How Can You Prevent Your Cat Marking Territory
There are several factors that go into a cat’s decision to mark territory and each factor can be removed in a sense. Gradually removing these factors from your cat’s life will reduce the need for the cat to mark territory.
Firstly, two very large factors are whether or not a cat is fixed and the number of cats. Cats who are not fixed will usually mark far more often as it can often be a way to attract a mate. Fixing a cat will prevent this. When there are also multiple cats in a household, the need to mark a territory will increase.
These are two things to consider. With that being said, if your cats have not yet been fixed, spaying or neutering them is one of the best ways to reduce marking territory in your cats. However, if you do not wish to put your cats through surgery for this purpose, there are a few things that you can do.
How to Prevent Marking in Intact Cats
It is understandable if you do not wish to put your cat through surgery, especially on such a sensitive part of the body. This will, however, result in some amount of marking. This is especially the case in female cats who are in heat. This is one of the downsides of not getting a cat fixed that you need to be aware of.
Aside from this, the main thing you need to do is prevent your cats from noticing other neighborhood cats. Many cats mark their territory as the result of knowing that there are other cats in the area. By making sure that your cat does not see these other cats, you can reduce marking significantly.
Usually, closing blinds, windows, and doors will be enough to keep your cat from noticing any neighborhood cats. Another thing that you will want to consider doing is turning on a sprinkler system. Not only can this be entertaining for a cat to watch but it can also deter other cats from prowling in the yard and bothering your cat. These methods will also prevent your cat from marking because he or she is in conflict with another outdoor cat.
What Should You Do with Multiple Cats that mark?
Many people want to get companions for their cats and this is perfectly understandable. However, a second or third cat will increase the amount of conflict happening inside the home. The more conflict that there is, the higher the chances are that your cat will decide to mark territory. Most of the remedies for a multi-cat household will involve making sure that there is as little conflict as possible between cats.
The areas you will want to focus on will be the litter boxes, allocating resources, and giving attention to the cats. By doing these things, you can rest assured knowing that the amount your cats mark territory will reduce.
The more each cat marks less, the less obligated the other cats will feel to mark in response. Overall, this will eventually bring the amount that your cats mark their territory down to a far more manageable level. There’s even a chance that your cats will stop marking altogether.
You should prepare yourself to invest some money in this process, though. Most people consider this to be a normal expense for taking care of multiple pets. Some people who haven’t owned multiple pets before might not expect such an expense. It is important to keep this in mind.
How Should You Change the Litter Boxes?
As you learn more about how to stop cats from marking their territory, you will learn that a lot of it is focused on litter. It could be that the litter isn’t cleaned often enough. It could be that the litter boxes are not in a suitable place.
It could even be that there aren’t enough litter boxes in the house. Regardless of the reasons why you will need to pay special attention to the litter boxes and if they are affecting the way that your cats mark territory.
You should make sure that you have enough litter boxes for all the cats. Typically, having one litter box per cat plus an extra box will be enough to satisfy your cats. If you have an anxious cat, usually the one who is doing the marking, place a litter box where it spends most of its time.
You will also want to make sure that there is minimal conflict over litter boxes. These should be placed in areas that have low traffic in the house but also have two exit routes for your cats.
If you have another pet, specifically a dog, keep the litter box away from the dog’s food and water. Cats can mark their territory as a response to a dog as well as the other cats in the house. With this in mind, you will also need to set the time aside to scoop all the litter boxes out daily.
This will ensure that the cats are not bothered by another cat’s scent. You will want to clean out the litter box on a weekly basis, completely replacing the litter in the process. If your cats ever get more used to each other, you might not have to replace the litter as much.
Give Cats Their Own Resources
400;”>Cats will also mark their territory as a response to other cats coming too close to their food. To resolve this, make sure that there are multiple places where your cats can eat food scattered around the house. In these areas, including water, food, scratching posts, and even a few toys. Your cats will eventually decide which spaces are whose, reducing the chances of conflict over time.
In addition to multiple areas with toys and food, make sure that there are multiple places for your cats to relax. Perching areas are often the best for cats as many cats enjoy being up high. When your cat has its own area away from other animals, there’s a good chance that it will be more comfortable. Make your cat more comfortable, the chances of marking territory are reduced.
Some cats mark their territory because they feel jealous that another cat is getting attention. To solve this, you should play with each of your cats a little more often. If you can pick out which cat is marking, give that cat a little extra attention. Be careful with this method as cats who are jealous will mark even more if another cat is receiving more attention.
When each cat feels more comfortable and less as if another cat is being too invasive, it will mark less. In turn, this will reduce how often other cats mark in response. This is how to stop cats from marking their territory over time and it is one of the most efficient methods of doing so.
Clean up Marked Areas of Marking
Many cats will mark territory over the area where another cat has marked. This can lead to a never-ending cycle of marking territory, leaving the area smelling pungent. Cleaning up marked territories is key to reducing the overall amount that your cats mark their territory.
First, you will need to get a type of cleanser called an enzymatic cleanser. These are designed to neutralize the pet odor that comes from a marked territory. Because the strong smell of a marked territory is caused by the communication chemicals, removing this will do good for everyone.
