How to stop a cat spraying urine inside

Practical tips to stop your cat peeing inside your home.

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October 11, 2023

How to stop a cat spraying urine in the house

If your cat is leaving their mark all over your house by spraying urine, don’t worry, you're not alone! But I get it, this common behaviour can be very frustrating.

Why does this happen?

Cats spray as a marking behaviour in the ancestral context. It is partly a territorial behaviour where they spray mark vertical surfaces (like trees) on the boundary of their territory or cover mark other marks or scents in their territories. In a natural environment the male cat will have about a 100 acre territory with several females within, and a female will have a 5 acre territory within that. The entire males in particular guard this territory and their females

As we have cats in smaller territories now (in our homes) this can increase marking, especially when this high density starts to cause more stress. But instead of spraying trees, they are spraying walls and curtains and such inside our homes.

How to stop your cat urinating inside

Here are some easy tips to help you tackle this issue:

1. Identify the underlying cause

Spraying is often triggered by stress, anxiety, or territorial marking. Identifying the root cause is crucial in addressing the issue effectively. Have there been any changes in your home environment, routine, or the presence of other animals? Addressing these underlying factors can help curb spraying behaviour. Other cats coming into your house or tomcats in particular spraying around your door (or worse still, in your house) is a major cause of your cat spraying. Electronic cat doors can prevent other cats getting in.

2. Displace or desex tomcats

Entire males in the area will increase the risk of marking and put pressure on your cats, so displacing or desexing tomcats in your area is good practice. Talk to neighbours with tomcats and discussing the issue with them may help convince them to look at desexing their cat! Otherwise we have a technique for displacing other cats from your property below.

3. Spay or neuter your cat

If your cat is not yet spayed or neutered, consider getting the procedure done. This can reduce hormone-driven spraying behaviour in both male and female cats. Entire male cats are most likely to spray and fight with other cats and cause them to spray.

4. Clean urine spots thoroughly

Cats are more likely to spray in areas where they've previously marked. Clean urine spots thoroughly with a mixture of 1/4 white vinegar and 3/4 warm water to neutralise the odour and discourage repeat marking. There are also commercial products you can buy, but I find plain old white vinegar is just as good.

5. Deter other cats

Often the cause of marking behaviour is stress caused by pressure from other cats in the area. If so, displacing these cats (keeping them away from your property) can help a lot.

If another cat is coming into your home through the cat door, consider a microchip door to prevent this.

If other cats are coming onto your property, see if you can catch them at it and give them a wee fright to keep them away. For example, a squirt with a water gun or throw a can of stones nearby so that the noise scares them off. Be very careful not to hit the cat with the can of stones, of course!

6. Make sure the litterboxes aren't an issue

Cats are meticulous creatures, and a dirty litterbox can prompt them to find alternative places to relieve themselves. Cats can also be picky about the type of litter they use. To resolve these issues, clean the litterbox out daily and do a full litter change each week, and experiment with different types of litter to see what your cat personally prefers (clumping, non-clumping, unscented etc). If you have multiple cats in the house, make sure you have at least one litterbox per cat and one extra to help prevent territorial disputes. Place them in different areas of the house to provide ample options.

7. Create a stress-free environment

Reduce stress and anxiety in your home by providing hiding spots, perches up high so they can look out, and toys, enrichment and stimulation for your cat.

8. Use a mild aversive

Along with the other techniques, you can try to stop the marking by setting up an aversive. For example, use a pump action water pistol and squirt your cat with it if you’re able to catch them marking inside. You don’t say anything as you do this, as you want them to believe the correction came from the place your cat is marking itself (not from you), so that they don’t try to mark even when you’re not around. Other examples of mild aversives include tin foil (lay it somewhere they’re marking e.g. up on bench), scatter mats which give out slight static electricity that cats don’t like, or noise such as the example with the stones in the can above.  

9. Consult with your veterinarian

If the behaviour has started suddenly, it’s worth a vet check to eliminate any medical cause before looking at behavioural solutions. Or your cat's spraying behaviour persists despite your efforts with these tactics, it's best to consult with your veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying medical issues and provide tailored advice on how to stop the spraying e.g. through hormone treatment or anti-anxiety medication.

10. Block your cat’s vision of other cats

In some cases, it can help to block your cat’s vision of other cats outside by shutting curtains.

Need more help?

If the above techniques don’t help you resolve this issue, then a more tailored therapy plan may be necessary. If you would like to have a consultation with me about this, email and we can get that booked in for you, so we can take a look at your individual situation and provide a training plan to help you get this unpleasant issue sorted.

I hope you’re able to break this habit and enjoy a urine-free home!

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