Unwanted cat spraying

What’s that awful smell? Are you one of those cat owners who receives malodorous messages in their home from their feline friend? This article explains how to tell whether your cat is marking its territory or if it’s simply not house-trained and why proper cleaning is so important.

Cats typically spray urine to mark their territory. By doing so, they are giving an important message to other cats. In human terms, it’s something along the lines of ‘I was here’. But for our feline friends it conveys much finer nuances, such as precisely when and who was there, as well as information on the creature’s gender and health condition. Spraying outside makes total sense – this is how cats coordinate their forays with other felines and find potential mating partners. But when they do it indoors it’s a big nuisance, leaving unsightly stains and nasty odours!


Is your cat marking his territory or simply not house-trained?

First of all: you are not alone! According to statistics, around 5% of cats urinate in the home at times. To find a remedy for this problem, you first need to understand why your cat is doing it in the first place. There are various reasons that could explain this behaviour. First of all, you need to work out if the accidents are due to ‘house-training’ issues or if your cat is deliberately marking his territory. 


Scent marking: targeted behaviour

If you happen to spot your cat urinating in the house, you’ll soon be able to tell the difference. When cats scent-mark, they do it intentionally. They usually start by sniffing the area that they wish to mark, then they turn around and spray a small amount of urine backwards. When doing so, many cats squat down slightly and tend to leave their malodorous messages in shoes, old items of clothing or plastic bags. When cats have house-training accidents, they tend to pass more urine and, depending on the cause, you may find them nearby or cowering in a corner, feeling slightly bashful. And afterwards, cats tend to scratch the floor, or at least make some semblance of doing so.


Your cat isn’t used to his litter box

Many accidents involving younger cats occur just outside the litter box because kittens need time to get used to using it. The same is true of older cats, as they sometimes forget the habit and have to re-learn it.  

You can find out how to teach your cat to use a litter box in the following article: How to house-train your cat with a litter box. 


Litter box problems

Cats are really clean animals. They don’t like using a litter box if it’s heavily soiled. Was the litter box perhaps dirty or was the door to the room leading to the litter box closed? Did you use a new type of litter or a new litter box? Has the litter box location been disturbed? These are all factors which could make a cat shy away from using a litter box. If you’re trying to work out the potential reasons, it’s important to ask yourself the following: after your cat left a puddle in your home, did it also use the litter box as usual? If yes, it is probably marking its territory.


Urine puddles as a sign of illness

Diabetes, FLUTD or a bladder inflammation are just some of the potential illnesses that can affect the urinary tract. You should therefore get your vet to check whether your cat is ill and leaving puddles as a result.


Older cats

Older cats aren’t generally so keen on going outside to urinate. If they find it hard to access their litter box, they will often find other ways of answering the call of nature. A litter box with lower sides and soft litter could help here, for example.


Hormone overdrive

The culprits are often male cats! They have a stronger urge to mark their territory as they have a lot to communicate.


Territorial behaviour, anxiety and nervousness

Nervous or anxious cats mark their territory to surround themselves with their own scent. This gives them a sense of security. This happens, for example, when a different or new cat arrives in their territory, i.e. your home, but even the arrival of strangers or dogs can make cats spray. The risk of scent marking is even higher when there is rivalry between several cats in one household. Sometimes all it takes is for a cat to see another feline out of the window to make it mark its territory on the inside.



Many owners feel as though their cats spray deliberately, just to annoy them. This feeling is exacerbated further because many cats literally seek eye contact while committing their ‘crime’. However, experts believe that this isn’t an act of ‘protest’ as such and advise owners not to humanise their cat’s behaviour. In other words: no, your cat isn’t trying to annoy you!


Clean properly!

Regardless whether your cat isn’t house-trained or is deliberately marking its territory, it’s important to clean the affected areas very thoroughly. After all, if a cat marks an area as a ‘toilet’ once, it’s highly likely that it will use it for the same purpose again. Eliminating the odour and colour of cat urine is a real challenge for many cleaning agents, but Nature’s Miracle® specialises in this.


You’ve found some urine patches? Don’t fret – simply grab some paper towels and Nature’s Miracle®. Start by wiping up the liquid with paper towels then spray the area with Nature’s Miracle®. Wait for around 15 minutes then dab off the residue. The special formula breaks down the organic structures of cat urine. The result: neither you cat nor your cat will be able to smell the scent marking, and you won’t be able to see a trace of the accident.


That’s just the first step to prevent further marking. To find out what else you can do, click here: How to stop your cat from scent marking your home.