What Causes Female Cats to Spray?

A female cat

While male cats are more frequently known to spray, certain female cats may also engage in this undesirable habit. No cat owner like when their cat sprays, yet this behavior is frequently shown when a cat is attempting to communicate. It might be less stressful and frustrating for both you and your cat if you know why your female cat could be spraying and what you can do about it.

What Is Urine Spraying?

While female cats may urinate inappropriately and outside of their litter boxes, spraying or is the term for when they urinate vertically rather than on the ground.

A cat will spray pee against a wall, piece of furniture, or other surface to establish its territory. When your cat is poised to spray anything, it will rise up, lift its tail, tremble, and then back up to the target. Instead of the constant stream of pee that is generated during a conventional, squatting urination, just a tiny quantity usually shoots out.

Why Do Female Cats Spray Urine?

Similar to male cats, female cats may spray urine for a number of reasons, but these may often be categorized as either a territorial action or a response to an environmental stressor. While in heat, intact female cats may also spray urine to entice male cats.

New residents, such as a newborn in the house, a new puppy or other pet that annoys or upsets your cat, home renovations or construction, boredom with the feeding schedule or a lack of playtime, litter box issues like scented or dirty litter, a litter box that your cat doesn't like, such as a covered or automatic cleaning box, and other factors can all be environmental stressors. In general, if your cat is agitated or concerned about anything, it may spray, but it may also be hard for you to identify the precise cause of the cat's discomfort.

Outdoor cats that your cat may see or hear while it is inside the house or even new cats in your household could be the cause of territorial spraying. Spraying signals to other cats that they have already claimed the area and should not be bothered.

Can Female Cats Still Spray After Being Spayed?

A female cat that has been spayed will be less likely to spray, although some cats will continue to spray even after this surgical treatment. 5% of female cats will continue to spray even after being spayed, according to the Cornell Feline Health Center. Because fewer hormones are impacting it, spaying a cat notably helps to reduce territorial reasons for spraying, but if your cat is frightened or unhappy about anything in its environment, it is still physically capable of spraying.

How to Stop Urine Spraying

All types of inappropriate elimination, including urine spraying, can be difficult and frustrating to stop but there are a few things you can do.

  • Spaying - The best way to decrease urine spraying in a female cat that sprays while she is in heat is to have her spayed. This is typically done at a young age but can be performed in older cats as well. Your veterinarian will recommend an age for your cat to be spayed.
  • - If your cat has sprayed urine in the house, the first thing you'll want to do is eliminate the odor. But simply cleaning up and deodorizing the mess won't stop your female cat from spraying in the same spot again so you'll want to ensure you use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up the urine.
  • Change the litter or litter box - If you suspect your female cat is spraying because of the litter or litter box, consider switching to an unscented litter in a shallow, uncovered litter box. She may also prefer a location with more privacy. Consider getting additional litter boxes if there are multiple cats in the home.
  • Get rid of the stressor(s) - If something in or around your home is causing your cat to become upset or stressed, do what you can to get rid of the stressor or at least block your cat from being able to see and hear it. This of course isn't always possible though, depending on what the environmental stressor is.
  • Pheromones - Sprays, wipes, and plug-ins are available to provide natural pheromones to your cat. Pheromones are scentless and help to relax stressed cats.
  • Anxiety medications - If you are unable to get rid of your cat's stressor, prescription medications may be helpful to relax your cat.
  • Anxiety supplements - Similar to anxiety medications, various supplements such as L-theanine and milk whey protein may help to calm your cat and decrease the incidence of urine spraying.
  • Special diets - Therapeutic diets are available from your veterinarian that may help to decrease urine spraying. These diets often contain calming ingredients, similar to anxiety supplements.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.