How To Stop A Cat From Spraying Indoors

Cat spraying, a behavior often associated with marking territory, can be a source of frustration for cat owners. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior and implementing effective strategies to stop it are crucial for maintaining a harmonious living environment. In this comprehensive guide, we explore how to stop a cat from spraying indoors

How To Stop A Cat From Spraying Indoors

Understanding Cat Spraying

Cat spraying, or marking, is a natural behavior that serves various purposes in the feline world. Cats may spray to establish territory, communicate with other cats, or express anxiety or stress. While this behavior is more common in unneutered or unspayed cats, spayed and neutered cats can also engage in spraying.

Signs of Cat Spraying:

  1. Distinct Smell: The pungent odor of cat spray is a clear sign of marking.
  2. Vertical Surfaces: Cats typically spray on vertical surfaces like walls or furniture.
  3. Tail Quivering: Before spraying, a cat may exhibit tail quivering.

Identifying the Causes

Understanding the root causes of cat spraying is essential for implementing effective prevention strategies. Common causes include:

1. Territorial Marking:

  • Unneutered males and unspayed females are more likely to spray to establish territory or attract mates.

2. Stress or Anxiety:

  • Changes in the environment, such as moving to a new home or the introduction of new pets, can trigger spraying.

3. Medical Issues:

  • Health problems, such as urinary tract infections or kidney issues, can lead to inappropriate spraying. Consult a veterinarian if you suspect a medical cause.

4. Litter Box Issues:

  • Cats may spray if they are unhappy with the cleanliness or location of their litter box.

5. Social or Hierarchical Stress:

  • Multiple cats sharing a space can lead to social stress and spraying as a means of establishing hierarchy.

Practical Strategies to Stop Cat Spraying

1. Neutering or Spaying:

  • For territorial marking, neutering or spaying your cat can significantly reduce or eliminate spraying behaviors.

2. Create a Comfortable Environment:

  • Ensure your home provides a secure and comfortable environment for your cat. Provide hiding spots, cozy beds, and vertical spaces for climbing.

3. Litter Box Maintenance:

  • Keep litter boxes clean and placed in quiet, accessible locations. Consider providing multiple litter boxes, especially in multi-cat households.

4. Address Stressors:

  • Identify and address sources of stress, such as changes in routine or the introduction of new pets. Gradual introductions and positive reinforcement can help ease anxiety.

5. Use Cat Pheromones:

  • Feliway, a synthetic feline facial pheromone spray, can help reduce stress and prevent spraying. Spraying Feliway in marked areas can discourage future marking.

6. Consult a Veterinarian:

  • If you suspect a medical issue, consult a veterinarian for a thorough examination. Medical problems should be ruled out or treated accordingly.

7. Clean and Neutralize Marked Areas:

  • Clean marked areas thoroughly to eliminate the scent and discourage repeat spraying. Use enzymatic cleaners designed to neutralize cat urine odors.

8. Behavioral Training:

  • Positive reinforcement and clicker training can be effective in redirecting your cat’s behavior. Reward desired behaviors and provide mental stimulation through interactive play.

9. Adjusting Social Dynamics:

  • If you have multiple cats, monitor their interactions. Ensure there are sufficient resources (food, water, and litter boxes) for each cat to reduce social stress.

10. Limit Outdoor Stimuli:

  • If outdoor cats are triggering spraying, consider limiting their visibility through window coverings or moving your cat’s resting spots away from windows.

Dealing with Persistent Cases

If cat spraying persists despite your efforts, consider seeking the expertise of a professional animal behaviorist. They can assess the specific dynamics of your household and provide tailored solutions. In persistent cases, medication may be prescribed to alleviate anxiety or stress.


Addressing cat spraying requires a multifaceted approach that considers the specific causes and triggers for your cat’s behavior. By understanding the reasons behind spraying and implementing practical strategies, you can create a more harmonious living environment for both you and your feline companion. Patience, consistency, and a proactive approach are key in successfully preventing and managing cat spraying indoors.

Also read: Why Cats Pee on Clothes and How to Address It

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