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How to Stop Your Cat From Urine-Marking

Cats and dogs feel an instinctive urge to lay claim to their territory, which they accomplish by leaving their scent. Your cat can use different methods to mark his territory, including scratching, rubbing, and sometimes, urinating. If you notice a pungent odour of cat pee around your home, your cat is probably letting others know that this place is his. Urine also communicates the status rank and reproductive status of the animal. In some cases, top cats in a neighbourhood mark their territory using faeces, a practice known as maddening.

If you notice such behaviour from your pet, don’t worry. Just because you pamper your pets does not mean that they will completely do away with their primordial feline habits. Feline urinary marking starts with reproductive maturity at around the age of five or six months, whereby they reverse up to a vertical object with their tails raised high, and release a spray of urine. Their tails tend to quiver as they do this.

How is spraying different from urination?

For starters, urination is simply the excretion of urine from the bladder, performed by squatting over a horizontal surface. If you are not around to see your cat spray, or urinate, there are other ways to distinguish between marking and simply soiling the house. Your pet is being territorial if:

  • The problem is mainly urination, as cats seldom mark with faeces.
  • Only a small amount of urine is found, mostly on vertical surfaces. Leg lifting and spraying are two primary characteristics of urine-marking, though the markings may still be made on horizontal surfaces.
  • No pet in your home is neutered or spayed. Intact male and female pets are more likely to use urine to mark that neutered or spayed animals, though the latter may still mark if there are other intact pets in the home.
  • Your cat urinates on new items in the environment, such as a visitor’s purse or shopping bag, or on items that have another animal’s scent or unfamiliar scents
  • Your cat has conflicts with other pets in your home, whereby the bullied one expresses his anxiety by spraying.
  • Your cat interacts with other pets outside your home. If he has an encounter with another cat, or sees another animal through a window, he may feel an urge to mark his territory.


The good news is that this is a controllable behaviour. To keep your cat from urine marking, there are several things you can do, including:

  1. Resolving conflicts among your pets at home.
  2. Spaying or neutering your cat.
  3. Discouraging other animals from approaching your home, or keeping your cat from accessing windows and doors through which he will see other animals that cause him to feel territorial.
  4. Clean soiled areas well without using strong smelling cleaning products, since they may cause your cat to over-mark the area.
  5. Keep your pet indoors.
  6. Make previously soiled spots unattractive or inaccessible. To do this, you can treat, feed, or play with him in those areas.
  7. Keep items with new scents, which are likely to be marked, away from reach.

Finally, urine marking is an animal instinct, so don’t punish your cat for doing it. Doing so could cause him to be scared of you and will not change his behaviour. Instead, try to scare him during the act, so he associates the fright with urine-marking and hopefully stops.

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