Cat Behavior 101: What is Causing My Cat to Spray and How can I fix it?


This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get when people realize I’ve had an overabundance of feline knowledge and experience following me around. Most people think I can pull a really simple answer out of a hat and solve the problem but really spraying is a pretty complicated issue and can be cause by all sorts of things. Similarly the solution can be simple or complex. Generally speaking though most of these issues can be solved by the owner through the use of various inexpensive methods ranging from a new litter box to a clever use of vinegar. Below are some of the most common reasons cats spray within the household and some of the things you can do to prevent and possibly curb and cure these bad habits. I hope it’ll aid in some people’s search for the answer and perhaps allow some loved ones never to be put in a situation where re-homing becomes the only option. Also if this article fails to help please be aware that a visit to your local vet or feline behaviorist (yes they do exist!) may be all tha's needed to ease your kitty.

Sometimes when cats miss their litter box it can be caused by a UTI or other medical issue.
Sometimes when cats miss their litter box it can be caused by a UTI or other medical issue.

Urinary Tract Infections, Etc

Sometimes bad marking behavior can be medical instead of behavioral.  If a cat uses its box perfectly for years and then suddenly starts slipping up this can be the cause. UTIs are most common in older male cats but can be seen in any cat of any sex and any age.  These afflicted cats will often start to pee in really odd places, with the bathtub, counter, table, or other smooth cool surfaces being their favorite. They may also display other symptoms such as straining to pee, fever, or general changes in normal behavior. If you think this is your cats problem please bring them to the vet ASAP as it can kill them eventually. Most vets will prescribe an antibiotic and will recommend a change in diet to a specially formulated UTI prevention kibble. Please note that these cats must be monitored for the rest of their lives because UTIs can be a chronic occurrence. Also note other ailments may cause a cat to start peeing in odd places as well like kidney stones and general ill health. Please make sure to have your cat checked out before ruling this out.

Feral cats need love too!
Feral cats need love too!

Bad Litterbox Training

This isn’t a terribly common problem but it does crop up every once in a while in cats, usually in re-domesticated ferals, but not always. Bad litter box training can also be blamed on mother cats who teach their offspring their own bad habits. This problem is much easier to prevent then some of the other issues. If you are raising a litter of kittens, whether they be strays or purebreds, please consider caging the whole family for the first month to six weeks of the kitten’s life. The confined space generally ensures the mother will use the litterbox and the kittens will learn proper toilet habits. In an older cat this method can sometimes still be effective by caging the offender for a few weeks while scrubbing down any of their accident spots.  Also please make sure this is the issue at hand as sometimes other problems may really be the cause.

Never underestimate the power of hormones in an unfixed cat! Many a cat owner have learned the hard way that spraying in these individuals can be a hardcore problem.
Never underestimate the power of hormones in an unfixed cat! Many a cat owner have learned the hard way that spraying in these individuals can be a hardcore problem.

Sexual Maturity & Spraying

If you adopt a young male cat and do not intend to breed him please get him neutered before a year of age (with six months being even better still!) Adult unaltered male cats will almost always spray. We have to understand this is how cats have communicated with each other for the entirety of their species' existence. Males will spray in the hopes a female in heat will come by, smell it, and stick around until they find each other. Females going through heat may also do this so please spay and neuter if you don’t want to breed! It’s the best prevention there is. Having said this, if your precocious kitty has already reached this stage in life and is making your house with the smell of their own aroma, there are things you can do to help. First of all get them spayed or neutered. This may stop some all together but more often then not if the scent is still in the house they’ll continue to mark the same spots. Sooo… do a really good scrubbing of all their favorite spots and make sure nothing is left behind. If this does not work try scrubbing it even harder and spraying some vinegar on the spot. Most cats really detest the smell and usually loose interest by avoiding the area. Never fear, the vinegar spray doesn’t have to be a permanent thing if the cat starts behaving itself.

Feral cat marking its territory.
Feral cat marking its territory.

