Feline Behavior and Cat Urine: Marking Territory with Urine

Cats are territorial little critters. If you’ve ever tried to introduce a new cat into a home with an “established” cat, you know just how territorial they can be. Cat urine marking is one way a cat lets other cats know where he’s staked his claim so no other cat tries to barge in…and if a stranger does enter, he’s in for a battle.

Most physically healthy, content house cats are in the habit of urinating only in the litter box, so they use the scent glands on their face to mark territory. This is why they rub against the sofa and door frames. Humans can’t detect this odor, so it were content to let our cats mark this way. When something disrupts the cats sense of security, though, she may decide she needs to mark with a stronger odor, namely urine.

Spraying Versus Ordinary Urinating

If your cat’s wetting in the house and stinking the place up, you may not care about particularities of how she pees. It is important to know something about this, though, because different types of urination have different causes. Cat urine marking is usually done by what’s known as spraying. The photo at the start of this article shows a cat spraying urine. To spray, a cat backs up to a vertical object such as a wall or the side of the sofa with his tail lifted. He then squirts urine at the object behind him, while twitching his tail and treading with his back paws. If you’re cats squats on a horizontal surface, such as the carpet, hes just going to the bathroom and probably isn’t marking territory at all.

Territory Marking Myths

Unneutered tom (male) cats are by far the most likely to spray. In fact, unless you have your kitty neutered, after the age of 6 months, he’s almost guaranteed to spray. Not all unneutered toms do, though. A cat who feels secure in his environment may not spray at all…until one day he feels a little insecure, then walls and chair legs get it. So just because your friends unneutered tom doesn’t spray, that doesn’t mean yours won’t.

Queen (female) cats also spray, although they’re less likely to do so than toms. What’s more, while neutering or spaying greatly reduced the chances of your cat spraying, it won’t completely prevent spraying. A smell percentage of neutered males and spayed females still spray. It may be an extremely irritating behavior, but it is completely natural and there are natural, practical ways to discourage the behavior. Ordinary urination may also be used in part to mark territory, although it’s not the most frequent cause of peeing in the house.

How to Stop a Cat From Spraying

Your cat’s spraying because he feels his territory is threatened by some real or imagined invader. Some threats are obvious. It may be a new pet or person in the house. A new piece of furniture or other item you’ve just brought into the house may carry a scent the cat finds threatening. In this case, the cat will probably spray on that item.

Other “threats” are easy to miss. Your cat may have picked up on the smell of a new cat in the neighborhood and has begun marking his territory in case that cat gets any ideas about invading. She may be nervous because you’ve changed work schedules, so she doesn’t know when to expect you home and thinks you might abandon her. Numerous things can stress a cat and make him territorial, but there are ways to deal with this. Solutions include feline phermone products, Bach flower remedies for cats, creating a special nook for your cat to hide out in, among others. The most effective option depends on the cause of the cat’s stress.

You can get a handle on your cat’s urine marking habits and your home completely free of cat urine odors, but the solutions may not always be obvious. Instead of wasting time learning by trial and error, read the book Cat Urine Problems Eliminated to discover proven-effective ways to retrain your cat and regain your home.

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