My Cat Sprays So Much, I Want to Put Him Down

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat behaviorist Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, discusses how to stop cats from spraying, and alternatives to euthanasia when cat behavior can't be corrected.

By Marilyn Krieger, CCBC

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Q: My cat, Sammie, sprays. He was a stray who I fed, and I had him neutered two years ago when he became an inside/outside cat.

My three other cats do not like Sammie and I think this is the cause of the problem. I have tried everything that I've read about and have spent hundreds of dollars.

My vet gave me Prozac for my cat but it's impossible to pill him. I am going to try the pills again because I think it's my last resort.

If that doesn't work, I'm afraid I'll have to put him down. I've tried Feliway sprays, Feliway diffusers, wiping floors and walls with vinegar and water and a solution I bought online that gets rid of cat odors. I'm about ready to take the Prozac myself.  

A: There are many better options than euthanizing a healthy cat. Even if you cannot stop the spraying, Sammie can live out his life happy and safe in other environments. Your cat may do very well in another home — one where there are no other cats or, at most, one other mellow spayed female. If you cannot find a new home for Sammie, look for a safe barn situation. Many people who live in rural environments are willing to take cats with behavior problems. They will ensure that Sammie is safe, fed and well cared for.

Yes, your other cats most likely trigger Sammie's behavior. With that in mind, try these tips.

Steps to Decrease, and Possibly Stop, Cat Spraying
•    Increase the vertical territory. Add high places, such as tall cat trees, shelving and window perches in all of the areas the cats frequent. Cats demonstrate their status in cat hierarchy by where they sit in relationship to each other.
•    Add scratching posts and horizontal scratching mats. Putting these throughout your house might help. Cats are territorial, marking their territories in a number of ways — including spraying and scratching surfaces. Because cats have scent glands on the bottom of their paws, whenever they scratch, they leave information about themselves on the surface they scratch. After thoroughly cleaning the target areas with an effective enzyme cleaner, place the scratchers near or on the target areas. Most people prefer cats mark territory by scratching designated surfaces instead of by spraying.
•    Give your cat a pill without stress. A combination of Pill Pockets and gelatin capsules can make the cat-pilling experience more pleasant for everyone. Gelatin caps are small capsules perfect for placing bitter-tasting pills in. They are available tasteless or in chicken flavor. Pill pockets, available in a variety of flavors, can also make giving your cat a pill easy. Put the pill in the gel cap and then wrap the pill pocket around the gel cap and give it Sammie. Most cats will easily take their pills when hidden in flavored pill pockets and gel caps.
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Reader Comments

meower    Msc, AR

8/23/2015 12:59:29 PM

I used kitty prozac on one cat one time for about 3 days. I could not stand how it made my cat into a zombie. Even though it only was a few days it did have a longer term calming effect.
If you can get a hold of the programme about cat spraying when you have a Multi-Cat Household it has a great section on dealing with spraying. Even though technically you only have one cat from what I am
reading- the presence of other cats in the area can set off the spraying. It has a detailed explanation of
cleanup without bleach and other useful information. It's a generally useful book for understanding cat behavior
that serves a useful purpose beyond the information on spraying.

Here you can find this programme LINK

Cherie    Pittsfield, MA

6/5/2014 5:45:04 PM

I'm having the same problem and unfortunately feel the same way. My problem, at least in part, is due to the neighborhood cats that come on my deck. One in particular comes nose to nose with my cat at the sliding doors and they hiss and spit at each other. I have tapped paper on all 3 sliding glass doors in my sun room. He started peeing at the front door because thats the direction the cat goes when it leaves. I did the same thing with washing and Feliway. Didn't work. Then I put a plastic sheet and plastic bags (which he's scared of) in the spot. Still peas. Then I started feeding him there - I read cats won't eat where they pee. Guess what. Currently, I'm using perfume in the area. Just started that today. Talked to two Vets and neither had advice. A friend said she knew a woman who brought her cat to a farm in NY where the cats are taken care of. If the perfume doesn't work I guess that's what I'll be forced to do. I hate the thought of it.

Sandy    Warrensburg, MO

7/21/2013 2:24:04 PM

Rather than having put down take him to the shelter where they can find him a home that doesn't have other cats. If he was an outside cat before you will never break him of this habit because he is used to marking his territory. He is telling the other cats in the house that it is his. If he is in a house without other cats he will not have the need to be territorial.

Mary    San Diego, CA

5/5/2013 5:27:11 PM

Instead of kiling your cat, you should take him to your local Humane Society. They will figure out what is wrong with him and treat him and find him a new home if the condition is treatable.

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