Why Do Female Cats Spray?

by beaconpet
Reasons Why Female Cats Spray

Discovering why your female cat is spraying can help alleviate stress and frustration for both of you. While it is more commonly associated with male cats, some female cats also engage in this behavior, often as a way to communicate something. Spraying or marking, which involves urinating vertically instead of on the ground, can occur due to environmental stressors or territorial behavior. Understanding the reasons behind your cat’s spraying and implementing appropriate solutions can help address the issue and create a happier, more harmonious environment for both of you.

What is Urine Spraying?

Urine spraying is a behavior commonly seen in female cats. Unlike normal urination where the cat squats and releases a stream of urine into the litter box or on the ground, urine spraying involves the cat urinating vertically against a surface. Rather than a steady stream of urine, it is usually a small amount that is sprayed.

Reasons Why Female Cats Spray

There are several reasons why female cats engage in urine spraying. One common reason is as a response to environmental stressors. These stressors can include new people or animals in the household, changes in the home environment such as construction or remodeling, and boredom due to lack of stimulation or playtime. Another reason for urine spraying is territorial behavior. A cat may spray to mark its territory and communicate to other cats that the space is already claimed. Additionally, female cats may spray while they are in heat to attract male cats.

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Reasons Why Female Cats Spray

Spaying and Urine Spraying

Getting your female cat spayed can significantly decrease the likelihood of urine spraying. Spaying, which is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus, reduces the influence of hormones on the cat’s behavior. As a result, territorial reasons for spraying are lessened. However, it is important to note that even after being spayed, a small percent of female cats may still continue to spray. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, about 5% of spayed female cats may exhibit urine spraying behavior.

Tips to Stop Urine Spraying

If your female cat is engaging in urine spraying behavior, there are several measures you can take to try and stop it.

  • Spaying: As mentioned earlier, spaying your female cat can help reduce urine spraying, especially if it is due to territorial reasons or being in heat.
  • Neutralize the odor: If your cat has sprayed urine in the house, it is important to thoroughly clean and eliminate the odor. Using an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed to break down and remove urine odors can help prevent your cat from returning to the same spot to spray.
  • Change the litter or litter box: If the litter or litter box is a source of stress for your cat, consider switching to an unscented litter and providing a shallow, uncovered litter box. Some cats may also prefer a more private location for their litter box. In multi-cat households, having multiple litter boxes can also help.
  • Get rid of the stressor(s): Identify and address any environmental stressors that may be causing your cat to feel anxious or upset. This may involve removing or blocking access to certain stimuli, such as outdoor cats or loud noises. However, it is important to note that not all stressors can be eliminated completely.
  • Pheromones: Products such as sprays, wipes, or plug-ins containing natural pheromones can help create a calming effect on stressed cats. These pheromones are scentless to humans but can help relax cats and reduce urine spraying behavior.
  • Anxiety medications: In severe cases, prescription medications may be necessary to help alleviate your cat’s anxiety and decrease urine spraying. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if this is a viable option for your cat.
  • Anxiety supplements: Some supplements, such as L-theanine or milk whey protein, may have calming effects on cats and help reduce urine spraying. Again, consult with your veterinarian to discuss the use of these supplements.
  • Special diets: Therapeutic diets formulated to support a cat’s behavioral health may also help decrease urine spraying. These diets often contain calming ingredients that can have a positive impact on your cat’s overall well-being.
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Tips to Stop Urine Spraying

Why Do Male Cats Spray?

While this article primarily focuses on female cats spraying, it is worth noting that male cats are more commonly known for urine spraying. Male cats spray urine for similar reasons as female cats, including territorial marking and response to environmental stressors. However, the underlying hormonal influence can differ, as intact (non-neutered) male cats may spray more frequently to attract female cats for mating purposes.


In conclusion, urine spraying is a behavior that can be seen in female cats. It is often a response to environmental stressors or serves as a territorial marker. While getting your female cat spayed can help decrease the likelihood of urine spraying, it is important to note that some cats may still exhibit this behavior even after being spayed. By implementing various strategies such as neutralizing odors, addressing stressors, and utilizing calming products, you can work towards reducing or eliminating urine spraying in your female cat.

urine spraying is a behavior that can be seen in female cats

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