After getting a new kitten, it is common to wonder when do Maine Coons start spraying?
If you are worried about spraying, and you have a Maine Coon, neutering is usually the best way to prevent this undesirable behavior.
For those of you who want to stop your Maine Coon from spraying, it is a good idea to learn when spraying typically starts, so you can neuter your cat in advance.
When Maine Coons start spraying, they are typically between eight and ten months old, which is when they reach sexual maturity. In some cases, they may start spraying as early as six months old. Because Maine Coons mature more slowly than other cat breeds, they start spraying a few months later on average.
While reaching sexual maturity is one of the more common reasons why a Maine Coon might start spraying, there are other possible reasons behind this behavior, as well.
In this article, we’ll look in detail at the different causes of spraying, as well as some ways you can prevent it.
What Is Maine Coon Spraying?
Most cat breeds start spraying between the ages of four and six months.
Maine Coons, however, are unlike other cat breeds in that they mature more slowly. As a result, they typically do not reach sexual maturity until they are between the ages of eight and ten months old. This is when a Maine Coon is most likely to begin spraying.
So, what is spraying, anyway?
Spraying is different from normal urination because it is purposefully sprayed on various parts of a cat’s territory.
A cat that is spraying will stand with its tail erect and quivering slightly. It will back up to whatever part of its territory it would like to mark before urinating.
Unfortunately, there is no exact way to predict how frequently a Maine Coon will spray.
According to one cat specialist, wild cats can spray up to 46 times every hour! Thankfully, this number is significant in domestic cats, though it can vary between individuals (source 1).
Male Maine Coons are significantly more likely to spray, but this behavior can exist in females, as well.
Why Do Maine Coons Spray?
There are many different possible reasons a Maine Coon might spray, and pinpointing the reasons behind your cat’s behavior is an essential part of preventing it.
- Marking Territory: The most common reason a Maine Coon will spray is as a method of marking territory. An unneutered cats urine has higher levels of hormones and pheromones, which send a signal to other cats.
- Reaction to Other Cats: If you have more than one cat in your household, your Maine Coon could begin to spray as a way to establish dominance as well as its territory.
- Wanting to Mate: The urine of an intact cat contains higher levels of hormones and pheromones. Aside from signaling territory to other nearby cats, it can also signal a readiness to mate. This behavior can occur with both males and females; females are more likely to spray during the first time they go into heat.
- Stress: Many different environmental factors can cause stress in a cat’s life, and spraying seems to be a method of coping for an anxious or upset cat. If you suspect your cat is spraying as a result of stress, it’s best to pinpoint the reason for that stress and help to alleviate it as much as possible.
- Moving: Moving locations is a highly stressful ordeal for Maine Coons, and it is common for them to begin spraying after such an extreme shift in its environment.
- An Addition to the Family: A new pet, or even a new baby, can be a big enough change to cause stress to your cat. This shift in your cat’s environment can cause some Maine Coons to begin spraying as a way to cope with their anxiety.
- A Perceived Threat: Even indoor cats can see and hear the things that go on outside. If your cat senses that there is an outdoor cat near its territory, it may begin to spray as a method of defense.
- Reorganization: For some cats, an act as simple as moving around furniture can cause them enough stress to start spraying. While most Maine Coons are laid back, remember that seemingly small changes in your environment can feel much bigger to a cat and can cause undue stress.
- Boredom: Maine Coons are extremely intelligent and require plenty of enrichment to keep their minds stimulated. If you don’t play with your Maine Coon very often, or if it doesn’t have an enriching environment to interact with, your Maine Coon could become bored and begin spraying as a result.
- Loneliness: The Maine Coons is a highly social breed that requires lots of interaction, either with humans or with other cats. If your Maine Coon is not getting enough attention, it may begin to feel lonely and could begin spraying as a result.
- Loss: Humans aren’t the only creatures who experience grief. If your Maine Coon was bonded to a pet or family member who recently passed away or left for some other reason, your cat may begin to spray out of insecurity and sadness.
- Going on Vacation: Maine Coons are known for their ability to bond with their owners. If you happen to leave for vacation, however, this can stress your poor Maine Coon out enough for it to begin spraying.
- Medical Reasons: Spraying can sometimes be the result of a urinary disorder. If you cannot fathom an underlying reason for spraying in your cat, it is best to take your Maine Coon to the vet to rule out any medical conditions.
How to Stop Maine Coon Spraying
Spraying is an undesirable and inconvenient behavior. It smells much stronger than normal cat urine, and it is very difficult to clean.
Thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can prevent spraying in your cat:
- Neutering: This is the best way to prevent spraying in your Maine Coon. Spraying is most common in intact cats, and in many cases, the behavior is eliminated after the cat has been neutered.
- Reducing Stress: If your cat is spraying as a result of stress, you should take time to soothe your cat. Maine Coons thrive on routine, so providing structure and stability to your cats life is one of the best ways to reduce stress.
- Providing Enrichment: If your Maine Coon is spraying as a result of boredom, you should make sure you are providing enough enriching activities for your cat. Spend more time playing with your Maine Coon, and leave out fun toys for it to play with. You might also want to consider investing in a cat tree.
- Give Your Cats Their Own Space: If you have multiple cats, one cat specialist suggests providing separate litter boxes and bowls to minimize the chance of your cats encroaching on one anothers territory. Make sure all of your cats have their own safe space away from one another, so they feel less territorial and defensive (source 1).
- Feed Your Cat Where They Spray: Cats typically choose to spray the same areas, but they do not like to eat in the same place where they spray. After thoroughly cleaning the affected area, begin placing your cats food there to discourage spraying in the future.
- Keep the Area Clean: Even if you have resolved the stressor behind your cat’s spraying, it may continue to spray out of habit if it can still smell the spray it left behind. Make sure you clean the area completely to discourage spraying.
At What Age Should a Maine Coon Be Spayed?
Spaying or neutering your Maine Coon is the best way to prevent spraying.
It is usually best to spay your cat before it reaches sexual maturity, between eight and ten months.
Most Maine Coon owners choose to spay their cat when it is between four and six months old. However, if your cat is older but has not yet been spayed, it’s never too late to do so!
For everything, you need to know regards the best age to neuter a Maine Coon kitten, make sure you read my article.
The Benefits of Spaying a Cat
Spaying your cat is a highly beneficial and simple process.
There are tons of reasons why it is a good idea to spay your Maine Coon.
Take a look at the table below, to see just a few reasons:
|Reason For Spaying Cat||Description|
|It Prevents Spraying||Spaying your cat is one of the most surefire ways to prevent it from spraying because it removes the sexual and territorial urges behind the behavior|
|Your Cat Will Be Healthier||Intact cats are at risk of certain cancers that take over the reproductive organs. Spaying entirely removes the chance of your cat getting certain cancers. The most common type of cancer found in unspayed cats is breast cancer, but the risk of this cancer is eliminated when the cat is spayed (source 1)|
|There Will Be No Chance of Kittens||A spayed cat will never give birth to kittens, which are a huge responsibility. There are already so many cats in the world who are looking for their forever homes, and the most responsible thing to do is to avoid bringing even more cats into the world|
|Cat Will Be More Affectionate||A spayed cat will no longer have sexual urges, meaning it will be more likely to bond with you. Spayed cats are also less likely to roam around in search of a mate, so your cat will be more likely to cuddle up with you on the couch|
The Risks of Spaying Your Maine Coon
While spaying a Maine Coon is filled with benefits, it is always best to be aware of any potential risk behind the procedure, as well.
- Weight Gain: Spaying can cause weight gain in some cats. If you make sure you do not overfeed your cat, however, as well as ensure it gets enough exercise, this should not be a problem (source 1).
- Incontinence: A spayed cat may be at risk for urinary incontinence, and some spayed cats are also more susceptible to bladder infections (source 1).
- Adverse Reaction to Anesthesia: If you wait too long to spay your cat, it may have reduced function in the kidneys and liver, which can cause adverse reactions to anesthesia. As a result, your vet might not clear your cat to get spayed at all. This is why it is especially important to spay your cat while it is young.
The Cost of Spaying a Maine Coon
Neutering your cat can cost anywhere between $300 and $500 at a private veterinarian, but it is possible to find organizations who charge less for the operation.
In some cases, you may even be able to find resources that offer operations for free (source 1).
Free Spaying for Cats
The best way to get a cat spayed for free is to adopt from a local shelter. If you already have a cat, however, then this won’t be an option.
The ASPCA has a list of resources for getting your cat spayed for a much lower cost than usual.
If you talk with your veterinarian or local shelters, you might also be able to find resources near you that offer to spay cats for free.
Free Cat Neutering
Just like with spaying, the best way to get a cat neutered for free is to adopt from a local shelter. Furthermore, you can also find a list of resources on the ASPCA website.
