Cats do spray, do you know why?

April 27, 2009 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Behavior

The cat goes near a vertical structure, the tail is being lifted vertically and a small amount of urine is being sprayed from just beneath the tails of the cat. This is a very common scene for pet owners. The sprayed urine hits the ground surface firmly. One can notice very intense quivering movement of the tail [the tip] of the cat at that time. The cat will show intense concentration on its face.

If you consider this as litter box problem, then you are absolutely wrong. It is a kind of communication, [nonverbal nature] of this cat with the other fellow cats. The meaning of this act is that this area is mine. It is like ear marking its area, there by informing the other cats not to enter his domain.

The spray of the cat contains a substance called pheromone. These chemical substances are produced in the cat’s body for this kind of nonverbal communication. In cat’s body, different types of pheromones are produced by different parts. The pheromones are used for attracting mate, defining their boundary, expressing the well being etc. The pheromone combinations are unique for a cat and the combination is not the same in other cat. Just as the finger prints differ from individual to individual, the pheromone combination too differs from cat to cat.

The cats use different ways to mark their boundary. Some cats scratch the substance or surface, some cats leave their faces in a place uncovered, and some cats rub against a particular thing at the boundary. but spraying is the most common method. Males especially, the intact ones are aggressive in spraying. This can’t rule out the possibility of spraying in castrated males, as they too spray if aroused. Female do indulge in spaying practice, but they do so in squatting position.

In general the urine marking can be done either by standing or squating position by the cat.  The volume of the fluid that comes out may be small or can match the regular outflow. The vertical structures are the prime targets. Some cats exhibit virtual marking behavior. Here there is no urine passed and this act is also called as phantom spraying.

Things to do if the spraying is noticed

The vet needs to be consulted to rule out the medical problem possibility.

Neutering the cat is a good idea as this can solve the spraying problem the area needs to be cleaned completely using product that contains deodouriser. Better to avoid ammonia mixed or based products as the smell of ammonia may induce the cat to spray again.

If the pet cat is under any kind of stress, please try to avoid the stress which may be the triggering spraying. Commercial pheromone products can be used to discourage the cat from spraying.

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