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How do Cats Mark their Territory?

3 minutes
How do Cats Mark their Territory?
Last update: 03 January, 2019

Cats are territorial animals and use marking to communicate with their peers and to let them know where their territory is. It’s a natural behavior, which in some cats is more pronounced than in others, but it will not disappear even if your cat spends a good part of their life indoors. That’s why in today’s article you can find out how cats mark their territory in a house.

Learn the three ways cats mark their territory

Cats, by the marking, communicate with olfactory and/or visual signals, through:

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  • Urine
  • Pheromones
  • Claw marks on vertical surfaces

Although in some cases, if the marking becomes excessive, you may think that the animal is stressed or feels upset or dissatisfied by a certain situation. You mustn’t forget that you’re facing the natural behavior of your domestic cat and that in no way is it a behavioral problem.

Anyway, consult with a veterinarian to get rid of any doubts.

The means cats use to mark their territory are urine, pheromones, and scratching. Keep in mind that this is a natural behavior that cats will do even if they spend most of his time indoors.

Visual and olfactory marking through scratches

By scratching different household objects, especially furniture and even walls, cats mark their territory with both visual and olfactory signals.

Because in addition to the effect of your cat’s nails on different vertical surfaces of your home, these markings have their odor that is imperceptible to humans. These pheromones are secreted from glands in their pads and between their little toes.

When cats do these markings they also sharpen their nails. Therefore, you should get your cat a scratcher if they spend most of their time indoors. That way you won’t find any scratches on your furniture!

Pheromones, one of the protagonists of a cat’s “markings”

You have definitely observed your cat rubbing themselves against different objects and even against you on more than occasion. On the cat’s head and below their tail there are glands that secrete pheromones.

Your cat uses these chemical substances to let other cats know about their territory. So, as owner, you’re part of that territory as well. But not only you’re their “property”, so are the chairs and the rest of the furniture and household objects they can reach.

Urine, the most fragrant way cats mark their territory

One of the most annoying forms of cat marking is undoubtedly urine spraying. The odor a cat’s urine is strong, especially if the cat isn’t sterilized.

In this type of marking, cats will urinate it in the place they want to “mark”, instead of in their litter box. Also, they can spray urine. When this happens, cats stand on four legs and spray their urine in the form of mist.

This behavior is even more common for unneutered males, also females and neutered males can mark their territory this way.

In search of the coexistence between cats and their markings

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The places and favorite items cats mark with their urine are usually things their owners use on a daily basis, such as the sofa and the bed. Perhaps they use this fragrance to strengthen the bond. But don’t get your hopes ups because walls and other furniture aren’t the only things cats spray.

If the different ways in which your cat marks their territory are causing you problems, especially with your furniture, then you should consult with a specialist.

As already mentioned, scratching posts and neutering your cat can help to control these annoying behaviors.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.