April 7, 2010

Why Do Cats Spray?

Filed under: cats spray,cats spraying,pheromones,spraying — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:34 am

Spraying is a natural cat behavior that is used for marking their territory. It is a kind of non-verbal communication between cats that is used to set boundaries. Pheromones are chemicals found in all animal species that can be used to communicate a number of behaviors. In fact, pheromones help cats to attract mates, signal familiarity, and are also an important aspect of spraying behavior.

Most often, male cats spray to mark familiar objects and boundaries between territories. Spraying involves the excretion of a fine mist of urine that includes these pheromones for marking. Many pet owners falsely believe that spraying is a urinary problem when in fact it is a normal behavior. The reason the problem is more pronounced in male cats is because it’s the males who protect their territories but females will spray when they are in heat.

Cats do not spray just to annoy you. This is a learned behavior that has helped them to survive in the wild. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can control the issue of spraying. First of all, have your cat spayed or neutered. Spraying is associated with sex hormones so when cats have been spayed or neutered, they are much less likely to spray. Also, if your cat starts to spray suddenly, you should have her examined by a vet. There are some medical problems that can cause cats to spray. Finally, try to eliminate stress from your cat’s life. There are a number of stressful situations, such as fighting with other cats, separation anxiety, or moving homes that can increase spraying incidents. Always try to reduce stressful situations in your cat’s life.

Most importantly, remember that spraying is normal, natural behavior and you may not be able to eliminate it completely. Clean spots thoroughly and try to evaluate why your cat is spraying. Then make the necessary changes to avoid the behavior in the future.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.