Even though we absolutely love and adore our little feline friends, they can often bother us with certain issues. One of them being their habit of spraying on the favorite corners of the house. Different scientific researches have shown that cats spray to mark their territory when encountered by another cat.
They tend to do this when in need of attention or when they are uncomfortable with their surroundings. This can also happen due to certain medical issues for some cats. Either way, they have their reasons for showing this unpleasant behavior. However, if you act on the problem instantly, you can help your little friend get rid of this habit with time.
Those of you who own cats, you are well aware of the fact that cat sprays give off a bad odor and it becomes a necessity to get rid of the stain along with the smell. Yes, it will take up a lot of your time but it is essential to keep your house clean and save yourself from the embarrassment when people come over. There are different methods that you can apply to get rid of this smell. Hopefully, the ones listed here will help you out.
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Tracing Out The Urine
This is the very first step towards removing the cat spray. Cats usually spray around their litter box to make their territorial mark. At other times, the smell given off from certain surfaces will give away the hint of cat spray which will help you to clean it off right away. You can also look out for objects which are vertical like the back of the chair, walls etc. However, to find exact locations, you can use a black light which is nowadays available in general stores.
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Getting Rid Of the Smell
Once you have traced the stain, removing the smell of cat spray can be difficult. Thanks to the existence of enzymatic cleansers which makes removing the stain a close to the effortless job.
An enzymatic cleanser helps to break down the protein molecules in the urine and remove the odor. Make sure that you do not use any ammonia-based cleanser with bleaching agents because it can cause a lethal reaction. Here are a few methods that will help you to get rid of the smell from:
- Mattresses and cushions
For mattresses, use an enzymatic cleanser and apply it generously on the mattress (do not use a steam cleanser because the heat will stain the surface). Wait for several minutes and then place a few layers of clean towels on top of the mattress to soak it up. Replace with new towels every day till it dries out thoroughly. Keep the cat away from peeing onto the mattress while it dries up by placing a plastic sheet all over it. However, if your cat has a habit of peeing here and there, you can keep the plastic sheet on the mattress at all times.
Cleaning up cushions somewhat has a similar method with the cleansing of mattresses. You have to drench the cushion with water and use a clean towel to absorb the water. Pour a liberal amount of the enzymatic cleanser on the affected area and let it sit for several minutes. Squeeze out as much of the solution as possible to get rid of the excess cleaner. Afterward, you can use a towel to blot up the cushion and sundry it for a few days before putting it back to place.
Place a layer of aluminum foil underneath the cushion in case it still hasn’t dried out completely. Wrapping up the cushion with the foil will also prevent your cat from peeing on it again.
- Solid Surfaces
In case of solid surfaces, use a household cleaner and a damp cloth to wipe up the surface (do not use a cleanser which contains ammonia as felines take up the smell of ammonia as urine). Create a mixture of 9/10 water with 1/10 bleach and pour it in a spray can. Spray it on the affected area and wait for a few seconds. Take a clean cloth, soak it in water and wipe the area thoroughly (keep in mind that using bleach might discolor a few surfaces).
Soak up the urine using paper towels by pressing on the soiled region until all of it has been absorbed. However, you can skip this step if the urine has already dried out. The use damp throws away towels (especially white ones) can be a better option than the paper ones due to its thickness. It allows the pee to soak up leaving a pale yellow color on the towel. So keep on pressing it on the carpet until no more yellow stain is visible on the damp white towel.
Next, spray a generous amount of an enzymatic cleanser on the stained surface and wait for a few days to let it dry up. Keep in mind that the enzymatic cleaner may not work if you have used other chemicals to get rid of the cat spray. So it is best to use it at first.
However, if the odor of the urine spray still remains even after using the enzymatic cleaner, try using a vinegar solution to do the trick. Mix equal amounts of water and white vinegar in a spray can and spray it on the affected region. Rub the surface thoroughly with a brush to evenly spread the mixture all over the carpet. The vinegar will cancel out the ammonia-like smell of the urine. Use paper towels to soak up the mixture from the carpet. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to dry it out. Place an aluminum sheet over the carpet to prevent your cat from peeing on it again.
To take out the smell from clothes, you can use a cup of apple cider vinegar along with laundry detergent and give it a thorough wash. If the odor still remains, use the enzymatic cleaner to remove it. Rewash if the smell still persists.
