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Cat Spraying and Territorial MarkingAnd you thought you were having a bad day......
Spraying, depositing urine on various parts of the
environment, is a way that cats to mark their territory.
It's a little known fact that female cats spray as well as
males. It's just a little more common for young unneutered
males to spray than cats of other genders or conditions. Male
spraying is a reaction to environmental circumstances and an
instinctive need to mark boundaries and tell other cats
"This is my territory".
Spraying has nothing to do with whether or not your cat
needs to use the litter box. This is all about setting up a
sign post for other cats warning that you are entering this
cat's territory. Unfortunately, this sort of cat behavior and
the owner's ignorance of the cat's instincts and their
management is often the reason why cats end up in shelters.
It is encouraged that, especially if you have a male cat,
you get it neutered before puberty if you don't intend to
use the cat in a breeding program. You can neuter a cat at
four to six months of age or less. (Talk to your
veterinarian about this.) This is definitely recommended if
you have a multiple cat home. Spraying often begins to occur
once the cats reach reproductive maturity.
Your cat's spraying should not be mistaken for a bladder
control problem. There is quite a difference between the
action of spraying and the action of using the litter box.
To spray, the cat will arch the back and spray urine with
little or no crouching. The tail may quiver a little as well
while they are doing this.
The urine that is sprayed is often considered to smell a lot
more musky than the urine that is deposited in the litter
box. But this isn't any special liquid that the cat
produces, this is definitely urine. The areas cats are most
likely to mark are furniture, doorways and walls.
If you have an indoor cat that you have never let into a
particular room and the cat ever manages to get in there it
may mark the area because it is a new room to the cat. Cats
will often mark new territory. They may not mark the house
that they have been able to roam since they were kittens.
Stress can be another cause of a cat's marking. See our
article on "Stress Marking in Cats" for more information