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How often do neutured cats still spray?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm going to be adopting (probably a male) kitten next week and have been doing a lot of reading up on cats. One thing I've come across is spraying. I know that un-altered cats spray to mark their territory, and I've read on some sites that even after being altered a cat will continue to spray indefinitely.

I'm adopting from a shelter and all of their kitten are between 2 and 5 months old and have all been neutered/spayed. How common is it to end up with a young, fixed cat that still sprays? How many of you have cats that still spray after being fixed? If so, what do you do to try to control it?
post #2 of 15
All the male cats I've ever had were neutered before six months and I have never had a spraying problem.

good luck with your search!
post #3 of 15
If you are adopting an already altered kitten, that greatly reduces the chances of spraying due to hormones. That said - *any* cat can spray, male or female. Cats who are urinating outside their litterbox often have a medical cause, like a UTI.

I have one kitty who suffered from chronic/severe UTIs, and as a result he sprays. It took months to clear up his UTI/blood in urine. There is no controlling it, it is a permanent behavior now - all my cats keep their claws - so he is living as an outdoor/farm kitty here (he primarily resides in an outdoor enclosure to ensure his safety).
post #4 of 15
Originally Posted by beans_etc View Post
I know that un-altered cats spray to mark their territory
Even this isn't always the case. I tend to take in adult cats - the last two fully mature adult males have never sprayed. I watched (and worked with) them for a while before catching them. They have always squatted. One is now an indoor cat that has no problems (aside from not lifting his tail high enough in the litter box) - But I also suspect neither had been breeding as one had pretty funky stud tail and the other still showed the mentality of a 4 month old kitten...

There are a lot of other people that take in adult cats that weren't altered and don't have issues. So if this is affecting your decision as to what age of cat you're going to choose - don't let it. Adult cats and older kittens can have more problems getting homes than younger kittens do.
post #5 of 15
I don't recall where I saw the statistics, but it's rare for a cat to spray after being altered, especially while quite young. Jamie was neutered at six months, which is average in Germany, and started to spray when he was three and a half. He sprays the perimeter of our property every day in several locations, and the spots alternate, so his scent remains fresh. The scent is pretty much odorless to humans, unlike that of tomcats.

I believe there were a couple of factors that started the behavior. About the time he "learned" to spray, there was an intact male cat in the neighborhood who insisted on marking in our yard. Our tenants had a male dog who lifted his leg around the perimeter of our property, and he and Jamie were buddies, so Jamie may have been copycatting. Our yard has always been the favorite hangout for neighborhood cats due to its bird feeders, catnip and availability of rodent prey (lots of shrews, mice and rats), which has led Jamie to warn off intruders. I also feed a tame hedgehog catfood outdoors during mild weather, so some cats come for a free meal.

Jamie is an indoor cat who goes for a supervised walk wearing a harness and leash every day, and that's when he does the spraying. It isn't a problem inside the house.
He and another neighborhood cat, also neutered, got into a spraying contest on either side of a cellar window for a time, and we stopped that by putting basil plants around the window, inside and out. That was a tip from a breeder who accidentally discovered that fresh basil prevented one of her queens (i.e., intact female used for breeding) from spraying.

We obviously could have done a lot to stop Jamie's marking behavior by discouraging other cats from hanging around here, but don't view the spraying outdoors as a problem. Something as simple as using Feliway spray or a diffuser may have worked.

Our last cat was a former feral who was eight and intact when he started living here, and it took us around a year to get him to the point where he could be castrated (traps didn't work). We gradually moved him indoors, and he never sprayed inside the house.

In short, while some neutered cats will spray, it's probably due to special circumstances, and not something you ordinarily would have to worry about.
post #6 of 15
None of my neutered males have ever sprayed. Please don't let this detour you from adopting from a shelter. It will be well worth it.
post #7 of 15
Both our guys were intact and adult (6 months plus) when we adopted them. We neutered both of them immediately, and they have never had a problem.

I've heard of it happening, but it's not common. Neuter a male kitten as soon as possible. Some vets have an age requirement, some have a weight requirement, but the only requirement our vets have is that the testicles have to be descended.
post #8 of 15
Male Stray
Came to us when he was about 4 or 5 months. He was busy spraying around the house, now his territory, obviously .

We had him neutered when he was (?) at least 10 months old. After his surgery, there's been no more spraying.
post #9 of 15
My few experiences:
I have a breeding stud, a bit over 2 years old and he doesn't spray. I also have his son, un-neutered soon 9 months old youngster, he doesn't spray either (yet...). I have a neutered male here too, he was neutered when he was 13 months old, he doesn't spray.
I had another breeding stud here for 2months, he did spray alot, but mainly because he was trying to impress the other male who he had a crush on.. He moved to my friend's place and stopped spraying. He's still intact and not spraying.
post #10 of 15
Neutered cats who spray usually do it because they are stressed in some way.

If your kitty is neutered and stress free there is no reason for spraying.
post #11 of 15
Neither of my cats have sprayed and they have both been neutered at over 1year. Sugar was a stray that adopted us -- the vet estimated he was a little over 1 year old when I took him for his op. Kody was a 2.5 year old retired stud cat that had been neutered about 3 months before we got him, and he has never sprayed either.

post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by Mimosa View Post
Neutered cats who spray usually do it because they are stressed in some way.

If your kitty is neutered and stress free there is no reason for spraying.
That's what I have found to be true also. And by stressed, it could be a physical illness, or emotional issue.

I have 10 cats and the only time I've had problems with spraying is when one of them is sick.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. That's a relief to hear -- I figured it wasn't usually a problem but thought I should check to be safe. I think my boyfriend would probably have a conniption if we got a cat who just sprayed for the hell of it or something.
post #14 of 15
My boys were all neutered at 4-5 months, my most recent addition neutered at 7-9 months because he was that old when the shelter found him. But thinking of the shelter cats, I can only think of 5 males and one female that sprayed at the shelter after being neutered as adults and one as a kitten (4-5 months) in over two years, so over 1000 neutered / spayed cats and I would think the shelter is a fairly stressful environment for a cat
post #15 of 15
Jack was neutered at 6 month's. He's now 2 years old and never once sprayed. He still squats in the litterbox like the girls
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