When Do Male Cats Start Spraying? Classic Cat Behavior Explained

Martha Martins
Oct 06, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Oct 15, 2021
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.0 Min

If you have an unneutered male cat, chances of them spraying on different locations at your home are high!

The nastiness of spraying is far higher than normal cat urine and usually gets deposited everywhere including on your sofa, bed, floor, chair, and near doors and windows. This is the case even among trained cats because a cat does not restrict its spraying to its litter box. Everything in your home is a spot where it can spray.

The spraying habit is a natural behavior of being territorial in which they discharge a small amount of urine, depositing on certain surfaces. It is a form of communication for them.

You can tell when they will spray thanks to their trembling tail and crouching habit. Cats start spraying after attaining sexual maturity.

Although, some cats also designate their territory with a tiny amount of urine spraying or feces on horizontal surfaces. Cats usually mark the territorial locations where they live.

It is a common activity in all cat species. They will mark with scent glands present on their feet, face, cheeks, and tail, and also with urine to establish their territory.

Cats rubbing their cheeks across the surface and scratching various things both represent marking. Marking is an odor from the glands present in the footpads, leaving a visible mark. Deposition of smell means that they mark their territory and that it belongs to the particular animal.

Marking is done by cats with urine spraying when they live outdoors or with several cats in the same home. A single house cat may spray as well around windows and doors.

Cats also mark their territory when feeling insecure or stressed. Cats spray near new items, curtains, and owner's clothing.

The small amount of urine deposited outside the litter box is probably due to error and it could cause feline lower urinary tract diseases. Similarly, stool deposition and its negligence could cause diseases including constipation and colitis.

What is the treatment for spraying? It is crucial to address the signs of stress and other symptoms in cats to keep their health perfect.

The treatment options can be determined by observing behavioral problems such as spraying urine sites, the frequency, period, the number of sites, and the amount of contact with other cats (both outside and inside).

It is important to determine whether the urine on the wall is about 6-8 in (15-20 cm) from the ground which indicates spraying/marking or if there are tiny bits of urine in various places as this indicates a behavioral problem or a medical problem.

It may also include the social patterns of humans and animals in addition to environmental changes.

If a male cat is not neutered and is also not a potential breeder, the vet usually suggests castration, neutering of the male cat.

Nearly 90% of males and 95% of females display a considerable reduction in spraying after castration or spaying. The vet also performs an analysis of urine to rule out medical problems.

For more factual articles, you can also visit these when do kittens calm down and when do kittens start pooping.

Do only male cats spray?

As spraying is a sign of marking their territory, both male and female cats spray. A male cat spraying is much more common than a female cat spraying.

Although both male and female cats mark the territory with urine, urine spraying and marking is quite common in non-neutered male cats. When a normal male sprays urine, it will have a strong and pungent smell.

Neutering a cat will transform the scent, and therefore reduce the cat's urge for spraying. However, about 10% of neutered males and 5% of spayed females will maintain urine spraying and marking.

Both male cats and female cats reach sexual maturity at four months of age. People usually neuter males and spay females at six months of age, but now a vet neuters cats around four months of age.

Cats usually begin spraying due to many reasons. One of the main reasons is that cats attain sexual maturity at a very early age of four months.

Cats start spaying due to sex hormones. The urge to mate and produce offspring is natural but most individuals do not have the time or space for new kittens.

Therefore, neutering a cat is the best option. Various reasons for neutering female cats and neutering male cats include population control, control of nuisance, health issues, and welfare issues.

How To Stop Cats From Spraying

It is quite common for cats to spray when they reach maturity. They do not really care or pay attention if they spray indoors on your rug or sofa, or outside in your garden.

However, there may be several ways to reduce or stop their spraying with the help of a vet. If cats outside the home appear to be the reason for markings, it is best to find a way to prevent cats from entering your home, or domestic cats from seeing, smelling, or listening to these cats.

It can be helpful to place your pet cat in a room away from doors and windows. This method will reduce the chances of urine sprays by cats.

It may also be necessary to close windows to prevent domestic cats from smelling outside and use odor neutralizers in any area where cats have been wiped or sprayed outdoors. If you cleaned a marked spot, chances are that the cat will again mark the spot with urine odor.

Cleaning alone does not stop the cat from spraying.

A veterinarian might suggest using a synthetic facial pheromone which is an effective way to reduce marking by some cats. When spraying this pheromone on locations where cats have already sprayed urine, it decreases the probability of additional spraying in those regions.

The scent of the artificial pheromone may cool down a cat and arouse cheek odor marking rather than urine spraying. The pheromone may also calm cats in veterinary clinics and hospitals and helps naturalize the cat with the latest cage or cat carrier.

Many stress and anxiety drugs are also available in medical shops to control spraying behavior in stressed cats.

Several ways to stop your cat from spraying include neutering your cat, checking their area of presence, understanding their source of stress, keeping them active and engaged with a toy, using a diffuser, spray, collar or supplements to calm your cat, and always making sure to consult your vet as they may be able to find the source of it.

Many people have resorted to neutering as it will change the odor of the spray and reduce the chances of your cat spraying. However, around 10% of male cats and 5% of female cats that are neutered continue urine marking and spraying.

However, neutering has worked for most cats in stopping their spraying.

Norwegian forest cat male marking its territory

Why do cats spray?

Apart from the popular belief that cats spray simply to mark their territory, there may be other underlying reasons why they spray. Sometimes, the reasons may be beyond our understanding.

According to experts, cats spray when they are feeling stress, frightened, threatened, or even anxious. In some cases, it may also indicate their insecurity caused by the change in environment or routine.

Some stress can also be caused by other cats like a feral cat. One of the ways you get to know how your cat is spraying is by the pungent smell it gives, and wet depositions on your wall and other parts of your home.

If you find your cat spraying, do not punish it or act rude to it as this can cause more spraying.

Instead, try finding out the source or reason and the best way is to consult your vet and provide medication if needed.

Whatever the cause maybe, spraying is quite unpleasant both for the cat and the owner as it can cause pervasive odor inside your house, while it can also cause damage to your sofas, furniture, walls, and even carpet.

Spraying is one of the reasons why many people do not like to keep cats as pets.

However, all cute things come with a cost and sacrifice since all pets have different issues and problems their owners have to deal with. Pets are like taking care of babies and understanding what discomforts them, what makes them uneasy, or to behave in certain manners is the responsibility you take when they choose to have them.

In the case of cats, always make them feel safe and consult the vet for any unusual circumstances.

At what age do cats start spraying?

The age of spraying among cats may differ among different breeds. However, the most common age of spraying among cats is around six months, which is when they reach their sexual maturity.

You should check their kittens for signs of spraying when they reach sexual maturity at around five to six months. Spraying behavior can also mean that your kitten (female) can become pregnant soon.

Don't be fooled by their size and looks, thinking they are still young. Once they start spraying, they are becoming sexually mature and can become pregnant.

Before they start spraying, you can prevent it from happening by reassuring their environment and offering them attention and care as they are more likely to stress out easily at this stage. Make them comfortable, active, happy, and play with them.

This way you may help your cat to urinate properly and avoid a spraying habit. Their spraying age should not be your concern as long as you are prepared for it and that you try to eliminate this habit even before they begin to.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for when do male cats start spraying, then why not take a look at when do kittens calm down or Balinese cat facts?

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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