Mon, Oct. 14

Avoiding cat spraying

If you own a cat you may already have experienced your cat spraying items in your home. As you know, it’s not a pleasant experience no matter how you look at it.

This topic was prompted by something funny that happened to me this weekend at my daughter’s house.

My daughter Mistee has three cats and three dogs that all live inside her new house. Not to mention three children.

My husband and I went down to spend the holiday with her and the family and got to know all of the animals better than we ever have.

Early Saturday morning I was petting Marty, her beautiful long haired black and white male cat.

Marty is very loving and constantly sitting on your lap or rubbing against your legs for attention. He has been neutered but it hasn’t lessened his desire to bond.

Mistee and I were talking about getting ready to go in the pool. As Marty continued to rub against my leg, I turned to get my beach towel.

At that point I felt a spray against my legs. I cringed and was totally grossed out. I thought Marty had claimed me as his possession. I was absolutely mortified.

Mistee stood in the kitchen laughing hysterically. Not thinking this event was even a little bit funny I turned to see her with a squirt bottle.

Instead of being sprayed by Marty, when she squirted him to stay off the furniture the water hit me too.

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that haven’t had to deal with this issue yet. Most of us hope we never do.

Maybe your new friend sprays and you are ready to kick him to the curb. Wait! There is hope when it comes to this issue.

Before we get into why this can be happening, let’s talk about why this could be a problem with your furry friend.

Ask yourself the following questions and let’s see what you come up with.

• Have you changed the type of litter you have been using?

• Has your cat been sick recently or is he sick now?

• Daily routines are important, have you changed his?

• Did you just bring home a new baby that needs your attention?

• Have the members of your family changed?

• Is your cat living in a multi-cat household?

• Have you adopted a new furry friend lately?

• Does another animal upset your cat through a window?

• Did you recently move?

• Is another pet harassing your cat?

• Are children teasing your feline friend?

• Have you ignored a dirty litter box?

• Do you have new loud sounds in your home?

• Could someone have scolded your cat in a harsh way?

• Have you moved the litter box to a different location?

If you were able to say yes to any of those questions it may have something to do with the problem you are having. Let’s go over some things before little Tom has to leave.

Have you asked yourself “what exactly is my cat doing?” when he sprays urine on household objects?

When this is going to be done, you normally see your cat back up to a vertical object with his tail quivering.

The next thing you see is him do is spray urine. This is a very annoying problem, but there is hope in getting it solved.

As humans it’s hard to understand that Fluffy isn’t doing this to make you angry, it’s 100 percent of natural behavior in the genes of every cat, wild or tame.

Urine marking or spraying is a not only a sexual form of behavior, it is also social and territorial behavior.

At times when he sprays urine he is “marking his territory” and communicating with other cats that may come close to his area

This is in general a marking problem, not a litter box problem. This is his way of sending a message.

Tom cat usually matures in five to twelve months. This behavior will normally start once they cat reaches sexual maturity, so you have somewhat of a timeline to go by.

Multi-cat homes can have a greater problem with feline spraying due to the fact that cats are very territorial.

One of the most common reasons a cat to be euthanized or turned into a shelter is for urination problems.

Are you wondering if only male cats spray in inappropriate areas? No, females can also have this behavior.

It is more normal for a female cat to exhibit spraying when she is in heat. She is sending her message of being available to the male cats. Stress can also be a cause for spraying.

Males send the same message with their spraying, but also add his boundaries have been set and the area belongs to him.

With a male what, you can see is the tail erect and going back and forth in an upright position in a strange manner.

They normally spray at vertical objects. Just the other day one of our cats that we call “Fluffy” at “Adopt for Life” was walking around the front office.

All of a sudden he did his “tail dance” and sprayed the door. You couldn’t really see the urine come out but on the glass door you could see that a huge amount of spray hit the window.

Of course Fluffy will be neutered as soon as he is adopted, but until then his roaming days are over.

If your male cat is intact and he sprays urine, the very strong odor will be very prevalent in your home. It is not an easy odor to remove, so get the upper hand on this problem immediately.

The urine will have a very characteristic smell of a tom cat. To be truthful, it is one of the most repulsive smells in your home. You will want to get a handle on this problem immediately.

Spaying or neutering your kittens will normally prevent your cat from spraying in the future. Why wait until you already have a fixed habit?

If you don’t get your animal altered until after the habit begins, studies show that between 77 percent and 87 percent of the cats reduced or entirely stopped spraying within six months.

So what you have here is just one more reason to have your animals spayed or neutered at the time your veterinarian recommends.

Many of you have asked what’s coming up next at VVHS and “Adopt for Life” Center for Animals.

The good news is many things that will delight all ages. There is even an even coming up that will feed the hungry.

Stop in at Taco Bell right here in Cottonwood beginning September 13th and for your donation to the animals at VVHS, you will receive a free taco. How fantastic is that?

The next new event we are doing on October 2nd right here at “Adopt for Life” is called “Rescues and Runways.”

Our friends at Maurice’s approached us about a human and animals fashion show. We feel honored that they have chosen us this year.

Maurice’s presents these fashion shows all over the United States to help the homeless animals.

From 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. you will meet animals ready for adoption and see fantastic fall fashions to fit sizes 1-24.

There will be refreshments, raffles and all types of fun. They have already started to celebrate over at the store.

For anyone that may not know, Maurice’s is located in the Fry’s Shopping Center. Stop in and they will fill you in on everything that is happening.

Visit Maurice’s from Sept. 1-30, you will receive a Maurice’s 20-percent off coupon if you give a financial donation or pet supplies for the animals at VVHS.

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