Cat is leaving his mark on new home
We just moved to a new home, and my cat Jake has started spraying, which he never did before. Why?
Answer: If Jake was not a sprayer before, the move was probably traumatic. Cats are creatures of habit. The ones most likely to spray are nervous, intact males. So get him neutered if he isn't already. This will also help reduce the strength of the odor.
It's important to understand that Jake is not angry with you. His actions aren't personal. Just as you are decorating and arranging furniture to place your mark on your new home, Jake is marking his territory so he feels more at home.
Q: What can I do about it?
A: If you punish him or raise your voice, it will only make him more nervous. Instead, confine him to a small room and grant him access to more of the house as he gains his confidence and earns your trust. Spend lots of time with him and establish a steady routine. Always ensure he has easy access to his litter box and fresh litter.
There are good products on the market to help you. Anti-Icky Poo is an enzymatic cleaner for urine removal and is available at the Hawaiian Humane Society. Feliway is a pheromone-based product that deters marking behavior in areas you designate.
Q: What's the difference between spraying and marking?
A: Spraying and marking are really the same. The terms just reference different body positions. Spraying is when a cat backs up to a vertical surface such as a wall. Marking happens when a cat squats and urinates on something horizontal such as a bed or a floor.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.