Mark Vette – Internationally renowned Animal Behaviourist, Educator, Author and TV personality

How to stop a cat spraying urine inside

How to stop a cat spraying urine in the house

Practical tips to stop your cat peeing inside your home. 

If your cat is leaving their mark all over your house by spraying urine, don’t worry, you’re not alone! But I get it, this common behaviour can be very frustrating.

Why does this happen?

Cats spray as a marking behaviour in the ancestral context. It is partly a territorial behaviour where they spray mark vertical surfaces (like trees) on the boundary of their territory or cover mark other marks or scents in their territories. In a natural environment the male cat will have about a 100 acre territory with several females within, and a female will have a 5 acre territory within that. The entire males in particular guard this territory and their females

As we have cats in smaller territories now (in our homes) this can increase marking, especially when this high density starts to cause more stress. But instead of spraying trees, they are spraying walls and curtains and such inside our homes.

How to stop your cat urinating inside

Here are some easy tips to help you tackle this issue:

1. Identify the underlying cause
Spraying is often triggered by stress, anxiety, or territorial marking. Identifying the root cause is crucial in addressing the issue effectively. Have there been any changes in your home environment, routine, or the presence of other animals? Addressing these underlying factors can help curb spraying behaviour. Other cats coming into your house or tomcats in particular spraying around your door (or worse still, in your house) is a major cause of your cat spraying. Electronic cat doors can prevent other cats getting in.

2. Displace or desex tomcats
Entire males in the area will increase the risk of marking and put pressure on your cats, so displacing or desexing tomcats in your area is good practice. Talk to neighbours with tomcats and discussing the issue with them may help convince them to look at desexing their cat! Otherwise we have a technique for displacing other cats from your property below.

3. Spay or neuter your cat
If your cat is not yet spayed or neutered, consider getting the procedure done. This can reduce hormone-driven spraying behaviour in both male and female cats. Entire male cats are most likely to spray and fight with other cats and cause them to spray.

4. Clean urine spots thoroughly
Cats are more likely to spray in areas where they’ve previously marked. Clean urine spots thoroughly with a mixture of 1/4 white vinegar and 3/4 warm water to neutralise the odour and discourage repeat marking. There are also commercial products you can buy, but I find plain old white vinegar is just as good.

5. Deter other cats
Often the cause of marking behaviour is pressure from other cats. Are there are any other cats hanging around that may be creating pressure? If so, then displacing these cats (keeping them away from your property) can help a lot. Using a water pistol to give them a squirt if you catch them on your property can be effective.

6. Provide ample litter boxes
Cats are meticulous about their litter box habits and don’t like to use them if they’re not cleaned regularly. Make sure you have enough litter boxes for your cats, following the “one box per cat, plus one” rule. Place them in different areas of the house to provide ample options for your cat to use instead of spraying and make sure they are cleaned regularly.

7. Create a stress-free environment
Reduce stress and anxiety in your home by providing hiding spots, perches up high so they can look out, and toys, enrichment and stimulation for your cat.

8. Use an aversive
Along with the other techniques, you can try to stop the marking by setting up an aversive. For example, use a pump action water pistol and squirt your cat with it if youre able to catch them marking inside. You dont say anything as you do this, as you want them to believe the correction came from the place your cat is marking itself (not from you), so that they don’t try to mark even when youre not around. Or if your cat is marking somewhere in particular like a bench top, you could try laying tin foil on it to deter your cat from going up there.

9. Consult with your veterinarian
If your cat’s spraying behaviour persists despite your efforts, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying medical issues and provide tailored advice on how to stop the spraying (e.g. hormone treatment).

10. Block your cat’s vision of other cats
In some cases, it can help to block your cat’s vision of other cats outside by shutting curtains. 

If the above techniques don’t help you resolve this issue, then a more tailored therapy plan may be necessary. If you would like to have a consultation with me about this, email and we can get that booked in for you.

I hope you’re able to break this habit and enjoy a urine-free home!

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