The Color of Cat Spray. What You Need to Know


Cat spray refers to urine marking by cats. It is different from regular urination, as cat spray is not done for the purpose of eliminating waste. Instead, cat spray serves a communicative purpose for cats. Cat urine marking deposits strong-smelling urine, usually on vertical surfaces, to communicate information about a cat’s territory, availability to mate, and social status (WebMD). Unlike urination for elimination, which cats do in litter boxes, urine marking usually happens outside the box on objects or areas cats want to mark with their scent.

Normal Cat Urine Color

Normal cat urine has a clear and pale yellow or straw-colored hue (,, Healthy cat urine should not be orange, dark yellow, red, pink, or green. The pale color comes from urobilin, a pigmented byproduct of hemoglobin breakdown.

What Makes Cat Urine Vary in Color

The color of a cat’s urine can vary for a number of reasons. Here are some of the main factors that can affect the color:

Diet – Cats who eat a diet high in plant proteins may have urine that appears greenish or reddish in color. Artificial food dyes found in some cat foods can also lead to unnatural urine colors.

Medications – Certain medications like antibiotics or those that alter pH can result in orange, red, or green urine.

Dehydration – Concentrated, dark yellow urine can be a sign your cat is not drinking enough water.

Diseases – Conditions like kidney disease, bladder infections, and urinary stones can lead to unusual urine colors like orange, pink or red.

Toxins – Exposure to contaminants like antifreeze, which contains ethylene glycol, can give urine an orange or greenish color.

Pigments and Minerals – A buildup of pigments like bilirubin or excess minerals like calcium can result in dark yellow, orange, and brown urine.

Age – As cats get older, their urine can become darker in color due to kidney changes.

Common Colors of Cat Spray

Cat spray can come in a variety of colors. Here are some of the most common colors cat spray may appear as:

Clear or Pale Yellow Spray: Healthy cat urine is often described as clear or pale yellow in color[1]. A pale yellow spray is considered normal.

Dark Yellow Spray: A darker yellow urine or spray may indicate the cat is dehydrated and needs more water intake[1].

Orange Cat Spray: An orange spray may be caused by a urinary tract infection, crystals or stones in the urine, or kidney disease, which should be evaluated by a vet[1].

Red or Pink Cat Spray: Red or pink urine is never normal and may indicate blood in the urine from a UTI, trauma, cancer, or other medical issue requiring veterinary assessment[1].

Green Cat Spray: A green color in cat spray is abnormal and may be caused by a concentrated urine, bacteria, or rodenticide poisoning, requiring veterinary care[1].

Clear or Pale Yellow Spray

Normal, healthy cat urine is typically a pale, clear, or light yellow color. This is because the main component of cat urine is water. According to Samurai Spray Paints website, a cat’s spray that appears pale yellow or clear with no odor is usually normal and healthy (source). Clear or very light yellow spray indicates the cat is well hydrated. It also suggests there are no concentrated waste products or abnormalities present in the cat’s system.

Dark Yellow Spray

Dark yellow urine is the most common color of cat spray. This is because cat urine contains pheromones and proteins that give it a characteristic dark yellow hue. The main reasons cat spray may be dark yellow include:

  • Concentrated urine – The longer a cat holds in their urine before spraying, the more concentrated it becomes. This results in a darker yellow color.
  • Diet – Eating more protein can make cat urine darker. Cats on high protein diets like canned food or raw food may have dark yellow spray.
  • Dehydration – When a cat is not drinking enough water, their urine will be more concentrated and dark yellow.
  • Urinary tract infections – Infections in the urinary tract can cause blood or excess proteins leading to dark yellow urine.
  • Kidney disease – If a cat has kidney problems, their kidneys cannot concentrate urine properly leading to darker spray.
  • Marking territory – Tom cats will produce more pheromones when marking territory, making their spray darker yellow.

In general, small variations in the dark yellow color of cat spray are normal. But significant changes to orange, red, or brown urine could indicate a health problem requiring veterinary attention.