Territorial Spraying

This behavior is most often seen where a cat who lives alone for a number of years suddenly has to deal with the introduction of a new cat. The old cat may accept the newcomer or they may feel threatened and start marking your entire house making it abundantly clear that this turf is theirs and theirs alone. Things can get worse if the new comer decides to challenge the original cat by spraying the same spots in defiance. Again this is better prevented then cured. Before the introduction of a new cat in your house spray the perimeter of your house with FeliWay. This is a product you can get at any pet store, most feed stores, and online. It’s fairly cheap and to the other cats it will smell like the scent of another cat’s head marking (this is when cats rub their heads on things – this is a declaration of ownership!) This should encourage the cats to mark by head rubbing instead of spraying and should ease the tension. If the territory belongs to a phantom cat there will be no dispute between the real cats. Also make sure that there are more litter boxes available when introducing a new cat, and scratching posts are abundant. Scratching is another way of marking territory and given the proper context can be a lot better an option. Finally consider introducing the new cat in a cage. This should ease the new cat (which will feel more comfortable prtected within their cage) and let the old cat get to know them without the stress of throwing them into their already established territory. As the cats get used to each other let the newbie out f the cage into a single room and gradually increase the area of free roam. This should make the territory disputes minimal.

Home-made high-walled litter boxes can work well for messy cats.
Home-made high-walled litter boxes can work well for messy cats.

Messy/Dumb Cats

Cats are generally smart but as in all creatures there’s always a few duds. I’ve had a few cats, both male and female, who would get into their litter box and proceed to back up and pee or poo over the side of it and onto the floor. This really is a genuine accident and not an act of spite so please don’t take it as such. The resolution to the problem is very simple, buy a litter box with high sides. Sometimes these can be hard to find so in a pinch go to Wal-Mart or someplace similar and invest in a properly sized Rubbermaid or dish bin. They work just as well.

Ginchy's a bit on the prissy side... Here she is hugging a baby bunny (which she was utterly convinced was an orphaned kitten!)
Ginchy's a bit on the prissy side... Here she is hugging a baby bunny (which she was utterly convinced was an orphaned kitten!)

Prissy Cats

Some cats will start to use your entire house as a litter box if you don’t keep their litter box to their specifications. Some are so OCD about this they’ll actually make their owner clean the box every day. Keeping the litterbox really clean generally dissuades them from acts of spite so make sure  to try that, and don’t let your own idea of clean and dirty fool you. The cat has his or her own opinion on the matter! Self-cleaning cat boxes may be something to look into for particularly picky cats.

Prepare your pets for seasonal stresses like noisy parades, fireworks, and Halloween pranksters. These can be stressful events.
Prepare your pets for seasonal stresses like noisy parades, fireworks, and Halloween pranksters. These can be stressful events.

Changes in the Enviroment


Cats generally start to spray when they encounter a stressful situation. Sometimes changes in their environment can be a trigger for this. The biggest change in environment would be a move to another location. This could easily stress a cat out. In fact some cats become so used to their environment that they’ll go back to it even in the event of catastrophe. Case in point I knew a lovely couple who had two indoor cats. One day they had the great misfortune to have a house fire that destroyed the whole building. They were able to grab both cats before making their own escape but once outside one of the two leapt out of their owner’s arms in a state of panic and ran back into the burning building where it died. Sad story but it proves a point. When moving to a new location try putting the FeliWay along the perimeters of the house, this is a pheromone that should also calm the cat in a situation like this. Also if your cat is the type to get over stimulated easy make the transition a slow one and consider using a cage for awhile, just as if you were introducing a new cat. Other changes in environment can be the sudden appearance of loud noises (dogs barking outside, repair men working on the sidewalk, etc.) These need to be sorted on continuing basis but it’s always a good idea to leave a cage, crate, or box somewhere the cat really likes to sleep. This will help them feel secure.

Cats can suffer from senility just like people but it is a condition that can be prevented by making sure their brains are always stimulated.
Cats can suffer from senility just like people but it is a condition that can be prevented by making sure their brains are always stimulated.


Senility is one of the hardest issues to deal with in cats. This was my introduction in the world of bad cat behavior when my thirteen year old domestic shorthair started to act a little weird. Over the next year she got progressively worse and stopped responding to her diabetes medication before we had to put her down. One of her odd behavior was pooping in the middle of the floor for no apparent reason. She’d always pee in the litter box but for whatever reason she seemed to get confused while doing number two! We consulted a vet and found out she was just going a little loopy in the head. Senility can’t be cured however it can be prevented! If you have cats of any age please play with them often, give them new toys and new things to explore, and make sure they get exercise and mental stimulation on a frequent basis. This doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor., A new toy could be a box or a ball of tinfoil to bat around the house. Cats who live energetic rich lives are much much less likely to become senile in older age. And if you have one of those fat cats that just likes to laze around and do nothing… consider hiding it’s food in small portions around the house. This will make sure it’s using it’s brain and moving around a bit!

