How to Stop a Cat Spraying Indoors: Vet Shares 11 Solutions


Jul 22, 2023
How to Stop a Cat Spraying Indoors: Vet Shares 11 Solutions
Although this article has been written by a veterinarian and is based on scientific research and expert knowledge, it is intended for informational purposes only. It does not replace consulting your own veterinarian and establishing a patient-doctor relationship. To support our efforts, this site contains affiliate links to products we recommend and find helpful, which may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more.
Table of Contents


Cat spraying, also known as urine marking, is a common problem that can frustrate owners. It is upsetting when your home smells like cat urine, and it's tiring and expensive to clean and replace items continuously. 

This article is written by a veterinarian and will help you understand exactly how to stop a cat spraying, which is vital for the well-being and harmony of the household.

Topics that are covered include: 

  • The signs of cat spraying
  • The reasons cats spray
  • Tips to find out which cat is spraying
  • Why you shouldn't punish your cat
  • 11 solutions to eliminate your cat's need to spray urine
  • 5 deterrents to discourage your cat from spraying

In this article, 'neutered' refers to a cat who has been castrated (male-specific term) or spayed (female-specific term), also known as 'fixed'. 'Intact' refers to a cat who has not been castrated or spayed, also known as 'entire'.

What Are the Signs of Cat Spraying?

Spraying, also known as marking, is when a cat directs a backward stream of urine onto a vertical (upright) surface, such as a wall, piece of furniture, or door. The signs of cat spraying are:

  • Standing up
  • Backing up to the surface they want to spray
  • An upright and quivering tail 
  • An arched back
  • Treading with their back feet
  • Afterward, they walk away without sniffing or covering the urine

Video: A Cat Spraying (Urine Marking)

Why Do Cats Spray?

Cats spray to leave urine in the environment, which serves as a chemical message for other cats, allowing them to communicate without coming into close contact and avoiding unnecessary confrontations. When another cat finds the urine, they will sniff it and gather information about the cat who left the urine. There are various reasons that cats spray urine, including mating and territorial behavior, stress and anxiety, and, less commonly, due to medical reasons.

1. Mating Behaviour

Spraying urine helps intact cats attract a mate. Intact male cats spray the most, but intact females also spray, especially when in heat.     

2. Territorial Marking

It is speculated that both female and male cats use urine to mark throughout their territory to indicate their presence and avoid unexpected meetings with other cats. 

3. Stress and Anxiety

The most common reason for a neutered cat to start spraying indoors is because of underlying stress and anxiety, often triggered by an event that caused them to feel unsafe, insecure, or threatened in their core territory (the safe zone where they eat, sleep, and play). The source of the stress could be:

  • A conflict with another cat (inside or outside the home)
  • Forcing cats to share space or resources, such as scratching posts, litter boxes, bowls, and resting areas, which creates competition
  • A new pet, person, or item in the house
  • Any change to their environment, such as moving house or redecorating 
  • Any change to their routine, such as an owner traveling or changing their work schedule

The most commonly mentioned causative factors for urine marking are conflicts with other cats outside or inside the home. - Pryor et al. (2001)

4. Medical Issues

Certain medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections, hyperthyroidism, or hormone exposure, can cause cats to spray urine. Although it is important to always rule out underlying medical conditions by consulting a veterinarian, medical causes of urine spraying are less common than behavioral causes.1 

Spraying is a normal behavior for intact cats but becomes problematic when neutered cats spray indoors. The issue should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent the behavior from becoming a habit.

The key to stopping spraying is understanding what has triggered the behavior so that appropriate solutions can be implemented. For a more in-depth exploration into the reasons why male, female, and neutered cats spray urine, read Why Do Cats Spray?

Is Spraying the Same as Peeing?

Peeing and spraying are not the same behavior. Whereas spraying serves as a form of communication, peeing is when a cat squats to empty their bladder, and is the physiological process of eliminating excess water and waste from the body. Cats may start peeing outside their litter box, usually because they don't like their litter box set up or due to a medical condition.

It is essential to distinguish between spraying and peeing outside the litter box, as the solutions for these issues differ. In some cases, the behaviors can be difficult to differentiate because there are cats who pee standing up and others who spray squatting. Also, you may have only found the urine and didn't catch your cat in the act. For further advice on how to tell these two behaviors apart, read Is My Cat Spraying or Peeing Outside the Litter Box?

Is Spray the Same as Cat Urine?

