Cats are not content with just sitting around and being cute. They have a secret life that we humans don’t know about! One of the most fascinating aspects of cat behavior is how they mark their territory, but what exactly does marking your territory entail? How do cats go about doing it? In this blog post, you will learn all about how cats mark their territory.
Ever since our first domesticated feline friends moved in, there has been an issue of trying to figure out how to keep them from spraying inside the house. Cats have scent glands located at the bottom of their feet; when they walk through areas where they perceive danger or hostility (i.e., on furniture), urine is squirted onto surfaces.
Territorial Marking Behavior in Cats
When you think of cats, do you think of pets that are completely independent and don’t need humans? Well, you’re wrong. While cats may not need you as much as a dog might, they still require attention and affection from their owner, and if it wasn’t for the fact that they might need to be let out to use the bathroom on occasion, you could actually leave them alone for long periods of time.
An interesting behavior you might notice in cats, especially if you have multiple cats, is territorial marking. This is when your cat will walk over to a certain area, usually a corner of the house, and scratch the area to leave their scent, giving off the impression that they own the area.
Unfortunately, cats marking in the house is a behavior that plagues many feline owners. It’s most common in unneutered boys, but both neutered and entire females can exhibit this behavior. In some cases it’s limited to the inside of the house, while in others spraying occurs outside as well. The good news is that this behavior is almost always completely curable.
The natural instinct for cats to mark their territory is a survival adaptation that mimics the spraying of urine by male wolves in order to establish dominance. In our homes, it’s usually territorial marking behavior when they want to claim certain areas as theirs and keep others out. Cats use both behavioral responses (spraying) and visual signs (urination outside the litter box or on furniture) in order to leave these messages behind so other animals know not to intrude into this space again.
How do you know if your cat is marking?
Your kitty has been scratching, marking, and spraying all over the house, and you have no idea why. Is your cat restless, anxious, upset, or even free-wheeling it because of a new territory? Your first instinct might be to take your kitty to the vet, but before you do, try these three tips for deciphering your pet’s actions.
- We can identify how a cat perceives an area by noticing where she urinates — indoors near doors, windows, walls; outdoors near shrubs or along fences. When we see house-soiling with no visible sign of physical injury anywhere nearby.
- We can also identify how a cat perceives an area by noticing where she sprays– indoors near doors, windows, walls; outdoors in the garden or against trees.
- A final sign of territorial marking is when we notice that our cats are rubbing up against objects and furniture that they don’t usually rub on — for example, if he’s always jumping onto the couch to spray around it instead of using his litter box as usual.
Some vets believe this may be due to anxiety or pain from arthritis but there could be other reasons too. For instance, your big old tuxedo might just want you all to himself!
Do cats imprint on their owners?
The word imprinting conjures images of ducklings following their mother around and geese being trained to be pets, but it’s a term that scientists use for a specific type of learning.
Imprinting is when a young animal learns and memorizes the characteristics of a parent or its mother figure. Once an animal imprints on a person or pet, he or she will respond positively to that person or pet for the rest of its life.
This also means that a cat who imprints on a person will never learn to recognize other people and pets as a source of comfort and security.
No matter if you live in the country or the city, a cat tends to be your most faithful friend. It will purr and rub against your legs, and even sleep with you. The reason why cats are so attached to their owners is because they imprinted on them when they were young.
How do you stop territorial marking in cats?
In the wild cats like lions mark their territories by spraying urine. They have scent glands on their behind that produce the fluid which they spray onto objects in their territory. Owning a cat can be a bit like having a lion as a pet. When your cat sprays on your couch, walls, or on your clothes, it is trying to tell the world that this is their territory and that you are a guest.
You can stop your cat from spraying by understanding the territorial marking behavior and following a few simple steps. The truth is, cats may spray for a variety of reasons, and it’s important to identify the reason for the behavior to determine the best resolutions.
If you have a cat, you’ve probably witnessed the spraying, especially if you have more than one cat in your household. The urine spraying caused by territorial marking is a major problem that must be addressed. The problem occurs when a cat feels an area is his or her territory and will mark the territory with urine to tell other cats to stay off.