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Understanding Feline Spraying

Inappropriate feline elimination and spraying are often thought to be the same problem. In reality, these are two separate issues with different purposes and causes. Inappropriate urination can be a medial problem, whereas spraying is a way for the cat to mark what it considers to be its territory.

A Look at Inappropriate Urination

Inappropriate urination is characterized by urinating on the floor in an area outside of the litter box. If the cat scratches at the floor or area and squats before missing the target, you can be sure it is experiencing inappropriate urination rather than spraying. A cat with this problem may do it every time it urinates, which is generally twice per day, or only occasionally.

For some cats, inappropriate urination is a side effect of illness or pain. Since it can be caused by illness, it is best to see your veterinarian if your cat is having problems. Simple problems such as diarrhea or constipation can be the cause. On the other hand, diabetes, bladder infection, arthritis, kidney disease, and senility can be causes.

With some, inappropriate urination is a sign the cat is experiencing separation anxiety or fear or is not adjusting well to a change in the family routine. For cats that are in pain when urinating or who where attacked near the litter box, they may associate the litter box with the pain or the attack. Therefore, the problem could be psychological and sometimes moving the litter box to a new area can resolve the problem. Keeping the litter box clean and maintaining a regular schedule are other ways to prevent the problem.

A Look at Spraying

Spraying is urination that is done on purpose in order to mark territory. When a cat sprays, the urine goes on a wall or a door. It is different from inappropriate urination because the cat stands with its tail straight in the air as it goes. It will also shift back and forth and it might even quiver. Some cats assume this position and then never spray at all.

Female cats will often spray when they are in heat and male cats will spray as a reaction to inter-cat rivalries. Spraying is a normal, instinctual action for cats, particularly those that have not been spade or neutered. Therefore, it is helpful to have your cat fixed in order to prevent spraying.

Cats living in a home with many cats are also more likely to spray because the cats have a smaller area to claim as their own and, therefore, they want to mark their boundaries. As the number of cats in the home increases from 1 to 10, the likelihood of spraying increases from 25% to 100%. Therefore, keeping just one cat in the home can reduce the likelihood of spraying.

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