Territorial Marking | Dr. Elsey's

Territorial Marking

Territorial marking is natural behavior for cats, a form of communication not unlike the big cat in the wild that marks his territory to communicate to other cats that – this area is mine. However, in an inside environment we don’t want cats marking with urine.

Territorial marking or marking with urine is a different behavior than sitting to urinate. With territorial marking you will see small amounts of urine on walls, furniture, against the base boards and even on the owner’s clothes or bedding. After the cat has marked it will simply walk away and not sniff and paw at the area as is the case with sitting to urinate.

Often times cats will mark with urine if they are under stress from other cats in the household or even seeing other cats outside that may be invading what the cat perceives as their territory. If this is the case, it is important to try to keep stray cats away from your house. For the cats inside it is a good idea to zone the litter boxes and food bowls so each cat has their own space in theory. Giving cats their own zone will help with any territory issues that may arise between cats in the household. Also making sure that your cats have several elevated perches to hide from the other cats if the need arises. Feliway, which is a synthetic feline pheromone, can also be added to mix to create “friendly zones” to help diminish your cat’s need to spray urine.

Research has indicated that many cats will not stop urine marking unless they are placed on anti anxiety drugs. In any situation if your cat is urinating outside the box it is a good idea to have your veterinarian do an exam to rule out any medical issues. Your veterinarian will also be able to discuss and suggest an anti anxiety drug that will be suitable for your cat. Remember they will need to be on the drug at least 30 days and then depending upon results 120 days to life.

Happy New Year and until next time please remember to hug your cat.