Righting The Wrong
If you see cat sprays in your house, you should take action immediately. With time and patience, you can eliminate this habit but it is important for you to know why they do it and how you can put an end to it. Even though it sounds like hard work, it is still possible.
1. Urinating inappropriately or spraying?
You must know that these two are completely separate issues. Urinating at inappropriate places is due to medical issues while spraying is behavioral. You should see a vet to get an expert opinion in this case. You’ll know your cat is spraying if you see:
- Him/her urinating on vertical objects like walls, back of chairs etc.
- Small amounts of urine in a certain area
- Your cat doesn’t squat while peeing
- If he/she stands still, quivers and urinates on different locations of the house
2. Using synthetic pheromones
It is no news that cats go through anxiety issues too. Most of the times, this causes them to spray and show hostile behavior. A pheromone spray, collar or diffuser will give out the same pheromones that cats produce when they feel comfortable in their surroundings. This will help them to get over their anxiety.
Check out our guide on Pheromone Collar for Cats.
3. Visiting a vet
You need to know if your cat is spraying due to a medical issue or not. Hence, you should take them to a vet to find out if they have any medical problems like urinary tract infection, diabetes, kidney infection, thyroid or liver disease. These diseases promote cats to spray.
4. Switching places of their meal
You can put his/her meals in places where they tend to spray the most. They do not like eating and urinating at the same corner of the house. So they won’t have any other option other than urinating in the litter box.
Retraining your cat to use the litter box instead of spraying here and there can also be of help. You can also seek guidance from your friends or family who own cats. Or you could go to cat-training centers where they can help you train your cat again if you don’t have the time to train it yourself.
6. More litter boxes
You can try placing several litter boxes where he tends to spray the most.
7. Clean litter box
Keep the litter boxes clean at all times so that your cat does not hesitate to use it and adopt the habit of spraying.
Remember, even if your cat stops spraying for a while, it is temporary. You can never know the right answer to what is stressing them out. It is natural for them to do this. All you can do is, try your best to think of every possible reason that might be triggering the cause to this problem and take care of it.
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You can always prevent your cats from getting a hold of this habit so that you do not have to bother yourself with all the cleaning in the future. The following ways will help you to do so:
- Giving proper attention
Who doesn’t like to spend time with their pets? After all, they are the most lovable, loyal and harmless furry creatures. Though cats might not show it, they crave for a little bit of love and affection from their owners. They often spray out of the litter box to get your attention. Hence, spend more time with them by taking care of them or just by playing with them for a while.
- Getting them neutered or spayed
The study shows that male cats tend to do this a lot more than the female ones. The male cats spray if they have not been neutered while the female cats do so when they haven’t been spayed. Hence, the female cats should be spayed before 6 months so that they do not get a hang of this unpleasant habit, while the male cats have to be neutered. If you can get this job done before six months, you can prevent the cat spray from bothering you in the future. But you should keep in mind that this trick might not always work.
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- Away from strays
Cat spraying is an act of marking their territory for most cats, especially from the stray ones. So, keep them away from stray cats so that they do not get a hold of this behavior. You can do this by not giving food or water out to them when they show up at your door. Even though this sounds like a ruthless act, it is still beneficial for your cat.
- Treating anxiety issues
Like humans, a few cats go through anxiety issues too. However, this is treatable. You can use homeopathic treatments like calming herbs (catnip, valerian, kava kava) or any other medicine prescribed by your vet. Do not use any medication before talking to your vet because they may have side effects that you are not aware of.
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- Restricting view from outdoors
Keep a safe distance between your pet and other stray cats so that they do not see or sniff on the smell of urine from them. This way they won’t pick up the habit or feel the need to mark their ‘territory.’
- Getting along with other cats
If you plan on adopting another cat in near future, make sure your cat can get along with it easily. Try making them play with the same toys or eat together in separate bowls. This way they will have a good bonding with each other and keep away from spraying. But if you have more than two or three cats, it is likely that one of them will spray.
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No matter how worse the situation gets, you should never consider yelling or hitting your cat to stop them from spraying all over the house. Find the solution to the problem and ask for professional help if necessary.
- Urine Marking in Cats, The ASPCA
- Cat Spraying in House, Best Friends Animal Society