This is Sophra, my precious little Bengal... She looks as if she wouldn't do anything bad - she was also my toughest sprayer!
This is Sophra, my precious little Bengal... She looks as if she wouldn't do anything bad - she was also my toughest sprayer!

Additional Information

Along with intact male cats being the most prominent offenders of indoor spraying some breeds have also garnered this reputation. Hybrid breeds such as Bengals and Savanahs are closer to their wild counterparts and this can make a dormant behavior pop up actively in their genes. Other very domesticated breeds may also have a penchance for bad marking behaviors so please when seeking out the right breed for you make sure to figure this one out. It's much better to start with a low maintenance breed to get enough practice for a high maintenance breed in the future!

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Comments 45 comments

VeronikaProkopetz profile image

VeronikaProkopetz 7 years ago from Trail

Hi Theo This is an excellent article very educational. Like you said, some cats just dumb. One of my kitty is not the brightest in a crayon box. He always walk to a different beat of the drum, even when he was a kitten. Now he is fourteen years old and suffering from temporary senility and IBD. He is skinny as a rake and his on steroid's. Sometimes he looks so confused about his litter box, he forgets where it is. I feel so bad for him. But I do love him just a same. If he wasn't around he would leave a large hole in my life. I have almost lost him twice. Each time, thanks to my Vet he was resusoitated.. I dread the time when I will have to make the decision to let him go.

David Fallon profile image

David Fallon 7 years ago from Pomona, CA

extrememly helpful! I wish I had had this article with my cat Froggy...he sprayed for years and then mysteriously he stopped one day, as if finally seem to understand how horrible we thought his behavior was lol

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 7 years ago from New England Author

That's too bad! I know I wish someone else wrote this article when I was having problems (just about one of each cause. haha) Sounds like Froggy was stressed out about something and reenforcing his territory's boundries. Some cats will do this even when they see/smell a strange cat outside in the yard (through the window for indoor kitties!) Or when they hear dogs barking if they're not used to it, etc. If the stresser goes away sometime sthey stop on their own. Oh well, now you know! :)

angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States

For a kitty litter box, we actually use a tub like the one you have above, but instread of cutting out a slit from the side, we cut a hole in the corner of the cover, and place the side with the hole in the corner. This reduces mess greatly!

Michelle 6 years ago

Help. I am going thru it right now. I think it started when we put a doggy door on our skidding glass door out to the screened in room. I think he saw a cat outside and started spraying in the screened in room. He started spraying in the house. 5 weeks now. We took him last week and the vet stated that he had an inflmmed bladder. I think she gave him a pain meds. We currently have him a basement room with his food on one room and kitty litter in another. We want to get the carpets cleaned before we let him out so he does not smell the urine. We also have another cat that is with him. How long do you suggest we keep him quarentend from the rest of the house? Help!!!! N

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

Hi- This was a great article with all of the right answers--for most cases! ;-) To other readers of this post--yes, he is right--these things usually work!

We just have a weird situation.

We have a small problem with 2 of our tabby cats--one an orange male; one a gray/white/black female. (All 4 kitties are spayed/neutered). The particular orange tabby who is the culprit came to us, injured. We rescued him, had his wound treated & had him 'fixed.' The problem was, he'd been outdoors for we have no idea how long..and the vet said he was approx. 8 months old at that time (2007). So, he'd already developed "the habit."

My problem is, Icannot use vinegar, because their favorite 'accident' spot is IN the litter box. I've caught both of them squatting appropriately, then, halfway through, raise up their butt & let fly out over the top of the box.

It APPEARS deliberate..but, reluctant to use the vinegar, as I do not want to chase them away from litter the boxes entirely!

We have small bathrooms, and our only option is those triangular boxes that fit the corner of the room. Sometimes, the sprayers hit the middle of the floor; more often, it is the wall, or the side of the vanity.

This creates a lingering odor problem that is impossible to clean beyond a good soaking in the product "Urine Gone."

