How to Stop a Cat's Spraying

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If a cat has been displaying spraying behavior, it's important to first find out if there is a medical problem for his spraying behavior. Discover how cat spraying is indicative of a problem that the cat is trying to communicate with help from a veterinarian in this free video on stopping spraying behavior in cats.

Part of the Video Series: Cat Health
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr Carrie Burhenn and I'm a veterinarian at the Feline Medical Clinic in Vancouver, Washington. And I'm here today to give you some information on cats and spraying behavior. Spraying is never a desirable behavior but it is a natural one that cats will use as a communication tool. But it's inappropriate in our houses and most people choose not to live with a cat that actually has this behavior. The first thing that usually needs to be done is to establish if the cat actually has a medical problem that might cause it to spray. Sometimes even a behavior problem can cause these things, these behaviors to occur in cats as well. And so again, a medical work up by a veterinarian is essential in this, because the problem cannot be corrected until you find out what is actually causing it. It maybe a factor of cats interacting with each other in the house and that one cat is unhappy with the situation. But it can also be litter box issues that the cat doesn't like where litter boxes are. It can also be because of other cats who are outside the home that are causing noises that upset the cat and cause it to act in a territorial manner. Again, so the problem with spraying cats is that there maybe a medical problem. But there usually is a behavior one superimposed on it. Cats when they spray, usually mark territorial areas by squirting a little stream of urine on an actual vertical surface. As opposed to urinating outside the box abnormally, they're usually squatting and delivering a normal volume of urine when they do so. It's a difficult thing sometimes to actually determine between the two, because some cats will do both, and they can be due to the same cause. So again, the essential thing with cats spraying, is to make sure there is no medical problem first, and then to actually create an environment where the cat will actually enjoy using it's litter box, such as providing with fine sandy litter. Most cats like it, sandy textured litter that is unscented. They also like a bit litter box that is open, that it doesn't have a cover on it. Cats don't necessarily actually like to urinate inside a closed area. They can feel trapped inside and then they can spray because they're upset of the way their box is actually situated. A dirty litter box is no good either, because sometimes cats will urinate in one box and defecate in another, they're actually very clean little creatures. So you need to provide an area where a cat feels happy to urinate, in the first place. This may not be your first choice to put a litter box because it should be in a quiet area that the cat has easy access to, that other cats will not corner the cat in that area. So again to summarize, the best attitude is to say, your cat may have a problem and to actually go and have it checked by a veterinarian. To make sure there is no medical problem and if there isn't, to try and help remedy the situation by setting up a litter box area that the cat will enjoy using.

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