You can also discuss options with your vet or local shelter to find places near you that offer free or discounted neutering services.
Signs Your Maine Coon Is Spraying
If you are not sure whether or not your Maine Coon is spraying, here are some signs to look out for.
- Location: Cats almost always spray on vertical surfaces, such as walls or furniture. Furthermore, they will usually spray in the same places.
- Litter Box Usage: Because spraying is different from regular urination, a cat that is spraying will usually still make use of its litter box.
- Position: Cats have a very distinctive body posture when they are spraying. A cat that is spraying will stand with its tail erect and its back to the area it is about to spray.
How to Tell the Difference Between Urine Marking and Spraying
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if your cat is spraying or simply urinating because it is choosing not to use the litter box.
The first way to identify that your cat is spraying rather than urine marking is that a spraying cat is more purposeful. Most cats consistently spray the same areas. These locations will also be vertical, such as walls or furniture, while cats that are urine marking will usually pee in horizontal locations, like on the floor.
Make sure you check your cat’s litter box, as well.
A cat that is spraying will still use the litter box for regular urination, whereas a cat that is urine marking will make use of your entire house as a litter box.
How to Clean Cat Spray
The first step in cleaning cat spray is to clean it as quickly as possible.
According to Feliway, the longer cat spray is left uncleaned, the more the scent will seep into that area.
To clean carpet, a neutralizer such as baking soda is usually a good way to remove the odor. Try to use natural cleaning products that are safe for your cat, whether you are cleaning walls, carpet, or even clothes.
You might have to clean the same area two or more times to completely remove the odor.
Avoid using bleach or other ammonia-based products, as your cat might think it smells like pee. This will make your cat more likely to spray the area again in the future.
How Long After a Cat Is Neutered Will He Stop Spraying?
According to Affinity Petcare, the behavioral effects of neutering often take place immediately after the operation, although, in some cases, these changes can sometimes take weeks to manifest.
How to Care for Your Maine Coon After Being Spayed
Just like humans, your cat will need time to recover after its operation. Here is a list of things you can do to help your cats recovery process go as smoothly as possible.
- Give Your Cat Plenty of Rest: The first 24 hours are especially crucial when it comes to rest. Give your cat a secluded spot, away from any children or other pets. Make sure you keep an eye on your cat while it sleeps off the anesthesia.
- Reduce Activity: The first few days after surgery are not the time to take your cat out on a walk or to encourage playing or climbing. Your cat will need time to heal, and excessive activity could reopen the stitches.
- Talk With Your Vet: Discuss specifics with your vet, including signs to keep an eye out for, when you can give your cat food and water, and how long recovery will take for your cat. All of these things will vary between individuals, so make sure you get all the information you can from your vet to keep your cat safe and comfortable.
How to Stop a Neutered Cat From Spraying
It can be frustrating to discover that your cat is spraying, even though it has already been neutered. Here are some ways you can prevent this behavior in a neutered cat.
- Hide Previously Sprayed Areas: To discourage spraying in a certain area, The Humane Society recommends making those areas either unattractive to your cat or entirely inaccessible. This could mean moving furniture to the area or spray pet-safe citrus scents in the area.
- Keep the Area Clean: A cat will be more likely to spray an area again if it can still smell its previous marking. Make sure you clean the area thoroughly to discourage it from happening again.
- Reduce Stress: A neutered cat could be spraying as a result of anxiety. To reduce your cats stress, make sure it is given stability and routine.
- Provide Enrichment: A bored Maine Coon is more likely to begin spraying. Give your cat lots of attention, as well as plenty of exciting toys and places to play.
It is common for many cat owners to wonder when do Maine Coons start spraying since this behavior is undesirable and best avoided at all costs.
If you own a Maine Coon, spaying or neutering is usually the best way to prevent spraying behaviors in your cat. However, even neutered cats may start spraying as a result of environmental triggers.
It’s a good idea to determine the cause of spraying in your Maine Coon so you can learn the best way to prevent it.
Is it Illegal to Not Neuter Your Cat?
According to AVMA, some counties in the United States have passed laws that require most cats to be neutered. Check that you are following the law before deciding whether or not to neuter your cat.
Is Neutering a Cat Cruel?
Neutering a cat is not considered cruel, because it has many benefits. A neutered cat will be less aggressive, and neutering also eliminates the risk of certain cancers.
What Does Cat Spray Smell Like?
Cat spray is much stronger than regular cat urine. It is a musky scent that carries many feet from the location, and it also lingers longer than regular urine.
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