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I personally love the domesticated male cat. The problems which are associated with female cats like reproduction or managing potential kittens are eliminated. However, male cats come with their own set of problems. No matter, how much you love your cat there are certain behavioral traits in male cats which are difficult to handle. One such trait which I was worried about is cat spraying. Most male cat owners wonder when do cats start spraying and how I can avoid it

Cat spraying is the marking of territory by the male cats by squirting their urine in a certain area. The problem is that when you love keeping your cats around you like me, cat spraying can be a tricky situation to deal with.

When do cats start spraying?

Male cats start spraying as young as 6 months of age. The age in which cats can start spraying can vary from 6 months to over 14 months. Some of the male cats develop physically faster which leads to cat spraying at a younger age. On the other hand, some male cats are late bloomers and can start spraying as late as 14 months.

Spraying is a behavioral trait only in male cats. The behavioral traits of the female cats are entirely different in order to attract the male cats. Very few of the female cats indulge in cat spraying. If the male cats start spraying even prior to 6 months of age, the cause can be entirely different. In such a case, it is a good idea to contact your vet to determine the cause as it is certainly not normal.

Male cats hit puberty around 6 months of age. Thus, you can conclude that male cats start spraying when their body physically matures and hits puberty.

On the other hand, female cats hardly spray. They normally yowl or produce sounds to attract the male cats.

Reasons for Spraying

The causes of cat spraying by male cats can be plenty. Some of them include:

Attracting Female Cats: The main reason why the male cats begin cat spraying is to attract the female cats with their scent. This is why, just before hitting puberty, the male cats start spraying.

Reproductive Immaturity: Male cats also start spraying when they achieve reproductive maturity. This means that they are now ready to mate and would begin their search for female cats in the vicinity.

Marking their Territory: Even though the household male cat is domesticated, some natural wild traits remain. In the wilderness, cats use cat spraying as a method to mark their territory. This is an indication for other male cats to stay away from that territory. Even though there is no necessity of the same behavior in the domestic environment, the cats usually continue with the same behaviour.

In cases, where the male cat is the only feline member in the house, hey may still spray owing to their behavioral trait.

Bacterial infection: It is possible your cat may be spraying due to a bacterial infection, and not because of the previously mentioned reasons.

Thus, not all cat spraying is entirely voluntary in nature. If the cat is spraying excessively or before the age of maturity, the cause of cat spraying might be something else. In such a case, it is a better idea to contact your vet in order to diagnose the problem.

The medical causes of cat spraying can only be cured with proper medical treatment. They should not be ignored as such problems can increase over time.

Can I Prevent My Cat from Spraying?

One of the questions which I am often asked by my friends who own cats is whether they can prevent them from spraying. The answer is yes, cat spraying can be prevented. The most efficient way to prevent cat spraying is through the process of neutering.

Neutering is the process of castration for male cats. It not only eliminates the reproductive capability of your male cat but also reduces other behavioral traits in male cats. Neutering reduces or completely eliminates the behavioral trait of cat spraying in male cats. It also reduces the risk of a number of other diseases in male cats.

In case, your female cat shows odd behavioral traits like cat spraying, you can opt for the procedure of spaying. This would eliminate the reproductive capability of your female cat and also eliminate the behavioral trait of cat spraying.

When Do Cats Start Spraying Summary

Most veterinarians are very experienced with the procedures of neutering or spaying. You can consult your veterinarian to learn more about this procedure. It can be conducted on kittens as young as 4 months old. The best way is to consult your veterinarian and he or she would be able to advise you regarding the age at which neutering or spaying procedure should be conducted for your cat. Some of the factors which are taken into account while deciding the age at which the procedure should be conducted are:

  • Weight of the cat
  • Health of the cat
  • Breed of the cat

Your veterinarian would be able to provide you with the right timeline as to when the procedure should be conducted.

So, if you’re worried about when do cats start spraying, the answer is between the age of 6 months to 14 months depending on the physical maturity of your cat. In my opinion, if you’re worried about cat spraying, it is a good idea to take preventive action in order to reduce or eliminate this behavioral trait of the cat.

When Do Cats Start Spraying Infographic