BehaviorCats

Catty Corner: Do Female Cats Spray?

Greetings, my pawsome human minions.

It’s Forrest, your favorite feline font of knowledge, back again to satisfy your curiosity about the cat kind.

You know what? I love the big window in our living room. It offers a view of the street, and because the couch backs up to it, I can watch all the goings on of the neighborhood from the comfiness of the cushions. And I’ve seen some interesting things. A most recent scene left me cackling for a solid day.

The neighbors across the way have taken up with a stray cat, and watching their interactions proves so fun. You see, I have knowledge about the stray the humans don’t. The stray cat in question has wandered over to my porch a few times, so I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with her. And Delores is a wily one.

do female cats spray

A sly little pantheress, she enjoys getting just close enough to let a human’s fingers brush her tail before she darts away. The neighbors try so hard too. They put out food and stay and chat with Delores, but still, she lets them get enough for a tease before she turns tail and ducks out. It’s pretty funny to watch from afar. And when she knows I’m watching, she’ll finish eating, toss me a wink, and then run from the man and woman, leaving them empty-handed of cat and wondering if the fleeting feline in question is a boy or girl.

Spray Surprise

I’ve heard them pondering about her gender after she runs off, both bemoaning how fast she is, and they can never tell because of her dark fur. And one day, Delores got an idea that would really leave them wondering. I was privy to the plan and eager to watch it unfold. The wait was worth it.

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Delores was toying with the notion of sticking around for good and decided she would finally let the man pet her. He was so happy, stroking her back and scratching her ears. She laid it on so thick, she even trilled! The happiness in his voice could be heard easily as he exclaimed, “Hi, pretty girl!”

He’d finally solved the mystery of boy or girl cat!

But then, Delores looked my way, winked, and lifted her tail. The prettiest spray of pee misted the morning air, rainbows refracting as the stream blasted the man’s legs. The pee mostly rolled down onto his socks, but some of the finer droplets hung in his leg hairs like morning dew on grass. Delores tore off, a streak of shadows and snickering, while the man was left dumbfounded and shouting, “Did a female cat just spray me?”

I rolled down the cushions laughing, thinking, “Yes, sir, you were indeed peed on by a lady cat!”

Why Do Female Cats Spray?

Surprise! Female cats do spray like their male counterparts, with the feline experts at the Cornell Feline Health Center revealing that only an estimated five percent of spayed female cats spray. That percentage is likely higher in the wild among unspayed cats, but those kitty queens aren’t filling out any questionnaires, so we may never know how much intact females spray.

Why do female cats spray? Check out the reasons your girl might be marking up your home.

Marking Territory

Despite her wiliness and love of a good laugh, Delores’ spraying of the neighbor served a purpose. She was marking him as her territory. While he might not realize it, Delores was claiming him as her own. Ain’t he lucky?

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Female cats might also turn to spraying when they feel their territory or resources are being threatened. Laying down some good spots with your smell can be an excellent way of letting interlopers know to get off your lawn, so to speak.

Stress

Now, Delores could have peed on the neighbor for another reason. If she were of a different disposition, one that’s more anxious, her peeing could have been a sign of being stressed by a human’s nearness. But for female cats who live with and are used to people, some kitties may start spraying inside the house because something is causing them undue stress.

This stress could come from changes to daily routines, a new baby, another animal joining the family and upsetting the territory, a change in food, or any new and different element your cat doesn’t care for or understand quite yet. If nothing so obviously new is going on to frazzle your cat’s nerves, observe her going about her day and see if you can find the hidden culprit behind her upset.

RELATED: 6 Signs Your Cat Is Stressed Out

In Heat

When female cats who aren’t fixed go into heat, they might spray an area to attract a male. Feline urine contains a bouquet of scents and pheromones that tell us so many things about each other, including if a female is looking for some company. If your female hasn’t been fixed and has started spraying, it’s time to make an appointment for that spay!

Litter Box Issues

If your female cat is spraying in inappropriate places, she might be displeased with the litter box. Aversions to the litter box can range from disliking the pan itself, not liking the pan’s location, not liking the litter, and even not wanting to share the elimination space. Watch your cat as she heads to the litter pan and see if she’s turning her nose up at the box.

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RELATED: 9 Tips To Stop Your Cat From Peeing Outside The Litter Box

Medical Issues

Female cats might also start spraying in response to not feeling well, and it’s one way they show you something isn’t right. There are a number of different medical issues, including UTIs, that can cause a cat to pee or spray in the wrong places. If your cat, male or female, has started spraying inappropriate areas, schedule an appointment with the vet. Talking with your cat’s care team is one of the first steps in solving the problem, as they can offer solutions and medical help if stress or illness is behind the peeing.

RELATED: From Litter Box Woes To Fatigue, How Cats Say They Don’t Feel Their Best

And as you don’t want to cause your purrecious one the stress of an empty tummy, don’t forget to feed the cat!



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