Do Female Cats Spray

icon May 29, 2024

Spraying is a common behavior observed in cats, which often leads to confusion and concern among cat owners. While it is typically associated with male cats, female cats can also exhibit this behavior. Understanding the reasons behind spraying and the conditions under which it occurs is essential for managing and mitigating this behavior. This article will delve into whether female cats spray, the circumstances that trigger this behavior, and strategies to address and prevent spraying in female cats.

Do Female Cats Spray?

Yes, female cats do spray. Although it is more commonly associated with male cats, spraying is a natural behavior for both sexes. Spraying, also known as marking, involves the cat releasing a small amount of urine onto vertical surfaces. This behavior is primarily driven by territorial instincts and communication needs. While less frequent in females than in males, especially intact males, it is nonetheless a behavior that female cats can and do exhibit.

Do Female Cats Spray When in Heat?

Female cats are more likely to spray when they are in heat. The heat cycle, or estrus, is a period when a female cat is fertile and seeking a mate. During this time, hormonal changes can make a female cat more prone to spraying as a way to signal her availability to male cats. The urine contains pheromones and other chemical signals that can communicate her reproductive status. Therefore, if a female cat is not spayed, spraying behavior can be more frequent during her heat cycles.

Why Do Female Cats Spray?

There are several reasons why female cats may spray, including:

1. Territorial Marking:
Like their wild ancestors, domestic cats are territorial creatures. Spraying is a way to mark territory and signal to other cats that a particular area is claimed.

2. Stress and Anxiety:
Changes in the household, such as new pets, new family members, or moving to a new home, can cause stress for a cat. Spraying can be a coping mechanism to make the environment smell more familiar and thus more comforting.

3. Mating Behavior:
As mentioned earlier, female cats in heat may spray to attract potential mates.

4. Health Issues:
Urinary tract infections and other medical conditions can sometimes lead to spraying. If a normally well-behaved cat starts spraying suddenly, a vet visit is warranted to rule out medical causes.

Do Female Cats Spray After Being Fixed?

Spaying, or ovariohysterectomy, involves removing the ovaries and uterus of a female cat, which eliminates the heat cycles and reduces the likelihood of spraying due to mating behavior. However, while spaying significantly decreases the chances of spraying, it does not eliminate it entirely. Some spayed female cats may still spray due to territorial instincts or stress. The likelihood of spraying post-spaying can be minimized by spaying the cat before her first heat cycle, typically around six months of age.

How Do You Get a Female Cat to Stop Spraying?

Addressing spraying in female cats involves several steps:

1. Spaying:
If the cat is not already spayed, having her spayed is the first step.

2. Reduce Stress:
Identify and minimize sources of stress in the cat's environment. Provide a stable, routine environment and introduce new changes gradually.

3. Behavioral Training:
Positive reinforcement can help. Reward the cat for using the litter box properly and discourage inappropriate marking.

4. Clean Marked Areas Thoroughly:
Use enzymatic cleaners to remove the scent of urine from sprayed areas. Regular household cleaners may not remove all the pheromones, which can encourage repeat marking.

5. Provide Adequate Resources:
Ensure the cat has enough resources like litter boxes, food, water, and resting areas. Multiple cats may require separate sets of resources to reduce competition and stress.

6. Use Pheromone Diffusers:
Products like Feliway can help create a calming environment by mimicking natural feline pheromones.

Also Read: Effective Strategies to Stop Female Cats From Spraying

How Often Do Female Cats Spray?

The frequency of spraying in female cats varies based on individual factors such as their environment, stress levels, and whether they are spayed. Unspayed females in heat may spray more frequently, often every few days during their cycle. Spayed females generally spray less often, and if they do, it is typically in response to environmental stressors or territorial disputes.

When Do Female Cats Start to Spray?

Female cats can begin spraying when they reach sexual maturity, usually around six months of age. This coincides with the onset of their first heat cycle. Early spaying can prevent the onset of spraying related to sexual maturity. In some cases, spraying may not start until the cat is older, particularly if triggered by changes in the environment or household dynamics.

How Can You Tell if a Female Cat Is Spraying?

Spraying is characterized by certain behaviors and signs:

1. Posture:
A spraying cat will back up to a vertical surface, raise her tail (which may quiver), and release a small amount of urine.

2. Location:
Spraying typically occurs on vertical surfaces like walls, doors, and furniture rather than on horizontal surfaces like floors.

3. Scent:
The urine from spraying has a stronger odor due to the presence of pheromones.

4. Volume:
Spraying involves less urine than normal urination. If you notice small, pungent-smelling spots in specific areas, spraying is likely the cause.

Is Cat Spraying the Same as Peeing?

Spraying and regular urination are different behaviors. Urination usually occurs in a litter box and involves the cat squatting to release a larger volume of urine. Spraying, on the other hand, is a marking behavior where the cat stands and deposits a small amount of urine on vertical surfaces. Spraying is primarily a communication and territorial marking behavior, while urination is simply the elimination of waste.

Do Female Cats' Spray Smell?

Yes, the spray of female cats has a distinct and strong odor. This is due to the pheromones and other chemicals present in the urine, which are intended to convey specific messages to other cats. The smell is typically more pungent than regular urine, making it easily distinguishable and often unpleasant to humans.


While spraying is a natural behavior for both male and female cats, it can be managed and often reduced with appropriate measures. Understanding the underlying reasons for spraying, such as territorial marking, stress, or mating behavior, is crucial. Spaying is a significant step in reducing the likelihood of spraying, but other strategies like reducing environmental stress and providing behavioral training are also essential. By addressing these factors, cat owners can create a more harmonious living environment and minimize the incidence of spraying in female cats.

Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!