Why? As the house is not new, there was already beginning to be some lifting of the linoleum, so the one box near that, the urine runs down the outside of the tub & gets down under the floor.

On the other side, where they 'get' the wall or vanity, it is wood paneled wall (I know--who puts paneling in a bathroom, for pity sakes??!!), and the other is a woodgrain vanity sink cabinet...of course, made of that cheap composition board garbage, which, when wet, swells up. This errant pee has soaked the bottom of that cupboard, and run down the wall behind the baseboard and hence under the linoleum on that side.

We cannot afford to tear out/replace the cabinet or floors.

So....what to do?? I don't have space for a large tub as in your suggestion. The only sort-of solution I've had is to use packing tape to tape up a sheet of plastic tarp material behind the litter box, in the corner, and draped down into the box, buried under the litter.

It works for a while, but soon enough starts to smell & look disgusting on its own. I have to remove it if guests are coming.

So, mostly, I just try to spray and over-spray the Urine Gone everywhere, and let THAT soak in, hopefully helping some.

That said, there is still an odor that you will notice upon walking in the door if you don't live here and have not grown 'accustomed to it.'

Sigh. ---Sorry for such a long rant as a comment on your article--really meant more as a request for any other suggestions.

Dj 6 years ago

I am wanting to breed my cat but want to know how you keep a male cat in the same home without having to deal with the male cat spraying the house when the female is in heat. HOW DO BREEDERS DO IT!! You mentioned something about a cat room??

CASE1WORKER profile image


My cats are starting to wet- we have just started decorating- it think it is the upset and the paint smell- all the family expect me to sort it- now vet and cat psychiatrist!

Kris Z profile image

Kris Z 5 years ago from New York

Can you neuter an older female cat? I recently (like 3 days ago) rescued an older female cat, about 3 years old, can I still get her neuter?

Suzanne Winfield profile image

Suzanne Winfield 5 years ago from Utah

Thank you for the very informative article. I have dealt with a few of these things in the past - most have been successful thru patience and love. (sometimes thru gritted teeth. lol)

Lori 4 years ago

Hi. We recently took in a cat that we arent sure of is feral or just abandoned. He will let us pet him but that is the extent. We just had him neutered but he has started spraying. I know he is under stress because he is used to being outside but we live in Michigan and winter is cold here. We wanted to give him a better life. Right now he is hiding under the bed where he has been since we brought him home from the vet. What should we do?

TENKAY profile image

TENKAY 4 years ago from Philippines

Thank you for an informative hub. I had a male siamese who was a seasonal sprayer, when the neighborhood lady-cats are in season/heat. Until he died, I was not able to solve the spraying problem. I got a female persian cat (for 3 years now) and thanks God, I have no problem with her, yet. I was able to bred her twice already. I have a big breeding cage (a former parrot cage I bought second hand) where I kept the pair for 3 to 5 days. After the male cat goes home, I let my cat stay inside the house. She goes back to the cage when she has her kittens.

Jen Duncan 4 years ago

I have an 8 yr old male cat. Who has suddenly started to mark the house. He didn't do it after our first daughter was born, didn't when we got a new female kitty, didn't do it when all of a sudden his litter mate was killed by dogs. He literally has started suddenly. we had him checked by the vet, he had a UTI, which we treated with antibiotics. But he still sprays. I am 9mo pregnant, but we have not done any furniture moving, or any huge changes. We have neighbors who just installed an invisible fence for their dogs, and the dogs go nuts any time there is a noise. I assume this could be a trigger for stress. Also, we have 2 new male cats who wonder around our driveway and at times into our back yard. I also assume this could be a stress trigger. How can I help him relax with the barking dogs, and strange cats wandering? He hates dogs! he will attack them if given the chance. How do I get my neighbors dogs and cats to cool it? LOL

anonomyus 4 years ago

Iam considering buying a male cat 2yrs old from a rescue shelter he is uneutred. So my q is if I have neutred will he spray?

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 4 years ago from New England Author

Kris Z: No, you cannot neuter your new cat but you can spay her. Spaying is a good thing to do and it doesn't matter if the cat is already an adult (unless it's super old, then it's rather iffy if it should be bothered with or not but this doesn't seem to be the case with you.)

