Cat spraying (or urine spraying) is a very common habit that cat owners come across in their pets' lives. It's a completely habitual instinct that cats use to mark their territory and while it is natural, it can be very annoying. Nobody wants to have to run around cleaning up after their kitties, so we have to figure out how to stop a cat spraying.
Even when you've successfully litter trained your kitty, or taught them how to go to the loo outside, they may still be picking up this habit, most likely to warn off threats from the outside neighbourhood.
Whether your cat is spraying in heat or just worried about its environment, it shouldn't be hard to get your kitty under control. So, to make it easier on you as a cat parent, we've dug deep into why cats really do this and how you can easily wean your cats to get out of the habit.
Why is my cat spraying?
Cats spray to mark their territory. By releasing scent through their urine over areas, it warns off other predators and cats as well as reduces possible conflict.
Cats tend to like their own space and can be very aggressive to unwanted visitors or other cats they don't know. There are a number of reasons why your cat may have suddenly started spraying, including:
• The most likely answer is that they’re threatened or worried about neighbouring cats they may have seen outside in gardens and around your home
• If your cat hasn’t been neutered, then it’s likely they’re doing this to attract a mate when in heat. Speak to a vet if you think this may be the problem. Be aware, though, that this will only be female cats attempting to attract male cats.
• In a household with more than one cat, you may find your cat sprays to bully the other cats in hopes to deny them resources like food, water and the litter box.
• It’s unlikely that cats will reduce their need for the litter box when they start spraying, so if you notice that your cat stops going to the loo then it may be a medical problem that you need to look into.
How to stop a cat spraying?
This is a hard question to answer because this all depends on why your cat is spraying around the house. If you're unsure about why your cat is spraying then it may be a good idea to keep a close eye on your cat's behaviour for a while to see if they're reacting to any environment.
Get rid of the threat: If there's a cat in the neighbourhood that you think could potentially be making your cat anxious, then keep an eye out for it. Make sure it's not trying to enter your home through cat flaps, open windows or doors and shoo it away from your garden. You can also speak to the cat owner to help discourage their cat away from yours.
Neutering: Female cats who haven't been neutered will naturally spray when in heat to attract a male partner. It may be time to speak to the vet about spaying your female cat.
Calm down your multi-cat household: Having more than one cat in a house can cause conflict and therefore cause more spraying to mark out territories. To avoid this, set out areas for each cat, including separate places for sleeping, eating and drinking. There will be less conflict and your cats will calm down.
Invest in an anti-spray product: There are loads of products out there that look to deter cats from spraying. Including repellent sprays, collars for calming and automatic diffusers, these products can keep your cats from spraying their own scent. We've rounded up some of our favourites below if you need some inspiration.
The best products to stop cats spraying
C&G Pets Urine Stop Spray for Cat and Dog Repellent
Best cat spray repellent
Looking for an instantaneous solution to deter your cat from spraying an area? This C&G pet spray is suitable for use on garden soil and plants too and will keep your cat away due to the smell that it causes. It’s 100 per cent natural so you won't have to worry about it affecting your kitty.
How to use: Spray directly onto the area you want to keep your pet from peeing. Apply onto the area every 2-3 days until your dog or cat stops marking.
Review: “Been using this product a week now and the little guy hasn’t had an ‘accident’ in that time. Have previously tried a different brand but would 100 per cent prefer this one as it doesn’t give off that ultra-chemically smell that other brands do. Would use it again."
Chill Out Calming Pheromone Plug-in Diffuser & Refill for Cats 48ml
Best cat spray pheromone plug-in
If you’d rather have a long-term solution to keep your kitty calm then a pheromone diffuser like this plug-in may be a better choice. It simply releases pheromones into the air to keep your cat relaxed without any fuss or mess.
How to use: Plug in directly into the wall socket of the room your cat hangs out, or problem areas (where issues occur most often).
Review: “Delivered super quick, easy to use, good value and noticed a difference in my cat within a couple of days... Great all round.”
Simple Solution Extreme Cat Stain and Odour Remover Enzymatic Cleaner, 500ml
Best cat spray stain remover
Another spray option, this product from Simple Solution helps to rid your house of the smells and odours that you may have faced if your cat is already spraying. It contains pro-bacteria and enzymes which combat that stink.
How to use: Saturate the soiled area, wait at least ten minutes, blot excess liquid and then wait around 24-48 hours to fully dry.
Review: “One of our cats peed in our tent so I hosed it and scrubbed it with all sorts of disinfectants. I'd almost given up but thought I'd give this stuff a go. Wow. It really works. The tent is fine, not a trace of revolting cat wee smell. Very impressive.”
FELIWAY Classic 60ml Spray
Best cat spray deterring spray
If you like to leave your windows open or don’t want to use a plug-in diffuser, Feliway also has a direct spray that you can put on your kitty’s beds, toys and trees to keep them calm and stop them spraying out of anxiety. It’s scentless too so you don’t have to worry about it smelling up the house.
How to use: Simply shake the bottle and apply the spray directly to the object or areas 15 minutes before you introduce your cat or kitten to the area.
Review: “Love Feliway! I work at a vet and we always recommend it to clients. This always helps my cats with stressful situations by spraying on their bedding at least 15 minutes in advance. Also great to spay on parts of the home that cats "scent mark" e.g. when they rub against the sofa or roll around on the carpet!”
CHUWPI Cat Calming Collar
Best cat spray collar
Another well-rated product is investing in a calming cat collar for your pet. Simple to use and particularly effective on anxious cats, this is an easy solution to spraying. It releases pheromones that will keep your cats' worries at bay.
How to use: Adjust the cat calming collar to the desired length and cut off any excess.
Review: “These are the best ones I’ve tried so far- and believe me, I’ve tried many! They seem slightly thicker than any others I’ve used. Will buy again.”
Vanish Pet Expert Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner Spray
Best cat spray cleaner
Looking for a cleaning tool now that your cat has been spraying around the house? This Vanish Urine Destroyer is made completely with pets in mind and tackles the hard stains that may be left. Easily picked up from supermarkets like Ocado.
How to use: 1. Prepare - Remove excess dirt and open trigger nozzle 2. Apply - Spray on the stain and leave (max 5 mins) 3. Blot - Blot the stain and remove excess product using a clean cloth
Review: “Cat pee accidents are gone with no smell left. No staining if used as directed...just don't forget to wipe it off promptly.”
YuMOVE Calming Care for Cats
Best cat spray calming capsules
If sprays and plug-ins don’t work for your cats, you can also add supplements to their food to help encourage calmer behaviours. YuMOVE is a great option that helps to ease anxious cats that are spraying – and the pack contains 30 capsules so they’ll last.
How to use: Twist and pull the capsule to open it and sprinkle and mix with your cat's food.
Review: “My little three-year-old cat had such bad anxiety; she was a nervous wreck. I just googled 'cat anxiety medication' and this popped up. I had nothing to compare it with, so I thought I'd give it a go. The difference was clear by day two! She is honestly like a different cat, so much calmer and happier.”