Owning a pet isn’t all cuddles and insta-perfect moments – it can be challenging, confusing and downright frustrating at times. To help you navigate pet-parenthood and all that it brings, we have launched Dear StyleTails – think of it as your really cute four-legged agony aunt! Every month our team of pet experts, including trainers, behaviourists, vets, nutritionists and holistic pet therapists, will answer a burning question from our community. Got something you want to ask? Submit your question here.
Q: How can I stop my cat spraying my sofa?
I have adopted a 1-year old cat called Berenike who is lovely, however, he keeps using my couch as his litter tray. I have tried lemon oil, vinegar and pepper, and nothing seems to work. What else can I do?
Sil, from Argentina
A: Anita Kelsey (BA Hons, MCFBA, CIDBT) from Cat Behaviourist
Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a master cat groomer, specialising in working with aggressive or timid and phobic cats. Her debut book Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer is out now published by John Blake.
Thank you for your question.
Cats use their scent for communication and to let us know something is upsetting them. So your first port of call needs to be your vet to ensure your cat isn’t suffering from a bladder issue such as cystitis. Once you have the all clear from your vet then you will know your cat’s issue is 100% behavioural.
Cats use their scent for communication and to let us know something is upsetting them.
The next thing you must do is find out what is causing your cat to do it out of the litter tray, and this can be a number of reasons. I would strongly suggest you find a cat behaviourist in your area to visit your home or, failing this, work with a behaviourist on line. Once you have a proper diagnosis you can then put things in place to guide your cat back to its tray. Deterring the cat from soiling the sofa is but a small part of helping your cat. It would be like putting a plaster on a wound but never finding the cause, thus the wound remains or keeps coming back.
Deterrents can be food trays or a texture your cat does not like to walk upon but, if their is a behaviour issue and you do not find the cause, then deterring your cat to not use the sofa may only guide your cat to another area in the home.
Good luck and I hope this helps.
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