Is your female cat spraying, and she wasn’t before?
Why is my female cat spraying all of a sudden? Your female cat may be spraying because it is marking its territory. It will do this because of underlying medical conditions, litter box issues or anxiety. Vets say that medical issues and anxiety are the most common cause. Spraying indoors is a sign that the cat is feeling stressed and is trying to feel more secure by surrounding themselves with their own scent.
Usually, most cats are very clean. They like it that way. So when a clean cat all of sudden starts being unclean or peeing in a random place, or spraying a wall there is definitely a reason. Let’s try to figure it out.
There’s probably nothing more frustrating for a cat owner than when a cat pees in places it is not supposed to. Ok, well sometimes scratching everything can be pretty frustrating too…and waking you up in the middle of the night.
Why Would a Female Cat Start Spraying?
Yes, it is true, most cat spraying behaviour is from unneutered male cats. However, there is a small percentage of female cats that will still exhibit this behaviour…around 5%. More often than not it is female cats that are not fixed. However, there are some cases and reasons that fixed female cats will start to spray.
Anxiety, Major Changes and Old Age
All three of these things will cause a cat to spray or pee in places that it is not supposed to. Anxiety can come from a number of places and can be related to changes or something that you can’t even figure out. Usually, though something has changed, and now you need to figure out what it is. It may even be new furniture and it has a smell.
I have two senior cats, and one of them is 24. So I understand litter box issues. In fact, I don’t think my grandma cat has pooed in the litter box for over a year now. She pees in it but doesn’t make it to poo.
So what I do is I have completely covered the hardwood floor with cheap lino from home depot and put her bed, food and water in that room. She stays in there at night with the other cat. During the day when we are home she comes out, but if we are not at home she stays in there. She sleeps a lot like an older cat.
- UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) – These are the most common medical reason why a cat may all of a sudden start spraying. Although these are most common in older male cats they can occur in both sexes and are independent of reproductive status. Here are the signs to look out for
- If your cat changes from bein perfect with the litter box and there have been NO other changes in the environment you may want to make a visit to the vet.
- Your cat will look for a cool, dry smooth surface. It will usually be the floor or tub or counter.
- If there is any strain or loud crying. Is there any fever?
- Kidney Disease – Other than thyroid issues kidneys are the most common medical issues in cats, especially older cats. The most telling sign is that the amount of water drinking and the amount of peeing go up. So the litter will be soaked or fuller than normal and they will drink a lot of water. If you notice this go to a vet right away. They may be spraying to ease pain or because they can’t make it back to the litter on time.
- Litter Box Training. Cats like routine and to have a defined space. Rescue cats, kittens and even long time family members can suffer from confusion. Especially if you have moved the litter box, even for a really good reason. You may need to adjust your litter box training.
- One thing that worked for me was keeping my cat confined to a smaller space, especially when I was not home. This helped retrain them to the litter box because it had moved.
- Sexual Maturity. Your female cat may have reached sexual maturity and has begun spraying. Are you sure she is fixed?
- Territory. Has there been anything that has recently been added to the mix in your home? If a cat feels anxious or that it’s territory has been compromised this will definitely, but not always, trigger weird behaviour. If you are in a multicat home one of your cats may have started bullying the other cat when you are not home. This is something to watch out for. The anxiety and stress of the bullied cat can cause it to spray.
If You Cat has Been Fixed
If your cat has been fixed and then all of a sudden starts spraying that is definitely outside the norm. Probably why you are reading this in the first place. I would recommend checking all of the things that I have previously mentioned in this article first. Typically it has something to do with behaviour or a medical issue. So get a vet check, and then try looking at what has changed around the house and fixing that. Try cleaning your litter box more often.
There is also a product on the market that is called Feliway and it is designed to help train the cat to use the litter box. You can check it out here on Amazon.
