I am already a happy owner of one British Shorthair boy, and I am about to get 2 more soon, so I already know the answer, but if you are at the stage of the research now – here it is…
So, do British Shorthair males spray? Yes, males and females Shorthairs can spray if not neutered. This is how they will mark their territory in order to show their dominance. Marking territory is simply in all cat’s nature – they claim a specific spot by leaving their scent. Quite often it is done through simple rubbing or scratching, but issues with urinating can also happen.
What does cat spraying even mean?
Spraying happens when a cat retracts to a vertical surface with the shaking tail and then urine, while regular urination occurs when they squat and pees on any flat area.
Why cats spray?
One of the reasons why cats are spraying is because this is their attempt to mark their territory. As I mentioned earlier, they have this instinct to leave their scent and sadly for their owners, some cats may choose to leave their urine…
The reason for spraying may also be related to bringing a new cat to the household. Your current cat may feel a bit threatened and jealous, he wants you to think that the new cat is naughty and in the way does not deserve the same amount of affection from you.
Adding a new cat is only one of many stressful situations for your puss that may cause spraying. This can also be a newborn, strangers in the house, unfamiliar sounds, or even small things, that you or I would not even notice, but it makes the cat feel insecure…
Of course, I cannot discuss spraying without mentioning medical reasons that may cause it.
That is actually most common when they suffer from urinary tract infections or even blockage. After several attempts to make a wee in the litter box and being in pain, they are starting to identify the litter box with tremendous discomfort and ache, which prompts them to “try” different places.
I actually went through it with Frank, but being bright as he is, in order to let me know something was wrong, he literally cried in front of me, and led me to the bathroom where he tried to urinate in the sink…
So, as you can see it is essential not to assume that your little one does it out of spite! I cannot stress this enough! Urinary tract problems are not only painful for them, but they can also actually be fatal – If blocked a cat can die within hours. Urinary tract problems don’t go away by themselves, so if you notice anything suspicious, you must act and visit your vet immediately!
When do cats start spraying?
Most cats begin to spray approximately around 6 to 7 months of age. This is why a lot of veterinarians recommend cats to be neutered as soon as they reach physical maturity – typically between 4 and 6 months of age.
Are there any ways to prevent cat spraying?
The most commonly discussed method of preventing cat spraying is neutering, which is a surgical procedure carried out by a veterinarian under anesthetic. When it should be done depends on whether the cat will be indoors or outdoors.
Research suggests that neutering an indoor cat should take place when they are around 6 months old, or even earlier if there are any signs of sexual maturity. In the case of outdoor cats, you can wait a bit longer, although it is vital not to allow them to go outside before the procedure takes place.
The best you discuss with your vet when to do it, as some cats mature quicker than others, but if the neutering is done too soon your cat may not evolve to his full potential, and in the case of British Shorthairs there is a risk of not developing the lovely jowls that are so characteristic to them.
Please be aware, that even though neutering often eliminates this sort of behavior, it is not a 100% guarantee. Neutered cats spraying indoors is less common, but they still may spray outdoors to mark their territory. It may also be happening when you are bringing a new cat, who is challenging the authority of the existing cat – then despite neutering, natural instinct kicks in, to confirm who is the boss around here.
Behavioral Training Techniques to Discourage Spraying in British Shorthairs
Behavioral training can play a significant role in preventing or reducing spraying behavior in British Shorthair cats. Training starts with positive reinforcement, rewarding the cat when they use the litter box or scratch posts instead of spraying. It’s essential to establish a routine for the cat, as British Shorthairs are creatures of habit.
Consistency in feeding, playtime, and litter box cleaning can provide a sense of security, reducing the cat’s urge to mark territory through spraying. Introducing clicker training or using pheromone diffusers can also aid in creating a stress-free environment for the cat.
In addition to positive reinforcement, it’s crucial to understand and address the root causes of stress that may trigger spraying. If a British Shorthair feels threatened or insecure due to changes in the environment, such as new pets, unfamiliar people, or even rearrangement of furniture, it might resort to spraying.
