Feline Behaviour - Spraying

Feline Behavior
Common Communication Breakdowns


Cats are equipped with scent glands on their paw pads; on their cheeks; on the top of the head; and of course, the area that causes guardians the most concern: urine. There are also two little anal glands on either side of the rectum that release a liquid to mark the cat's stool with a specific identifying scent.

Pheromones released during spraying are related to stress and excitement.

Spraying is usually done on vertical objects. A cat will first back up to an object (ex: the wall, stereo speakers). He may knead the ground with his front paws or tread with his back paws. His tail will also start twitching. A stream of urine is then sprayed on the object. The reason spraying is so effective from a cat's point of view is because it puts the urine right at nose height for any other cat walking by. Very efficient!

How Do Cats Spray?


Cats are retromingent, which means they pee backwards. The penis of a cat is located directly below the scrotum, behind the back legs. It generally angles down and back (which is why even males arch their backs and squat to urinate rather than lifting their legs as male dogs do). To spray, they tense muscles that angle it back and up.

What's up with cat "spray"?


Spray consists of urine mixed with a viscous, fatty material whose extraordinary pungency has been most charitably characterized as "musky," although more colorful terms have also been used. The accepted method of application is for the cat to back up to some prominent domestic landmark, such as a door frame, sofa, or curtain, raise its tail, and let squirt.