How to Diaper Train Your Cat to Stop Spraying

Causes of Cat Spraying

Cat spraying is when a cat backs up to a vertical surface and sprays a small amount of urine. Spraying is a normal territorial behavior for cats. There are several common causes of cat spraying:

Territorial marking is a main reason for spraying. Cats spray to mark areas or objects with their scent. This signals their presence and ownership of that space to other cats. Intact male cats are most likely to spray for territory, especially if competing with other outdoor cats they see through a window [1].

Stress or anxiety can also lead to spraying. Changes in the home environment, new people or pets, conflicts with other cats, or a perceived threat can make a cat feel insecure. Spraying helps them feel more comfortable in their space [2].

Medical conditions like bladder infections, bladder stones, and neurological issues can cause inappropriate elimination like spraying. So can inadequate litter box maintenance. Any changes in urinary habits warrant a vet visit [3].

Trying Other Solutions First

Before resorting to cat diapers for spraying, there are some other solutions you can try first that may help resolve the underlying issue:

Increased playtime/exercise – Providing more interactive playtime and exercise can help cats burn off extra energy and reduce anxiety that may be causing spraying. Try dedicating 15-20 minutes twice a day to playing with teaser toys to distract and satisfy your cat.

Environmental changes – Sometimes spraying can be triggered by stress from changes in the home environment. Make sure your cat has access to several litter boxes, resting places, toys, scratching posts, and elevated surfaces. Use synthetic pheromones via diffusers to help calm anxious cats.

Pheromone diffusers – Diffusers that emit synthetic pheromones mimicking cat facial pheromones can help reduce stress and anxiety related to spraying. Place the diffusers near your cat’s favorite spots.

Medication from vet – In some cases, medication prescribed by your vet like Prozac or Clomicalm can help curb spraying behavior. This should be considered as a last resort if other options don’t work.

Trying solutions like these first before diapers can get to the root cause of spraying and prevent it from continuing.

When to Consider Diapers

Using diapers for cats should be a last resort after trying other methods to manage inappropriate urination or defecation. Diapers can be an option if the cat is elderly, disabled, or having potty issues that have not resolved with behavioral modification, medication, or medical treatment (source).

Some situations where cat diapers may help include:

  • An elderly cat experiencing incontinence or cognitive decline
  • A cat recovering from surgery or illness that makes it difficult to get to the litter box
  • A cat with mobility limitations that prevent proper litter box use
  • A cat spraying urine due to stress or territorial issues that have not responded to other interventions (source)
  • During travel when regular litter box access is not possible

Diapers should not be the first option but can provide relief for cats and owners when other approaches have failed. Consult your veterinarian to determine if diapers may help manage your cat’s potty problems. Proper fit, frequent changing, and monitoring for skin irritation are important when diapers are used.

Choosing the Right Diaper

Getting the right size and fit is crucial when choosing a diaper for your cat. Be sure to take accurate measurements of your cat’s waist and tail circumfrence. Look for diapers that have adjustable straps and multiple sizes available. Choose the smaller size if your cat is between sizes. You’ll usually need different diaper sizes for kittens versus adult cats.

Consider purchasing gender-specific diapers. Female cats need room for their urethra and tail access for normal bathroom habits. Male cats require enough space for the sheath around their penis. Measure this area when figuring out sizing.

Select diapers made with breathable materials like cotton to avoid rashes or skin irritation. Avoid plastics that don’t allow airflow. The diaper should be absorbent but also comfortable against your cat’s skin.

Putting On the Diaper

Putting a diaper on a cat for the first time can be challenging, but with patience and positive reinforcement, your cat can get accustomed to wearing one. Here are some tips for successfully diapering your cat:

Start by giving your cat treats and pets to keep them calm and relaxed. This will make the experience more positive for them. Lay the diaper flat and gently lift your cat onto it, treating continuously. Quickly bring the front and back together and fasten the tabs (Japan’s cat diaper video shows how to keep your feline friend dry and happy[1]). Make sure the tail is free and not constrained.

Check that the diaper is snug but not too tight. You should be able to fit two fingers between the diaper and your cat’s skin. Adjust the fasteners as needed to get the right fit. Try distracting with more treats while you make adjustments.

Initially, leave the diaper on for short periods like 10-15 minutes, rewarding calm behavior. Gradually increase the time as your cat adjusts. Never leave a diaper on for more than a few hours at a time.

With a patient, positive approach, most cats can learn to tolerate wearing a diaper for certain situations. Continue providing treats and affection while diapered to reinforce it as a good experience. Check the fit frequently and watch for signs of distress.