Whether a cat sprays or pees, they are depositing urine, which is yellow in color with an ammonia-like smell. Some owners report that sprayed urine is more pungent, but this may be because the cat did not have a full bladder at the time of spraying, and the urine is more concentrated. It has also been suggested but not proven that sprayed urine contains additional anal gland secretions. 

Tomcat (intact male) urine smells particularly strong, whether sprayed or peed, partly due to high levels of an amino acid called felinine. The higher a male cat's testosterone level, the more felinine is present in their urine.2

How a cat looks when peeing vs spraying - signs
Cats usually squat to pee and stand to spray, however, some cats may pee standing up or spray squatting.

Identifying Which Cat Is Spraying in the House

Since females, as well as males, and cats of all ages (from around 6 months onwards) can start spraying, don't assume it must be the male, not the female, or the younger, not the older, cat who has started spraying in the house. Additionally, spraying cats usually continue to use the litter tray for peeing, making it unreliable to rely on litter box usage as an indicator of which cat is responsible. 

If you have an unsecured cat flap, an outside cat could also be coming into the home and spraying.  

When there is more than one cat in the house, and it's questionable exactly who is spraying, motion-activated pet cameras, such as the affordable Wansview Wireless Pet Camera with Night Vision, can be set up in the locations you tend to find urine marks. You may also capture the stressful event that triggered your cat to spray urine.

Wansview Wireless Pet Camera

Wansview Wireless Pet Camera

  • Motion-activated pet camera
  • Easily monitor your cats at home
  • Find out who is spraying
  • Sometimes the trigger can be captured too

Punishment Won't Stop A Cat Spraying

Punishment for spraying, whether verbal or physical, will add to your cat's stress and loss of perceived safety, further exacerbating the issue. Punishment will also damage your bond and may lead to urine marking in more hidden locations. 

Cats do not spray urine to upset you, out of spite, or only for attention. There is always an underlying behavioral or medical issue that needs to be addressed. 

Cat Spraying Solutions: 11 Ways to Eliminate Your Cat's Need to Urine Mark

To stop your cat from spraying urine in the home, you must identify and eliminate the underlying cause of urine marking by modifying their behavior and environment so they no longer feel the need to spray.

Vet Visit

Always consult with a veterinarian to rule out medical causes of urine spraying. A urinalysis may be performed and, depending on your cat's history and physical exam findings, additional screening tests include bloodwork and imaging.

1. Neuter Your Cat

Schedule your cat for their neutering procedure with your veterinarian if they are not castrated or spayed.

Neutering dramatically reduces spraying behavior. However, 10% of castrated males and 5% of spayed females may still spray urine.3 The majority of cats will stop spraying once they have been neutered, but it is also possible for a neutered cat to start spraying later in life, even if they never did so before being fixed.

2. Get Rid of All Cat Spray Odor

Since cats spray urine to leave important chemical messages for other cats, they will respray to top up their mark as the smell starts to fade. To prevent cats from respraying an area, all traces of the odor must be removed entirely, and the most effective way to achieve this is with an enzyme cleaner. The enzymes break down and permanently remove the source of the odor rather than just temporarily covering it up.

We highly recommend the enzyme cleaners Anti-Icky-Poo Odor Remover by Mister Max and Cat Extreme Stain and Odour Remover by Simple Solution, as we have found these products to work the best. All urine marks can be found throughout the home using a UV light, such as the Simple Solutions Urine Detector.

For further information, read The Best Cleaning Technique to Get Rid of Cat Spray Smell

Cat urine glowing fluorescing under UV light
Use a UV light to find all the urine and an enzyme cleaner to remove all the odor.

3. Resolve Conflict Between Cats in the Same Household

Conflict between cats creates stress, tension, and a feeling of insecurity in the core territory, the place where cats eat, sleep, and play, and should feel safe. If territorial issues between cats in the same home has led to spraying, resolving conflict and creating a more harmonious home is key to stopping spraying. 

Unfortunately, not all cats are going to get along. Also, some cats may have gotten along when young, but once behaviourally mature, they may resent sharing a territory and resources. There may also have been a trigger for the breakdown in the relationship, such as a cat returning from a veterinary clinic smelling different, or redirecting frustrations onto their feline housemate that are caused by a separate distressing event, such as seeing an intruder cat outside. Medical causes, such as not wanting to interact due to dental or arthritic pain, should also be ruled out by your veterinarian.

Observe your cats and look for certain behaviors that will help determine if they get along well and are part of the same social group, or if there is subtle or obvious tension between them. 

