Male Cat Spraying – Stop Cat Spraying

March 5, 1982

Dear Cecil:

When we came home this evening we found that a foul odor thoroughly pervaded our large apartment. We have reason to suspect that this odor (it’s still here) is none other than that of the “spray” commonly attributed to male cats — in this case, our three-years-neutered male cat Mudhead. What exactly is cat “spray”? Is it different from cat urine? Is it possible that our neutered Mudhead was capable of such a feat after three years?

World Gato Headquarters, Chicago

Illustration by Slug Signorino

Cecil replies:

Spray is but one of several odious secretions associated with cats, whose reputation for cleanliness is greatly exaggerated. 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. This is unquestionably a bit on the disgusting side, but things could be worse. The hippopotamus, for instance, is said to mark jungle trails by excreting a lethal mixture of urine and feces while twirling its tail like a propeller. This may explain the historically sluggish market for pet hippopotamuses.

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Original Youtube video here: Male Cat Spraying – Stop Cat Spraying