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What to do if your Cat is Marking Territory?
Domestic cats, just like most other cats in the wild have territorial instincts. They do this by leaving scents. They create their territories by scratching, rubbing and in some case, urinating. Cats can learn other ways of marking their territory without using their urine, if well taught. But before that can happen, you first have to understand why they use urine for marking their territory.
How cats see scents
Scents serve as a means of communication for cats. They use different methods to establish their presence in a territory.
When a new cat comes into your home, other cats will see the new cat as a stranger –only when they become accustomed to the new cat’s smell will they welcome him to the pack.
Marking by rubbing
Cats are known to have scent glands on their flanks and checks, and would leave off their scent whenever they rub their body against an object. When they rub their body against you, it’s a way of telling other cats to back away from you.
If there is more than one cat in your home, then expect to see this rubbing habit as often as possible. When two cats meet themselves for the first time, they will sniff each other up, before then rubbing against each other.
Marking by scratching
Cats do not necessarily sharpen their claws by scratching –they are actually leaving their scents. Their feet contain scent glands with which they use in marking off their territory. Your job is to train them to do their marking elsewhere instead of your furniture.
They mark with their urine in two ways:
When spraying on vertical surface, a cat will stand their tail erect before squirting urine, with their tail quivering as they urinate. Frequent urinating is when they pass their urine on the floor, furniture and horizontal surfaces. Females as well as males squat and spray.
Why cats mark with their urine?
Cats resort to urine marking for several reasons some of which include:
They are yet to be neutered or sprayed: To reduce their urine spraying instincts, you should neuter your cat once it turns 5 months.
For adopted cats, ensure you neuter them almost immediately you adopt them. Neutering can effectively reduce your cat’s urine marking instincts. But you will have to neuter them while still young else the neutering will earn no result.
Cats often spray when they are stressed. Just like human, cats are habitual creatures, reacting negatively when their environment is changed. They get stressed when someone/something new comes into their territory. They mark their territory with their urine to ease up the stress. By marking off their territory, they ease up their anxiety. When you find, them marking with their urine, they are in actual sense saying; “I feel stressed”
Urine marking could also be a sign that your cat needs medical attention. This is more common among male cats. When their urinary tract gets infected or blocked, they tend to use less of their litter box, preferring to pass urine on the floor, often licking their genitals. They may go the length of crying right in front of you or urinating in bathtubs.
Once you notice this, take your pet to a doctor for medical examination. Urinary infection if not properly treated can prove fatal. A cat with a blocked urinary tract can die in a matter of hours or suffer fatal organ damage due to toxin buildup. Don’t wait for the problem to go away on its own because it won’t. Urinary infection must be diagnosed once it is suspected.
But if after examination your pet is certified healthy, then know that your pet is going through emotional stress.
If you have some more cats at home, isolate the troubled one from others and observe it. But this technique should not be completely relied on because they can still get stressed when the source of stress has been removed.
Adding fluorescent dye to your cat’s food can also work, but this should be done one cat at a time. The culprit is the cat whose urine glows when a black light is held over it.
When you find the culprit, what’s the next action to take?
How to solve Marking problem
The very first thing you will want to do is to solve your cat’s stress problem. This will definitely taking lots of efforts and time. Here are some tips to do that: