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Spraying Habit

  1. #1

    Spraying Habit

    Hi,



    My youngest cat has been spraying in the house for the last two years. He has been checked over by the vet numerous times and each time he gets a clean bill of health.
    I think spraying has become a habit for him. Is it possible to correct this bad behavior, even after it has been going on for so long?

    A bit more detail about my household. I have six cats, the oldest is 14 and the youngest is 5. My youngest adopted me when he was a 6 week old kitten and he was neutered at 3 months. For the first three years of his life, he was fine. However, shortly after I moved 2 years ago, the spraying started. The home is a new construction, so previous pets shouldn't be an issue. I have tried numerous things, none of which worked. They include:
    • Buspar
    • Feliway Diffuser and Spray
    • Extra play time
    • Extra pets and attention
    • Keeping all the windows closed so he doesn't see outdoor cats
    • Keeping him isolated for periods of time.
    • Rescue Remedy


    My house has six litter boxes spread among two floors and different rooms. They are cleaned 1-2 times a day. I have 5 very tall tree houses and lots of scratching posts. He generally gets along with the other cats. Sometimes, he fights with cat #3 though.

    It has gotten to the point where I actually fear my youngest cat now. Each day I go around with the black light to see where he has sprayed. Some times a week or two will go by between sprays. Other times it can occur daily.

    I am very diligent about cleaning up after him with a enzyme cleaner. When he pee's on "Dry Wall", after cleaning up, I seal the spot with kilz primer and then paint over it.
    He likes to pee in the windows too. When I kept the blinds closed, he would pee on the blinds. What a brat. I know to him spraying is just a normal part of being a cat. He is not trying to be mean or vengeful.

    He is so sweat and lovable in every way but this one. I am worried I will have to re-home him. I really do not want to do that.

    Any fresh ideas on what I can try?

    Thanks,
    Alana

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,755
    Hi Alana, welcome! It sounds like he became frustrated after the move, and is showing his displeasure with the new situation. That's common for some cats, as they really like routine. Some cats will start 'acting out' with spraying behavior just when furniture in the house is moved around.

    He also may be stressed or anxious due to stray cats in the new neighborhood, or a neighbor's cat. He's likely spraying to fend them off, and desperately show that your new home is his territory. He may be feeling threatened, and closing the blinds doesn't stop him from hearing them, smelling them, and sensing their presence around the house and yard. In fact, if it were me, I'd just leave the blinds open instead, it might be better that way.

    If he's spraying by the window, chances are that there's a cat outdoors, perhaps intact, that's spraying at your windows and doors. It's good that you're using a black light to locate the urine. The cat behavior expert on the TV show 'My Cat From Hell', recommended using a cleaner that contained Co2. He never mentioned a brand, but this may be one choice...http://www.amazon.com/Fizzion-Remove...upplies_text_y . He said that Co2 was the only thing that he found to really remove the odor, and he was talking about an unneutered cat at the time.

    Cats generally don't like the smell of citrus, like lemons, grapefruit, oranges, etc. Once the inside areas are cleaned from your cat, maybe with the Co2 cleaner, then you'll also have to go outside the window areas and clean the scent of the stray cats, the odor there may be strong, since I doubt they're neutered or spayed.

    Then, you might want to try spraying the outside door and window areas with a strong lemon/water mix. You can take pieces of rinds from oranges, grapefruits and lemons, chop them up into small pieces, so it doesn't look too obvious to visitors, and sprinkle/spread them on the outer window sills, around the front and back doorsteps, etc. The more yard area you can cover near the house, the better. You'll have to renew with fresh now and then.

    Anyhoo, I feel bad for you. I know it a big job to constantly have to clean up after a cat like that, and I'm sure your worried that the others may follow his lead. Good luck, I wouldn't want to rehome any of my pets, especially if they were otherwise sweet and lovable. If I think of anything else to recommend, I'll be sure to post it here.

  3. #3
    Alpha has some good points here. Male cats spray to mark their territory, there must be some strays walking around your house and that can be the cause of his spraying.

    I found that Dex do not like the smell of pepper, so I mixed some pepper and cinnamon with the lemon water and started spraying that on all of his regular spots, he goes outside to spray now. The house smells nice now too.

    Good luck with the sprinkler. I do hope you sort it out soon.

  4. #4
    It sounds like you've done a lot of the things that we first suggest when a cat is having litter box issues. Bravo on taking him to the vet first to make sure it wasn't a physical problem. A lot of times people don't think of that, and it turns out to be a simple vet fix. What do all of the areas that he is inappropriately eliminating in have in common? Are they all around the perimeter of his "territory"? My guess is that you have a visitor outside who is stressing your little guy out. It sounds like you are willing to, and have tried, almost everything, so I have one suggestion that may be sort of hard. What about blacklighting and cleaning the outside of your home the same as you would the inside. Then you could do two things. You can put things around your backyard to prevent other cats from wanting to enter, and you could take your cat outside on a leash and allow him to claim that territory. If he can claim the outside of your house perhaps he won't feel the need to claim the inside. Whatever you do I want you to know that I can tell that you are an excellent pet guardian just from your post, and I hope that something someone on here suggests can help you turn it around.
    -Bella

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,755

  6. #6
    I have been lucky in that the few cats I did have over the years none ever did their business in the home proper. They went to the same spot each time. They were taught early on their respective boundaries.

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