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.. Spraying & undesirable toileting

All cats are capable of spraying & undesirable urinating/soiling, wether they are neutered/spayed or entire. 

Most commonly, undesirable toileting problems are caused by insecurity in a cat. They may be attempting to reassure themselves that they belong in their territory by reinforcing their scent & announcing their presence to others.

It is also common for cats to choose an (undesirable) area for their litter, if their designated one is too much effort to reach, or if it doesn'tmeet their requirements & is uncomfortable to use. They must feel secure.

..Undesirable Urinating/soiling (middening)..

(For effective/safe cleaning use an enzyme active cleaner such as Simple Solution)

• Rule out health problems at the vets first, especially if stool is not solid or if there is blood - if cats are in distress or are unwell. It can be a symptom & or a communication attempt.

Urinating on items of textiles found on the floor (especially dirty laundry, discarded towels even footwear, carpet etc) may indicate that a cat associates those maleable items with litter.

Litterbox retraining...

• Ensure no textiles (such as clothes baskets) are left at ground level (preferably floor surfaces will be solid).

• provide permanent litter trays in comfortable accesible locations at ground level

Litter trays should ideally be permanent, somewhere hygeinic for all concerned &/or positioned following the litter advice on this site

• create some comfortable - soft, high up "nests" or cat beds on surfaces or secure - raised areas, ( this can help to psychologically separate floor level litter from materials - ie bedding).


• Try to identify the cause of a problem - new smells (perhaps on shoes/cycle tires) being brought into the home can trigger the problem. Even the smells from the use of different cleaning products or air fresheners can trigger toileting problems - products can contain ammonia which for example may give the impression of an invader. Use gentle fragrance free cleaning products. Citrus scents may deter a cat from an immediate area, but they may simply midden around it instead.

• Has a new cat been coming into the garden/looking in through windows? If so you can increase your presence outside with noises & gardening/window boxes. This is the equivalent of scenting the area yourself & being the dominant force of the territory, this can satisfy a cat that you have the invasion covered! (you could even try scattering some of the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag around outdoor entry points, this is a strong home scent & may help your cat with its insecurities)

• If there has been changes in your household that you believe may be the cause, try to make your cat feel secure. Perhaps relocate their core area, sleeping area or feeding areas so they feel that they have their very own area/space to themselves.

• If your cat is urinating by an external door, an active neighbourhood tomcat outside may have sprayed on or nearby. Try to wash away odours from external sides of doorways, Your cats will be able to smell any scent messages drifting under the doorway far better than you can, use hot water & only mild detergents. To discourage persistent activity even after thorough cleaning etc. Ssscat could be used as an effective deterrent, to keep offenders away from the area & temptation.

For more subtle undesirable toileting...

• A cat may simply prefer a quiet area that it has found, to use for its litter area. You can try to make the area less appealing & more exposed (a little lemon scented cleaning product could help in this scenario). Cats will usually prefer somewhere private & increased activity in their undesirably chosen area may put them off of it. At the same time supply them with an acceptable alternative close by, a litter tray within which they can dig, in a cupboard where they cannot be disturbed by a dog for example, at ground level or in a discreet corner. This will encourage them to use that acceptable & quiet area instead.

• Urine marking on personal items, clothing or areas where humans regularly frequent such as a sofa, is thought to provide association for the cat to the dominant force of their territory. To a cat, this is only reinforcing strong alliances, whereas to a person the action is offensive & unpleasant. Providing an immediate alternative in the form of a litter tray in that spot can help, over time, gradually moving it away complete with a smelly item such as a sock for scent association may help.


For other undesirable toileting reasons, please see How cats can develop toileting problems

If the problem persists or is not addressed here, it may be wise to contact an animal behaviourist such as : Vicky Halls

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