Signs your cats get along well:

  • Groom each other
  • Greet each other with their tails up and sometimes a chirp
  • Rub their chin, cheeks, or body on each other
  • Sleep and resting with their bodies touching
  • Relaxed while nose touching

Cats getting on well

Subtle signs of tension include:

  • Staring at each other 
  • Tails swishing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Ears back or flattened
  • Hiding
  • Keeping distance
  • Running away
  • Looking down or away to avoid eye contact
  • Blocking access to a resource or area, such as sitting next to the litter box, a doorway, or in front of the stairs
  • Forcing one cat to move from where they were resting or eating
  • One cat may need to sneak around to access the food 
  • Cats may lay near each other but not touching 

Subtle signs of tension between two cats

Obvious signs of tension include:

  • Chasing
  • Hissing
  • Growling
  • Yowling
  • Spitting
  • Biting
  • Swiping and scratching
  • Posturing, such as arching their back and presenting their side 
  • Piloerection (hairs stand on end, and they look puffed up)
  • Physically fighting with their claws out
  • May find clumps of hair indicating a fight took place 

Obvious aggression between two cats

Although all cats may have an occasional conflict, if the majority of the time you notice signs that they get along well, they are part of the same social group. However, if you commonly see subtle or obvious signs of tension, measures need to be taken to reduce conflict and stress in the home.

As well as following the steps below, it's also advisable to speak to a veterinary behaviorist, who can assess your home and observe your cats in order to create a custom behavior modification plan.  

  • Multiple resources. Plenty of resources must be provided within the home, including food and water bowls, litter boxes, scratching posts, and areas for sleeping, hiding, and resting. Multiple resources are preferred to avoid competition and unpleasant interactions, such as being ambushed while going to the toilet, being prevented from accessing food, or being forced to leave a resting spot.
  • One resource per cat + one rule. A helpful rule of thumb for each resource is to provide at least one per cat plus an extra one to reduce competition. If space is limited, provide at least one resource per social group plus an extra one. 
  • Spread resources out. All resources should be spread throughout the house so each cat can easily and safely access them. Ideally, provide each cat with their own set of resources in separate areas of the home, which helps create a sense of ownership and security.
  • Avoid cats getting cornered. To avoid a cat becoming trapped or forced into close contact with another, there should be more than one exit/entry point to a resource or key area.
  • Elevated platforms. Making use of the vertical space, such as by installing cat shelves (with more than one escape route) or providing cat trees, may help cats avoid each other if needed. They also function as lookout areas where a cat can view their surroundings, which increases their sense of security.
  • Alone time. Some cats benefit from having time alone, where they are not bothered by other cats. If one cat is bullied, install a microchip-activated cat flap, such as the SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap, on a door to a room that only they can access. Their separate space should contain a food and water bowl, litter box, scratching post, and places to rest and hide.
  • Separate feeding stations. Cats will often eat next to each other if forced to, but they are naturally solitary hunters and feeders. Being forced to eat next to a cat they don't get along with can be stressful. Therefore, prepare the food in the kitchen without your cats present, to avoid creating tension, and then feed them in separate areas. 
  • Quality time with all your cats. Even if you feel upset with one cat because they spray urine or instigate fights, it's important to spend equal amounts of quality time with each cat and have consistent and positive daily interactions.  
  • Physical and mental activities. Provide plenty of opportunities for physical and mental stimulation. Regular playtime with fishing rod-type toys, such as Da Bird, that bring out their inner hunter will keep them physically stimulated, and help them release their frustrations and aggressions. There should also be cat trees and shelves throughout the home to encourage exercise. Providing food in puzzles, such as Trixie Puzzle Feeders for Cats, will help keep them mentally stimulated.
  • Reward positive behavior. Provide positive reinforcement by rewarding your cats with praise or treats when they are near each other and relaxed. As well as reinforcing calm and peaceful behavior, it will help your cats create a positive association with one another. 
  • Pheromone Diffusers. Use a Feliway Optimum diffuser on each floor of your house, which releases a complex of calming pheromones, helping to create a sense of harmony between cats and reduce aggression.4
  • Bells on collars. A bell on a quick-release collar, such as our favorite Rogz Glow in the Dark Cat Collars, either on all your cats or only the one that instigates fights, may allow your cats to avoid each other, minimizing conflict and tension in the home.  
  • Separation. If cats are actively fighting, they may need to be temporarily or permanently separated in different parts of their house, ensuring they each have their own set of resources. As well as for their safety, spraying behavior may stop if competition for resources is eliminated. If you choose to reintroduce them, it must be done gradually (read How to Reintroduce Cats After a Fight).

