We have a full-grown cat who does one terrible thing, and it doesn't seem like he's going to quit.He starts this bad habit as soon as he's finished eating and we have to put him outside: he'll back up against anything (the wall, the trashcan, a chair, cabinet doors), lift his tail up and spray. At one point I rubbed his nose in it, told him "no, no, no" and put him outside (he's an indoor/outdoor cat).I'm sure he knows he's doing wrong, but how can we get him to stop? He gets a little frightened when we put him outside because we do it in a scolding manner. We think maybe he's doing this to mark his territory. Please advise us on possible solutions.
J.V., Houston, TX Oct 30, 2005
You're right -- your cat is "claiming" his territory. He probably feels insecure about going outside and meeting rival cats, so he's marking his own place. Punishing him will make him more anxious and thus more likely to spray.First, if he's not been neutered, do so, since un-neutered tomcats are notorious markers.Second, try to make him a stay-at-home cat. Not letting him out and getting him a companion kitten for good company (a female about 12 to 16 weeks old, say, who is healthy and whom you will later get spayed) may settle him down.In order to reduce his anxiety and motivation to spray, your veterinarian should try a course of Valium or Xanax therapy. There's also a new product called Feliway -- a natural cat scent that may actually calm your cat. Many cats have improved with both such treatments.
Because of Dr. Fox’s schedule, he cannot accept nor respond to e-mails concerning
pet health and behavioral problems. You may find answers in his
Archives section and in his
Special Reports. If you have a
pet emergency, please contact your nearest veterinary hospital or clinic.