How to stop inside spraying of sudden onset?

Bree17

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After using the box without incident, our 2-year old neutered male cat Zoli has suddenly started spraying furniture and walls. He was feral until 6 months but has adjusted. It was only recently that we let him out when it’s nice, and the spraying started. There is a super friendly feral who lives outside. He is “friends” with my cat; they play together when Zoli goes out. Zoli is the alpha cat. Could Zoli be marking his territory inside the house? Any other theories? How do I stop it? Any suggestions would be welcome.
 

IndyJones

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If the behaviour started when you started letting him outside, there's your problem. Keep him indoors only and the behaviour should stop.

If he absolutely must go outside don't let him free range. Either harness train him or get an enclosure to keep him safe.
 
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Bree17

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Thanks. I’m afraid i’ve opened a Pandora’s box with letting him outside. Not sure I can undo it now.
 

Mamanyt1953

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You can, but it will take time and patience. And since he was outside until he was neutered, that little feral is triggering his "tom" instincts. The fact that he can't father kittens has nothing to do with it. His mind doesn't know that. Unlike human males, his "manliness" is not, in his furry little brain, connected to those missing bits. He can perform as a tom in all ways but fathering. Whether the feral is male or female, Zoli is feeling his oats a bit!
 
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Bree17

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But how to persuade him back to the box … which he had faithfully used until this spraying blitz.
 

sunny578

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It's cool that he has a buddy! But, yes, it sounds like this is what started the spraying. You could always take him to the vet to make sure he hasn't picked up anything from him.

What part of the house does the spraying happen? It sounds like it might be in one room? Does it happen at a certain time--like right after he's been outside? Is it by windows, doors, etc? Any other pets in the house? Has he been using his box at all since this started?

Depending on where/when the spraying is occurring, there are lots of things you could try.

Baring any secret illnesses, it sounds like he is trying to spread his scent. Urinating is one way for him to achieve this goal, but scratching is another, so one thing you could do is set up a bunch of different scratching options in the space where he is spraying: scratching poles, face scratchers, cardboard scratchers, etc, etc.

Another way to increase his "the house smells like me" factor is to collect some of his fur from his brush and spread it around. Alternatively, you could brush him in the areas of the house where he is spraying, or play with him there, put some of his toys out there, his blankets, etc. Spraying pheromones is another thing that can help an area of the house smell more like him.

Is the spraying happening by a door or a window? Is it possible that he is inside, he sees his friend outside, and then starts spraying? If so, another option is to block his ability to see his friend when he's inside by covering the window or closing his access to this room (if it is happening in one room.) I would see this as a temporary solution--not something you'd have to live with forever.

Another option would be to add a bunch more litter boxes to your space--especially where he is spraying--to see if you can get him to use these when the urge to spread his scent strikes.

If you'd like to write back with more info about the spraying, I'd be happy to answer with some more specific solutions. I agree that keeping him inside is prob not the best option at this point, and I don't think that it would stop the spraying.

Please keep us posted!
 
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Bree17

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Very helpful, thank you. It is what you said, he is spreading his smell around the house. I noticed that he sprays doorways and furniture by the doors. This morning we opened the door, his friend Ash, the friendly feral, was at the door, and Zoli sprayed the door, with Ash a foot away. So yes, it appears to be message to Ash that it’s my house. (Ash sometimes wanders in for a minute or two.) Both are neutered, 2 years old, with all shots and Frontline. We have an older inside only cat who wants nothing to do with either of them.
I will try what you suggest, and let you know what happens. Thank you all for your suggestions.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Are you using a good enzymatic cleaner for cleaning up his "signposts?" If not, order one immediately. Regular cleaners do a good job of making that scent disappear to our noses, but not to a cat's nose, and he'll be attracted back to that spot. The other thing you can do is try to keep the other cat away from the immediate area around the house...doorways, etc. That can be done with motion-activated compressed air cans. They deliver a strong blast of air into the cat's face when he approaches.
 
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Bree17

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Thank you. I am using SCOE x10. Is another enzymatic cleaner that works eell?
 

Mamanyt1953

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That should do it. I'd also suggest getting a black light. Cat urine fluoresces under black light. If anything glows, it isn't clean yet. My girl, while she does not scent mark, is getting older, so I'll be ordering one to have on hand when her bladder gets worse.
 
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