Dj: Breeders usually have a few methods to keep their cats from doing too much damage. Many breeders cage their males so they don't have to deal with spraying. Personally, though I realize this is the easiest option for the human, I think it might not be the best for the cat. Some other breeders will dedicate one room of their house to their breeding project, keeping the male in there 100% of the time and the female in there to be bred and raise kittens, because kittens can be destructive beasties too. of course the room will get sprayed and damaged but at least it's a smaller area to clean up and maintain control over. Some breeders that only have one male sometimes just let them wander free and hope they don't start spraying. Sometimes they don't, most times they do.

Lori: Do you want this cat to be a housecat and family pet or do you just want to take care of him? Quite frankly you can't blame a cat who has lived it's whole life outside not to understand that peeing in the house isn't OK. After all it's what he was doing when he was roaming around free. Unfortunately he was already an adult when you neutered him so the likelihood of him stopping is pretty small. Many people who take in feral cats will build shelters for them outside and feed them but not necessarily try to bring them in the house, or only do so when supervised or under extreme situations (sub zero weather for example.) At this point he's a semi-wild animal and will probably stay that way in some respects, though by all means with patience he may tame down a bit.

Jen Duncan: I hate to say this but your cat probably is somewhat of an accidental sprayer. First he got the UTI and started peeing in appropriate places to get your attention and now the smell is there so he feels the need to keep refreshing it. My suggestion? Clean the area VERY VERY well and invest in some FeliWay which you can spray in the same spot. It should encourage him to head butt instead of spray. That being said it could also be due to stress... I think one of the best ways to deal with outside stresses like the neighbors dogs is to give him a place he feels safe. You can put a box or a cat tree or somewhere he can cuddle in a quiet dark place of the house so he can retreat there whenever he gets overwhelmed. That's the best I can do for that! Sorry I can't make your neighbor's dogs cooperate more!

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 4 years ago from New England Author

DzyMsLizzy: I am not so sure your cats are marking or are just sloppy. Either way, if you can't use a covered kitty litter box my best suggestion is just to line all the target areas with cardboard, poster board, or cloth and either throw it away every time you clean the box or launder it if you chose cloth. It's not a perfect solution but it does make the mess easier to manage and the smell down a bit. Hope that helps.

bumlifting 3 years ago

My cat was fixed at 4 months and we've had him since he was a baby. He's 3 now, but all his life he's been a butt lifter. Even in a lidded tall box he'd manage to get high enough so it'd leak through and down the side. He's been switched to a regular box in the bathroom. Why?, cuz I'm toilet training him. When he first got his new spot he was peeing IN it, now.3 months later, he's decided to lift. Potty training was going great, till the lift. His box is cleaned daily, and totally scrubbed squeeky clean every week or two. No matter what he'll lift. I've even lightly pushed his bum down while he went, still didn't stop him. I'm gonna take a wild guss and say he's sloopy. Which means i can't toilet train him anymore since i don't want cat piss all over the bathroom. Odd how when in the tall boxes he lifted just the right amount to pee outside the box, once put in a regular he lifts just enough to hit the wall. Every area around his box was swiftly tarped. So am i totally SOL on getting him to stop, and quit the toilet training. Or would putting something around the box that'd make his pee splash back at him fix it?

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 3 years ago from New England Author

Well it could be two things really. Is your cat fixed? Male cats will pee like this when they're marking territory. Unfortunately if he is fixed then it's just a behavior that's ingrained in his routine... I've had a few messy cats (even one that was female, UGH) and I have yet to find anything that teaches them proper toilet techniques. Sorry if that's not the answer you wanted.

bumlifting 3 years ago

"My cat was fixed at 4 months and we've had him since he was a baby".

I guss that introduction i had written wasn't clear on wehter he was fixed or not. Sorry, i'm not very good at writing or spelling. But yes my cat is fixed. My cat was fixed at 4 months. The soonest we could get it done.

:-/ that's kinda what i figgured. He's a messy, i'm going to continue toilet training him anyways. He was soooo close to peeing in the toilet yesterday! He understands the concept of poop and pee goes in there. He'd love watching my hubby pee and he's always had a curiosity of the toilet. He's not afraid of the flushing either, he enjoys watching his poo go down. Hopefully once he does start using the toilet he'll keep his rear down. Thanks anyways.

