are welcome.

In the past I've had adult cats that started spraying IE marking territory. Some have been neutered as kittens and some were not neutered. The not neutered male cats were farm kittens that I had when I was a child and we just didn't realize at the time that that was needed - sorry. But we have now learned much about the care of pets and would spay and neuter all pets.

I will begin by asking some general questions, but feel free to add your own in this thread.

What causes an adult cat to start spraying?

If an adult male cat sprays and is not neutered, will neutering stop the behavior?

What about a neutered cat that starts to spray - can anything be done to stop the behavior?

I hope that this will become an interesting thread as it develops and grows.

Hugs

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mikken
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2010, 03:12:58 PM »

What causes an adult cat to start spraying?

Stress, feeling a need to defend/protect territory, medical issues, etc.

If an adult male cat sprays and is not neutered, will neutering stop the behavior?

Not necessarily.  I have a marker and he's been neutered for years.

What about a neutered cat that starts to spray - can anything be done to stop the behavior?

If you find out, let me know! 
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catbird
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2010, 03:25:54 PM »

Good topic, caylee!

I distinguish spraying, when the cat actually shoots urine up the wall, bush, or whatever, from general out-of-box urinating where the cat simply squats and urinates in an inappropriate location.

I have a somewhat unusual situation in that I have a female cat who sprays occasionally.  In the early days there were many trips to the vet because I'd thought she had a UTI, but this was always negative.  Finally the vet told me that while it's not as common as with males, female cats can and do spray for territorial reasons.  For Phantom, spraying seems to be triggered by mood issues.  She can go for long periods without it, and then if something upsets her, she'll start up the behavior.  (When she's in these moods, she will also do the squat-and-pee-out of box thing, too.)  Usually the upset factor is introducing a new cat in the house, seeing a strange cat outside, or some type of altercation with one of my other cats.

Phantom was a pregnant two-year-old stray when I got her, and was spayed roughly six months later, after her litter was weaned.  I've often wondered if her maturity at spaying was a factor, but don't know if this contributes or not.

I deal with the behavior by running Feliway diffusers around the house, particularly in rooms where the spraying has occurred, for a few months, and of course cleaning and deodorizing like mad where any urine has been deposited.  That seems to break the cycle for Phantom.  Since sometimes she sprayed up the wall while standing in the litter box, I also got a box with high sides for her "favorite" location, and it helps to contain things.

None of my males, even those neutered in adulthood, have ever sprayed.  But they have all been pretty mellow cats.  Phantom is loud, somewhat high-strung, and moody, and I think her personality is part of what is going on when she sprays.  As she's gotten older (she's now 14), the behavior has become less frequent.
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lesliek
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2010, 05:20:14 PM »

Punkin sprayed when we first got him [8-9 yrs old feral from the shelter & unneutered]. After the first month he would only spray if I wouldn't let him outside to go. After neutering he only sprayed twice. He does still spray outside sometimes, usually if there are ferals near his yard. My former cat Patches,a female would also spray if other cats came into her territory. I haven't found anything that will stop it and just am glad neither one is doing it inside !
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JustMe
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2010, 06:07:23 PM »

I'm not even gonna comment here.  We have one cat we call "Mr. Piss".   Lips sealed Lips sealed Lips sealed
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merrihart
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2010, 06:46:00 PM »

I've only experienced spraying in two cats, both male.

The one was a stray who I tamed and named Henry.  He was not neutered, and never got him neutered.  When we moved, he did not move with us, but the person who bought the house promised to look after him.  I had my doubts about this, but did not have the ability to take care of the problem myself.  He sprayed...in the litter box, driving all the other cats away.   Undecided

The other was one of my male kittens, Bucky's angel brother, Sooty.  I never even realized he sprayed till one day I saw him spraying the neighbor's juniper bushes.  He never did it in the house.  He was neutered at the appropriate time of kittenhood.  Maybe he learned it from Henry.

To my knowledge, you can't teach a cat not to spray.  But that's just one of those "general knowledge" things, not a definite.
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caylee
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2010, 05:50:16 AM »

I thought of some more questions to ponder:

For those of you that do have a spraying cat in the home, what preventive measures have worked for you to discourage the behavior?

