Why Would a Female Cat Start Spraying?

Written by lacey louwagie
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Although unpleasant to humans, spraying is a natural activity for female cats. A female cat sprays by bending her legs slightly and depositing urine on a vertical object. Spraying is usually not a "litter box problem," but medical issues should be ruled out if your female cat is spraying.

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Take your cat to the vet if her behaviour changes to rule out illness. Cats who have a urinary tract infection (UTI) may associate the litter box with pain and stop using it.

Attracting a Mate

If your female cat isn't spayed, she will instinctually spray to attract a mate---even if she's an indoor pet and potential mates can't get to her.

Marking Territory

Even a spayed cat may start spraying if she feels her territory is threatened. Introducing a new pet or human to the household may inspire your cat to mark her territory.


Your cat may spray if she's under stress. Consider whether her routine or her relationship with caregivers has changed since she started spraying: is she getting enough attention, or has she recently been punished?


The steps you take to correct the problem will depend on why your cat is spraying. Whatever the reasons for spraying, always wash the area where she has sprayed using a non-ammonia cleaner that neutralises the odour, as cats are likely to spray again where they smell their urine.

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