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Urine Spraying

By Smoochie the Cat (and assistant, Dr Signe A Dayhoff)

Before talking about spraying, I want to take just a moment to be political. Okay, I know cats aren’t political but when I heard on TV how many hundreds of millions of dollars candidates of both parties running for the Presidency are spending on election ads, I really got my fur in a twist. When I think of how much good could be done with those millions of millions for starving cats, dogs, and humans who all need shelter and food, it made me want to dump on the TV screen. I don’t understand how humans can waste such a humongous resource when so many need help now. At moments like this, I’m especially glad I’m a cat and not a human.

URINE SPRAYING is used to mark territory. The reason cats spray rather than leave a puddle of urine behind is that spraying gets the urine’s pheromone scent at nose level where cat are most likely to detect it. However, the pheromones produced by facial glands also mark territory but have a calming effect. That’s why Feliway, a product designed to calm cats And dissuade them from spraying, is made of a synthetic facial gland pheromone. The idea behind it is that cats won’t spray where they detect the facial pheromone. It can take a month of twice-daily spraying of Feliway to convince a cat not to spray in a particular location. But if the cat has been spraying that spot already, you need to thoroughly clean it before applying Feliway.

Cats have very sensitive noses. Pam Johnson-Bennett has a list of the reasons cats may spray even after you’ve gone the Feliway route: sexual maturity, temperament of the cat, appearance of a strange cat in the yard, addition of new member to the family (human, dog, or cat), unfamiliar cat scent on human’s clothing, tension or aggression between companion animals, too many cats in the home, renovation or remodeling of home, new carpet or furniture, moving to a new home, unfamiliar visitors, and changes in their human’s schedule. Eliminating spraying is difficult. You have to understand your cat’s psychology behind its behavior. You have to understand the environment and how your cat responds to it. Always remember: You cat is not being an evil little demon taunting and harrassing you with spraying  unless, of course, you have been insensitive (or worse) to it and its needs. Then it’s letting you know in one way it knows it can get your attention that something is wrong. Most often your cat is simply responding to how it sees its world and responding to it as best as Nature allows. You are the one who has to figure out the problem and find the best, non-punishing way to deal with it. Your cat will be happier as a result.

Copyright (c) 2012 Signe A. Dayhoff, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Dr. Dayhoff is a Social Psychologist, human cognitive-behaviorist, and applied feline behaviorist, specializing in increasing cat-human communication and respectful and loving relationships. http://www.LoveYourCatsInnerTiger.com/

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Comments

Interesting article but I did not have much success with the Feliway for my 1.5 y/o female, spayed. I was unaware of her habit until she started spraying in the house. (Something I did?) Only two things could have set that off, other neighborhood cats or our male cat being too aggressive in play. I found that aversive training was the key to turn her around and I also found that just using a 50/50 vinegar to water spray was the best cleaning material. The lingering vinegar smell made her shy away from favorite spray areas and the spray bottle she would avoid like the plague. Took several months but now she no longer sprays inside the house.

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