How Old Does a Kitten Have to Be When He Sprays?

Sometimes, kittens spray out of pure fear.

Sometimes, kittens spray out of pure fear.

Even if you're the most diehard cat lover, urine spraying can be difficult -- not to mention icky -- to handle, especially if you're on clean-up duty that day. The territorial marking behavior usually begins when male cats reach sexual maturity, although females in heat often do it, too.

Reproductive Maturity

For the most part, kittens begin spraying urine when they hit reproductive maturity. This stage varies in cats, but can range anywhere from about 4 months to just over a year. Some kitties are early bloomers and others are late bloomers, similar to humans. Once your kitten is old enough to be interested in mating -- and to actually do so -- he is old enough to spray the walls of your home! When a cat marks with urine, it is a territorial behavior, but it also indicates his availability to nearby females. Essentially, it's a mating ritual.

Nerves

Although urine spraying is mostly a territorial and mating behavior, it also can be a simple sign of fear, stress or anxiety. If your sweet little kitty is just 8 weeks old, for example, she may spray out of panic. Imagine her first car ride to visit your best bud. In this new, unfamiliar and absolutely terrifying situation, she may spray the windows of your car, much to your horror!

Signs

Although urine spraying is a prominent indication that a kitten is now an "adult," it also definitely helps to be aware of the other signs before the marking even happens in the first place. If your little boy is consistently meowing and yowling, he probably is calling out to the other "available" female cats in the vicinity. If he is seriously restless and makes nonstop fruitless -- or even successful -- attempts to run away from your home in order to pursue queen cats, he certainly is old enough to spray. The more savvy you are at reading the signs, the better prepared you will be to handle the spraying.

Neutering/Spaying

One way to prevent -- or at least drastically reduce -- spraying behavior is by neutering your kitten. By neutering your young kitten, you prevent urine spraying and other behaviors typical of males looking to breed -- from roaming around to pacing and yowling loudly. Apart from keeping your home looking and smelling clean and keeping your cat calm and relaxed, neutering also helps keep cat over-population at a minimum -- a definite bonus. Don't forget -- female cats also spray frequently when they are sexually mature. Spaying is certainly also an idea to consider. Veterinarians frequently perform neutering and spaying surgeries on kitties around 4 months old, and oftentimes younger than that. Speak with your veterinarian regarding the best possible time to neuter your cat. Some other factors also come into play, including weight, health and breed.

 

Photo Credits

  • Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images