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Help! House cat (female) spraying all over the house . . .

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  • Help! House cat (female) spraying all over the house . . .

    We have a very cool house kitty, 2.5 years old, spayed female, and (until now) a very mellow, friendly, playful happy cat who likes strangers and is (was) just . . . normal.

    Well, about a month ago we got a new puppy, and I'm guessing that is the reason the cat has started spraying in the house. The cat is curious about the puppy but NOT AMUSED by his goofy antics, which include occasionally chasing her briefly. She swats the bejeesus out of him, and he just goes away. Every now and then she will spit and growl at him briefly if he gets too playful, but mostly she just gives him a halfhearted swat as he trots by or just scurries off.

    She has never, even once, sprayed or even missed the litter box prior to this.

    Any hope here of detente? Improvement in the urinary expletives left by the cat? She's declawed so not a suitable candidate to be promoted to barn kitty.
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  • #2
    She is stressed, and defenceless. Her reaction is to mark her territory the only way she can - by spraying. Try separation for a while and there is Feliway that might help.
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    • #3
      Cat tree house, very tall, that dog can't reach. More than one exit. The cat needs safe houses, preferably with clean way aways and where she can taunt the dog from safety. Her food needs to be placed in a safe place as well. In short she needs her safety (as she sees it) and respect for her standing in the house.
      This is a good time to pet and give her attention in front of the puppy and he needs to be reprimanded when he goes after her and reminded she has top status and he must not molest her.
      If this is not done, consider giving her to a dogless house. I'm not being harsh, but a dog with any kind of prey instinct that doesn't respect a cat is just an endless stress for the cat.


      • #4
        I had a similar situation when one of puppies joined the family.
        I created a room just for the cats. They get fed and their litter box is there, a safe haven. It has a 4 ft high baby gate across the entrance to the room.
        Low enough for them to jump, high enough that the puppy can't.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks, all good suggestions. We have a loft with a spiral staircase that is the cat's domain, and we have her food up and safely out of reach of the puppy. The lower level of the house (where food and litter box is located) is hers alone, too. She does sit halfway up the spiral staircase and taunt the puppy.

          We'll do some more cat cuddling and I've ordered some of the Feliway--why not? Maybe keep her stoned on catnip for a few days, too.
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          • #6

            Originally posted by deltawave View Post
            Thanks, all good suggestions. We have a loft with a spiral staircase that is the cat's domain, and we have her food up and safely out of reach of the puppy. The lower level of the house (where food and litter box is located) is hers alone, too. She does sit halfway up the spiral staircase and taunt the puppy.

            We'll do some more cat cuddling and I've ordered some of the Feliway--why not? Maybe keep her stoned on catnip for a few days, too.
            Could she feel that she can't safely get from the loft to the lower level?


            • Original Poster

              There's about a six foot stretch of no-man's-land between the loft stairs and the stairs to the lower level. Can't do much about that.

              Fact is the puppy is NEVER alone in the house with the cat and is usually at my feet, so it's not like constant terrorizing going on. I guess the cat is just demonstrating her anxiety (or grumpiness) the only way she can.
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              • #8
                Sometimes, even if urinating and spraying are not really related, adding more litter boxes seem to help.
                Beats me why, but has helped some to have several extra litter boxes for the cat to leave her scent in?

                Just one more thing to try, if you have not yet.

                Be sure to keep cleaning any place you find with an enzymatic cleaner, so she doesn't repeat where some smell is left.


                • #9
                  I'd also hit up the vet and check her urine--she may have some sort of infection or cystitis.

                  Anti-anxiety drugs can be super useful, too.


                  • #10
                    Stress can trigger a UTI which makes it hard to tell if the spraying is from stress or a physical problem. Get a vet check.


                    • #11
                      Make more areas up higher for the cat. Ever watch "My Cat From Hell"? He solves half of cats' issues by giving them more spaces up high. It's even better if the cat can travel a large portion of the room up off the floor.

                      Work on making the dog more respectful of the cat. Once that gets better, you could feed them together (start at a comfortable distance and decrease it over time) so the cat realizes the dog is a good thing. And clean up the marked areas with enzymatic cleaner, as suggested.

                      It's too late now, but it's possible being declawed and defenseless doesn't help the situation. Just adding that for anyone on the fence about declawing.


                      • Original Poster

                        She seems to get her point across about as well as the "clawed" barn cats by swatting the puppy. The barn cats don't use their claws when they punch him, either--he's really not that obnoxious. Unless you're a cat used to having the house to herself, I guess.
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                        • #13
                          Yeah, mine don't use their claws on the dogs either. But with some cats I think it's a mental thing. They know they don't have them if they were to need them. And that may not be the reason your cat is spraying-it's just upset/anxious that the dog is there.

                          I think with some time and a little work, and maybe some more high places, your cat will adjust. I feel for you, bc the spraying thing, ugh.


                          • #14
                            Juuuust went through this a few months ago, here was my thread on it with extensive suggestions:



                            • Original Poster

                              Found a collar with the Feliway stuff on it at the pet store . . . will let everyone know if it works. Thanks, all. We are making sure the puppy leaves the kitty alone and spending more cuddle time with her. She's back to sleeping on our bed, so that's a good sign . . .
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