How to reintroduce cats after a fight

4. Resolve Conflict Between Your Cat and Outside Cats

One of the most common reasons a neutered male or female cat starts spraying urine indoors is because an intruder cat is causing them to feel anxious and insecure. For example, a stray cat or the neighbor's cat may be coming into your garden or, in some cases, into your home. In response to the threat from outside, you may notice your cat is leaving urine marks by doors, cat flaps, and windows. 

Outside cat staring at a cat inside

There are measures you can put into place to keep cats off your property and also prevent your indoor cat from seeing cats outside. 

  • Motion-activated sprinklers. Use a motion-activated water sprinkler in your yard, such as the Orbit Yard Enforcer, to humanely scare away unwanted cat visitors.
  • Fence extension. If cats enter your garden by jumping over the fence, extend the height using extension posts with wire mesh, lattice panels, or a trellis. The extension should be too thin or uncomfortable for a cat to be able to sit on top. If they enter underneath your fence, block access using a Garden Fence Animal Barrier. However, these techniques will only be effective if there are no other ways into your yard. 
  • Specialized cat-proof fencing. Fencing designed to keep your cats inside the garden, such as Oscillot, will allow your cats to enjoy the safety of your garden without escaping. Although it may not prevent other cats from getting in, usually, they will not return once they realize they can't get out again until someone releases them.
  • Provide hiding and lookout areas. If your cats go into the garden, provide bushes, garden furniture, and outdoor cat trees, so they have places to hide and get up high, helping increase their sense of safety and security. 
  • Deter outside cats from watching. If there are certain areas where outside cats sit and stare at your cats, such as on the wall or a window sill, try placing spikey Cat Scat Mats to prevent them from sitting there. Trellis can also be placed on the wall.  
  • Don't feed strays. If you feed stray cats in your garden, provide them with food elsewhere. 
  • Remove bird feeders. Removing wildlife feeders may be necessary since they attract cats into your garden.
  • Microchip-activated cat flap. If you have a cat flap that non-resident cats use to enter your home, switch it to a microchip-activated cat flap, such as the SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap, that will only allow access to your cats. 
  • Cover windows and glass doors. In the rooms where cats can be seen outside, close blinds or curtains. Alternatively, use Frosted Glass Window Film, which blocks your cat from seeing outside while still letting natural light into the room. 
  • Place resources away from windows. Move resting areas, water bowls, food bowls, and litter trays away from windows and glass doors, so they don't feel threatened while eating, sleeping, and toileting. 

Recommended to Reduce Conflict With Outside Cats



Orbit Motion-Activated Sprinkler

  • Sprays water when motion is detected
  • A highly effective and non-harmful way to keep intruder cats out of your garden
  • Can be set to day-only, night-only, or 24 hours
View on Amazon


Frosted Glass Window Film

  • A frosted film that adheres to windows via a super static cling
  • An effective, affordable, and simple way to stop your cat from seeing cats outside
  • Lets natural light into the home
View on Amazon


Animal Barrier Fence

  • Thick metal wire fencing that's hammered into the ground
  • Easily block cats from entering under your fence
View on Amazon


Scat Mat for Cats

  • Spikey mats that are uncomfortable but not painful when stepped on
  • Place them on a wall or window sill to stop cats sitting and staring from outside
View on Amazon


SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap

  • Selective entry only to cats whose microchip has been registered with the cat flap
  • Creates a safe space in your home by making sure intruder cats can't enter
View on AmazonView on Chewy

5. Create the Perfect Litter Box Set Up

Litter box issues can cause spraying. For example, a dirty litter box can create anxiety for a cat, resulting in spraying behavior. In addition, if multiple cats are forced to share a litter box, spraying may occur due to stress if one cat is prevented from accessing the litter box because another cat is able to guard the single box. Also, spraying may occur due to territorial behavior since there is competition for resources.

A study found that improving litter box hygiene, which involved scooping waste from the litter box daily, cleaning the box and replacing the litter weekly, and cleaning sprayed urine marks in the home with an enzyme cleaner, reduced the frequency of spraying by over 50% in some cats.

To help stop your cat from spraying urine in the home, create the ideal litter box setup, which includes the following: 

If a cat always sprays in the same location, some owners will create acceptable 'spraying stations'. For example, at the site their cat always sprays, they may lean a litter box against the wall or place a litter box with high sides to contain the urine. Large, high-sided plastic storage boxes can also be used as litter boxes with an entrance cut on one side. 

