Do female cats spray?

Yes, adult female cats spray urine for scent-marking purposes. However, mature males spray urine far more frequently at 99% of total spraying activity in a study (Methods of scent marking in the domestic cat by Hilary N Feldman, May 26 1994 – the entire study is published here – see base of page). In other words if there were 100 urine sprays by females and males, the males would have made 99 of them and the females 1. The participates in the study were unaltered feral cats.

Female feral cats spray urine but much less than males
Female feral cats spray urine but much less than males
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The study found that depending on age, status and territorial issues feral male cats spray between 2.8 and 9.2 sprays per hour. The study also found that urine spraying occurred 679 times and only 4 of these were made by females while the remaining 675 (99%) were made by males. One male and five breeding females were placed into two separate areas both contained within a 1,600 square metre enclosure from January 1988 to April 1989. Only adults at 18 months or more than 18 months of age spray marked.

On the basis of this study ‘females rarely spray marked…’. The result is consistent with other studies. Females spray while hunting and travelling along paths ‘but much less frequently than adult males’. Males also spray when hunting, walking along paths and boundaries to their home range.

Females increase their urine spraying during oestrus. The proximity of oestrus females encourages males to increase their rate of spraying (The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behavior which referred to the above mentioned study).

Cat marking study


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