If you have a cat who is constantly spraying inside of your home, you’ve probably had it about up to here with your house smelling like an old litter box. And if you’re trying to figure out why do cats spray, you already know exactly what I’m talking about.
The sad thing is, though, that a litter box can be changed – when you’re dealing with cat spraying, it’s much more difficult to eliminate the lingering smell of cat spray. For many pet owners, this can turn into such a serious problem that they’re forced to surrender or give away their feline companion altogether.
And owners who decide to weather it out, those who feel like they cats will eventually outgrow whatever phase they’re going through, often wind up spending a ton of money cleaning carpets and replacing furniture – all while still dealing with the smell and embarrassment of living with cat urine.
Thankfully, however, there are some effective tricks for getting rid of the smell of cat pee in your home, as well as keeping your cat from spraying altogether.
What Is “Spraying”?
Simply put, spraying is when a cat leaves a small amount of its pee on a surface. More often than not, spraying is a behavioral problem, but it can occasionally result from medical issues like a urinary tract infection or blockage.
Spraying isn’t always noticed with your eyes – most of the time the spots are too small to even notice – unless it’s somewhere noticeable like your bed. But the problem lies within the smell. Cat urine is extremely potent, and after repeated sprayings can produce a distinctly unpleasant odor which will travel deep into your carpet, upholstery, or bedding. It can even penetrate hardwood floors.
Do All Cats Spray?
While spraying is typically associated with unneutered males, all cats can spray. It’s a common misbelief that female cats aren’t capable of spraying – oftentimes they’ll do so while they’re in heat to signal to nearby males.
Spraying often begins in cats when they’re around five or six months old, and can be a habit that they carry with them for their entire lives if not appropriately addressed.
Why Do Cats Spray
The biggest reason why cats spray is because they’re trying to mark their territory. This is much more common in male cats, but can definitely be the case with protective females as well – especially in households with multiple other cats or when outside cats are constantly nearby.
Cats can also spray when they’re stressed – such as if you just moved into a new home or a new person is coming over frequently. That doesn’t mean that the cat is necessarily angry, just that they’re trying to express how stressed out they are.
And as we mentioned already, female cats can spray if they’re in heat or occasionally because they’re trying to protect their home.
How to Clean Cat Urine
Cleaning cat urine is never an easy process – even the most powerful chemical sprays on the market can take repeated treatments and tons of scrubbing to even make a dent in the odor from cat pee stains.
But luckily, following this simple technique will remove as much of the soaked-in cat urine as possible, and help prevent future reoccurrences in the same spot:
Find the Stain
Locating the stain can be the most difficult part of the whole process since most cat spraying spots are too tiny to see with the naked eye. If you can’t quite put your finger (or nose) on where the odor is coming from, try making the room dark and using a black light to find the offending spots
Spray It with an Enzymatic Cleaner
Enzymatic cleaners use biological enzymes which work to break down the odor-causing phenomes in cat urine. This helps to eliminate the smell altogether, rather than just covering it up like some of the other less powerful cleaners do.
Use a Vinegar Solution
After you’ve eliminated as much of the cat urine as possible with your enzymatic cleaner, add a healthy dose of a half-vinegar, half-water solution to the cat spraying area. Vinegar will work to further mask the remaining pee smell in order to help prevent future occurrences in the same spot.
Add Baking Soda
Last but certainly not least, sprinkling on a good amount of baking soda will draw out any remaining moisture and cat urine that’s sunk deep within your carpet or furniture’s fibers. It also works to filter any unpleasant smells as well.
Vacuum It Up
After you’re coated the area with baking soda, wait about 15 minutes and then go through with a wet vac and vacuum everything up. If you don’t have access to a wet vac at home, just be sure to avoid trying to suck up too much moisture or paste-list baking soda.
Stop Cat Spraying for Good
If your cat hasn’t been neutered or spayed – there’s a very good chance that is what is causing their frequent spraying. Not only is getting fixed better for their health and the feline population as a whole, but it also can drastically reduce the likelihood of spray – especially if you get it done early enough.
Older cats – more than a year or two old – can still see a reduction in spraying after being fixed, but by then that set-in habit is often more challenging to break.
So why do cats spray? It’s probably not to be mean or spiteful – they’re likely just scared or trying to protect their territory. If spaying or neutering hasn’t helped – or you want to try other non-surgical alternatives first – you should really check out this comprehensive guide for stopping spraying once and for all.
Just don’t give up – no matter how bad your cat spraying problem is, there are plenty of proven effective ways to solve it for good.