I want to adopt a female
because male cats spray,
March 13, 2010
Male cats are villianized because of their known 'ability' to spray to
mark their territories. People pass on information as if they are experts
in feline urinary behavior, when there are really nuances to the answer
of 'do males spray?'. Read on to clear the air on male spraying and
females being 'more standoffish' in their behaviors.
First, remember, we are talking about felines, but more specifically, Siberian
felines. Some behaviors are known to be more problematic in certain breeds
(i.e. Persian males MAY be more likely to spray). But we are going to focus our
attention to the
Siberian breed alone. The information is collected from years
of experience with Siberians from ourselves as well as fellow Siberian breeder's
and owner's experiences.
Do Siberian males spray?
If you are talking about a 'whole' or 'complete' male (one who is used for
breeding and NOT neutered), than, yes, they can be known to spray. Many are
very well behaved and spray exclusively in their litter boxes. This is why we use
very high sided litter boxes (see
Bringing Your Kitten Home), so if a male wants to
spray to mark their territory (and let the girls know where they are), they can.
Some male breeders can be worse than others, but this has to do more with how
their environment is set up - are there breeding females within close smelling
range? Are there other males to 'compete' with for the female's affections?
Breeders have to take all these things into consideration when setting up a cattery.
But if you are adopting a Siberian as a pet, than you are safe.  If a Siberian male is
neutered by the time they are a year old or earlier, they will not spray. Since Sibs
mature a little later, the Siberian males stays a little more 'naive' a little longer
(thankfully!). (Again, to read of any urinary issues, such as peeing outside the litter
box, refer to the
Bringing Your Kitten Home page - this is NOT a male/female
issue, but a medical issue or behavioral issue).
Early spay/neuter is often performed now and is often done to prevent spraying
issues in males. (There used to be urinary problems in males that were neutered
early 5 or 6 years ago, but I understand that this is
not supposed to be an issue
any longer.) However
Siberians mature late - at 5 years old. They are large structured cats, and thus
need as much time with their reproductive hormones so they can grow properly.
Early spay/neuter has been linked to hip dysplasia and other problems related to
growth plates when the kitty's size becomes large. We recommend waiting as
long as possible - keeping reproductive hormones for as long as possible, without
allowing them to grow too old and begin to 'spray'.  Thus, we recommend
spay/neuter between 6 and 8 months. If you adopt both a male AND a female,
the male will DEFINTELY need to be neutered at 6 months, because normal
play/wrestle time eventually becomes an enlightened male kitty who then gets
the 'hots' for the female, even though they may be a little early to be shooting
more than blanks. (Take NO chances).
Early vs late spay/neuter links
info to come soon...
Neutered Siberian males do not seem to be sprayers. They are more into their
playtime, human interactions, other pet interactions, to really focus on the issue
of 'hunting' females, or declaring their territories by marking around the house.
I want to adopt a male
because female cats are
independent and
standoffish, right?
Once again, generalizations about female cats have been assigned to the Siberian.
This is not completely accurate. For one, the Siberian's wonderful, dog-like
personality is just as present in the female as the male. If you had to be nit-picking,
than the female Siberian is more contemplative - they are deep thinkers and
Males are more impulsive and impetuous, and thus, they may
come when they are called much quicker - be more snuggly and 'velcro' cats with
their humans ALL the time.
Females are judicious in their sharing of affections
(and as I write this, I start to think, well, what about our girl, Kaleena, who calls for
her human mommy from under the door to come hold her, and Keirra, who does
constant Siberian flops at your feet to get her belly rubbed, and Enya, who is so
demanding for your attention, she will nibble with her teeth on your fingers until you
pet her, and Mairi, who is an absolute ragdoll when lying next to you on the bed, or if
you pick her up...)  
So, you see. It really is NOT the sex of the kitten, as it is the
GENETIC lines and PERSONALITY of parents, and the way kitties
are socialized at their crucial period of before 12 weeks, that is
important. This is why we all LOVE felines - they are
INDIVIDUALS - they have more personality quirks than dogs.
less intelligent (sorry guys,
but it's true) - more
impulsive, 'leap before you
look' reflex
very thoughtful,
problem-solving, quick to
learn, precise, calculating.
That's why in the wild the
female is the main hunter
Example: Playing with a laser light - one of our males, whom I will not mention by name to protect
his dignity, LOVES playing with the red dot of the laser light. He rashly dashes after the light
with full abandon trying to capture it. We thought we would make the light 'go away' in a corner of
the wall/ceiling to cease playtime. Well, this lovable boy actually sat down, looking up, and trying
to problem solve how to get the now vanished light beam - you see, it just HAD to be hiding up in
the corner, and he was not going to be satisfied until he could investigate his hypothesis.
Meanwhile, one of the girls, who had also been playing with the light beam, after about a minute
had figured out that it was generated by a little metal 'thing' that mommy was holding and lighting
up intermittently. She still enjoyed chasing the light beam, but in a more calculating way - and a bit
more energy-preserving manner than our boy did.
affectionate, cuddly-ness,
maybe slightly more so than
the female - when you call,
they come almost
immediately, which makes
them maybe a bit more
dog-like as well
females can be extremely
cuddly as well, especially
spayed females. 'Whole' or
unspayed females are a bit
'hormonal' (think PMS - we
call it 'having a bad hair day' -
their moods maybe a bit more
Levels of Fe-D1 proteins
higher in un-neutered males;
neutered males are close to
the same levels as a female
un-spayed females have lower
levels than the un-neutered
males, but the level is higher
than in a spayed female