Marking Behavior in Cats

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Cats are territorial animals, selecting areas of territory for survival. They let other people and animals know about their territory by marking it with a variety of methods and at many levels of intensity. For example, a cat may mark a valued object by rubbing it with her face. However some cats may go to the extreme of urinating or defecating to mark a particular area as their own. Urine-marking is not a house soiling problem, but rather a territorial behavior. Therefore, to resolve the problem, you need to address the underlying reason for your cat’s need to mark his territory in this way.

Your cat may be urine-marking if:

What You Can Do:

What NOT To Do:

Don’t punish your cat. Punishment is ineffective because your cat won’t understand why he is being punished.

Pets Aren’t People

Cats don’t urinate or defecate out of spite or jealousy. If your cat urinates on your new boyfriend’s backpack, this is not his opinion of your taste in men. Instead, the presence of someone new has caused stress and your cat is communicating this stress through natural responses.

Assertion or Anxiety?

Urine-marking is usually associated with instability in relationships. While this is often the case, some cats may mark when they feel anxious or stressed. For example, a new baby in the home brings new sounds, smells, and people, as well as changes in routine. Your cat probably isn’t getting as much attention as he was used to getting. All of these changes cause him to feel anxious, which may cause him to mark. Your cat may also become anxious by the presence of roaming neighborhood animals in your yard, or by the introduction of a new cat or dog into your household. If your cat is feeling anxious, you might consider talking to your veterinarian about medication to reduce his anxiety while you work on behavior modification.