If Your Cat Has not Been Fixed
If your cat has not been fixed, it may definitely have something to do with it. Even if your cat was not spraying up till this point. There may be something that you are not seeing that could be leading to it.
Up until recently, my cats didn’t ever see another cat. They lived in my house out on the ranch and that was it. I just got married and moved into the city with my wife. There are other cats in our neighbourhood and they do come around the house. Our little Havanese Nessie chases them if they come into the yard. These cats are also able to get up to the windows and smell/talk to my ragdolls through the windows or screens when we are not home or looking.
Potentially this could be an issue for you too. A neighbourhood tomcat or other female is interacting with your cat and that is now causing it to be anxious and spray inside the house.
Do Female Cats Spray After Being Fixed?
Yes, but only a very very small percentage. Usually, the causes of the spraying are all of the other things listed above.
How Do You Stop a Female Cat from Spraying?
Ok so now to the crux of the issue. You need to stop the spraying. I have a number of other articles on this site that may potentially help with parts of the solution. So here goes with that…
- Do you smell it but can’t find it? There are two articles I have written about finding pee.
- You really need to clean the pee so that the smell changes. This greatly affects your success.
After you have cleaned the affected area and you are aware of the behaviour it is critical that you do a few things. First, you may need a vet check. If you suspect that it is one of the medical issues it is really important that you get that sorted out first.
Secondly, if it is one of the behavioural issues then go back over the last little bit and think of things that may have changed and remove those changes and see what happens to the behaviour.
Stopping if From Spraying Indoors
Like most of us here this is about a cat that is spraying indoors. Here is the shortlist.
- Clean the areas thoroughly
- Make the area that is being sprayed unavailable to the cat.
- Restrict your cat’s access to doors and windows where they can interact with outdoor animals.
- Make sure your cat is fixed
- Use enzyme or chemical sprays on the area to deter them
Get a High-Walled Litterbox
You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to get something done. Here is an example of using a tote to create more of an enclosed space for the cat. They can also spray against the side of it rather than against your couch or bedroom wall.
Stopping it from Spraying Outdoors
If the problem you are having is that a cat is spraying on your roses, or on your car, or on something else you may need a different solution. Outdoor cats respond entirely differently than indoor cats. Most ragdoll owners NEVER let their cats outside and for good reason. they are not fighters and would not protect themselves.
There are many solutions for stopping a neighbourhood cat from peeing on your stuff or from your own outdoor cat from peeing.
- Cat Repellant spray. you can get some on Amazon or make your own with apple cider vinegar. 1:1 with water.
- Motion controlled sprinklers
- Ultrasonic deterrents from home depot
- Outdoor dog
- Citrus, Coffee and tobacco are also repellants for cats
How Often Should You Change Cat Litter?
You should try to clean your cat litter as much as possible, I would say every day or two days at the most. The mess can be removed and the remainder left and added to with more litter. The entire litter should be replaced at least once a week. You may have to actually wash the bottom of the litter box as well or get litter box liners. Some cats won’t think it’s clean unless it’s really clean.
These act like garbage bags as well and make the cleanup a little easier. Again you’ll have to try and see, some cats will respond to any changes in their box.
Part of the reason that your cat may be spraying is because of the cleanliness of the litter box. You may not think anything has changed but to the cat, it may be different. Try different cleaning routines to see if that changes things.
More often than not cats will respond to a cleaner litter box than one that has pee and poo in it. My two ragdolls are both better when I clean it on a daily basis, or two days at most.
These are considered the golden rules for litter boxes.
One more litter box than cats.
- E.g., if you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes
Located in different areas of the home, away from food and water bowls and easy to get too.
- Ideally 1.5 x your cat’s body length
- For senior cats, look for a box with low sides that are easy to step in and out of
Always clean: scooped daily and cleaned weekly
Hopefully, that helps. I understand how frustrating it can be to deal with a cat that has litter box issues. Remember to stay patient and try a number of different things until you get closer to the answer.