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 3 years ago from New England Author

Well, I'll wish you the best of luck there! Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

lisa jackson 3 years ago

my male cat has been fixed , two years ago but when he comes for a cuddle he seems to get over excited and sprays , whys this?

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 3 years ago from New England Author

Sounds like your cat is just quirky. I have two cats right now that drool profusely when they're happy. It's a bit gross, as I imagine would be spraying! Sounds like he just looses concentration and control in the moment. I wish I could offer advice that could help with that but I don't think there is anything you can do...

Ro 3 years ago

I have a male cat named Bubba who was left outside our 3 acre home and his Mommy just didn't dome home and he was still very tiny. Of course we took him in but we had so much trouble with him peeing on beds, in laundry baskets, my purses - you name it he pees on it. I called around trying to find him a home and this woman told me I was horrible for not having his urine and kidney's checked yet. My Vet didn't feel it was necessary but he did it any way and some of it had to be sent to Ames, IA to be tested and he was just as the vet knew - he was ok with no medical problems. They have a name for it Ideopathic something and I'd love to find him a very save outdoor farm that has a great set up for the cats and where there are no blacktops around like we have. He's neutered and front declawed but with 4 cats I had to to keep my furniture in one piece. We want to only find this cat a very good home as our grandson lives with us and he's 10 and he l loves this cat and we need to find him a new and better home for him as he and two other females live in the basement and are starting to turn wild. So we feel bad about that from time to time and bring them up and every time that boy finds a place to pee. I live in NE IA - ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEAS FOR ME?

Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 3 years ago from Rural Central Florida

I have a question, :) I have two male cats that I haven't had a chance to fix yet and they have reached sexual maturity, which means if they see each other they fight like.... well... cats and dogs. We keep them separated at the moment to prevent injury and are schedule to get them fixed, but I was wondering if they will stop fighting after they lose their.... sexuality? :) I'm hoping they'll stop spraying too, I'll be cleaning the house with vinegar before they get home!

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 3 years ago from New England Author

Ah well, that's a complicated question Daughter of Maat. Where the two ever living together? Or where they always separate? If they were only recently separated how long has it been?

If the two were raised together you probably have a better shot of a happy reunion, if not then you might have a challenge ahead of you. Either way it is workable. Fix them both, give them both time to heal (1-2 weeks) and then start your reintroduction process. Now I don't know how you have them set up... maybe you have one upstairs, the other down, or perhaps one lives in a closed bedroom... doesn't really matter except it does for reintroduction because at this moment wherever the cat lives it will now consider its territory. This is important to know because now you're probably in the situation where you're introducing the second cat to the first's territory. IF you have a third space in the house neither cat has been (let's say a basement) this neutral territory might be best for this. Otherwise I highly suggest the caging method. I wrote about this before in another hub Caging Cats: When and Why it is Sometimes Necessary (scroll down to the section on introducing new cats.) In the meantime there is a product called Feliway that's great. You can buy at pet stores or feed stores. It's a spray that to humans has no scent but it encourages cats to mark their territory by head rubbing not spraying. You can also use the wet washcloth method where you rub the cats ears yourself with a wet washcloth and then rub that onto whatever marking post you want them to use. It'll transfer their scent in this way and achieves the same thing.

Good luck!

Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 3 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Oh thank you! They were actually raised together, since they are brothers, and never really fought until one of them accidentally had a run in with an unfixed male cat that we were holding to take to the humane society. We recently had to renovate the room the one cat was in, so we've had to essentially use the caging method until their appointment next week. So at the moment, both cats are in the same room, but one is in the crate (a large crate, I try to be as humane as possible) while the other is out, and then we switch them.

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 3 years ago from New England Author

Ah- in that case it's a security issue. The third cat must have really freaked him out. It's a good thing you kept them in the same room together though. That should make it easier on all of you. The Feliway and/or the washcloth should help a lot with security issues and making them feel safe. I do suggest keeping the cage/crate for at least a little while after they're both free together. Serves as a nice safe escape should one cat need it. :)

Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 3 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Awesome, thank you! It was really weird, all of a sudden the third cat went after Seth and they started fighting. We finally got them separated and put the "rescue" cat in a crate until we took him to the humane society the next day. But ever since then, Seth and his brother Osiris have taken to fighting whenever they see each other. And it started real slow, they'd start fighting once in awhile, and then we had to separate them completely because it gradually became whenever they'd see each other. Seth isn't the nicest cat in the world however. He's actually quite a jerk, but I can't help it, I love him anyway lol.

