Reasons Behind Cats Marking Their Territory


Unneutered male cats do most urine-marking. They spray to advertise their reproductive availability and to claim territory. Think of urine as a cat calling card that contains information about its depositor. When a cat smells the urine of another, it likely knows that individual’s sex, health status, mating status, what it recently ate, where it’s been and more.

Spayed and neutered cats can also urine-mark, but usually only under certain circumstances. Often the cat is feeling stressed or threatened, perhaps by the presence of a new cat, dog or person in the house (e.g., a new baby), or even a cat outdoors that might also be making its mark in the garden.

It’s important that you first make sure that your adult female cat is indeed urine-marking and not suffering from a health or litter box issue. According to the ASPCA, urine marks usually are made on a vertical surface, have less volume than typical bathroom movements, and smell quite pungent. The odors come from chemicals that communicate all of that previously mentioned information in the cat calling card.

If you have ruled out other causes and are certain that your cat is urine-marking, the ASPCA offers the following tips:

  • Close windows, blinds and doors when possible to prevent your cat from seeing outdoor cats.
  • If you have more than one cat, make sure that each cat has its own easily accessible litter box.
  • Scoop the litter at least once a day — ideally more.
  • Cats need their own space, so provide multiple perching areas, beds and hangouts for your pets.
  • Clean accidents with an enzyme-based product that neutralizes odors.
  • If another person or pet might be causing your cat stress, consider how to best address that issue. If your cat is urine-marking out of stress, she might suffer from other stress-related health problems in future.
  • Try using a synthetic cat pheromone, such as Feliway, to discourage marking in certain areas.
  • As a last resort, consider using medications to alleviate your cat’s stress and related behaviors.

A clean bill of health always helps, so schedule a veterinary appointment to make sure that some underlying medical issue isn’t affecting your cat.

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From the Writers at The Daily Cat

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