Cat marking territories is not exactly a unique behavior amongst cats. Most of them will keep doing so for the better part of their lives. However, we do not appreciate this habit mainly because it can be destructive. This is especially in the case where a cat uses urine to mark territory. Not only will it leave your house smelling of cat pee, but also ruin your garden or flowerbed. Therefore, you must learn how to stop cats from marking their territory.
This, however, is easier said than done. This is because marking territories is just but a natural behavior for your cats. Unfortunately, you do not have to own a cat in order for you to deal with the territorial habit. This is because stray and the neighborhood cats could also be as annoying. In this article, we are going to look at the reasons why cats mark territories as well as some effective methods to curb the behavior.
Why is my cat marking territory?
Like other habits in cats, marking territory can be natural or even motivated by an external factor. In order to stop cats from marking their territory, you must, first of all, understand why he is doing so in the first place. Some of the reasons why cats feel the need to mark territories may include:
Cats, as we have mentioned before, are quite territorial. I mean, once you adopt a kitty, he wants to be familiar with the environments. He wants to make your house his home as well, by ensuring there is a scent of him everywhere. This is a natural habit that we cannot be able to eliminate.
This takes us back to the survival skills of the feline family. Understand that in the wild, cats would also mark territories. This is directed at keeping intruders, and especially other cats away from their territory. Unfortunately, despite domestication, cats still engage in this habit in our homes.
marking boundaries can be triggered by a change of residence or even ownership. For instance, you may notice your new kitty rubbing his body against you and even furniture. This is one of their ways to mark their territories.
Fear and anxiety
Fear and anxiety are also among the leading reasons for cat spraying. Cats are quite vulnerable to developing anxiety issues. It could be as a result of introducing a new family member or even another cat. He might feel threatened that someone else is overstepping some boundaries.
Some cats go as far as marking boundaries simply because they can see people on the outside. For instance, if you live along a busy street, your cat will definitely think that the people on the outside want to intrude on your home. The only way they know how to guard their homes is by spraying urine all over or using any other form of urine marking.
Anxiety is a more complicated issue in cats. Well, if you are having some people over in your house, it could possibly lead to a nervous kitty. This is especially when the person is completely new to them. Unfortunately, we sometimes do not have many choices when it comes to preventing anxiety. For instance, some cats have an extreme fear of being left alone at home
In addition, you might have to leave him under the care of someone else as you go about your business. It could be that you are traveling and therefore need someone to feed and check on your cat. As much as you have pure intentions to keep him happy, you might be doing the exact opposite. Therefore, we cannot undermine the possibility of your cat marking territories out of anxiety-related issues.
Having too many guests
This is a common occurrence, especially when you have a new cat. It can bring stress and anxiety-related issues that will result in marking territories. For instance, if you have recently adopted a kitty, maybe refrain from bringing people over at first. He needs to settle before he can start adapting to your way of life.
Moving into a new residence
Moving to a new house is quite stressful, for you and for your cat as well. However, we sometimes do not have a choice but relocate from one place to another. As a result, we forget to consider our cats as we move. They are pretty much against any form of change, and moving to a new residence is a huge change.
In addition to causing stress, when you move to a new residence, your cat will mark boundaries. He wants to make it clear to other cats that he ‘owns’ the place. Therefore, consider looking into stress and anxiety once you move. Also, refrain from moving so often.
Getting new furniture, or beddings could also lead to a cat marking territory. Once again, they detest change which makes them react. In addition to settling and marking in the house, your cat might be trying to familiarize himself with new items at home.
To keep other cats away
This is usually the primary focus for a cat marking territories. For instance, if your cat has seen another one approaching your home, he is going to send a message. Usually, this will involve urine marking as it is their form of communication. He might spray the windows whenever he sees other cats on the outside in the hope that the other cat will turn away.
In addition, neighborhood dogs and other pets could also lead to your cat spraying urine in efforts to show ownership. He wants the other pets to know that he does not appreciate their intrusion.
Cat in heat
Intact cats also tend to spray urine during the season. Once again, this takes us to their natural behaviors. Well, in the wild, cats would mark territories to attract potential mates. For instance, a male cat will spray urine when in heat as a way to attract female cats. On the other hand, urine marking is also directed to send the male cats away.
As we have mentioned above, your cat marking territories can be annoying and quite disgusting. I mean your house will not stop smelling of cat pee. Therefore, you will need to come up with ways to stop him. Furthermore, if you have other cats coming to your homestead to mark their territory, to will need to stop it as well. Below are some of the most effective tips that will help you eliminate the problem of cats marking their territories:
Take your cat to the vet (As the last result)
This should be the first thing for you to do when your cat won’t stop marking territories in the house. Unfortunately, cats are quite prone to feline urinary tract issues. When your cat is suffering from any of these illnesses, spraying and urine marking is going to be a common problem. However, in order to avoid heading to the vet’s office too often, first watch out for the signs and symptoms of any urinary tract infection.
Some of these symptoms may include urine marking everywhere in and out of the house. In addition, your cat will appear sick and also pee more than usual. Cats with urinary tract problems also drink more water than usual and sometimes experience difficulties in urinating. When you observe some or all of these signs, it is important that you rush your kitty to the vet’s office. Upon thorough examination, your vet is going to recommend the best treatment method.
Look out for stress in cats
Cat stress, as indicated earlier is also a possible reason for your cat to mark territories. This is especially when your cat feels threatened in its own home. For instance, if you are running a multi-cat home, it is not going to be uncommon for this to happen.