Recommended High-Sided Litter Boxes

Richell High Wall Cat Litter

Richell High Wall Cat Litter

Richell High Wall Cat Litter

  • Has a height of 12.5 inches to contain urine spray
  • No gaps or joinings for sprayed urine to leak out off
  • Roomy and spacious to help your cat feel comfortable
  • The grated step helps reduce tracking
  • Includes an attachable scoop
  • Made in the USA and comes in black, pink, and cream
View on AmazonView on Chewy
Doggy Bathroom Litter Box

Doggy Bathroom Litter Box

Doggy Bathroom Litter Box

  • Designed for puppy indoor potty training but can also be used as a cat litter tray
  • Has a height of 16 inches to contain urine spray (even for taller cats)
  • Spacious inside to help your cat feel comfortable
  • Clips can be used to secure pee pads vertically, so cleaning is easier
  • Available in grey, navy, and pink
View on Amazon
Cat Litter Box Pee Shields

Cat Litter Box Pee Shields

Cat Litter Box Pee Shields

  • Can be attached to any open-top litter box to help contain urine
  • They are 11.5 inches tall and will significantly extend the height of the litter box
  • Flexible and easy to attach via velcro adhesive strips
  • Easy to detach for cleaning
View on AmazonView on Walmart
IRIS 132 Quart Plastic Storage Container

IRIS 132 Quart Plastic Storage Container

IRIS 132 Quart Storage Container

  • Can be converted into the perfect litter box by leaving the lid off or cutting a low entrance on one side
  • The entrance can be cut by using a dremel and smoothing the edges with sandpaper
  • Has a height of 17 inches to catch any sprayed urine
  • Is spacious inside to ensure your cat feels comfortable
  • Made in the USA
View on AmazonView on Walmart

Plastic storage box used as a cat litter tray
Kindly given permission to use by Fundamentally Feline
A plastic storage container used as a litter box, which cats tend to prefer for toileting due to the large size, and they can also be placed where your cat sprays to contain the urine.

6. Minimise New and Changing Smells

Changes in smell can cause a cat to urine mark as they want the home to smell familiar, which is comforting for them and helps them feel safer. To help stop your cat spraying urine, try to maintain a constant scent profile in the home. For example: 

  • Leave prams and bikes outside.
  • Place gym bags containing dirty clothes out of reach.
  • Do not leave shopping bags or delivery boxes out, and immediately place items away.
  • Keep coats and shoes in a cupboard. 
  • Delay purchasing new furniture until urine spraying is well managed, or rub a cloth on your cat's cheeks and chin and then rub it onto the new furniture at cat-head-height, so it smells familiar. 
  • If you have been interacting with other cats or animals, wash your hands and change your clothes before coming home. 
  • Reduce the use of air fresheners and scented candles. 

Gym bags containing dirty clothes are common items for cats to urine spray

7. Create a Positive and Enriched Environment

Since stress is the most common reason indoor neutered cats start spraying, creating a positive, safe environment will help stop spraying behavior by reducing anxiety and helping to build your cat's confidence. Consider the following suggestions: 

  • Create a consistent and stable environment with a predictable routine. 
  • If your cat enjoys being groomed, have daily scheduled pampering sessions. 
  • Create safe areas where your cat can hide or rest without being disturbed, including up-high areas. 
  • Keep your cat mentally stimulated by providing puzzle feeders, creating obstacle courses, or teaching them clicker training. 
  • Keep your cat physically active by providing cat shelves, cat trees, and outdoor enclosures.
  • Have daily interactive playtime sessions that encourage hunting behavior by using fishing rod-type toys. 

Recommended for Enrichment



Trixie Activity Fun Board

  • Five games in one
  • Can be used with wet and dry food
  • Provides mental stimulation
  • Dishwasher-safe
View on AmazonView on Chewy


Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder

  • Place their food inside the mice and hide them throughout the house
  • Encourages natural hunting behaviors
  • Increases exercise
  • Prevents boredom
View on AmazonView on Chewy
Da Bird

Da Bird

Da Bird Handmade Feather Toy

  • Handmade fishing rod-style toy
  • High-quality and durable (mine hasn't broken, unlike others)
  • Sounds and moves like a real bird, which is irresistible to cats
  • Swish it in the air and along the floor to encourage hunting behavior
View on AmazonView on Walmart


