Learn Why Your Female Cat may be Spraying

Posted on
July 10, 2020
a female cat with green eyes
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You may be thinking of getting a new cat to add to the cat you already have at home, or you may just be curious about whether or not your female cat sprays. You may have heard that male cats spray because they are marking their territory, but do females spray as well? And if so, for what reason? This article will cover if female cats spray and why they do it, as well as what spraying is and what it means. Read on to find out:

  • What cat spray is
  • Why female cats spray
  • How to introduce a new cat into your family
Black and white cat spraying on a tree
Cat spraying is when a cat lifts its tail against a vertical surface and sprays urine. This can be because of a variety of reasons. Photo courtesy of Cease Cat Spraying

What exactly is cat spray?

Why does this happen and what do you do about it

Spraying is when a cat backs up to a vertical surface with their tail erect and they squirt urine. The tail often quivers when they spray, as opposed to when they are just urinating and they squat to pee on a horizontal surface. Both male and female cats are known to spray, especially if they haven’t been spayed or neutered. Getting your cat fixed before five months of age is a good way to prevent the problem from ever starting.

Regal cat posing for the camera
Female cats are almost just as likely to spray as male cats.

Why female cats spray

Spraying is a problem that can happen to your female cat

Any mature cat, depending on the circumstances, can spray. Whole cats, which means they are neither fixed nor spayed, spray for territorial reasons. A male cat sprays to let female cats know they are ready to mate, and a female cat sprays for the same reason, to let a male cat know they are in the area and ready to mate. This is why it is best to fix your cat so it never starts this habit.

On the other hand, given the right triggers, fixed male and female cats can spray. Some of these situations that would cause any cat to spray include but are not limited to outdoor cats, changes in the household, less than ideal cat litter box situations, too many cats, not enough vertical territory such as tall cat trees, stress, grief, poor urine cleanup, health issues, other whole cats, and introducing cats too quickly to other household animals. Read on in the next section to learn about how to introduce other household animals, specifically a new cat, into your home.

Some of these situations that cause a female cat to spray such as changes in environment, can cause your cat to become stressed and scared. This can also not only be a change in household, but a simple move from where they have been eating or where their litter box is. If your female cat starts spraying and you aren’t sure why, think back to any minor changes in environment. If bigger changes, such as moving to a new house, occur, this can additionally lead to your cat wanting to mark its territory or cover up scents of other cats.

Additionally, medical issues may need to be treated by a vet. A urinary tract infection can be the cause of spraying, not only by a male cat, but also by a female. Since they are having trouble urinating, they let out a small burst of urine which makes it look like they are spraying. This and all of the other reasons can lead to your cat spraying in unwanted situations.

Three cats laying down
Sometimes, a female cat will spray when a new cat is introduced into the family. There are special ways to prevent this from happening.

How to introduce a new cat into your family

If you are thinking of getting another cat, follow these steps for best results to have  your cats get along

Take into consideration both the personality of the cat you already have, as well as the cat you are bringing into the family. Try to make sure that they are compatible. In addition, it is best to get a cat that is similar in age to the cat you already have because if the new cat is much younger, the older cat may not be able to keep up with how much the younger cat wants to play. They may get annoyed with one another, one always trying to play and the other one brushing it off. 

Introduce the cats to each other slowly. This process can take up to a month or longer. Separate the cats by a door at first and follow a few important steps to make sure the cats have positive feelings towards one another and associations that are pleasant. Start the introductions by exchanging pheromones. This can be done simply with a clean sock-- pet the new cat’s cheek and area around the cheek. Do the same with your first cat, and then swap the socks, putting them in the other cat’s area. Do this a few times a day, always with a clean sock.

In addition to the sock trick, introduce pleasant activities to your cats while they are separated, and then gradually bring them together. This can include having them play with each other under a closed door, or eating meals “together” but still separate--at the same time separated by a door. Once they are comfortable with each other while a door is between them, bring them together for short periods of time while still supervising the visits.

Bringing a new cat into the home may lead to unwanted spraying by female cats, even if they are fixed. Solve this problem by taking a few simple steps to gradually introduce your cats to one another.

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Posted on
July 10, 2020

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