When otherwise healthy cats begin spraying in the home, it's often a sign of anxiety and distress, which means punishments designed to stop the behavior are more likely to make the problem worse, says San Francisco veterinarian Sophia Yin. Changes in the home including the addition of new babies and pets can often spark the behavior, and Yin says teaching cats to sit or perform other tricks may help boost confidence in timid cats and teach felines how to replace negative attention-getting behaviors with positive ones.

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