3 Year Old Male Spraying Indoors!

by Jennifer
(East Yorkshire, England)

My cat problems are with Harvey, who I rescued and hand reared, along with 3 of his siblings, after his mother died. I kept him and one of the others and found homes for the other two. He's now 3 years old.

He's such a loving friendly little cat and he absolutely loves being outside in 'HIS' garden which he constantly sprays to mark 'HIS' territory. The problem I have with him is that he has brought his spraying indoors. He sprays a couple of certain places every time (most days) but if I leave any thing out of place on the floor, like a bag or shopping or the washing basket, anything that is out of its usual place, Harvey will spray it. He has sprayed the xmas tree and all the presents underneath it, this last xmas we had a smaller tree up on a table and put the presents out of his way but he climbed up and sprayed it anyway!

I've tried all the usual sprays etc also bought a Feliway plug in and room spray from the vet but to no avail. The vet has checked him out and there doesn't seem to be a health problem. I'm at my wits end now and in need of some good advice. We love him very much and obviously will have to put up with his behaviour unless someone can help me solve the problem, so . . . HELP!

Reply from Liz (Editor): You have my sympathy here - these sorts of cat problems can be incredibly frustrating!

You don't mention whether he's neutered. If he isn't, I'd really recommend getting this done as soon as possible - it will really help to curb this behavior.

Assuming he is neutered, there are 3 reasons why a neutered cat will usually spray indoors. This page goes through those reasons and suggests ways to deal with them:

How to Stop a Neutered Cat Spraying

His behavior seems to be very territorial, so I wonder if another cat outside is the most likely reason he's spraying?

As well as what's in the advice above, you'll need to re-train him not to spray in the house, which will involve discouraging him from spraying indoors firstly by removing all traces of cat urine. Here's some advice on how to do this:

How to Clean Cat Urine

Cat Urine Cleaning Products

You will also need to try to teach him that bad behavior (i.e. spraying indoors) doesn't have a good effect. If you catch him, I'd sugest saying "No" firmly, then "scruff" him, which is very effective in disciplining cats. It only works if you catch the cat in the act and do it immediately - it's o good doing it afterwards. This page gives more information on this technique:

How to Scruff a Cat to Discourage Unacceptable Behavior

When he is good, on the other hand, and manages to bypass his usual spraying spots without soaking them, give him loads of attention, fuss and maybe a treat.

These cat problems won't disappear overnight, they'll take time and perseverance to sort out, but it should be possible. Good luck.

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