Do Neutered Cats Spray?

Can a Neutered Cat Spray

Cats are wonderful animals and they make fantastic pets, however, not unlike dogs, birds, horses, or any other domesticated animals, they have their own little annoying quirks that need to be nipped in the bud as soon as they begin. One of these upsetting behaviors is the spraying of furniture and carpets with their urine, and, yes, a neutered cat can engage in the frustrating ritual. But, why does Fluffy do this to your home, when he or she is an otherwise well-behaved little feline? Here are some the many reasons this happens, and what you can do to control this disturbing act: 

Why Do Cats Spray?

Cats spray for a variety of reasons. The foremost reason, however, is to urine mark possessions as a method used to communicate with other cats. Male cats accomplish this by releasing tiny amounts of urine on vertical surfaces, while both males and females may spray a deluge of urine on a flat horizontal surface, or mark it with defecation.

Many owners may ask, "Can neutered cats spray?" Well, some cats spray when they feel threatened, causing them to act in a territorial fashion. This can be caused by a new cat moving into your home, or the presence of stray cats in your yard when Snowball goes outside to play. If he is an indoor cat and sees them through the windows and doors, he may spray both to ensure that the other cats identify your home as his territory.

Sometimes cats get stressed when you change their immediate environment, as well. Cats do not take well to change, so moving to another home, or even rearranging the furniture can upset the cat, and provoke her into marking, especially since she must identify the “new” area as her own.

Cats have even been known to spray people that they do not know or like as a defense mechanism. If they do not spray the person directly, they may urinate on his or her clothes or bedding. Can neutered cats spray strangers? They sure can when they are afraid.

However, it goes without saying that the majority of urine spraying from cats is strictly a result of not having been neutered. If a mature male knows a female in heat is nearby, he will howl, spray, and become aggressive until he is able to do what he feels compelled to do.

Remember, the time when a kitten reaches sexual maturity will vary, just in the way it does with humans, but the environment and breed of the cat can also both play significant roles in the puberty onset age. For example, Siamese cats can show signs of maturity as young as 4 months old, while some breeds, such as the Norwegian Forest Cat, do not reach sexual adulthood prior to the age of 10 months.

This being said, the average feline reaches adolescence between 5 and 6 months. At this age, a female can get pregnant after going into the heat cycle. She will howl continuously and stick her rear up in the air, signaling that she is ready to mate. At this point, she may spray her estrogen-laden urine on the walls, not unlike her adolescent male counterparts.


How Does the Neutering and Spaying Work?


Do Fixed Cats Spray

While cats may feel compelled to mate and reproduce at around 5 months of age, most people do not have the desire to breed their felines. They also feel compelled to eliminate the number of unwanted kittens that mating may produce, since there are already too many homeless cats and kittens that are in need of forever families willing to adopt them.

That is why neutering and spaying is so important. In essence, you are sterilizing your animal so he or she is unwilling and unable to mate or reproduce. In a male, this means neutering, which is a castration process. This is simply the removal of his testes. In a female, this means spaying, which is no more than a hysterectomy, or a removal of her uterus and ovaries.


Why is It Important to Neuter or Spay Your Cat?


Can Fixed Cats Spray

These operations not only prevent unwanted pregnancies, but they also prevent diseases and unfortunate behavioral patterns that only occur as a result of the cat's sexual maturity.

For example, your spayed female cat cannot get uterine cancer without a uterus, and her chances of developing breast cancer are reduced by a quarter. This is because hormonal changes and urinary tract infections are greatly reduced by the surgery. Pregnancy and birth in the animal kingdom also tend to be high risk.

Male cats that are neutered cannot get testicular cancer once the testes are removed. They also lack the desire to engage in aggressive acts towards other cats and other animals. Unaltered cats that find themselves in constant fights can get injured, killed, or contract the feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia through the blood of an sickly cat. Sometimes those wounds can become infected and lead to abscesses. Males that are not neutered also tend to roam away from home, possibly getting hit by motor vehicles. These reasons are why it has been estimated that neutered male cats survive up to 40% longer than those that are unaltered.


How Do You Stop Male Cats From Spraying?


Do Neutered Cats Spray

There are a few different ways to deal with you tomcat's spraying habit. Just remember, it is always best to deal with him in a kind manner. Punishing him will only add to his stress, which will increase his desire to spray, since the behavior tends to relax him.

Can neutered cats spray? Well, neutering your male cat may not eliminate his spraying immediately, but it will significantly cut down on the problem. Spaying will be of the same benefit to a female cat. Neutering your cat will decrease his sex hormones dramatically, and this should lead to a large decrease in his spraying of urine. However, there may be other reasons behind your kitty's nasty habit. Here are a few ideas you can try to get him to refrain from marking:

Assess if a conflict is stressing your cat. Your cat may be getting bullied or chased by another animal in your home or in the neighborhood. If this is happening, you need to separate him from the tormentor, and apply desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques to better improve the situation between the animals. You should also attempt to better train the offending animal. If the offender is outside, do not allow your cat to see the other animal. You could lower the blinds or draw the curtains to help alleviate his stress. Also, refrain from permitting him to go outside if his fear is solely based on his outdoor exploits.

You can also place multiple litter boxes in different locations around your house. If you have multiple cats, your kitty may be afraid of being interrupted by his housemates while he is conducting his business, so he decides to spray wherever he can. Having his own litter box will calm him down and release any stress he has leading to the spraying behavior.

Keep your cat entertained and busy. Having him focusing on cat food puzzles and interactive toys like light pointers can keep him occupied and far less stressed. You should also schedule playtime or trick training daily so he has a schedule or at least some type of structure to his day. He will feel more secure by engaging in predictable interactions with humans in his household, and he will eventually keep his mind off of any situations that may be causing him discomfort or providing him with instability.

Also, use only enzymatic cleaners to eliminate urine odors from your clothes, bedding, and carpets. Smelling the urine that he previously sprayed can excite kitty into spraying the same area again. You can even ask your vet for a soothing feline pheromone spray, which will come Tom down dramatically and encourage him to mark with his cheeks only, rather than with urine or feces.

Then try using positive reinforcement with your cat by feeding, cuddling, or petting him in an area in which he already sprayed. This will eventually change the cat's association with this particular area, reduce his anxiety, and help him to see that there isn't anything to be worried about.

So, in conclusion, can neutered cats spray? Yes, they can, in certain situations. But, if after having your male cat neutered, and trying all the suggestions above, he is still spraying, it may be best to have him visit his vet. He may be ill, or require urinary surgery. At the least, he may suffer from some form of anxiety or depression and your vet can prescribe a mild sedative. If all else fails, he or she can send you to a cat specialist to assist you with better training your furry friend to keep your carpets, drapes, bedding, and cat-love-pronouncing clothing free of territorial marking.


Up Next: Why Do Cats Head Bump You?



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  • Aaron Seminoff
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