When a cat cannot smell the communication chemicals because of the enzymatic cleaner, there’s less of a chance that the cat will mark the territory.
On top of the cleanser, you will want to use another spray to further reduce the chance that your cat wants to mark the territory. A synthetic cat pheromone has been shown to reduce some stress in cats. Usually, you will need a diffuser plugged into the nearest outlet to the marked territory for the best results although it is still possible to get it through a spray.
A less stressed cat is one who will be less likely to mark an area, making life easier for everyone in the process.
Understanding why your cat marks their territory.
Before you can begin stopping your cats from marking their territory, you should first understand exactly why cats do this. No matter how well domesticated your cat is, cats still originate from wild animals. Wild cats will often mark their territory for a number of reasons but they mostly center around sending a message.
Some domesticated cats do this because they are having trouble with their litter. Knowing the difference will play a crucial role in making sure that you can efficiently stop your cat from marking its territory. The way you figure out how to stop cats from marking their territory will depend on why your cat is marking territory in the first place.
Why Do Cats Do This Mark their territory?
There are two main reasons why your cat is marking its territory: an issue with the litter box or as a message to another cat. The real reason will drastically influence the actions you take to stop your cat.
When it comes to communication, it can either be instinctual or an actual message. Instinctual marking happens when a cat is mature enough to claim an area as its own “territory”. This happens when cats in your house haven’t developed a social system yet, resulting in their wild ways. This can also happen when your cat meets a neighboring cat for the first time. If your cat chooses to establish dominance first, it can end up in the marked territory.
Cats will also mark their territory to send a message to other cats
Marked territory can provide information such as what area has been claimed, how long the cat was in the area, and when other cats can expect a return. Some cats can even advertise that they are in search of a mate through marking territory.
All of this information can be recognized by the smell of the cat’s urine. This is actually one of the primary ways that cats communicate with each other. However, this doesn’t bode well for home life.
When a cat lives in a domesticated setting, he or she won’t be hunting anymore. There won’t be an inherent need to search for a mate. They are still hardwired to follow these same instincts as they would out in the wild, though. In a peaceful, conflict-free home, this isn’t normally an issue.
If your cat is distressed about something, it might resort to its natural instincts and begin to mark its territory in the hopes that you will notice what is wrong. This is usually not helpful for anyone.
Is it Always Communication?
Sometimes a cat will seemingly mark territory when there is absolutely no reason to. If this is the case, you might want to consider the fact that your cat is doing this because there is an issue with the litter box. Some cats are extremely picky about their litter and will become angry if their litter is not suitable.
Figuring out whether your cat is having issues with the litter box takes work but it will be worth it. In some ways, an issue with the litter is easier to fix. After all, this will just require a change in the litter. Trying to dissuade urine marking is trying to fight against instincts.
Making sure that you are well aware of the difference is crucial. Nobody wants to go through the work of preventing marking only to realize that it was the litter all along.
Usually, the way to tell the difference is simply by watching your cat. Cats have specific patterns and actions when marking. When your cat is simply emptying itself, there aren’t as many specific signs. Knowing what these signs are is also an important part of the process of stopping your cat from marking territory.
What Are the Signs of Cats Marking?
A part of knowing how to stop cats from marking their territory is being able to tell the difference between a simple bathroom break and actual marking. This process isn’t really the most fun but sometimes caring for animals isn’t always fun. There are going to be three major signs that you will want to pay attention to. These will be the location, volume, and smell of the urine.
More often than not, the marked territory will be on a vertical surface. This is where marking gets its other name of “spraying”. When a cat feels the need to mark territory, it will begin by backing up against a vertical object.
This object could be a chair, wall, speaker, or anything that is straight and tall compared to the cat. With the tail up in the air, the cat will spray, marking the territory as its own. This can be accompanied by twitching of the tail and potentially the entire body.
Compared to elimination, where a cat will be ashamed, the behavioral aspect of marking is quite noticeably different. The volume will also be different during the marking process. Marking is not meant to empty a cat’s tank, so to speak. If there is a significant amount of urine, then chances are that it is not marked territory.
This is where the gross part of marking territory and checking to see if the territory is marked or an elimination spot comes in. Urine from marking territory is going to be a lot smellier than usual. This is because what the cat excreted isn’t just urine but also chemicals that cats use to communicate. These chemicals are what cats look for when reading a marked spot. Usually, they have a strong enough smell that humans can smell them too.
In the End
Even if these methods are employed, there is still a chance that your cat is still marking. This can be due to stress or anxiety. Just as there are medications for people who are overly stressed and anxious, there are ways that medication can help your cat stop marking.
However, you will first need to go through your vet to obtain these medicines. Sometimes you might also need to see a pet behavioral expert. Doing this can significantly help your cat out, though.
Once you have done these things, there is a very good chance that your cat will not mark its territory nearly as much. Understanding why a cat needs to mark territory is the key to knowing how to stop cats from marking their territory.
When you are able to understand this, you can begin taking the steps toward living a life without stress or marked territories. This will be better for everyone, including your cats.
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