Owners should gradually acclimate their cats to changes and provide safe, quiet spaces where the cats can retreat. Engaging in regular, interactive play sessions can also help build confidence and reduce stress-related behaviors, including spraying.
Dietary Considerations and Health Monitoring for Neutered British Shorthairs
Post-neutering, dietary management becomes crucial for British Shorthairs to prevent weight gain and maintain overall health. As their metabolism slows down, it’s important to adjust their diet to match their reduced energy needs. This may involve switching to a specially formulated food for neutered cats, which is typically lower in calories and higher in fiber.
Monitoring portion sizes and feeding schedules can help maintain a healthy weight. It’s also beneficial to incorporate more wet food into their diet, as it has fewer calories per gram compared to dry food, and the increased moisture content can aid in urinary tract health.
Regular health check-ups are vital for neutered British Shorthairs, especially to monitor for urinary tract issues, which are common in cats that spray. Since neutering can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, it’s important to keep an eye on their physical activity and encourage play. This not only helps in weight management but also in keeping the cat mentally stimulated and engaged.
Monitoring their litter box habits for any signs of discomfort or changes in frequency can provide early indications of potential health issues, allowing for timely veterinary intervention.
Cleaning the sprayed areas:
You need to clean the affected area properly, but it is important not to use strong chemicals, as the significant smell may cause your cat to “over-mark” the spot. I would suggest using Stain and odor remover like this one on Chewy.
- Redefine the affected areas: If possible try to make those areas unattractive for your pet or if that is not possible you can make them associate it with something else, for example, you can put their food or play with them there.
- Taking care of the stuff that may cause spraying: As we know cats at creatures of habit, so even small changes may cause stress; therefore you may consider putting away new purchases or your guests’ belongings.
You can also consider medication to solve the problem. There are plenty on the market, but please consult it with your veterinarian first.
This is something that my vet recommended to ease the stress when I moved to a new apartment, and Frank was a bit anxious. It helped a lot, so if that is the stress that causing spraying, I would suggest trying it. You can either buy a plugin or spray – I usually go for a plugin, as it’s more cost-effective – check here for the price. The only exception when I use spray is when I travel with Frank by car to the vet (3 3-minute drive makes him quite unhappy).
Some people suggest restricting the access to doors and windows through which cats may observe or sense animals outside, which may cause them anxiety… I would advise that only if you are entirely sure that is the case. By Frank for example, as most of the cats absolutely love sitting by the window and observing I cannot imagine depriving him of this pleasure. I actually firmly believe that it makes him very relaxed. I actually often join him in those observations, and I consider it as our bonding time…
Frequently asked questions:
Do cats mark their territory with poop?
Unfortunately, cats have a long history of using both their urine and feces to mark their territory. Just another way to show the world who is the most important here.
Other ways to mark the territory:
- Rubbing with the head on the owner (the scent left on the owner is a signal to other cats, to who you belong to)
rubbing with the flanks and butt, so the smell is left
- Scratching (2 in 1 – it leaves the scent, but also clearly visible evidence)
licking the owners (another way to leave a scent, as cat’s saliva carries a scent)
Do British Shorthairs get bigger after being neutered?
Typically both male and female cats have a tendency to gain some weight after neutering/spaying as their metabolism slows down. Usually body fat starts to concentrate around the belly… Putting some weight on is the reason why it is worth considering specially designed food for those cats, who went through the procedure and make sure they have some exercise/play time.
Do British Shorthairs’ personality change after being neutered?
It is quite common that a lot of cats are less active after the procedure and as mentioned earlier the most common advantage is that spraying of urine stops or if done early never actually occurs in the first place.
From my own experience, I noticed that after Frank got neutered he became less cuddly – before he slept every night cuddled next to me. But I am not sure whether it was associated with the procedure or the fact that he became more like other British Shorthairs – a bit distant…