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Urine spraying in cats.

A cat sprays happily.Urine spraying is a common behavioral problem for cat owners and sadly it is one of the major reasons owners seek to re-home or euthanase their feline friend. However, what many people do not realize is that urine spraying is a natural behavior for cats used to mark objects and surfaces in their environment. Contrary to popular belief it is not only un-desexed males who spray but it is common natural behavior of both entire and speyed male and female cats. 

How does “urine spraying” differ from normal urination?  

Urine spraying is distinctly different to normal urination. When spraying a cat generally chooses a vertical surface. The cat will then sniff the surface and display a ‘gape’ reaction and knead the ground. It then turns its back to the surface, lifts its tail vertically and sprays a horizontal jet of urine. Occasionally a cat will mark a horizontal surface with a squatting posture. Generally only a small amount of characteristically smelly urine is produced. 

It is important also to be sure your cat is spraying and not urinating inappropriately. For more information on this please speak to your vet.

Why does my cat spray?

There are actually a number of reasons your cat may spray and it can be difficult to identify the exact cause in many cases.

1.Territorial Behaviour:Cats may spray to mark the boundaries of their territory.

2.Sexual-type Marking:Displayed by entire males & females and usually associated with obvious sexual activity.

3.Heirachial Marking:Stimulated by aggression and territory (eg. New cat, bullying).

4.Anxiety:Often stimulated by environmental changes (eg. New furniture)

Important clues to your cat’s behavior…

As an owner there are a few observations you may make at home which can help identify the cause of your cat’s behavior.

-Where and what is your cat marking?

-Is it large volumes of urine or small volumes of urine each time?

-Are there any changes in eating and drinking behavior?

-Does he/she squat or stand when urinating?

-Is it horizontal surfaces or vertical surfaces being marked?

-Have you noticed an increase in vocalization or other behavioral changes?

So your cat is spraying. What now?

As our clients know, we here at East West Vets Bentleigh advocate a natural drug free approach where it is possible. Medications often will prevent clinical signs occurring but do not solve the underlying issue. 

Currently there are 3 conventional methods available to treat urine spraying: 

1.Behaviour therapy:Cleaning of area and placement of litter trays.

2.Drug Therapy:Antidepressants, sedatives/relaxants, hormonal therapy.

3.Surgical desexing:Castration or spey.

In our opinion medication should only be used after a full health assessment by a veterinary practitioner has been made to rule out any underlying diseases which may cause similar signs and the behavior has been evaluated to identify possible causative factors. We can then work with you to make environmental changes aimed and decreasing and eventually stopping the unwanted behavior.

At East West Vets Bentleigh we can provide conventional medications if necessary but we much prefer to treat our feline friends naturally where possible with modalities such as acupuncture, herbs, kinesiology and bush flower essences.