Do male cats spray?

Spraying is one of the common concerns of cat owners as it is one of the cats’ unpleasant behaviors that are difficult to eliminate. Both male and female cats spray. However, the inclination to spray is more common in male cats.

Cats have gained the reputation for being very clean animals. Aside from the fastidious grooming habit, outdoor cats that do not use litter box commonly look for sandy spots where they can eliminate. These animals have the habit of covering their poop and pee presumably to control the unpleasant odor. However, some cat owners are concerned with the litter box problem as some pets are very difficult to train. Spraying or urine marking is another concern cat parents have to deal with. Spraying is different from litter box problem. Urine puddle on the floor is a common sign that the cat has not used the litter box. This means that the cat has squatted to urinate. Spraying is different because the urine mark is usually found on a vertical surface approximately at the cat’s nose level. To spray, the male cat would back up to a vertical surface like a wall or a door, hold the tail straight up in the air and quickly squirt foul smelling urine. Female cats typically squat when they spray but just like male cats, urine stains will be found on vertical surfaces.

Why do cats spray? As mentioned, spraying is a behavior that is more common in male cats. Territorial marking is one of the foremost reasons for spraying and male cats are more territorial as compared to female cats. Outdoor cats are known to mark fences, trees and walls. Marked spots are claimed by the cat as its territory. If other cats wander into the yard, the pet cat would reinforce its claim on the territory by spraying. What about indoor male cats? What triggers these indoor pets to spray? Cats communicate with other cats, with humans and with other animals through scratching, through body language and though spraying. Aside from laying claim to the territory, spraying is a non-verbal communication used by cats to express frustrations and confusion. The introduction of a new pet or a new baby will be a stressful situation for the cat as the newcomers will be viewed as a threat to the territory and a rival to the attention of the owners. This situation will trigger a spate of spraying. New furniture will be urine marked as well as the cat will claim the piece as its territory. Spraying would occur more often during the mating season especially if there is a female cat in the household. The territorial nature of the cat will come to the fore if other cats attracted by the female cat in heat will be seen in the yard. The male cat would indulge in a spraying spree.

Cat parents must know the reasons why the pet is spraying. True, the unpleasant smell of cat urine can be cleaned out easily. However, the habit to spray can become too ingrained so that modification of the unwanted habit would be too difficult. The spraying habit that is ignored would be too difficult to resolve. Many cat owners have attested that neutering the pet has stopped its spraying habit. Products that have calming effects are used to stop intact cats from spraying. Cats have the tendency to reinforce their mark thus the spot sprayed by the pet must be thoroughly cleaned so that the cat’s distinct smell is removed. A drastic change in the cat’s environment will trigger spraying. Therefore, a new pet must be introduced gradually. If the family has transferred to a new home, cat must be closely supervised so that it will be distracted and stopped every time it is about to spray.