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Do Female Cats Spray?

Do female cats spray like males do?

Many people know that male cats that haven't been neutered are quite likely to engage in a behavior called spraying, which means they mark items with urine. This is different from inappropriate elimination, when a cat urinates outside the litter box on the floor, in laundry, or on beds. Spraying occurs when a cat backs up to an object and the urine lands higher up on a surface such as a wall or furniture arm.

What can be surprising to some people is that, while unneutered male cats are the most likely to spray, neutered males and female cats can also engage in this behavior.

Why Do Cats Spray?

Cats spray items to send messages to other cats. Unneutered males do it to mark their territory, and unspayed female cats do it to give out information on their reproductive status, especially when they are in heat and would be receptive to a male.

Another time cats spray is when they are feeling stressed. Marking their territory helps them feel more secure in the home. Spraying for this reason is often seen in multi-cat homes in which the cats don't get along too well.

Cats spray when they are indoor only and they can sense cats outside their house. This can cause them to feel frustrated and protective, and they might engage in spraying as a way to mark their territory against these intruders.

Female cats might spray for any of these reasons, so while spraying behavior is most common in unneutered male cats, any cat might engage in it.

How Can I Keep My Cat from Spraying in My House?

The first step is always a veterinary exam. You'll need to differentiate between spraying and inappropriate urination and make sure there isn't a medical reason for it if it's inappropriate urination. Additionally, all cats in the home should be neutered or spayed.

Any surface that your cat has marked needs to be cleaned thoroughly with an enzymatic cat urine cleaner. Otherwise, the original cat and others in the home will continue to mark over the area. You can use a black light to help you find areas of urine that you might not know are there.

Feliway is a great tool in your arsenal against cat marking behavior. It is a substance that mimics feline feel-good pheromones, and it can really help decrease stress marking. Feline Multicat is great for households where cats aren't getting along. It helps calm all the cats down.

Make sure you have plenty of good scratching posts in your home for your cats. Scratching helps relieve stress in cats and is an alternative way to mark territory and give other cats scent information through the glands in the paws. The posts should be strong, sturdy, tall, and plentiful.

You can consult an animal behavior specialist for more ideas individualized to your household and your cat.

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