Is restricting the cat's movement about the home any help? Shutting kitty into one room? Only allowing kitty to roam freely when he can be supervised, otherwise keeping kitty in a large kennel? (or is this a bad idea?)

Thanks for your comments

Hugs
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catbird
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2010, 06:25:11 AM »

Feliway diffusers work for me.  It takes a couple of months of running it steadily (usually have to replace the scent cartridge once during that time.)  The behavior tapers off, then goes away for long periods (several months to years.)

I think in Phantom's case, restricting her would only make things much worse.
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The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
lesliek
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2010, 06:34:16 AM »

With Punkin it was worse when he stayed in the basement. I only shut the door if we weren't home, otherwise he stayed down there from fear of being inside & of us & the dogs.That may just have been normal unneutered feral behavior though in marking his new territory. I would think restricting them might bring the marking urge out stronger though. It does with Rem, although he's a dog & we joke that if we stand still too long he might lift his leg on us !He goes on dog & cat beds, their pool, outside toys,pretty much everything ! A few months ago the state police were next door because the alarm went off & he got the tire of the squad car, that was embarrassing !
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merrihart
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2010, 11:05:32 AM »

I wonder if those sprays that make the place smell like the kitty would work?  One was recommended to me for Bella as a relaxer, the vet said it would make the place smell more like her.  It was a spray you plugged into the wall, like wall flowers, and supposedly, humans can't smell it.  I never did try the stuff.  Bella was perfectly fine at home, and what good is an electric spray in the car?
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mikken
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2010, 12:41:50 PM »

Feliway diffusers don't work for us at all.  I've had better luck with the spray (only 50/50 chance he'll mark over the sprayed areas).  The wipes I didn't like at all.

I'm now using F.O.N. spray to clean up after Captain PeePeePants.  I think it may be better than the other enzyme cleaner I was using.

Confinement would be a bad idea for our guy.  It stresses him out and would make things worse, I'm sure.  Maybe if he were marking out of insecurity rather than ButchAlphaMaleGuy-ness, it would be the right approach, but he's not.

I do think he'd be much happier as an indoor-outdoor cat (and possibly stop marking in the house),  but that's just not happening.  We live too close to the highway, no way to fence off the area safely, and we have coyotes and owls who would eat a kitty, no problem.  He does have a large outdoor "room" he likes to spend time in, but that's as good as it's going to get for him.



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catbird
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2010, 12:54:55 PM »

I wonder if those sprays that make the place smell like the kitty would work?  One was recommended to me for Bella as a relaxer, the vet said it would make the place smell more like her.  It was a spray you plugged into the wall, like wall flowers, and supposedly, humans can't smell it.  I never did try the stuff.  Bella was perfectly fine at home, and what good is an electric spray in the car?


Feliway works like this.  It looks like one of those plug-in air fresheners with the liquid.  No, humans can't smell it.  It is also supposed to relax stressed cats.  Some people spray carriers before vet trips with Feliway.  My vet has the diffusers in her office (she's a cat-only vet.)
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The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
rbauer
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2010, 03:01:28 PM »

We used to have a cat that sprayed all over the house.   The stinkfinder blacklight helped us see where it was on the rugs, and Nature's Miracle Just for Cats did a terrific job of eliminating the smell entirely and discouraged re-soil in the same spot.   We used to buy it by the gallons.   As terrible as that was, it could have been much worse -- I once read a story in one of Doctor Fox's books about a cat that liked to spray directly into a running window fan so that the entire room was permeated with his scent.   Can you imagine that ?   Oh my god.  
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 05:02:12 PM by rbauer » Logged
JJ
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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2010, 01:26:11 AM »

Don't think I could handle the spraying. Cats I had in the past all went outside as years ago do not remember litter boxes being something people had/used. I was a lil kid so maybe some people had them, I don't know.
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merrihart
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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2010, 06:43:26 AM »

JJ, all the cats we had growing up were outdoor cats.  Since I didn't take them to the vet, I don't know if the vets back in the 80s recommended keeping them in doors.  Mine does now, but it's 20-30 years later.

My mom had indoor cats for a while, but they kept escaping (and dying), so she declared only outdoor cats from now on.  And she owns an acre, so her's are outdoor kitties.  Strange logic, my mom has.
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