How to Solve It: Another normal cat behavior in the wild, spraying is a way of safely communicating to other animals that they’re in the area without being seen. “They’ll often go back to an area they marked and if they notice the scent is weaker, they’ll top it off,” Dr. Colleran says. It’s most common in male unneutered cats, but if the behavior comes out of nowhere, it’s likely a sign that the cat feels threatened, or possibly has a urinary health problem. “One of my clients had a boyfriend who moved in and the cat would mark the man’s stuff -- his shoes, clothes, and the side of the bed he slept on,” says Dr. Colleran.
First, clean the marked surface very well to eliminate all traces of scent so he won’t be stimulated to spray again. Then, look for reasons for spraying. If the threat isn’t in the house, Dr. Carney suggests looking outside the windows -- there may be an animal or other cat in the yard coming too close for comfort. Another possibility is that the litter box isn’t clean enough, or is shared by other cats. “If the cat can’t detect its own scent of urine, it may put it elsewhere,” she says.