What Is Territory Marking
In its essence, territory marking is an indirect and essential means of communication for the felines, due to the fact that they lead a solitary life most of the time. Its, if you wish, their way of setting a Keep Out signpost in front of their home or the Welcome mat for those who are part of the community.
Leaving their scent around is how cats mark their territory. And that is made through rubbing on stuff, scratching, pawing and yeah, urinating. Theyve got scent glands;on the face, feet, the back of the front legs, the bottom and even the tail, so if your cute little friend is rubbing on you well, you get the point. This is how cats mark their territory.
No matter whether the cat is living on the street or in your very dorm, she will do that. The size of that territory, be it into the wild or in your house, depends mainly on the availability of food. If that is scarce, the feline will mark a greater territory for it to find enough food to survive. If food is plenty, there will be no need for such a great territory, as a small one will do.
Apart from that, males will explore larger territories in order to find a mate.
Spraying Reason #: Medical Issues
If your cat has stopped using the litter box or if he urinates right in front of you, its time to see your veterinarian. A urinary tract infection may be responsible for your cats recent spraying behavior.
Kidney disease may also bring about changed urinary habits, including more frequent urination.
Since cats cant verbalize when theyre in trouble, they may use changed behavior to signal to you that something is wrong.
What Could Be Stressing My Cat
Not all cats respond to the same pressures by spraying urine as it does depend on the individuals temperament. Broadly speaking, cats can be stressed by other cats, humans or the environment within which they live. Some specific stress triggers, for example, are:
- Conflict with other cats in the household
- Dense population of cats outside the home
- Invasion of your home by a strange cat
- New additions to the family
- Owner absence or change of work schedule
- Inappropriate punishment
See our information on;identifying and addressing the signs of stress
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Clean Up Marked Areas Of Marking
Many cats will mark territory over the area where another cat has marked. This can lead to a never-ending cycle of marking territory, leaving the area smelling pungent. Cleaning up marked territories is key to reducing the overall amount that your cats mark their territory.
First, you will need to get a type of cleanser called an enzymatic cleanser. These are designed to neutralize the pet odor that comes from a marked territory. Because the strong smell of a marked territory is caused by the communication chemicals, removing this will do good for everyone.
When a cat cannot smell the communication chemicals because of the enzymatic cleaner, theres less of a chance that the cat will mark the territory.
On top of the cleanser, you will want to use another spray to further reduce the chance that your cat wants to mark the territory. A synthetic cat pheromone has been shown to reduce some stress in cats. Usually, you will need a diffuser plugged into the nearest outlet to the marked territory for the best results although it is still possible to get it through a spray.
A less stressed cat is one who will be less likely to mark an area, making life easier for everyone in the process.
Add Another Litter Box
With multiple cats, you may need to coddle twice as much . Offer at least one litter box per cat, and space these in different parts of the house. Make sure they are extra big because some cats just like the added space to maneuver.
Similarly, provide scratching objects and resting places for each cat in a variety of places throughout the home. Extra vertical space can allow cats to climb and get away from each other, while each owns its own resting spot. Single-cat shelves can keep cats from having to share.
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My Cat Has Stopped Spraying Now After A Few Weeks Do I Still Need To See The Vet
Urine spraying can come and go, depending on the presence or absence of whatever it is that is stressing your cat. Often the problem returns and the longer you wait before tackling the problem, the more complicated it can become. Urine spraying is difficult to resolve as it is a normal behaviour for the species and often the identified stress triggers may be outside your influence . However, prior to a known and anticipated stressful event, it may be beneficial to use a;Feliway®;diffuser for those cats which have a history of urine marking during times of increased anxiety.
The problem can be reduced or contained to your satisfaction but guidance should be offered regarding the long-term wellbeing of the individual cat.
Eliminate Odor And Create New Associations
Pay attention to where your cat urine marks. A black light should make urine glow, so you can clearly see any soiled areas. Clean thoroughly with an odor neutralizer product such as;Anti-Icky-Poo, which eliminates the odor that draws cats back to the scene of the crime. Ammonia and bleach also work well. The goal is to remove the odor so the cat doesn’t think it’s OK to “go” there again.
Next, change the association of the place by placing toys, a cat bed, or food bowls right on top of the spot. Cats wont want to spray where they play, sleep, or eat. Spraying the Feliway on the inappropriate spot also can deter a repeat.
