How to Stop Your Cat from Spraying Indoors

Spraying, or marking, is something not all cats do, but when yours decides to mark a spot in your home for her personal use in the bathroom, it’s hard to think of more offensive feline behavior.

My cat, max, was a sprinkler. And of all the places he chose to mark his territory, it was my stove! the smell permeated everything to the point that I couldn’t even use my oven or stove for quite some time.

what is fumigation?

Spraying is essentially your cat’s way of marking its territory, much like some dogs urine mark. but what is the difference between spraying and marking with urine?

basically, it’s in the position your cat assumes. when cats spray they will back up to a standing object. it can be a wall, the leg of a chair or another piece of furniture. they hold up their tails and squirt urine, usually on vertical surfaces.

When cats urinate, they will squat as if they were urinating normally and will urinate on a flat surface, such as a rug or bed.

In both scenarios, the behavior is intentional and not your inability to “maintain” it. it is purely a behavior problem.

what about cats? do cats spray? yes, cats spray too. this behavior is not limited to male cats. although I’ve never had a cat spray, it’s quite common.

but why do cats spray?

Look at me!

why does your cat spray

There are several possible reasons for this annoying and smelly behavior. take a look below and see which one resonates with your cat. and remember, there could be more than one reason, as was the case with my cat, max.

reason for spraying #1: stress

Cats are certainly creatures of habit. Have you changed anything in your cat’s routine or environment? In Max’s case, we had recently moved into an apartment while we waited for our house to be built.

Just as humans cope with stress by engaging in certain calming rituals, cats may urine mark or spray to relieve their stress by setting their boundaries. they can try to calm down by creating their own “safe space”. this is one way cats communicate their stress to humans.

so think about your recent life. You have moved? Have new family members been brought into the house? Has your routine changed?

reason for spraying #2: medical issues

If your cat has stopped using the litter box or is urinating right in front of you, it’s time to see your vet. a urinary tract infection may be responsible for your cat’s recent spraying behavior.

Kidney disease can also cause changes in urinary habits, including more frequent urination.

Since cats can’t verbalize when they’re in trouble, they can use behavior change to tell you that something is wrong and that they have a medical problem.

reason for spraying #3: new pets

in max’s case, it wasn’t just that we had moved into a new apartment, but also that he was sharing this new space with two other male cats. and while they weren’t new to him, he felt it was important to watch his territory on our new digs.

If you’ve recently adopted a cat, dog, or other animal, your cat may feel threatened and simply want to establish that this is her territory.

and if you thought sharing a litter box was okay, think again! cats actually need a lot more “bathroom space” than they’re usually given. how much? dr. liz bales recommends one litter box per cat, plus one. so if you have two cats, you need a total of three litter boxes.

check out the rest of her litter box secrets here, which can be particularly helpful for multi-cat households.

reason for spraying #4: your cat is not neutered

do neutered cats spray? male cats that are not neutered have a strong desire to spray or mark their territory. If you can neuter your cat before he’s five months old, most of the time you can prevent the behavior from developing in the first place.

if you’ve adopted an older cat, you can still neuter it, and most of the time, this will end the spraying behavior.

top 4 reasons why your cat sprays

how to stop a cat from spraying

Did you discover the reason for your cat’s indoor spraying? Now is the time to match the cause of the spray to the spray solution!

#1 Spray Solution: Reduce Stress

If you’ve recently moved, it may take a while for your cat to feel comfortable in his new home. start by giving him small boundaries, perhaps giving him a room.

spray solution #2: consult your vet

If your cat’s indoor spraying is related to a medical condition, it’s important to see your vet right away. kidney disease and urinary tract infections are not something to trifle with, so be sure to make an appointment right away.

If you need a refresher on the symptoms of kidney disease, read this post.

spray solution #3: Help your pets adjust

spray solution #4: neuter your cat

remember, most spraying behaviors can be eliminated by neutering your cat. you can do this as early as five months of age, and your cat will usually never start spraying in the first place.

spray solution #5: Use a cat spray deterrent

spray solution #6: change your litter

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I love World’s Best Kitty Litter™. Its Traction Action® formula is made specifically for kittens who are having trouble or just flat out refuse to use the litter box. This high-performance litter has a natural, plant-based additive that safely lures your cat into the box. so if your cat is spraying indoors, try action® attraction to put an end to the problem.

how to clean cat spray and remove odor

cat urine is…spicy! and it’s notoriously hard to get rid of. I couldn’t use my oven or stove for months after max started spraying it.

That was before I learned the proper way to clean up cat urine and get rid of the smell for good.

Once you’ve identified the reasons your cat is fumigating inside your home and come up with the right solution, you’ll need to revisit the crime scene and clean it up properly.

Certain enzymatic cleaners, like this one from kinderbean, are designed to not only clean up the mess, but to eat up odor-causing bacteria. once the smell is gone, your cat is much less likely to spray there again.

here is the step-by-step process to effectively clean up cat urine.


    • towel rags
    • an enzymatic cleaner like this one
    • for kinderbean no stress mess eraser, the steps for soft surfaces are:

      If you are using a different brand of enzymatic cleaner, check the label for specific instructions.

      If the stain is deep or has been there for a long time, you may need to repeat this process. however, once the odor is gone and you’ve gotten to the root of your cat’s spraying behavior, your house will be urine-free again!

      I’m happy to say that max has finally kicked his nasty spraying habit. it took time, patience and understanding of what he needed to feel safe and calm, but we managed to have a clean house once again.

      Your cat’s health and happiness are important! be sure to download the free cat health checklist below and learn how to take your cat’s vital signs at home so your next visit to the vet is well-informed.

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