Do all male cats spray?

Did you know that almost 50% of complaints of cat owners are associated with house soiling? Compared to dogs, cats are pretty docile animals…practically with no unwanted habits except for house soiling. Unlike dogs cats do not adapt well to training. Thus a cat that was not trained to use the litter box would certainly be a problem. Cats that were litter trained can still be a concern. The pet may be using the litter box but the pungent smell of cat urine will still permeate inside the house. Cats have the inclination to spray and this habit is not a toilet training concern. Spraying is a territorial, social and sexual behavior of cats. Female cats are known to spray too but this behavior is more common in male cats given their inclination to manifest their manliness. Spraying is a testosterone-driven habit thus it can be safely said that all male cats spray. Some would manifest this behavior more often than others, other would rarely do so but all male cats spray because it is natural and normal for these animals to manifest a social, sexual and territorial behavior.

A male cat would manifest the spraying behavior by backing to a vertical surface. It will hold the tail erect and squirt a urine-based liquid to a spot about two feet off the ground. After spraying, the cat would wiggle the tail, do some kneading and amble away with a satisfied expression on the face. What are the reasons why male cats spray?

After reaching sexual maturity, hormonal changes will make a male cat start spraying. One of the main reasons for the cat’s spraying is to mark the territory. Cats, especially the males are territorial animals. When cats spray, the urine mixed with pheromones allows these animals to communicate with other cats. The cat would purposely aim the spray about two feet from the ground…a spot that other cats would not fail to smell as they pass by. The cat’s spray is generally used to mark the boundaries of the territory but it can also be a way for the cat to tell other cats that all is not well. Spraying is more common in a household with more than one cat as the pets would have the inclination to reinforce its claim on the turf. Spraying can also be triggered by insecurity. The pet may think that it is neglected if the attention of the family is given to a new pet or a new baby. The feeling of insecurity will trigger spraying. Another reason why cats spray is to find a potential mate. The pheromones in the cat’s urine let other cats know of its availability.

Some cat owners would brag about the non-spraying pet. As mentioned, all male cats spray but it is possible that the owner has not witnessed the pet spraying. This commonly happen if the cat is an outdoor pet. Another reason why the cat does not spray is neutering. Neutering, especially when done before the cat reaches sexual maturity will minimize the male cat’s inclination to spray to a great extent. As hormonal activity that triggers spraying is eliminated, the male cat would have no more reason to spray. Cats though have different personalities. In some cats, neutering can effectively stop spraying. In other cats, this kind of solution would have no effect at all. Castrating the cat would not be an effective solution to spraying especially if the cat already has the spraying habit. In a multi-cat household, the most common reason why a cat would spray is stress. Spraying can be minimized by reducing the stress of the cat as much as possible. Play sessions are effective stress relief. Anti stress medications can be administered as well but a vet consult would be necessary to prevent side effects caused by contraindications.

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