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Make The Litter Box More Appealing
Sometimes, cats may choose to urinate in inappropriate places because they prefer those places over the litter box. Cleaning the litter box regularly can make it more appealing for your cat.
If you have more than one cat, make sure you have enough litter boxes in the home. PetMDrecommends one for each cat plus one extra.
While you make the litter box more appealing, you should also make their favorite spots in the house less appealing. Use an enzymatic cleaner like Natures Miracle Odor Eliminator or Rocco and Roxie Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator to neutralize scents.
This will prevent your cat from revisiting and re-marking their favorite spots. After these areas are cleaned, you can also place toys or catnip at their favorite spraying spots to help them associate the areas with playtime instead of spray-time.
Cat Spraying: Why They Do It And Ways To Tackle It
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You notice a wet spot on the side of the sofa, or the drapes, or maybe running down the front door. Hmmm, is that . . . ? Yep, it looks and smells like cat pee. Uh oh. Whats going on? Is your cat trying to tell you something?
Actually, when your cat sprays, they are trying to send you a message! Its usually either, I was here/”this is my home, or Im stressed out.
You see, spraying is all about communication for cats. Its different from fully peeing or pooping outside the litter box which, though could also be due to stress or problems between the pets in your home, is most often related to a problem with your cats litter boxes . And, just to keep things interesting, both spraying and inappropriate elimination can also be brought on by, or worsened by, an underlying medical problem or infection , kidney failure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or a host of other problems). This article is going to focus on helping you with a cat thats spraying or marking. Read on to see if that might be your cat, and what you can do about it.
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Why Cats Spray Territory And How To Prevent It
Whether its through sound or behavior, animals are able to connect in ways that humans do not always understand. Though cats might share territory with others, they are naturally self-sufficient creatures and, unlike dogs, dont often confront each other directly. In order to communicate, therefore, a cat may leave messages and signals by spraying. This is sometimes known as cat scent-marking.
How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Marking
Your kitty has been scratching, marking, and spraying all over the house, and you have no idea why. Is your cat restless, anxious, upset, or even free-wheeling it because of a new territory? Your first instinct might be to take your kitty to the vet, but before you do, try these three tips for deciphering your pets actions.
- We can identify how a cat perceives an area by noticing where she urinates indoors near doors, windows, walls; outdoors near shrubs or along fences. When we see house-soiling with no visible sign of physical injury anywhere nearby.
- We can also identify how a cat perceives an area by noticing where she sprays indoors near doors, windows, walls; outdoors in the garden or against trees.
- A final sign of territorial marking is when we notice that our cats are rubbing up against objects and furniture that they dont usually rub on for example, if hes always jumping onto the couch to spray around it instead of using his litter box as usual.
Some vets believe this may be due to anxiety or pain from arthritis but there could be other reasons too. For instance, your big old tuxedo might just want you all to himself!
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Which Cats Are More Likely To Urine Mark
Both male and female cats can mark with urine. Urine marking is most common in intact male cats. When an intact male sprays urine, it will have the characteristic tom cat odor that is strong and pungent. Castration or neutering will change the odor, and may reduce the cats motivation for spraying, but approximately 10% of neutered males and 5% of spayed females will continue to spray. While cats in multiple cat households are often involved in spraying behaviors, cats that are housed singly may spray as well.
“Neutering will decrease the odor of tomcat urine.”
Use Feliway And Rescue Remedy
If you have more than one cat, your cats may be at the age when theyve reached social maturity and may be jostling for position within the household. The Feliway synthetic pheromone can be helpful because it signals the cat that its environment is safe. Rescue Remedy also works for a percentage of cats for reducing stress.;
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What Does It Mean To Be Territorial
Some cat behaviors are easy to pick up on and understand, even as members of an entirely different species. For example, you know to immediately stop petting a cat when it swats or hisses at you. Yet, territorial behavior in cats often flies sneakily under the radar.
In short: Cats are very protective of what they perceive as their spacethe backyard, your bedroom, the entire house, or even a mile radius in the neighborhood. Cats will do whatever it takes to keep intruders like dogs and other cats out of their territory that they use to eat, sleep, hunt, and find mates. Since cats are solitary animals, marking their territory and defending it from outsiders is their only line of defense.
Interestingly, cats dont see all animals and people as equal threats to their territory. Your cat may stalk and chase another household cat away from her favorite sleeping spot, but shell willingly allow you or another cat to enter the area.
