Cat Marking – how to prevent it

Cat Marking – how to prevent it

Preventing Feline Marking

When a cat marks, it sprays a small amount of its urine on an area, usually a vertical surface, to leave its scent behind. A cat may back itself up to an area, wiggle its tail and release a small stream of urine without squatting. Marking is primarily an un-neutered male cat behavior, though neutered males and female cats have been known to mark as well.

Cats’ ability to smell is their strongest sense, and they release scented chemicals called pheromones to make other cats aware of their presence. In the wild, cats and other felines mark to lay territorial claims and to let potential mates know that they are available. The more threatened a cat feels, the more likely he is to mark.

Houses with multiple cats are more likely to have spraying issues. The introduction of a new cat in the home or neighborhood cats wandering around outside can incite a cat to spray, as can a human bringing the scent of another cat into the house.

Cats are creatures of habit, and any change in routine can cause a cat duress. Major changes in their owner’s schedules can upset a cat, especially if it means having to spend more time alone. A new house or a new room or a human visitor can prompt cats to mark. Even something as seemingly petty as a new type of liter can stress a cat out.

The first line of defense against marking is having your pet neutered at a young age, preferably before they are six months old. Cats who are neutered are much less likely to mark. Castrating a cat later in life can help usually stop spraying but the sooner a cat is fixed the better.

If your neutered cat continues to spray, start by looking at the most obvious place: the litter box. Cats don’t like walking into a smelly litter box. They can also be picky when it comes to location. Litter boxes should be away from food and in a place that offers some degree of privacy.

If you know the neighbors’ cats like to visit your yard, arrange the inside to prevent your cat from looking outside in the area that the other cats roam. If you have multiple cats, the marking problem could be as a result of conflict within the cat hierarchy. Observe their interactions and take measures to separate cats that don’t get along.

A few products exist that help prevent marking problems. (Do you offer something different) Feliway is a chemical spray that imitates feline pheromones and tells your cat that someone else has already claimed a territory. Feliway can be purchased at Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital your Beaverton pet clinic.

If you cannot solve the problem on your own, a visit to Murrayhill, your Beaverton pet clinic may be in order. If your cat is urinary marking it is important to make an accurate diagnosis to differentiate between behavioral vs a medical issue. A urinalysis can be run during your cat’s appointment so that we can quickly see if your cat has such things as crystals or bacteria that could be the underlying reason for inappropriate urination.  Once we establish that there is nothing medical occurring then we can consider such therapies as anti-anxiety medications to address the urinary issues. Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital is an AAHA accredited Vet Hospital located in Beaverton, Oregon.

1 Comment

  • Bernadette Hall

    I have a young cat guessing he is around 9 to 10 months old. He spent the night with my sister and she says he is spraying. What can I do? Do you nutere? If yes, how much and when can I brig him in?

    January 13, 2017 at 4:19 am