How Do Male Cats Spray?

How Do Male Cats Spray?

If you are deciding between getting a male or female cat, one important thing that you need to be aware of is that males, especially those that are intact, tend to spray urine.

How do male cats spray?

When a male cat attempts to spray, he begins by sniffing the surface that he wants to mark with urine. 

Usually, the tomcat will also exhibit a flehmen response.  The flehmen response is a behavior where cats curl their upper lips to expose their teeth. By doing so, felines can inhale through their nostrils and transfer their pheromones through the Jacobson’s organ, also known as the vomeronasal organ which is placed on the roof of the mouth.

Afterward, the male cat will back himself toward the surface he wants to spray on with his tail held erect. He will then squirt urine while raising and quivering his back legs. 

It is also possible for tomcats to spray horizontal surfaces. To do this, the feline will either stand over or squat his target before squirting urine. 

Why do cats spray?

Spraying is not simply inappropriate urination. More accurately, spraying is one of the ways cats communicate with felines and yes, even their humans. But what could a spraying cat be telling other cats and his humans?

1. Marking territory

Compared to dogs, cats are more territorial. Felines are more likely to exhibit territorial and aggressive behavior when they feel that their homes are being invaded by another cat. Your pet may exhibit territorial behavior and spray urine when you bring home another cat or when he frequently sees other cats pass by your yard.

Here, your cat is trying to communicate to other felines that he perceives as intruders that your home is his territory.

2. Conflict between cats

Although cats can bond with one another, there will also be times when conflicts can arise.

Here, spraying is used by a cat to establish his position in the hierarchy. He may also spray to manage conflicts without resorting to an actual fight.

3. Stress

It does not take much to stress a cat. Even the slightest change can upset your feline. Among the most common reasons for stress in cats are moving between homes, the addition of another pet in your home, the loss of a loved one, and changes in his daily routine.

Why do male cats spray?

Aside from the aforementioned reasons, a male cat will spray urine to announce to potential partners that he is ready and willing to mate. 

Although male and female cats, especially those that are still intact, will spray urine for mating purposes, intact tomcats are more likely to spray. Spaying a cat can drastically reduce spraying between 90 and 95 percent.

What age does a male cat start spraying?

Tomcats can begin spraying anywhere between six and seven months of age. At around this time, your kitten has reached sexual maturity. And although it may seem that your furry little pal is too young, he is ready to mate and sire kittens.

This is why it is critical to look for signs of spraying and not just think that your cat is still sexually immature. 

How do you know if your boy cat is spraying?

It is critical to differentiate between spraying and inappropriate urination. Inappropriate elimination, including urination, is often a sign that something is wrong with your cat. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. However, there are a few clues that you can look for.

For starters, spraying is usually done on horizontal vertical surfaces like walls and furniture. Although your tomcat may spray on horizontal surfaces like the floor, more often than not, he will spray on a vertical surface.

If you happen to see your pet spraying, you will notice that his back is against the surface that he is trying to mark. And if you look at his tail, he will be holding it high. Sometimes, male cats will also quiver while spraying.

Where a cat sprays also matters. Usually, a tomcat will pick a spot where other cats can smell his urine and “read” his message. When a cat is peeing inappropriately, he will choose a surface that has a similar texture to litter, like a carpet or recently washed towel.

If your cat has begun spraying, he will still use his litter box to handle his business. Although most cats spray with urine, there are a handful of cats that can use their poop for this purpose.

What does male cat spray smell like?

A male cat’s spray smells stronger than his usual piss. According to many cat owners, a tomcat’s spray has a strong, musky scent that can be smelled even if you are far from the location that your cat has marked. 

Worse, you cannot eliminate the scent by just washing the area. To eliminate the scent left by your tomcat, you will need to clean the surface thoroughly. 

Although the typical spray will contain urine, it is not unusual for tomcats to also release some blood into the urine. This can give the liquid its strong aroma.

Compared to female cats, male cats will spray more frequently to announce their readiness to mate and to mark their territories.

Do neutered male cats spray?

Yes, neutered cats can still spray. However, an intact is more likely to spray because he is announcing his readiness to mate.

Neutering a male cat can drastically reduce spraying. Furthermore,  neutering can also alter the scent of the spray, making it less strong and less musky.

How do you stop a male cat from spraying?

If you want to stop your tomcat from spraying, one of the most important things that you can do is to get him neutered. If you are not keen on breeding cats, there is no reason to keep your pet intact. Apart from reducing his need to spray, neutering also offers a few medical and behavioral benefits.

Apart from getting your pet neutered, there are a few things that you can do to stop him from spraying.

1. Do a deep clean

Once you discover an area that has been sprayed on by your tomcat, be sure to clean that area thoroughly to remove the scent. If your cat still smells the scent of his urine, he is more likely to come back to it to mark it.

To get rid of the smell, use an enzymatic cleaner.

2. Keep your pet calm

If your pet is spraying for other reasons like stress, consider using pheromone products which can substantially reduce your pet’s anxiety. 

3. Prevent your cat from seeing other felines

Some cats resort to spraying when they see intruders into their territories.

For this issue, the first thing that you need to do is to cover your windows with a curtain or blinds. This will limit the chances of your tomcat seeing other cats from your windows.

If the other cat belongs to one of your neighbors, consider talking to them about keeping their pet indoors. On the other hand, if you do not know the owner or if the cat is feral, consider investing in a cat-proof fence.

4. Engage your cat’s mind and body

Exercising and playing with your cat will boost your pet’s physical and mental health. Both can also keep behavioral issues like spraying at bay.

5. Set up multiple feeding stations

If you have two or more cats at home, setting up multiple feeding stations can help reduce spraying which can arise due to conflicts between your pets.

Spraying is not necessarily bad

Although cleaning your male cat’s spray can be annoying, you have to understand that this behavior is natural and your pet is not doing this out of spite. If you want to minimize the possibility of your pet spraying in your home, you should strongly consider getting him neutered. 

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