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Do Female Cats Spray…or Only Male Cats?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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It's not uncommon for cats to urinate in inappropriate areas outside their litter box. This behavior is sometimes called "spraying" and it's usually associated with male cats. But readers and clients often ask: is it possible for female cats to spray too?

To answer this question, consider that cats are territorial by nature. Their behavior is guided by rules of conduct that is often hierarchical. Cats will mark territory by spraying or leave their feces uncovered, which serves to tell other cats "Hey, this is my place – this territory is taken!"

Spraying is a method of cat communication that often has territorial, dominance, stress, anxiety, and/or sexual messages. This behavior is most common in male cats (and unneutered ones in particular) but female cats can spray as well.

It is important to understand the underlying cause of spraying to know how to treat it. With that being said, fixing these problems isn't always easy.

Some things that can curb this behavior is neutering or spaying intact pets who are exhibiting territorial behaviors. Adding litter boxes can also help some of the territorial and dominance related issues.

Enriching your home with cat trees, window seats, perches and tons of toys can help some cats fight boredom and be happier – thus resolving some marking behavior. Other cats may need pharmacologic help. For more information on spraying – please read Feline Urine Marking.

I hope this article helps you better understand whether female cats can spray and some of the possible causes for spraying.

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