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Scratching and spraying

Scratching and spraying may not be the most desirable thing your kitten can do, but they're a natural part of being a cat. What you can do as the owner of a new kitten is to understand that your kitten is not misbehaving.

Scratching

Scratching and stretching are essential to your kitten's well-being, and your curtains or soft furnishings are almost certain to be an easy target. Give her a scratching post from day one and it should prove to be a useful distraction from your furniture. Learn more about scratch post training.

Spraying

Spraying is a cat’s way of marking a location with information about themselves. That said, it's not particularly desirable if done in your living room.

Before trying to solve a spraying problem, it's important to determine if your kitten is actually spraying and not just urinating. Urinating is performed while squatting; spraying is done standing up.

What to do

Take your kitten to the vet to rule out lower urinary tract disease. This is a treatable but potentially very serious condition that could be why your kitten is urinating outside her litter box. This may be confused with spraying.

Spraying is often the behavior of a stressed cat. Consider recent events that could have upset your kitten. These could be big things like the arrival of a new baby or pet, or a house move, or little things like the furniture having been moved around in your kitten's favorite room.

Never punish a kitten for spraying. Cats do not understand punishment. Since spraying is often a result of stress, punishment can actually make the problem worse.

Consult your veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist for help with spraying issues.

Cleaning the sprayed area

Thoroughly cleaning the area that's been sprayed is vital to stopping repeat performances. Wash the area with laundry detergent containing enzymes and rinse thoroughly. Then, mix a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% water in a spray bottle and spray the area well to discourage the cat from spraying in the same place again. Talk to your veterinarian about products that can neutralize the odor.


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