Can Female Cats Spray? The Truth Behind Spraying Disclosed
You probably thought of getting a female cat instead of a male cat so that you won’t have to deal with urine marking. But then, you start to notice your furry friend urinating in places other than her litter box.
And so you wonder, can female cats spray? Did she just miss or did this happen because she had a problem with her litter box? Or is it something more serious?
Yes, male cats indeed spray, but female cats also tend to participate in this ugly deed. But, when it comes to the frequency of inappropriate urination, male cats tend to do it more than females.
Want to know more? Read on to find out the nuts and bolts about cat spraying and what you can do to stop spraying (or at least lessen) this bothersome cat behavior.
What Is Cat Spraying? Can Female Cats Spray?
No matter how cute and queenly felines are, these regal-looking furballs can also be a bit mischievous. And among their most detested cat habits is urine spraying.
Both male and female cats spray, but what is cat spraying, and how is this different from peeing?
While peeing or urinating is the body’s way to get rid of excess water and waste, cat spraying, aka “urine marking,” is one of the ways that animals (including felines) communicate.
Compared to urinating, wherein a cat lets out a stream of pee on horizontal surfaces, a spraying cat only emits a small amount.
Many cats do this on a vertical surface. Vertical surfaces include walls or the sides of your favorite sofa or chair. In a few cases, cat sprays can also be seen on a horizontal surface like floors (even when it’s covered with a pile of clothes).
When it comes to its scent, normal urine usually has a slightly sharp, acidic smell. A cats’ spray, on the one hand, has a strong, pungent odor. Both, however, are hard to get rid of, but eliminating the stink is possible.
4 Reasons Why Female Cats Spray
Perhaps you’re aware by now that spraying is an animals’ way to mark their territory. And, this is true for male cats.
But what about female cats? Are they also territorial? What is the reason behind the inappropriate toileting of a female cat?
There are actually four reasons, and we’re here to discuss each one in detail. Like in any type of relationship, it’s good to know and understand the reasons behind your cat’s actions (including her spraying behavior) to keep the human-animal bond rolling.
1. To Signal Ownership
Yes, just like male cats, female cats can also be territorial. If you have an indoor cat, hearing nosy outdoor cats may push her to stake out a claim and spray urine.
2. To Attract Male Cats
If you think only male cats spray during mating season, think again. You’ll find many female cats howling loudly when they are in heat, but there are also female cats that spray on walls and other stuff.
A cat’s spray contains natural pheromones that get the attention of unneutered males. Simply put, the sprayed urine is a female cat’s way of saying to a tomcat: “Hey, I’m available!” Other times, a cat spray can also indicate the puberty of a young cat.
3. A Reaction To Environmental Stressors
Like humans, your cats also get stressed. They also feel threatened, insecure, and anxious.
And since they like keeping things predictable, new stuff and unforeseen events that mess up their daily routine will make them feel uneasy, intimidated, or self-conscious. These stress-inducing changes may trigger your cat’s inappropriate elimination.
Now, finding out the cause of their stress might be difficult. But, in some cases, they’re a bit out there. Here are a few things that may prompt your cat’s misbehavior:
Litter Box Issues
One thing that may annoy your cat is if her litter box isn’t as clean as she wants it to be. Other litter box-related problems can have something to do with its placement or even its size.
Now, for a multi-cat household, the limited number of litter boxes may trigger stress. Remember that cats’ personalities vary. One of your cats might feel intimidated by the other cats and may want to have her own litter box.
Apart from problems with litter boxes, cats that are part of multi-cat homes may also feel intimidated by other cats inside their house.
Pet parents may not notice that one cat is already feeling threatened or bullied by other cats since aggression in cats can be as subtle as a stare.
An introduction of something new to the home equates to a change in their daily regimen. New includes a newly-born baby, a new cat, puppy, or any other animal. It can also include home renovations.
Since cats can be control freaks, altering the household’s usual setup can upset or annoy your cat. Feeling intimidated or anxious, cats mark their territory, and the urine mark is their way of telling the other cat to back off or get lost.
It can also be their way of telling you that they’re unhappy with the change.
Underlying Medical Problems
A cat’s spraying behavior can also be caused by something more serious, like an existing medical problem.
If the root cause of your cat’s elimination problem is a health condition, most of the time, the issue may be linked to a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or urine crystals.
What To Do To Decrease Urine Spraying
The strong, pungent, hard-to-get-rid-of scent of cat spray is something you wouldn’t want to touch your furniture. And for sure, pet parents would like to stop this (if possible).
Now, completely eradicating this might be far from happening. But lessening this is possible. Here are a couple of things you can do:
Contact Your Cat Vet
Since the cause behind cat spraying might be an underlying health problem, it’s best to get in touch with a cat veterinarian to rule this out. This way, you can also ensure that your feline friend is in tip-top shape.
Check Your Cat’s Litter Box
The act of elimination is something you want to do in private. The same goes for cats. Apart from keeping your cat’s litter box clean, you also need to ensure that there are enough litter boxes for everyone.
Remember that cats are territorial. This means that they wouldn’t want to poop on someone else’s litter box (if possible). As such, if you have multiple cats in your home, it’s a good idea to have one litter box for each cat plus a spare one.
So, if you have three cats, make sure to have four boxes at their disposal. This ensures that all the cats have a box ready when they feel the need to eliminate.
Get Your Cat Fixed
Both you and your cat will be thankful if you get your cat spayed. Since spraying can also be a “mating thing,” this can be reduced once your cat is spayed or neutered.
Note, however, that spaying is best done on young-age cats than older cats. Also, neutered males and females can still spray, but it will be because of other reasons.
If you want to know more about spaying and how much it costs, check out this article.
Get Rid Of Stressors
If possible, try to keep your cat’s environment stress-free. If a nosy cat is bothering your pal, you can block this by closing the windows.
Clean Up The Spray
Cats tend to spay on the same spot. Unfortunately, cleaning that marked spot with detergent won’t do any good. You’ll have to use an enzymatic cleaner to get rid of the stench.
Female cats spray, and it’s normal. As pet parents, we might want this behavior to stop. Now, we can do all the steps above to do this, but the fact remains that spraying is your cat’s way of communicating.
As such, all we can do is to lessen the behavior and accept your cat for who she really is – good and bad.
Do female spayed cats spray?
Neutering will change the odor, and may reduce the cat's motivation for spraying, but approximately 10% of neutered males and 5% of spayed females will continue urine spraying and marking. While cats in multiple cat households are often involved in spraying behaviors, cats that are housed singly may spray as well.
What does it look like when a female cat sprays?
The classical presentation for urine spraying involves the cat backing up to a vertical surface, often after sniffing the area intensely and showing a flehmen response. The cat stands with its tail erect and quivering and raises its hindquarters.
How do I know if my cat is spraying?
When spraying, a cat usually backs up to a vertical object like the side of a chair, a wall or a stereo speaker, stands with his body erect and his tail extended straight up in the air, and sprays urine onto the surface. Often his tail and sometimes his entire body twitch while he's spraying.
When do female cats start spraying?
Spraying often starts around six months of age as cats reach sexual maturity. Spaying females and castrating males will reduce or stop spraying behaviour in up to 95% of cats!