If you’ve ever seen a cat outdoors in nature doing their business, you’ll see what every indoor cat would like to do. They need space to turn around, dig, scoop, crouch, pee, poop, turn around again, dig some more and cover. It takes space. In our home, we have multiple litters in different sizes including a large clear plastic container for Odin who is a digging maniac. If you have a messy litter box user or a very large cat, I recommend using a 28 gallon clear plastic storage container. Place the lid underneath the container.
Our cats also do their business sometimes outdoors and Odin kindly demonstrates what’s involved. This also solved the mystery of his recent dirty schmutz face. First, a nice walk and sniff fest. Spring is early this year and I can only imagine what an olfactory smorgasbord awaits our crew.
Next stop: a quick spritz or peemail as it’s jokingly referred to these days. Odin is marking territory with a quivering tail and a few quick spurts of urine. He’s sending a message to any other cat passing through the area. While cats are naturally territorial, spraying isn’t only about defining boundaries but feline communication signaling: I was here, this is mine, I’m available, I’m king of the cats or not, I come here all the time, I’m X age/gender, I’m pissed off and who knows what else? Perhaps Odin was hoping Mystery Miss will stop by and leave him a message.
Most cats, male or female, neutered, spayed or not will spray outdoors. It’s one of the additional sensory experiences outdoor cats enjoy. I observe my cats do this perfectly natural behavior almost every day. When a cat sprays indoors, it’s sending a clear message something is not right. It could be a medical issue but he’s usually pissed off and probably stressed. The cat may have territorial issues with another cat in the home, unknown cats roaming outdoors or with the cat parent from leaving him alone too much, stress from marital discord, traveling and any number of other reasons. Once a cat goes down this smelly road, it’s best to nip it in the bud quickly with a visit to the vet and then if needed, a consult with a cat behaviorist.
Note his body and tail position. Cats spray tail up at nose level. The difference between spraying and regular urination is position and location. When urinating, cats uses a squatting position on horizontal surfaces like their litter or in this case, the fluffy soil of a flower bed. A small hole is dug and crouching, the urination begins. Defecation requires more serious prep work…
of digging and more digging with multiple changes in position.
Ah, the sweet satisfaction of being one with nature.