When it comes to male cats who haven't been neutered, one thing is almost certain -- the little guys are going to get restless when it comes to the opposite sex. When a tomcat is physically mature, you'll surely know it, from the urine spraying to the persistent nighttime yowling.
Male cats typically don't begin spraying until they're around 6 months in age or so. The age of physically maturity varies depending on the cat, however, with some maturing earlier and some maturing later. When a tomcat hits the half-year mark, his hormones start racing and you may notice all of the telltale signs that he's ready to get out there and breed -- uh oh.
When a mature tomcat sprays urine, he's doing it as a way to basically announce his existence as a potential mating partner -- pretty forward. Male cats spray when female cats are around, understandably, and even when they're not around as a sort of luring technique. Adult male cat urine has a distinctive and acrid chemical odor -- one that expresses a message: "I'm here and ready to mate." Immature kitten urine has a markedly weaker odor, as it isn't designed for communication purposes.
Although male cats often spray around queens to encourage mating, it certainly isn't the only cause for the behavior. Intact cats also spray as a way to mark territory and tell pesky rivals to back off. It also isn't uncommon for cats to spray when they're dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety in life, whether due to a new pet in the home or major household friction. Don't always assume that a cat's spraying is a mating behavior, although you would likely be correct a large portion of the time. Also remember that urine accidents are not always a spraying behavior. Sometimes house soiling is exactly just that -- house soiling. Take your cutie to a veterinarian to make sure he's not suffering from a health ailment that may trigger increased urination and accidents -- think hyperthyroidism or bladder stones.
If you're concerned about dealing with icky urine messes because of your cat spraying around queens, one way to conquer the problem is getting your cat neutered, the younger the better. Speak to your vet about the healthiest and safest time frame for getting your cat neutered, especially if he's still a kitten. Fixed male cats are much less likely to engage in frustrating spraying actions because, simply put, they're just not influenced by raging hormones. Although the spraying probably won't stop immediately, it likely will die down within a few weeks. It takes a little bit of time for the testosterone to make its grand exit out of your little one's body, so be patient. Also be happy you're helping keep cat overpopulation to a minimum -- a serious benefit for all.
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