Ask the Vet | 4 Causes of Male Cat Spraying

This is a problem even I have at home with my five cats. Male cat spraying may be triggered by a number of factors: mating season, stress or different changes in the cat’s life. Spraying is a common feline behaviour and you can deal with the issue if you know exactly what causes it.

1. Marking the Territory

A male cat often uses spraying to mark his territory and let other cats know he has been in a particular area. Cat urine contains a lot of pheromones that are a signal to other cats. 

This behavior may become a problem if the cat is spraying in your house, due to the urine smell and the fact that you need to clean up after your cat. 

Spraying is a natural behavior and may be stopped by neutering the cat. 

2. Urinary Tract Disease

Male cat spraying may have medical causes. Urinary tract disease (UTI) can cause feline spraying. UTI causes a lot of pain at urination. The cat will urinate in more episodes, and with lesser amounts of urine, in different spots in the house to avoid the pain that he associates with his litter box. 

If the spraying behavior occurs suddenly, this might be a symptom of UTI, so you need to visit the vet for a proper diagnosis. 

Even a neutered cat may spray if he has a urinary infection. 

Look out for other signs of UTI such as: 

  • Straining to urinate
  • Crying or meowing when urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Excessive licking of genitals
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting

3. Change in the Litter Type

A cat is sensitive to changes. If you change the litter type, the cat might not like the new brand and starts urinating everywhere but in the litter box. 

Make sure to change the litter back to the one your cat is used to, so he will be likely to stop spraying. Don’t change the location of the litter box, as your cat may be confused and start spraying. 

4. Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety may also cause male spraying. A cat may develop stress due to: 

  • Moving to a new house
  • Redecorating the house
  • Moving the litter box
  • Absence of a family member
  • New family member
  • New pet
  • Changes in diet or daily routine
  • Changes of owner’s daily routine
  • Lack of affection
  • Illness
  • Noise

You need to observe your cat and determine the precise cause of his spraying behavior. Knowing the cause can help find the means to stop the behavior. Neutering the cat may be a good solution, provided the spraying is territorial. Pheromone diffusers like Feliway may also be effective in stopping your cat from spraying. 

If there are medical reasons, your vet will prescribe antibiotic treatment for UTI and run other tests to detect other possible causes. 

Anxiety and stress are difficult to deal with. The stress factor needs to be identified. Your vet needs to rule out medical causes of stress, and decide if medication and therapy are recommended. Stress may also be treated with homeopathic remedies. by Dr Ruan Du Toit Bester

Hope this helps
Till next week
Dr Ruan

Ask the Vet: Royal Veterinary Centre

Tel: +853 28501099, +853 28523678

Emergency: +853 62662268


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