Cat School Clicker Training Kit

  • Contains all the tools you need to start clicker training your cat
  • Teach them to fist bump, jump, weave through your legs, and much more!
  • Provides mental and physical stimulation
  • It's fun and an excellent bonding experience
View on Amazon


Kitty Holster Harness

  • Easy to put on but difficult for your cat to get out of
  • Made from soft cotton and comfortable to wear
  • Let your cat acclimate to the harness in the house, then gradually progress to the garden, the park, and even hikes!
View on AmazonView on Chewy

8. Encourage Other Marking Behaviours

As well as marking with urine, cats also mark via scratching, using scent glands on their paws, and facial rubbing, using scents glands on their cheeks and chin. By encouraging these calmer and preferable marking behaviors instead, a cat may stop urine spraying.

After cleaning the urine and once the area is dry, place a sisal post or cardboard pad at the target site to encourage scratching, or a Cheek-Rubbing Comb to encourage facial marking. 

Recommended to Encourage Other Marking Behaviors

Amazon Basics Tall Cat Scratching Post

Amazon Basics Tall Cat Scratching Post

Amazon Basics Tall Scratching Post

  • High-quality and affordable
  • Tall and sturdy, which cats love so they can stretch up and scratch without wobbling
  • Place it in the area your cat usually marks with urine to encourage scratching instead
View on Amazon
Kitty City Scratcher Pads

Kitty City Scratcher Pads

Kitty City Scratcher Pads

  • Flat pad recycled cardboard scratchers
  • Excellent value pack of 3 that can be flipped over once worn
  • Place them in areas your cat normally sprays to encourage scratching behavior instead
View on AmazonView on Walmart
Yuntop Self-Grooming Comb

Yuntop Self-Grooming Comb

Self-Grooming Comb

  • ‍If your cat sprays near a corner, place a self-grooming comb there
  • May help encourage your cat to mark with their cheek and chin glands rather than urine
View on AmazonView on Walmart

9. Calming Pheromones

Feliway Classic spray is a synthetic version of the feline facial pheromone that cats deposit when they facial mark, also known as bunting, which is when they feel comfortable and relaxed and rub their chin and cheek glands on a surface to leave their scent, marking it as familiar and secure.

Once an area has been cleaned and is dry, apply Feliway Classic Spray every 24 hours for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. When your cat smells the facial pheromones, reassuring them the area is safe, their need to urine mark should be reduced. Other prominent places in the house can also be sprayed to help create a calm environment. If a reduction in urine spraying is observed, it can be continued long-term. Several studies6, 7, 8 have found a significant decrease in urine marking when cats are exposed to feline facial pheromones.

Another option is the Feliway Optimum Diffuser, which releases a complex of calming feline pheromones into the environment, creating a sense of serenity and security to help reduce spraying behavior.9 Place them in the room where your cats spend most of their time.

Recommended Calming Pheromones

Feliway Classic Pheromone Spray

Feliway Classic Pheromone Spray

Feliway Classic Pheromone Spray

  • Contains a synthetic feline facial pheromone that cats deposit when they rub their face on a surface to mark it as safe and secure
  • Facial marking is a relaxed form of marking, unlike urine marking, which is normally due to stress and anxiety
  • After cleaning, spray the target area every 24 hours to help your cat feel relaxed and reduce their need to urine mark
View on AmazonView on Chewy
Feliway Optimum Pheromone Diffuser

Feliway Optimum Pheromone Diffuser

Feliway Optimum Pheromone Diffuser

  • A plugin diffuser that releases a complex of calming pheromones
  • Place it in the room where your cats spend most of their time
  • Promotes relaxation and reduces stress
  • Helps to reduce tension and conflicts between cats
View on AmazonView on Chewy

10. Calming Supplements

To help stop your cat spraying urine, calming supplements can be used to reduce anxiety and stress. However, they should be used for additional emotional support and not the sole treatment for urine spraying. 