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lilcupcake 2 years ago

I want you to know, that you may have just possibly saved my cats life. months ago she started doing exactly what you said, pooping anywhere but always peeing in the litterbox. I just thought she was being bratty because that's her personality. Lately, she's started falling off of things (such as the back of the chair) while in a dead sleep. That worried me, which lead me here. thank god.

Jenny J 2 years ago

PLEASE HELPPPP!!!! my family went away on vacation 3 days. We adopted two brother cats that are 7 years old they have levied here for almost two years and have always got along fine. One is more timid then the other one. the day we were packing for vacation the more timid cat was acting different like if i put something int the suit case he would run or jump, then left for vacay came home and the more timid ( isay more he really isn't timid he is shyer with new things on the whole he is fine) he starts to pee on everything. My other cat can't stand the sight of him and hisses and wants nothing to do with him. So i serrated them one in the house the cat that's peeing has the garage right now. my husband wants to get rid of the shyer one...i want to FIX this! i feel HELPLESS!

Theophanes profile image

Theophanes 2 years ago from New England Author

Well, I hope this article was of help lilcupcake. Cats rarely do things without reason. I hope you can make amends with your kitty.

Jenny J: Sounds like your cat or cats didn't react well to you leaving for a few days. This isn't as uncommon as you might think. You'll need to scrub down the pissed-on areas really well no matter what you do. After that I strongly suggest you invest in some FeliWay and spray it near the areas he's pissed. This should help calm him. You can also try the wet wash cloth trick. Take a damp rag and rub behind the problem cat's ears and then take the rag and rub spots near where he's pissed that you won't mind him remarking through head rubbing. This will reintroduce his own scent as an owner of the territory and should ease his frazzled nerves. Sounds like your more dominant cat saw the lack of a top cat (you) and decided to try for that position! Happens sometimes... I would strongly recommend these things as well as supervised visits into the house. The longer the cat remains in the garage the worse he'll feel like he's invading on someone else's territory and the worse he'll act up. You might want to consider caging him in-house when you can't supervise him until things settle down. It may take a while. Good luck!

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bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee

Thanks for the lead to this Hub, Theophanes. Very interesting info and I have bookmarked it! Going to Vote Up, too.

Jenny J 2 years ago

Thank you for the insight i really appreciate your help. UPDATE...sadly my indoor cat died suddenly we can't explain it he just died gasping for air, all of our hearts are completely broken :( . Brought the other cat in to comfort my son who was absolutely distraught, even though knowing he could spray again...he did not and he has not for this whole week. its like nothing ever was wrong, now only we don't have our other baby any longer, i wondered if do you think maybe my other cat sensed something was wrong with him like he was sick and this is the reason he was spraying and they didn't get along with one another ?

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Theophanes 2 years ago from New England Author

Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your loss Jenny J. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, these things just happen. I don't think your cats were having problems with each other because of illness - as you didn't mention you noticed any symptoms... Generally once two cats have bonded these things don't effect their behavior towards each other - and two cats that have not bonded will have spats over territory either way. It sounds like your kitty may have just died choking on something or perhaps he had a blot clot in his lung, a brain aneurysm, or maybe he got into something he shouldn't have. Sadly, there are a lot of things that could suddenly kill a cat without prior symptoms. They don't often happen in front of their human so you might not hear people talking about it.... but I am sure some of the cats that appear healthy before disappearing might at least be partially blamed on this.If you need answers call a vet to do a necropsy. I hope you and your son can recover from this experience and maybe in the future the things you have learned here will help any future cats you may have. My thoughts will be with you.

Lorna 2 years ago

Hi pls help we live in Qatar and unfortunately there area many strays in the area. A delightful little chap adopted us about 2 months ago and is making my life hell he only messes in our beds poops and wee's he seems to be doing it deliberately and makes a point of messing in each 4 bedrooms every day. I am really fond of him as he is quite sociable and VERY affectionate

Other strays in the area try coming in but never come up to our bedroom area. Our doors are always open and he loves going outside but insists on messing in our beds HELP

Chris in the UK 2 years ago

I have just had my 1 year old male DSH cat castrated. He has always been excellent in his toilet training. But now since he was castrated 1 week ago he is now toileting everywhere but the litter box. I have 3 cats in total: 2 neutered females who are 2 years old, and this male that is just 1 year old - i adopted him when he was a few months old. they all play and get on really well. but in this last week hes popping in the bath, all over the floor around the litter box and not in it. Can you help please? any advice as to why?