Caring for a Diapered Cat

Caring for a cat wearing diapers requires some special considerations to keep them comfortable and healthy. Frequent diaper changes are essential, as a soiled diaper can lead to skin irritation or infection (source). Diapers should be checked at least every 2-3 hours and changed immediately if soiled. The diaper area should be wiped clean and allowed to fully air dry with each change.

It’s also important to monitor your cat’s skin under the diaper for signs of redness or rash. Applying a thin barrier cream or pet-safe diaper rash ointment can help protect their skin. Gently wash the area with a damp cloth if irritated. Allow regular breaks from the diaper when you are supervising your cat to give their skin a chance to breathe.

Make sure your cat has access to multiple litter boxes for when they are not wearing a diaper. Provide plenty of play time and interactive toys as a diversion. Give treats and affection when changing diapers to create a positive association.

Transitioning Away from Diapers

The goal with using cat diapers is usually to resolve the underlying issue causing inappropriate urination and eventually transition your cat away from needing diapers. Here are some tips for slowly transitioning your cat off of diapers:

Slowly increase diaper-free time. Start by removing the diaper for an hour or two at a time, while closely supervising your cat. Gradually increase the diaper-free windows, ensuring your cat uses the litter box successfully. Return the diaper if any accidents occur and try again the next day. Eventually, your cat may be ready for full-time diaper freedom.

Continue other training/treatment. If your cat was spraying due to stress or a medical issue, keep up any medication, environmental changes, or behavior training while transitioning off diapers. This will reinforce the preferred potty habits. For example, if your cat had UTIs, finish the full course of antibiotics.

Watch for setbacks. Transition slowly and be prepared to revert to diapers if your cat starts having frequent accidents again. Stay patient and keep trying until your cat is reliably using the litter box without diapers.

Give rewards. Praise and treat your cat every time they use the litter box correctly without a diaper. This positive reinforcement will help the new habit stick.

Consider cat attract litter. Switching to a litter that naturally attracts cats to eliminate in it can provide extra encouragement during the transition period.

Risks and Precautions

While diapers can be an effective solution for some cats, there are some risks and precautions to be aware of:

Skin irritation – Diapers can cause chafing, rashes, and skin infections if not changed frequently enough. The plastic and chemicals in some diapers may irritate sensitive skin. Look for diapers designed specifically for cats to reduce irritation.

Impaired movement – Ill-fitting diapers that are too tight or bulky can make it difficult for cats to move around comfortably and use the litterbox. It’s important to get the right size and reassess fit regularly as cats grow.

Ingestion hazard – Cats may try to chew or lick the diaper off, risking ingestion of pieces. Use diapers with cat-safe fasteners and monitor cats closely when diapered. Remove diapers before leaving cats unsupervised.

To reduce risks, check diapers frequently, change every 4-8 hours, use cat-specific products, and watch for signs of discomfort or distress. Consult your vet if any skin issues or other problems develop. Proper precautions can make diapers a safe option when needed.

Working with Your Vet

Before putting your cat in diapers, it’s important to rule out any underlying medical causes for the spraying or incontinence by taking your cat to the veterinarian for a full checkup. According to veterinarians at Betterpet, “In some cases, the cat may have a urinary tract infection or other condition causing the inappropriate urination” Your vet can run tests to determine if there’s an infection, kidney disease, diabetes, thyroid disorder, or other condition that needs to be addressed.

Once any medical issues are ruled out or treated, talk to your vet about whether diapers are appropriate for your cat’s situation. Get their advice on choosing the right type and size of diaper, as well as tips on proper positioning and fit. The veterinarians at Hartz recommend “Talking with your veterinarian before putting a diaper on your cat to make sure it’s the right solution”

Your vet can show you how to monitor your cat’s progress with the diapers and watch for signs of irritation or improper fit. Schedule regular check-ins so your vet can examine your cat’s skin under the diaper and provide guidance on proper diaper usage and care.

When to Avoid Diapers

There are some instances in which cat diapers are not recommended for long-term use or without approval. Diapers should be avoided in the following scenarios, according to BetterPet [1]:

For minor, infrequent spraying – If your cat only sprays small amounts infrequently, diapers may create more hassle than they’re worth. Consider trying other solutions first.

If cat won’t tolerate them – Some cats resist or refuse to wear diapers. Forcing diapers can create stress and skin irritation. Ensure your cat is comfortable before proceeding.

Without vet approval – Get your vet’s guidance before diapering cats long-term. Ensure there are no underlying medical issues needing treatment.

Scroll to Top