  • Zylkene: contains alpha-casozepine, a peptide derived from milk protein, with calming properties.10 The capsules can be opened and mixed with a small amount of wet food or an irresistible treat, such as Churu Lickable Purée Treats.
  • Anxitane: palatable chewable tablets that many cats take like treats. They contain L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, that promotes relaxation.11
  • Purina Calming Care: contains the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium longum (BL999), which has been shown to help maintain calm behavior, likely due to influencing the gut-brain axis (communication between the gut and the central nervous system).12
  • Royal Canin Calm Cat Food: contains tryptophan, a precursor for serotonin, which promotes a feeling of well-being.13

Recommended Calming Supplements




  • A capsule that can be opened and mixed with food
  • Contains a calming peptide derived from milk protein
View on AmazonView on Chewy



  • Chewable tablets
  • Contains a calming amino acid derived from green tea
View on Amazon
Purina Pro Plan Calming Care

Purina Pro Plan Calming Care

Purina Pro Plan Calming Care

  • Powder supplement
  • Contains a calming probiotic, which is a healthy bacteria
View on AmazonView on Chewy
Royal Canin Calm Cat Food

Royal Canin Calm Cat Food

Royal Canin Calm Cat Food

  • A tasty chicken-flavored calming diet
  • Contains hydrolyzed milk protein and L-tryptophan to promote relaxation
View on AmazonView on Chewy

11. Medications

Anti-anxiety drugs can help stop cats spraying urine if the cause of the behavior is stress. However, medications should always be used alongside behavioral interventions, such as reducing conflict between cats and creating a positive environment.  

Fluoxetine (Prozac) is one of the most commonly used medications. Some cats have a considerable reduction in urine marking frequency within 2 weeks, although others may take longer to respond (6-8 weeks), and the main reported side-effect is decreased food intake.14 

If fluoxetine effectively stops spraying, it is usually continued for an additional 2-3 months. Cats may then be slowly weaned off the medication, but if the spraying behavior returns, it may be continued long-term at the lowest effective dose. Always follow the advice of your veterinarian when medicating your cat.   

Bloodwork (kidney and liver function) may be checked before starting fluoxetine and monitored every six months or so if used long-term. 

It's important that medicating your cat doesn't cause additional stress. Therefore, to administer medication stress-free, hide tablets in Greenies Feline Pill Pockets or Churu Lickable Purée Treats. Always check with your vet first that a medication can be given with food.

Recommended for Hiding Medications

Greenies Pill Pockets

Greenies Pill Pockets

Greenies Pill Pockets

  • Tasty treats that come in 4 flavors
  • Place the pill or capsule inside the pocket and pinch to close
  • They make giving pills to your cat a breeze, with no more stress and struggling, and instead a happy cat with a tasty treat, unaware they have just taken their medication
  • Made with natural ingredients plus minerals and trace nutrient
View on AmazonView on Chewy
Churu Lickable Treats for Skin and Coat

Churu Lickable Treats for Skin and Coat

Churu Lickable Treats for Skin and Coat

  • Irresistible treats that are perfect for disguising medications
  • Made with real chicken and tuna
  • Packed with omega-3 fatty acids for skin, coat, and joint health
  • Improves hydration
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Empty Pill Capsules

Empty Pill Capsules

Empty Pill Capsules

  • Used to prevent your cat from tasting bitter medications, making it easier to hide in food or place towards the back of their throat
  • Size 4 is recommended unless you have a very small amount of medication (select size 5)
  • Can also be used to combine multiple medications into 1 capsule (select size 3), but always check with your vet first if the medications can be combined
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Cat Spraying Deterrents: 5 Ways to Discourage Urine Marking Behavior

Deterrents can play a role in helping to stop your cat from spraying urine but should always be used in conjunction with addressing the underlying cause of spraying by implementing behavior and environmental modifications that eliminate your cat's need to spray. Using deterrents alone is not a guaranteed solution, as making the areas aversive may only lead to your cat finding another location to mark. In addition, since urine spraying is often the result of stress or anxiety, deterrents that cause fear are not recommended as they can worsen the behavior.

1. Place Other Cat Items in the Target Area

Cats are less likely to spray urine where they eat, sleep, scratch and play. Therefore, after thoroughly cleaning the urine, change the function of the target area by placing food or water bowls there to create a feeding station. Cat beds, catnip, scratchers, and cat trees can also be used to effectively transform an area. If they spray your sofa or bed, have regular play sessions on top of the spot they mark, ideally with fishing rod-type toys, such as Da Bird or Purrsuit (UK).

2. Block Access

Keep doors closed or use an extra tall baby gate so they can't access the room or area they frequently spray. They may need to be kept out all the time or only during times they are likely to spray. If there is a particular room where outside cats stare through the windows or doors, keep your cat out of that part of the house if possible. 

