How to Stop a Neutered Cat From Spraying

There's nothing more frustrating than a house cat who sprays. And it's not just neutered male cats who spray. Spayed females do, too. While humans find this behavior maddening and offensive, the cat considers it perfectly normal. Neutered cats spray because they're stressed, and anointing a wall or piece of furniture with the scent of their own urine reassures them. Here are some ways to relieve a neutered cat's stress and prevent spraying.

Use Comfort Zone diffusers. The Feliway in Comfort Zone mimics the "friendly" scent in a cat's cheeks and makes her think it's unnecessary to mark her territory. Put a diffuser in every room where your cat spends a lot of time. Most pet supply stores sell Comfort Zone diffusers.

Spray Feliway in places where the cat is spraying or put mounds of catnip in those areas. Catnip, too, is a friendly scent. Like Feliway, it will make your cat think it's unnecessary to spray. You'll find Feliway at most pet supply stores.

Provide high perches and low hiding places in multicat families. Cats like to arrange themselves vertically. In homes where there are many cats, high perches and floor-to-ceiling cat trees can help resolve the space issues that cause spraying.

Give indoor cats some outdoor time. Being outside is a great stress reliever for cats. Consider taking your indoor cat out on a harness and leash, building an outdoor enclosure or inviting him to join you on the deck or in the garden. As long as you're outside, the cat will probably stay right with you even if he's not on a leash.

Chase away intruders. Outside cats visiting the yard or deck can be very stressful for indoor cats and can cause them to spray to defend their territory from "invaders." Be relentless in discouraging outdoor cats from coming into your yard.

Ask your veterinarian for anti-anxiety medication. Some of the drugs used to relieve stress in spraying cats are fluoxetine, diazepam, buspirone and clomipramine. While your cat is on the medication, try to find and relieve the cause of her stress so she won't begin spraying again when she stops taking the medicine.

Try Rescue Remedy. This homeopathic remedy will take the edge off your cat's anxiety and restore his sense of balance and well-being. It causes no side effects and will not make your cat act or feel drugged. Put a couple of drops of the remedy on a fingertip and rub it into the fur on the top of your cat's head between his ears. You can do this several times a day for up to 6 weeks. Most health food stores sell Rescue Remedy.

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ScatMat Strip

Use a ScatMat Strip or other electronic device to keep your cat from getting up on countertops or furniture to spray the wall. When stepped on, the ScatMat responds with a static pulse that is uncomfortable but won't harm your cat.

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Desk-chair mat from Office Depot

Put a vinyl desk-chair mat, cleats up, on the floor in areas where your cat is spraying the wall. The cleats are uncomfortable underfoot, and your cat will not want to walk on them. Although these mats are hard and stiff, it's possible to cut them into strips. You'll find desk chair mats at office supply stores.

If your cat is spraying in the bathtub, leave a couple of inches of water in the tub. The cat won't like getting his feet wet.