The cat backs up to the door, lifts the tail and releases a fine spray of urine. Yes, your cat is spraying. You have a problem. But one you can solve.
Figures from the British Association of Pet Behavior Counsellors say that aggression in dogs and marking behavior in cats are the biggest behavior problems in the UK pet population.
Spraying is marking behavior, not a litter box problem. Sprayed cat urine contains pheromones, a substance that animals use to communicate. Combinations of pheromones work like fingerprints: they identify the cat.
A spraying cat marks his or her territory with cat urine. It simply says: 'This is mine'. You may not like it, but getting angry doesn't help. It may even have an opposite effect: more spraying.
Cats in heat are attracted by the odor of cat urine. For them, spraying is something like an invitation to love. The results may be there in 65 days: a nest of cute little kittens.
Cats do not only spray during sexual encounters. Some also do it during conflicts with other felines, or when they are stressed.
For people the scent is far from pleasant. Thankfully most cats spray outside. But what if you have a cat spraying inside? Do something about it! And yes, that is possible.
The most radical and effective thing you can do is neutering or spaying your cat. Most castrated toms stopped spraying from the day they were operated.
But maybe you have a reason not to neuter your cat. In that case try to find out why your cat sprays.
Maybe it sprays only when it sees another cat. Solution: block the view. Or it sprays because of a conflict with another pet. Keep them separated and problems might be over.
If you don't know why your cat sprays, discuss it with your veterinarian. Chances are he will advice you to spay or neuter. But your vet can also check if there is a medical problem.
Anyway, do not leave this problem unsolved. Cat urine odor and stains can make your home a very uncomfortable place, and your cat will still remain a cat even when it doesn't spray anymore.