Orange Cat Spray

Cat spray may appear orange in color for a few different reasons. One cause is diet – cats that eat a lot of carrots or pumpkin, which contain beta-carotene, may produce orange-hued urine as the pigment gets excreted. Certain medications like phenazopyridine can also turn cat pee orange. In male cats, obstruction of the urethra can concentrate urine and make it appear more orange. Dehydration may have a similar effect. However, the most common reason for orange cat spray is territorial marking with the face and paws.

When an intact male cat sprays to mark territory, the spray often mixes with secretions from facial glands that contain pheromones. These secretions tend to be yellow, so when combined with urine the spray takes on an orange hue. The same occurs if a cat sprays using its paws after grooming its face. The orange color therefore frequently indicates the spray is indeed territorial marking rather than routine urination. Some cats may produce more of these secretions, leading to very orange stray. While not usually a medical concern by itself, if accompanied by other symptoms like straining it warrants a vet visit.

Cats that exhibit territorial spraying may do so on vertical surfaces like walls. It tends to have an orange color and strong odor compared to typical pee. Discourage this behavior by neutering, adding litter boxes, and addressing stressors. But orange spray not from marking generally doesn’t require intervention beyond routine care and hydration.


Red or Pink Cat Spray

Red or pink urine in cats can be caused by a few different conditions. One potential cause is the presence of blood in the urine, known as hematuria. This can occur due to urinary tract infections, bladder stones, trauma, tumors, or other medical issues affecting the urinary tract (source).

Another cause of red or pink cat urine is food dyes. Some cat foods, especially the inexpensive brands, contain Red 40 dye which can turn a cat’s urine pink or red. Switching to a dye-free diet will typically resolve this issue. Certain medications like antibiotics can also cause reddish discoloration of cat urine.

Kidney issues may also lead to pink-tinged urine in cats. Any abnormal color, especially red, pink or brown, warrants a vet visit to check for medical problems like urinary tract disease, bladder/kidney stones, infections, or hemorrhage (source). It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment when red cat spray is observed.

Green Cat Spray

Green urine in cats is typically caused by a health issue. Some conditions that may lead to green cat spray include:

Urinary Tract Infection: Bacterial infections in a cat’s urinary tract can lead to greenish urine. The infection causes inflammation in the bladder and urethra, which alters the chemical composition of a cat’s urine. This causes the unusual green coloration. Treating the infection will usually resolve the discoloration (Source).

Diet: In some cases, a cat eating certain foods with dyes or supplements can cause green urine. For example, a diet heavy in asparagus or B vitamins may lead to greenish tinge. Switching to a different diet often fixes this non-problematic cause of color change (Source).

Medications: Certain antibiotics or medications like methocarbamol can cause green urine in cats as a side effect. Usually the green color will go away once the medication is stopped. Let your vet know if you notice this symptom (Source).

Liver Disease: Serious conditions like liver disease, bile duct issues, or feline hepatic lipidosis can sometimes manifest with greenish urine. Seek veterinary care if your cat has green urine along with other symptoms like lethargy or loss of appetite (Source).

Overall, green cat urine is not normal and warrants a trip to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. It’s important to get an underlying health issue addressed before the condition worsens.

When to See the Vet

In most cases, variations in cat spray color are not a major cause for concern. However, there are some instances where you should take your cat to the vet for evaluation:

– Red or pink urine likely indicates blood in the urine and requires immediate veterinary attention, according to Rover. This can signal serious medical issues like urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or tumors.

– Dark brown or orange urine may indicate liver or kidney problems, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like increased thirst or lethargy, says Vetster. Seek prompt veterinary advice.

– Green or blue urine is highly abnormal and suggests a urinary tract infection or metabolic issue, per VCA Hospitals. This warrants an urgent vet visit for diagnosis and treatment.

– Persistent pale urine over several days can indicate kidney problems or diabetes, so consult your vet if it does not resolve. Exceptions include a cat on an all-wet food diet, which produces dilute urine.

In general, any major or persistent shift in your cat’s urine color, especially when coupled with other symptoms, merits having your vet analyze a urine sample and examine your cat.

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