Yes, female cats spray urine. To be clear, spraying urine is not the same as urinating to remove a waste product. You probably know that but it’s got to be stated for complete charity. Spraying is to scent mark territory and it is carried out horizontally onto a vertical surface.
The basic information about female and male cats spraying is that females do it less often than males. And being sterilized (spayed and neutered) doesn’t necessarily stop it. For example, my male cat is neutered but he still sprays occasionally because he is telling another cat who visits that he owns the place. And he does by the way! Males do it more because they are more concerned about maintaining their home range.
SEE SOME MORE ARTICLES ON SPRAYING AT THE BASE OF THE PAGE.
It should be said, too, that spraying urine is an olfactory signal to which you can add vocal signals and visual signals (scratches and scrapes). They all serve a similar purpose. Each is used alone or in concert with others depending upon the circumstances.
Adult male cats, and we’re mainly talking about feral cats because these cats behave more naturally as they live in the wild, spray urine frequently while travelling. They leave the scent of their urine at locations where other cats are likely to encounter the signals. Domestic cats spray as well particularly when allowed outside in say an apartment complex where they is a greater chance of meeting other domestic cats. These circumstances force the cat to constantly mark and remark to restate to others that they are present. One cat will spray over another cat’s urine scent mark and the other might reciprocate.
In a study in Sweden it was found that dominant male feral and semi-feral cats spay at rates of 22 marks per hour whereas less dominant males spread less frequently at 12.9 urinations per hour. That sounds like a lot. I am not sure that it is typical.
Depositing faeces is also an aspect of scent marking and faeces are left uncovered in areas beyond the core area of the cat’s home range whereas within the core area the faeces of covered.
The quote Mel and Fiona Sunquist of Wild Cats of the World at page 108 on the domestic cat:
“Females also spray urine while travelling, but not at the higher rates recorded for males. Females spray at higher rates just prior to estrus, thus ensuring a male’s presence at the appropriate time.”
So, for female cats there is this other purpose, which is to attract males for mating.
Often when the experts write about marking territory by spraying they do not differentiate between females and males. But, as stated, females will normally do it less often.
Touching on domestic cats, if a male or female cat is spraying inside the home it is probably due to feeling insecure. Spraying is a form of self-reassurance.
Mel and Fiona Sunquist referred to the work of JD Mellen who wrote “A comparative analysis of scent-marking, social and reproductive behaviour in 20 species of small cats”, published in 1993.
SOME MORE ON SPAYING: