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Why Do Cats Spray, and How Can You Stop It?

June 14, 2022
cats spray
Territorial, unfixed cats are more likely to spray pee – and yes, even female cats spray.

So you've just gotten your first cat, a beautiful, purring bundle of fur. Aside from the odd standoffish moment or your cat's penchant for knocking stuff off counters, everything appears to be going swimmingly. Until you go into your house after coming home from work and a scent hits you... strong. It's the distinct smell of cat urine, and as strong as it is, you're not sure where it's coming from.

As you search for the source of the cat spray, you may be thinking to yourself, "But my cat is a girl!" I thought only male cats sprayed!" No, unfortunately. All cats are capable of spraying. Here is all you need to know about cat spraying and how to stop it.

cats spray

Why do cats spray?

Cats are picky creatures, which is why you love them, right? They have distinct personalities and strong beliefs... ... you can tell when they're upset about a new change or situation, frequently because of the spraying.

"Urine spraying in cats is a territorial and marking habit," says Dr. Kris Hanson

However, the presence of another cat is unlikely to be the source of the spraying. "Other common causes of this 'inappropriate urination' include litter box troubles or the introduction of a new puppy or infant into the home," Dr. Hanson notes.

So, first and foremost, inspect the litter box, which should be replaced and cleaned on a regular basis.

Second, evaluate any new cats, dogs, or major household changes that have had an impact on your cat's routine or lifestyle.

Finally, keep in mind that there could be an underlying health problem that has to be treated.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Make Your Cat and Dog Get Along

cats spray

Female vs Male Cat Spraying

"Although this is more common in male cats, both male and female cats can spray pee," Dr. Hanson explains. "This is more common in male and female intact cats." And, while males are more prone to spray for territorial reasons, especially when other male cats are present, any agitated cat who feels threatened may spray.

Stopping a Cat from Spraying

When your cat begins spraying, it can be difficult to stop the activity. The first step is to determine whether the cause is medical or behavioural.

Medical problems may be easily resolved with the right medications or treatments. Also, because intact male and female cats are more likely to spray, it's a good idea to schedule your cat's spay or neuter.

RELATED: How to Get Cat Pee Out of a Mattress

cats spray


Of fact, every scenario is unique, and it may be difficult to determine why your cat is spraying. You might want to seek the advice of a veterinarian or a pet behaviourist to help you discover and address the underlying reason of the cat's spraying.

Meanwhile, make sure you thoroughly clean the place of the cat spray and try to keep the offending cat from visiting the area. Once a cat has sprayed in a certain area, it may be more likely to spray there again.

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