what does female cat spray look like

A cat that’s spraying will have their tail straight up in the air and project their rear toward the target. The tail may shake or quiver. A cat that’s spraying will usually only mark with urine and will still use the litter box regularly. It’s rare for a cat to mark with stool.

What is urine ‘spraying’?

Adult cats use urine spraying as a type of territorial marking behavior. Urine spraying’s intended purpose is still up for debate, but theories include facilitating remote communication between cats, coordinating their movements within a territory to allow for “timesharing,” and preventing aggressive encounters.

Nevertheless, there is no proof that any cat examining another cat’s spray marks stays away from them or runs away from them. Because the age of the urine deposit affects sniffing and flehmen response, information regarding the timing of these marks’ creation may exist. A cat’s ability to detect scent is so vital to their survival that they have developed a second organ known as the vomeronasal, also known as Jacobsen’s Organ, which allows them to “taste” important scents.

This organ consists of two small apertures behind the front teeth in the roof of the mouth that connect to the nasal cavity. The cat opens its mouth and draws the air into the apertures; the facial expression adopted at this time looks like a kind of grimace and is referred to as the Flehmen response (see picture right).

The domestic neutered pet cat’s ability to spray urine likely evolved to serve additional purposes as well, reflecting the animal’s emotional state. When faced with socially stressful situations, cats may spray as a coping mechanism, to boost their confidence, or even as a diversionary behavior. Other cats are frequently observed outside spraying urine on trees, bushes, and other objects. Under these conditions, it is normal behavior for cats to spray urine; however, if a cat starts to spray indoors, it is a sign that it is insecure and that something is stressing it out.

Check out our resources on recognising and managing stress symptoms.

Is it a common problem?

It is estimated that 10% of males and 5% of females in the neutered population participate in urine spraying. There is a direct correlation between the density of cats in a household and the frequency of urine spraying. The likelihood that urine will be sprayed increases directly proportionately to the number of cats in a household, up to a maximum of 2086% with 207 cats (some studies show a figure of 20100% with 2010).

My cat doesn’t look stressed?

The domestic cat is an independent species that must ensure its own survival; as such, it hides its emotions to avoid being attacked. Cats are therefore very good at hiding symptoms of disease, discomfort, or stress. But the symptoms are there, albeit very subtle; frequently, the only way to identify stress is to look for behavioral patterns that have changed. If your cat was spraying urine, something was definitely wrong in their world.