Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Feline Spraying

Question from Margarita in Clayton:
Why is my 1 1/2 year old neutered cat spraying all of a sudden?

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
There are a multitude of reasons to cause cats to inappropriately urinate. "Spraying" implies urination on a vertical object. Male cats can also squat and urinate on the floor. Before you assume that your cat is having a behavior problem, have him checked by a veterinarian. It is important to rule out an underlying medical condition.

If you have several cats, you should have one more litter box than cats (e.g. 3 cats requires 4 boxes). Litter boxes must be placed in quiet areas of the house. I am not a fan of boxes in a basement because cats tend to dislike this out of the way location. Litter boxes should be spread throughout the home making access easy.

If you did not recently change the brand of litter, consider switching to "Everclean" litter. If your cat sees or smells other neighborhood cats, this can elicit urine marking. Stress in the household (construction, addition of new baby or pet) can cause inappropriate urinations. It is extremely important to keep the box clean, scooping several times a day.

If your cat is urinating in the same location, place aluminum foil or a food dish in the area. Cats do not like to walk on aluminum foil and they typically will not urinate where their food is located. A litter box can be placed in the preferred marking location.

If a medical problem is ruled out and environmental changes do not help, talk to your veterinarian about medications that might help your cat.

Posted November 4, 2009

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Please have your pets spayed or neutered!