10 Reasons That Cats Mark Their Territory

Can I talk to my cat

A cat marking territory is not unheard of. In fact, at some point in your cat’s life, she will want to mark territories. Usually, your cat will use urine to mark territories whereas in some cases she will rub on the item or against you. This way, she is sure that she is in the right place and with the right person. There are various reasons why your cat may want to mark territories. These will vary from one cat to another depending on the environment she is in.


10 Reasons for cat marking territory



Cats are protective in nature


Cats are protective in nature, which means protecting their own is in their DNA. However, the domestication of cats does not always allow the cat to grow up with their original families. This does not affect their protective nature as we become their family when we adopt them. Therefore, a cat will definitely want to mark whoever she is living with.

Therefore, by marking you, she is making sure that she ‘owns’ you now. She will even go ahead to mark your items. The problem with a cat marking territory is that it involves urine in most cases. This can turn out to be an irritating thing for you. You will not like the idea of having your house smell of cat pee every time.

It can get worse when your cat sprays urine all over your bed, walls, and carpets. Usually, cat pee will have a strong odor, one that is hard to get rid of. In the case your cat has started marking territory all of a sudden, you should try and find out the reason behind this. Is there something that makes your cat insecure in your home? Are you spending enough time with your kitty?

These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself.


Cat Spraying No More

Competition for resources

No matter how much we want, we cannot be able to adopt all the cats in the world. However, some people opt to run a multi-cat home, which is a good thing. Before you go ahead and add another cat, you should have already determined your first cat’s behaviors. These include how she spends time, her eating habits as well as litter box schedules. This way, when you are bringing in another cat to your house, you will be sure of what to provide.

Sadly, most cat parents do not even realize when to add more food or not. Therefore, by bringing in another cat, we are only stressing the first kitty, and probably even the new one. You should always make sure that all your cats have enough resources to go by.

Competition for resources and even space is a possible cause for your cat to want to mark territories. For instance, your older cat may feel like her space is being invaded by the new one. You can separate the two in order to attain harmony in your home. Furthermore, you should never introduce another cat abruptly. Instead, consider engaging them gradually until they learn to live harmoniously.


Stress in cats


Wondering why your cat is acting strangely and leaving a trail of urine everywhere? It could possibly mean that your cat is marking territories as a result of stress. Unfortunately, cats are quite fragile, and especially emotionally. They are triggered to stress quite easily. For instance, having a new cat in your home could stress your cat. Not only will this be a result of your cat’s inability to embrace change but also the anxiety that comes with meeting new cats or strangers.

Initially, he might be trying to warn the other cat about invading her space. She wants to stamp authority that she owns the place and is not willing to share it. These behaviors should go away as soon as the cats get to bond. However, you should monitor your cat closely as there are several causes of stress in cats.

Once again, exposure to a new environment can also trigger your cat to develop stress. In fact, this is probably the most common reason for cat stress. If you are moving to a new place, the whole process is going to be a nightmare for you and also your cat. She is going to find it really hard to adjust and will most definitely want to mark the place all over again.


Changing lifestyle


We have already mentioned that changing your cat’s lifestyle may make your cat mark territories. This is especially when you make huge changes in the house. For instance, buying a new coach. This might be a fun idea to have all your house changed up for the better. However, this going to bother your cat so much, wondering where the old couch is. In order to eliminate the feeling of change, your cat will mark the couch to feel secure around the latter.

This, however, is not the only change that can bring about the habit of marking territories. Remodeling your house may also have your kitty all mixed up. And because she cannot be able to adapt to the changes, she will go on marking everything and everywhere. This way, she feels like she belongs as she can smell her own scent in the house.

As much as this might benefit your kitty, you should not keep up with the habit. If you are planning on making changes, be prepared to deal with urine marking. Deterring your cat from the place she has previously marked will help you control this behavior. In addition, make sure you get rid of the foul smell of cat urine.



Separation anxiety


Cats, like human beings, may develop anxiety, especially when left alone. It is important to understand that cats get all cling to us because they depend on our love and affection. It is how they feel secure, by being sure that we are always there to protect them from whatever harm that may come their way.

However, due to our busy schedules with life and work, sometimes we are forced to leave our kitties alone. If this goes for longer than usual, your cat will start missing you. With time, she will start wondering where you are and when you are coming back. This turns out to be separation anxiety whereby your cat may mark your clothes or favorite items. Some cats will actually mark your bed in efforts to reach out to you.

The longer it takes, the more likely it is to get worse, your cat may feel like the bond you shared is gone. And to get rid of this feeling and also feel secure, your cat will mark in order to mix your scents.




Fear is also a contributing factor to your cat marking territories. In fact, it is the driving force towards a cat wanting to mark boundaries. She wants to chase away the element that is causing fear. For instance, a cat that has access to the outside world may be used to strangers and other cats.

However, an indoor cat is actually used to be all alone. Any person or cat/dog approaching or passing by your house will be a threat to your cat.

In order to defend her space, she will often tend to mark territories. This will keep other cats from accessing your home, or so your cat thinks. It can get worse if you have a strange cat invading your house.

Getting a new cat can also cause fear for your first cat. Ironically, the new cat might also tend to mark territories because she is afraid of the other cat, especially if the other cat is bigger.

If you notice that your cat is afraid of the bigger cat, separate the two until they finally socialize. This should help reduce the marking for a while. Eliminating the cause of fear will be the ultimate solution to this problem.


Noisy neighborhood


You do not have to live near a construction site in order for your cat to be distracted. Noisy neighborhoods that may make your cat mark territories include loud music, burrowing animals in the yard, or even human footsteps.

