Categories: scent marking

Cat got mixed up between urinating and spraying

My cat got mixed up between urinating and spraying and I wonder if this happens to other domestic cats.

Photo: PoC

He uses a sand pit in the garden as a toilet. I was watching him at a distance and he started to urinate. He squatted down and started. He then raised his bottom and tail and sprayed horizontally over the sand. Then he tried to bury it.

This was odd because, as you know, spraying is distinct from urinating. The purpose of spraying is to leave a ‘calling card’ on an object like a fence or tree. Spraying is done horizontally while urinating is a vertical process. When spraying the purpose is to leave the urine in place so that it provides information to visiting cats as to when the resident cat was there.

Cats don’t try and bury sprayed urine. Often domestic cats bury urinated urine. They do this because their human caretaker is the boss cat and the cat does not want to threaten their human caretaker/owner. The same goes for faeces.

I have decided that in this instance my cat wanted to urinate but instinctively sprayed albeit for no reason as there were no other cats anywhere and he is a confined cat. His garden territory is contained by a cat proof fence.

It was simply a case of instinct taking over. Has anyone experienced this?

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I had a cat that always sprayed, never squatted. But he did it in the litter box. I put a small piece of bathroom wall on the edge of the box so it dripped into the box.

    That was Mr Spunky. I miss that cat.

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