Any cat experts?

What is “spraying?” I mean, I know what it is, but how is it done? Does the cat spray out the urethra or a nearby gland? If so, why does it spray backwards?

You know, Cecil answered this question in the first book, but damned if I can find it on the site, even the page that lists the columns from the first book. It had a fun illustration by Mr. Signorino of a hippopotamus instructing a cat on tail swinging, too (that’s how hippos splatter their excreta around, apparently, to mark territory or some such).

Michelle would be the expert on it but I’ll give it a shot. The “spray” is a combination of scent from a gland near the base of the tail and a small amount of urine ejected from the urethra (pretty sure). Okay, I know this didn’t help much. I do know that if you spay or neuter your cat before they get into this habit (which starts as they begin to sexually mature), you probably won’t have a problem with it. Our cats, male and female, were fixed at 6 months and 3 months respectively and we’ve never had a problem.

Michelle, where are you?!

Male cats who haven’t been neutered will “spray” to mark their territory. Male cats who’ve been neutered after they’ve learned the spraying behavior will continue to do it. Female cats generally don’t spray.

Spray is just urine.

Cecil’s answer to this can be found at–

Jim Petty
An oak tree is just a nut that stood it’s ground

I have a friend who had a female cat that sprayed. They called her the aerosol cat.

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

Well, I don’t check the General Questions very much, but the answers seen here have been satisfactory. I wonder though, what brought up this question. I hope the cat in question is actually spraying, and not just urinating outside the litterbox, which can be indicative of a urinary tract infection.

OK. Thanks for the responses–but let me be a little more specific (and graphic). I had already read Cecil’s article, and it didn’t answer what I was asking. (Granted, I didn’t phrase it this way, either.)

I know nothing about feline anatomy (and I’ll limit this to toms).

Does the penis extrude when it sprays?

If so, does that mean that it is pointing backwards (as opposed to down), since that is the way the spray apparently comes out?

Also, if it does extrude backwards, is that the same position it assumes during mating. If so it would seem to be pretty uncomfortable.

I’m not a cat person (oh, I like 'em–I just don’t have any), so I never get a chance to observe any of this first hand.