You love your cat, but the offensive odor your home has taken on from his spraying has pushed you to your limit. The solution doesn't have to be finding another home for Tommy. There are a few things you can do to get control of the situation and discourage the behavior.
Clean the places where your cat has sprayed with a solution of vinegar and water. The strong odor of vinegar will act as a cat repellant. A 1-to-1 solution of vinegar and water should be strong enough to clean the area as well as provide a few days worth of deterrent. This is an effective solution, but you'll want to keep a spray bottle of the solution on hand to reapply to the area periodically.
Switch back to old brands of litter or cat food if you notice that the spraying started after a change in your cat's routine. Even moving the litter box can be cause in your cat's eyes to show disapproval by spraying. Put everything back the way he had it, old brands and all, and your cat ought to stop spraying.
Wipe your cats down with a wet towel once a week, advises "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats." This is a suggested solution only for homes with multiple cats, but it is an effective one for reducing aggression among housemates. After your toms are done grooming themselves, they are likely to start grooming each other, literally washing away hostile feelings.
Restrict your cat's view of the outside world. Many times an indoor cat will spray in an aggressive response to a cat they've spotted outside. Moving desks, sofas and anything else your cat can perch on to see outside will help to keep your cat away from the windows. Covering the bottom part of a cat's favorite window with clear, frosted paper will still allow him to sun himself without the chance of seeing another cat outside.
Schedule some play and one-on-one quality time with your cat or cats. For a cat who is an "only child," having fun, loving and comforting interaction with you will reassure him that he is just as important as ever to you. When you have more than one cat, jealousy and competition can develop if either or both of them feels the other one is getting all of your attention. Just like with human children, special attention will give them a sense of love and worth individually and positive interaction when they're together will encourage them to be social and reduce competition and feelings of jealousy.
- "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats": Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books
- Vet Info: How to Stop Your Male Cat From Spraying
- Cats of Australia: Directions for Cat Urine Removal from Carpets
- If your cat starts spraying suddenly and you can't determine what the cause might be, take him to see the vet for a checkup. Many times your cat will tip you off to a medical condition that otherwise might have gone unchecked. Diabetes and urinary tract infections are just two illnesses that will prompt an otherwise well-behaved kitty to spray and urinate outside his litter box.
- Bitter apple is a natural cat repellant in addition to vinegar. It can be found in garden and pet supply stores.
- Your first response to catching your cat in the act of spraying might be to punish him, but you should save yourself and your cat the trouble. According to "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats," spraying is a natural behavior that you can't punish out of your cat. You'll have a better chance at success by trying one of the suggestions listed here.
- There are many reasons to have your male cat neutered, but discouraging the natural urge to mark their territory should not be overlooked. It is estimated that 90 percent of male cats who spray drop the habit completely after being fixed.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.