What Makes a Male Cat Spray?

Neutering should solve your male cat's spraying problem.
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Spraying is a common behavior among male cats who are not neutered. But even neutered cats spray, usually for causes other than sex drive. If your unneutered male kitty sprays, have him neutered as soon as possible. If the behavior continues after neutering, or begins again in a neutered cat, see your veterinarian immediately.


Unneutered male cats instinctively spray to mark their territory. It is a form of communication with other cats to let them know what he claims is his. Cats developed this instinctive behavior in order to communicate with each other without having to encounter each other. Unlike dogs, who are pack animals, cats tend to be solitary hunters who develop and claim their own territory. Spraying is a form of urine marking that lets other cats know the territory is claimed and by whom. Male cats do this by backing up to a vertical surface such as a door, doorway or piece of furniture and directing a stream of urine at it.


Changes to your cat's environment or routine, or even in his relationship with you, can upset him, causing him to spray, whether he's neutered or not. Cats are creatures of habit, and changes that we humans might consider minor can be major to them. Some male cats respond to this by spraying. Changes that can elicit this response include moving into a new home or a change in your work schedule.

New Cats

The addition of a new cat to the home can prompt a male cat to spray even if he's neutered. As established, male cats instinctively spray to mark territory as theirs. When a new cat enters his territory, which also happens to be your home, the existing male cat may feel the need to let the newcomer know his displeasure by spraying. In other words, it may be his way of saying, "I was here first" and possibly, "I am the alpha kitty," and, "I'm in charge around here."

Medical Problem

Male cats may spray and act mean if they have a medical problem. Both aggression and spraying can be the result of pain. If your cat has suddenly become more aggressive and begun to spray at about the same time, take him to your vet immediately.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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