Do cats spray?

Any mature cat can spray, but it varies according to the conditions affecting the situation. Majority of cats do not spray. This marking behavior is found mostly in male cats, although at times female cats are known to spray as well. But if the cat has been neutered before 6 months, they will almost never spray.

To spray, a cat usually backs up to a wall or any kind of furniture and emits a horizontal stream of urine. In most cases the cat will raise and twitch its back feet and partially arch its back. There are two types of cat spray. The first type comes from the confident cat. Aside from marking a new territory the cat can also use this to show their sexuality. During mating season, cats spray to emphasize their status especially in a multi cat household. Spraying is done to pressure other cats. Confident cats have a good time patrolling around their territory leaving their mark along to inform other cats that the territory is already claimed. Spraying is also a way for them to display success or victory. A less confident cat will also spray. This time spraying is done to show passive or defensive aggression. When there are new cats in the house and they are most likely to be intimidated, cat’s spraying is an effort made to send a message to the dominant cat that they do not want trouble. A less confident cat may use spraying to collect information within their proximity. They can also use spraying to exchange information with other cat in the same territory.

Situations that can cause cat to spray include health issues. Cat spraying is an unwanted behavior that is the same as inappropriate elimination. If the litter box is not cleaned frequently it may also be one of the reasons why cats spray. Cat’s sense of smell is about one thousand times more sensitive than human’s. Cats are very clean animals and they would never use a dirty and smelly litter box. Stress is another major cause of inappropriate urination in cats. Stress can be caused by moving to a new house, introduction of new family member, pet or human. Indoor cats would be stressed is the neighbor’s cats are seen in the yard. Even the arrival of new furniture can cause a cat to spray.

To lessen the inclination to spray, the owner can consider taking the pet to a veterinary facility to be spayed or neutered. Neutering would not only prevent spraying but prevent some forms of cancer too. The biggest reason for neutering is to reduce the number of unwanted cats. Another way to prevent spraying is to build perches and ramps that will provide the cat additional space to roam around. Proper introduction of a new pet will minimize the cat’s stress level. This can be done by rubbing the new cat with a towel and allowing the resident cat to play with it. Owner can also use a cat gate to separate them at the beginning. Let them sniff and study each other across the gate. By sniffing they can get to know each other in a much deeper level. Feed the cats with treats and regular meals on each side of the closed door or gate. Encourage them to play with each other with the help of a double sided toy. Never punish your cat by yelling or by throwing an object. This will frighten the cat, increase its stress level and make it spray more. Keep in mind that as the cat ages, the frequency of inappropriate urination intensifies. If the problem still persists consider bringing your cat to a vet.

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