Tall Baby Gate

Extra Tall Cat Gate by WAOWAO

  • If your cat sprays in one area of your house, prevent access with an extra tall baby gate
  • Over 55 inches (140 cm) tall, which most cats will not be able to jump over
  • Narrow spaces between bars stop most cats from squeezing through
  • Comes in a variety of widths to suit most spaces
  • Sturdy and easy-to-install design
  • Please note if your cat is extremely athletic, it may not be effective

3. Physical Barriers

Cover items or areas in aluminum foil, clingfilm, Leak-Proof Pee Pads, or transparent waterproof vinyl Furniture Protector Transparent Sheets. Not only will they help deter your cat from spraying, but if they do decide to spray, they will help protect the item from urine. 

Recommended Physical Barriers

furniture protectors

furniture protectors

Furniture Protectors

  • Large transparent self-adhesive plastic sheets and optional twist pins
  • Intended to protect furniture from scratching but will also protect it from sprayed urine
  • Easily cut to size and customizable
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Pee Pads

Pee Pads

Amazon Basics Pee Pads

  • Intended for training puppies but can also be used to protect walls and furniture from cat spray
  • Highly absorbable and leak-proof
  • Replace with a new pee pad each time your cat sprays
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4. Scented Deterrents

Cats have a keen sense of smell and find certain odors unpleasant. Placing potpourri at the spot they usually mark or spraying a lemon-scented fragrance every 24 hours may help discourage your cat from marking a particular area. 

5. Motion-Activated Devices

When your cat approaches a motion-activated device, it will emit a sudden noise and spray of air, which will startle your cat and deter them from marking. The device should be placed in strategic locations where they tend to mark and will continue to work even when you are not around.

Many owners have success with motion-activated devices, but they should still be used cautiously since your cat may spray in another location, or marking may increase if the motion-activated device induces fear. As with all deterrents, always use them in conjunction with behavior and environmental modifications that eliminate your cat's need to urine mark.

Motion Activated

PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet Deterrent

  • Place them in areas where your cat sprays urine
  • When your cat is within 3 feet, it releases a quick burst of spray to startle them and deter them from urine marking
  • Odorless and harmless

Monitoring Your Cat's Progress

Recording the frequency of spraying in a journal, before and after implementing a solution, can help determine if it has made a difference or if further adjustments need to be made. Make sure to record the date, time, and location. A UV light, such as the Simple Solutions Urine Detector, will help locate and count urine marks. Keeping a record may also help spot patterns and identify possible spraying triggers.  

Stopping cat spraying behavior often takes time and patience, but if you can look back in your journal and see how far you have come, it can help maintain motivation. 

The longer the spraying behavior has been going on, the longer it will usually take to stop. However, if you are not seeing any improvements after some time, you should consult a veterinary behaviorist for further support.

Is Rehoming an Option?

Rehoming a cat is usually considered a last resort once all other options have been exhausted, including neutering, ruling out medical conditions, implementing solutions and deterrents, and consulting a veterinary behaviorist. 

If a cat continues to spray urine and the underlying cause is likely stress or anxiety, despite your best efforts, it may be necessary to find a more suitable home for your cat. For example, if you have multiple cats in a small space, it may not be possible to provide each cat with their own set of resources, or some cats may just prefer to live alone. Also, some cats spray less if they have outdoor access, while others spray less if only kept indoors. It's a difficult decision to make, but it's essential to consider your cats and your own mental well-being. 

If you decide to rehome your cat, find a reputable rescue organization or shelter that can provide a loving and safe environment, or consider rehoming to a friend or family member. 

Key Points: How to Stop Spraying Behavior

  • Spraying, or urine marking, is a natural behavior in intact cats.
  • It is important to understand the signs to identify if a cat is spraying or peeing in the house, as they are different problem behaviors with different solutions.
  • Causes of spraying include mating behavior, territorial marking, stress, and medical conditions.
  • Punishment will only worsen the problem.
  • The first step to addressing cat spraying is to neuter your cat if they're intact.
  • Managing conflicts between cats and providing a positive and stable environment is important.
  • Effectively cleaning urine odor is vital to reduce the likelihood your cat resprays an area.
  • Calming pheromones, supplements, and medications may also help prevent cat spraying. 
  • Deterrents should be used with care, including blocking access, unpleasant scents, changing the target area's function, and motion-activated devices.
  • Monitoring the frequency of spraying to track your cat's progress and identify triggers is recommended.
  • If spraying continues, consulting a vet behaviorist who has undergone extensive training in pet behavior will be necessary.
  • With understanding, patience, and the right solutions and deterrents, spraying can usually be stopped or significantly reduced. 
  • Rehoming a cat should be considered a last resort, and a vet behaviorist can provide guidance on this decision.


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