This is especially if your cats are competing for the resources. Some will need to draw a line whenever they need some space for themselves. In order to make the other cats keep off, one cat will mark his territory using his urine. Well, if you have several cats, you might have to deal with all of them having issues with urine marking.
To ensure that your cats are doing well, ensure that you have provided enough resources to meet their needs. These resources may include litter boxes, food, feeding bowls, and even water. In addition, ensure that you have allocated some time to play with your cats on a daily basis. This way, you will eliminate their insecurities that may be causing them to mark their territories.
Neuter intact cats
Intact cats tend to mark their territories quite often. This is especially when they are in heat and in need of mating. You should have your cats neutered or spayed before they begin their reproductive life. This will keep them from marking territories with the intention of attracting a mate.
Male cats are particularly notorious when we are talking about marking territories using their urine. This is meant to drive away from the intruding male cats and at the same time attract a potential female mate. Upon neutering/spaying your cat, you will be able to curb spraying urine to mark territories. You will also be able to eliminate the hostility that makes your cat want to mark boundaries.
Block the view of the outside world
When your cat can see the outside happenings, there is a very high chance of marking territories, especially in the house. This is because seeing people on the outside is likely to cause your cat anxiety that will actually lead to marking the behavior.
For instance, if your cat enjoys sitting by the window, watching the outside happenings, chances are that he will react. Every time a car passes by, your cat might actually develop stress from that. It could possibly make him pee on the windows or even your door. The same case may happen when he can see people, other cats or even a neighborhood dog on the outside.
Therefore, ensure that all the curtains are down before leaving the house. In addition, leave him with something to occupy him all day when you are gone. You can get a few exciting toys that will keep your cat busy during the day.
Wash the sprayed surfaces in the house
In most cases, your cat will mark his territory by use of urine. Usually, he will urinate on your items and even furniture. The cat spray has a pungent smell that will keep lingering for days after the spraying incident. Because of this, your cat will constantly have the need to spray urine at the same spot over and over again.
Therefore, there is a need for you to ensure that you have cleaned the sprayed surfaces in order to stop your cats from marking their territory. Cleaning cat urine from your furniture, carpet or bedding can be a little difficult. This is due to the concentrated nature of cat urine. However, you can use enzymatic cleaners to help you remove the smell and stains of the urine. This will help you stop your cat from repeating the same behavior over and over again.
Alternatively, you can also use homemade solutions to remove cat urine smell from your house. A commonly used solution to remove cat pee smell is the mixture of water and vinegar. Not only will this keep the cat away from the spot but also clean the carpet, or any other sprayed item. This is a good step when you are looking to discourage cat spraying.
As we had discussed earlier, it does not have to be your cat marking territories. You may have your neighbor’s or stray cats doing the same outside your home. This is not only annoying but it could lead to a disagreement between you and your neighbor. It can also lead to the destruction of your bushes or flowers in case the cats are marking territories using urine. Therefore, you will need to come up with a quick solution to this problem.
Here is how you can stop stray cats from marking territory in your home;
Use strong cat deterrents
Since it can be a little difficult for you to determine the reason behind cats marking territory in your home, you can only deter them. Luckily for you, there are various types of cat deterrents that you can use for this purpose. They include the following:
Essential oils – essential oils like eucalyptus oil are effective cat deterrents. This is because cats hate the smell of the latter, and thus they won’t come near your home. For instance, mix a few drops of eucalyptus oil with water in a spray bottle.
Spray the mixture on your lawn, yard or the cats’ target spots. This will ensure that no cat comes to mark territory near your home. In addition to eucalyptus oil, you can use other essential oils such as citronella, clove or even peppermint oils.
Motion-activated deterrents – you can also opt to use motion-activated devices such as sprinklers or even ultrasonic devices. This works because cats do not like wet grounds.
The sprinkler will always blast water towards the direction of your cat immediately it senses any movement and thus turns the cat away. On the other hand, an ultrasonic device will produce a high-pitched frequency sound that only cats can hear. As a result, the cat will run away and probably will not come back.
Use a water gun
This works almost the same way as a motion-activated sprinkler does. However, you can only be able to use this method only if you are at home at all times. Wait until the cat comes to spray and then splash water on him. He will immediately turn away and leave. Do this every time he comes to spray severally and he will quit the habit.
Make the targeted spot unattractive
You can also be able to stop cats from marking their territory in your home by making the sport inaccessible or very uncomfortable. For instance, if cats are spraying your garden to mark territory, place prickly twigs on the ground. This means that the cats will be uncomfortable when trying to spray urine.
Alternatively, you can mulch your plants using rocks and pebbles. This will be quite uncomfortable for the cat’s paws. They prefer the soft and loose soil as their perfect grounds to spray urine.
Interplant your garden with cat repellent plants
Like with essential oils, you can also be able to ensure that no cat comes near your garden by including cat repellent plants in your garden. For instance, you can use citrus plants like lemon in the garden. The smell of the lemon plant will definitely keep cats off your garden. You can also place some lemon or orange peels in the garden. The smell will be equally turn off the cats
Alternatively, you can use a citronella plant to perform the same role. This actually an effective model to stop cats from marking their territory at home.
Lastly, when you have cats marking their territory in the house, it is up to you to watch out for the reason behind the habit. Ensure that all your cats have access to enough and necessary resources at home. These will include food, water, litter box and also toys. Provide entertainment for them but for not forget to spend quality time with your cats.
In the case stray and local cats won’t stop marking their territory in your home, apply the above-discussed methods. Refrain from using any methods that could hurt the cats whatsoever.