Do All Cats Spray?

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses how to reduce the risk of spraying behavior.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: May 28, 2010, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: I would like to know if all cats spray? I would like to get a house cat but do not want it to spray my furniture.

A: The vast majority of cats do not spray. Males are more likely than females to spray, but if a cat is neutered before 6 months, he will almost never spray. 

If an intact male cat does begin to spray, neutering him will solve the problem in about 95 percent of the cases. The more cats there are in the household, the more likely that a cat will show territorial behavior. Spraying is one of those behaviors, so keeping the cat population in your household to a reasonable number minimizes the risk of spraying. 

The fact that you do not have a cat at the moment is in your favor; a single cat in the house is very unlikely to spray. If spraying is truly a concern, adopt a female cat; this will reduce the risk even further. In the worst case scenario, if your cat did begin to spray, there are many things that can be done to rectify the behavior. This includes making some changes to the environment and in some instances, administering medication.

But I don’t think this is going to be a problem for you.  Go ahead and adopt a cat (from a shelter, ideally). You won’t regret it.

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Do All Cats Spray?

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Reader Comments

Drew    International

8/23/2015 12:43:33 PM

How can I adopt a cat? Last one I had was peeing everywhere, even on beds and pillows and on everything everywhere and destroyed the carpets, destroyed window mosquito screens, the damage is in tens of thousands...then after 2 years he ate a plant and died. He would become jealous of my girlfriend and pee on her side of the bed. He would pee into my shoes, poop on armchairs, a lot of electrical wiring was damaged when he was 4 months old and older. I promised myself to never own pets or keep them in the house. They bring disease, ticks, fleas into the house, he was indoor cat but he managed to escape even tightest security. I think cats are smarter than people, they open door knobs, but they can't speak, that is the only problem communicating with cats. I would have a she-cat if I had a guarantee that she will not pee, poo or spray even a single time since one single pee and the house is destroyed. Neighbour's cats are "smart" they don't poo on their territory, they come to my land and poo in front of my house in front of me and watch me watching them, so I had to chase them off. I no longer at peace with these things, the strays spray everywhere after I tried to feed them frequently, so I stopped. I hate that smell of cat urine. I am done with cats and the dog also, the stray dog with damaged foot came, I fed him, was nice to him, he left me a lot of hair and blood on my porch and disappeared after he became well. You never know when you get a selfish pet.

s    Lake City, FL

12/11/2012 11:40:47 PM

Thanks for the important informational article on a topic that all cat owners need to be aware of. Great suggestions!

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

5/6/2012 10:08:21 AM

good article, thanks

Janet    Newton, KS

11/20/2011 4:42:24 PM

Do female cats spray? And if so how do you stop it? And why whould they start at 2 years old?

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