For instance, if you live in an apartment with a neighbor who likes to party, you might have a problem with your cat marking the front door or even the wall. Due to their strong sense of hearing, loud music is going to irritate your cat. In order to send a message, your cat is going to mark hoping that it stops.

Another example is when you are living in an apartment whereby people pass by your door. Even though your cat does not have a view of the outside, the noise will be motivating enough. She might think a stranger is coming to your house and therefore mark territories in the house.

In addition to this, the noise in the backyard can also be a motivator for your cat to spray. Therefore, you should always make sure that your yard is free from these animals. Use harmless methods to get rid of burrowing animals.


Your cat is in heat


This is another common reason why your cat might be marking in the house or yard. When in heat, your cat is the most vulnerable to marking territory and especially using urine. This is especially when your cat is looking for ways she can attract a mate.

This is an actual genetic thing about the feline family. A cat’s urine, in this case, will contain her details including sex, age, and intentions. Usually, a cat will spray your door and windows hoping to get a mate from it. A male cat is supposed to pick her scent and know that he is welcome to your home. Outdoor cats may even try to escape home in search of a potential mate.

You should get rid of this habit by having your cat spayed/neutered. Well, in the case you are looking to breed your kitty then you cannot spay or neuter your kitty. However, you should have a strategy to have her mate for reproducing purposes.

In addition to this, if you have no plans of getting a litter of kitties, then neuter/spay your cat before she starts her reproductive phase.



You have a kitty with kittens


We had already mentioned that cat tends to be very protective of their space. Now, a cat who has recently given birth will be extraterritorial. She is going to mark territory in efforts to protect their young ones.

The worst-case scenario is where your cat is triggered to mark by the obvious things. For instance, a slight noise in the house can possibly make your kitty want to protect her offspring. Well, at least you will have to deal with this when the kittens are really young.

By marking the territory, it means that only the kittens are allowed in the area. It is only natural to want to protect her kids and thus the need for you to provide comfortable living conditions for your cat. This means that you minimize the noise in the house. Consider placing their beds in the most serene areas of the house.

Provide enough resources for all the cats in order to minimize the competition that may actually lead to a cat marking territory. In addition to this, monitor your cats to make sure that they are safe and comfortable every now and then.


Having a stranger in your home


Having people visit you is not actually an uncommon behavior among the human race. However, it kind of is strange for your cat to be encountering new people in the house. This will definitely bring about the jealous and protective instincts in your cat.

This happens especially if your cat feels a bit threatened. It could be that you are spending so much time with the new person. In addition to this, your cat will feel the need to mark territory in order to warn the stranger about her boundaries.

Your cat may also mark your house, and especially clothing and bed as she tries to comfort herself. If you have someone staying over your house, you should gradually introduce them to your cat. This way, your cat I also going to feel secure when around the person.

This will also help stop marking territories since the kitty will have accepted the other person. If you have different people coming to your house, consider taking your kitty in another room. Keep her busy with toys or even a treat. Remove the doorbell that may alarm your kitty. This way, your cat will not have to be afraid of strangers and thus eliminate the need to mark boundaries.


Is your cat spraying or eliminating inappropriately?


Well, as mentioned earlier in this article, cats have different ways of marking territories. However, the most noticeable one is by use of urine. This is because it has been a common problem among cat parents, with some even surrendering their kitties. When your cat starts marking, you will definitely be disappointed as your house may smell of cat urine.

Marking is usually characterized by small sprays of urine in different parts of the house. In some cases, your cat may choose a specific place to spray over and over again. However, do not be tempted to hit or use other means to punish the kitty.

Often, we fail to understand that cat marking territories is normal behavior to the felines. However, following the studies on cat behavior, we can comfortably be able to discourage this behavior. Eliminating fear and anxiety should be your primary focus when you want to curb marking.

Observe your kitty properly in order to determine if your cat is spraying to mark territories. The above points on the reasons why cats mark territory will help you determine the perpetrator of this habit. However, do not ignore the possibility of your cat having a urinary tract infection.

Urine marking is usually in the form of spraying. Cats suffering from feline urinary infections will also spray. In fact, this is the fact indicator of a possible illness. If she appears sickly and urinates more than usual, have your vet take a look at her. The vet is definitely going to examine your kitty before giving a conclusive diagnosis.

However, you should not always rush your kitty to the vet. This is because too many vet visits could increase stress levels in cats. And as we mentioned, stress can lead to a cat marking territory.





In conclusion, marking territories is normal behavior. However, it is important that you observe your cat for a while. Determine why she feels the need to mark in the house. Eliminate all the elements that are encouraging her to go about the behavior. In case she is having a hard time adjusting to the changes you have recently made, spend enough time with her. This will recover the bond that she thought was gone.

To keep her from getting all anxious when you are away from home, get some exciting toys for her. She is going to spend time playing with it and also trying to figure it out. This way, she will not notice how long you are gone. In addition, provide other forms of entertainment to keep her calm all day.

It is also important to refrain from random changes in your lifestyle. This is because change brings about anxiety and confusion for your cat. By maintaining a routine, you will definitely eliminate the motivation to mark territory all over your house.

Lastly, it is always going to be your job to figure out a cat marking territory. Understand whatever she is trying to tell you and provide comfort for her.




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Michael Grover

About Me I have been a pet owner for most of my life. I am now retired and spend my days writing about problems relating to cats, dogs, and funeral poems. I am passionate to stop animal cruelty in any shape or form. My passion is to help people like you identify behavior problems in cats and dogs. That is what I do. Over the years of my life, I have always kept cats and dogs. About 4 years ago I retired and found I had a lot of time on hands so I started to write all about dog and cat problems. It was suggested to me that I should start up a website and publish my words to help people with their pet problems. I am still writing every day and hope you find my articles useful. Regards Mike Grover

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