Common Reasons Why Cats Spray
Territory: Spraying is one way cats mark their turf, especially if another cat is lurking around and leaving their own mark in your yard. Even if your cat never goes outside, theres still the possibility that they will see or smell the intruder, and then spray around a door or window in response.
Conflict: In multi-feline households, spraying can also be a way for cats to draw boundaries, establish pecking order, and settle disputes.
Change: Moving to a new place, a home remodeling project, changes in routine, or the arrival or loss of a human or pet sibling can all make a cat feel insecure and stressed. The changes dont have to be big, either. Even moving around the living room furniture can upset a more sensitive kitty. Spraying is just one way for a stressed cat to show their stress.
Mating: Both female and male cats spray although unneutered males are more likely to leave their mark as a way to let the opposite sex know theyre available . Even if your spraying cat is spayed/neutered, if the procedure was done later in life, this could be a learned behavior theyve carried over from their previous fertile days.
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What To Do When Your Cat Sprays
The right response to spraying can help discourage your cat from doing it again. When your cat sprays:
Spraying Reason #: New Pets
In Maxs case, it wasnt just that we had moved into a new apartment, it was also that he was sharing this new space with two other male cats. And while they werent new to him, he felt it important to stake out his turf in our new digs.
If youve recently adopted a cat, dog, or another animal, your cat may simply be wanting to establish that this is his territory.
And, if youve thought sharing a litter box was fine, think again! Cats actually need a lot more bathroom space than theyre often given. Just how much? Dr. Liz Bales, recommends one litter box per cat, plus one.; So if you have two cats, you need a total of three litter boxes.
Check out the rest of her litter box secrets here.
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What Is Cat Spray
Cat spray is inappropriate urination on objects or areas to mark territory. It can occur in any age, breed, or gender, and urine spraying is more common with males than in females. Spraying around doors or windows might be a marking response to the presence of a cat outside. Marking in the home may be a response to another cat, either in the home or outdoors. Also, due to competitive behaviors, the probability of urine spraying indoors is directly proportional to the number of cats in the household.
What Does It Look Like When A Cat Sprays Urine
The classical presentation for urine spraying involves the cat backing up to a vertical surface, often after sniffing the area intensely and showing a flehmen response. The cat stands with its tail erect and quivering and raises its hindquarters. The cat may or may not tread with its hind paws while squirting a stream of urine . Some urine marking can take place on horizontal surfaces , either in a squatting posture or by standing and spraying. The spray marks can be quite hard to find, you may just be aware of the smell. Sometimes all you can see is a small trickle of brown, sticky substance on a skirting board, radiator or door. Other favoured targets for urine spraying include electrical equipment, full-length curtains, plastic bags and clothing.
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When Do Male Cats Start To Spray
Male cats, which are more likely to spray than females, start spraying when they reach sexual maturity. For most cats, that happens at around six months of age.
The best way to predict when a cat will begin spraying is to watch for changes in their behavior. If they seem restless, start yowling, or suddenly show more interest in going outside, they could be trying to attract a mate.
Once a cat shows this type of behavior, spraying could be just around the corner.
Solving The Spraying Riddle
If your cat hasnt been spayed or neutered yet, the first step is to get them fixed. Its also critical to rule out any medical problems with your vet. What looks like spraying might actually be the sign of a urinary tract inflammation or infection, bladder stones, hyperthyroidism, or a host of other common feline medical conditions. Once your cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet, here are some ways to try and trouble-shoot and tackle your cats spraying situation at home:
Sparkling Clean: If theres the even slightest scent of urine left behind, your cat will know, thanks to their 200 million scent receptors. And the smell may encourage them to keep going back to spray the same spot. To thoroughly clean all the areas your cat has marked, use a good enzymatic, bio-based cleaner, like the Natures Miracle ADVANCE Cat Stain & Odor Eliminator. And check out this article for tips about cleaning up pet messes.
Calming Pheromones: After cleaning, plug in some Feliway®;multi-cat calming pheromone diffusers around your home. Feliway multi-cat has been shown to help reduce stress-related problems between cats in multi-cat homes and situations.
Environmental Enrichment:Keeping your cat active physically and mentally will help increase their well-being and reduce their stress level. Training, interactive toys, food puzzles, and plenty of vertical perches and quiet places to hide will help keep them busy and content.
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