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Theophanes 2 years ago from New England Author

Oh, well, seeing as he was fixed so recently I would be a little concerned this might be a medical complication, not a behavioral problem. I definitely would call and ask the vet.

If it's not medical it could be getting him fixed changed the dynamics of the household. Perhaps one of your females took the dominant position and is keeping him away from the litter box. Adding more litter boxes, cleaning the areas he's already used, and temporary caging might be helpful. It may also be the type of litter box you're using. If he's sore and your litter box has high sides he might not want to step into them.

Good luck with him! I hope you can solve this problem.

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Susan Guinn 23 months ago from Florida

I really enjoyed this article. We have a bengal cat in the neighborhood that comes to my home often. She is left outside constantly, so she wanders despite my conversations with her owner. Are all bengals very solid and extremely heavy? I always pick her up and drive her back home, but she will break my back. I love her though she is extremely affectionate. This is how I got my Maine coon by the way, the two of them were raised by this owner. The owner said to me one day, you may as well keep her, she likes it your home better. I would love to have her too, but when I bring her in the house our Maine coon will attack her terribly. She is letting her know this is her territory and she has a new home. Bengals are awesome, and very beautiful. However I did not know they enjoy water? My maine coon is very smart. She eats with her paw like a fork, and she will only drink running fresh water. She takes about 7 baths a day, and has never had a flea. Great Post!

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Theophanes 23 months ago from New England Author

I have another article just on Bengals that might answer a few of those questions ( But yes, they are extremely muscular cats, especially the males. They should be heavy as bricks, it's part of their wild heritage (being crossbred with Asian Leopard Cats.) Since Asian Leopard Cats eat a lot of fish in their diet they have passed on their love of water to the Bengal breed which will often splash, cavort, and even swim if you let them. The above linked article shows you how some precarious ones I got the chance to take care of learned how to flush toilets and drain water dispensers. SIGH! They are the most intelligent breed I have come across, even surpassing Siamese and re-domesticated ferals.

Having lived in New England my entire life Maine Coons have always been popular and are nostalgic to me. They're a fun cat to be around. Some of them are real characters. Sounds like you have one of them. :)

Happy cat keeping, I hope my answer has helped you!

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Kristen Howe 21 months ago from Northeast Ohio

This is a fantastic hub. I've been dealing with this issue for almost a year. My two adult male cats did it last summer, before I planned to move from my apartment. (Now I have to pay the debt for the carpet bill.) They're now doing it again, but not as much, since I've relocated the litter box and surrounded the carpet area with a carpet runner and doggie training pads and have stopped, even if I vacuumed the floor with baking soda, sprayed with Gone spray, and steam-cleaned it a few times . I believe they have an UTI. But do you have any ideas for affordable vet care?

andrea 21 months ago

Hi , can someone help please . My. Cat had kittens four days ago healthy , caught her this morning putting them in her water bowl ?????

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Susan Guinn 21 months ago from Florida

Andea, Wow now that is scary. I have heard of them putting their toys in the water to clean them, do you think she is doing that? Will she take them back out of the water then and lick them clean?

ozzy 19 months ago

so i take my male cat to vet to get fixed i had him form 11 wks and the vets dont fix here till their 6 months yet the vets says he already done but he still spary and acts like he isn't why this

Andrea 2 months ago

I've had my cats since they were 6 weeks old. I adopted them and they were "fixed" already when I got them. All his life (he's 5 now) my male has acted like he was spraying but nothing came out...until yesterday! He was as surprised as I was and immediately tried covering it up. Is there any way to get him to stop?

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Cherry Raymonds 3 weeks ago

Our cat Puffy has been driving the entire family crazy with his spraying everywhere.

We bought de-scenting sprays and special cleaners, which he ignored and re-marked all over the house...some advice? (I refuse neuter my cat.)

Thank you.

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