Like their prehistoric ancestors, modern-day cats still feel more comfortable living independently and in solitude. Thousands of years of domestication and human companionship have not yet transformed them into social beings like us.
They love to stay, hang out and play in places they have chosen for themselves. They mark these places with their own scent, face, cheeks, tail or urine. So that other animals can understand before they get to those places that a cat has marked this place as their own. They consider these places as their home, where they feel safe and secure.
Most cats mark their territory by usually urinating there. This type of territory marking is what we call cat spraying.
If you are thinking of adopting a cat or have already adopted one, it is important to understand how cats mark their territory, why they do it, and what is the meaning behind marking them for their healthy upbringing.
What Is cat Spraying
Spraying is the accumulation of small amounts of urine on vertical surfaces. In most cases, the cat will return to the sprayed area, the cat will show some tremors in the tail when returning to the area and urinate very little or without any crouching. Although less common, some cats will mark their territory by leaving a small amount of urine or occasional stool on the horizontal surface.
From the above description we can now say that cat spray is mainly divided into two parts –
- Spraying on vertical surface
- Spraying on horizontal surface
Why Do Cats Mark Territory by Spraying
In the social group in which animal species live, the members depend on each other for survival. They have sophisticated interpersonal communication through which a social system of conflict prevention has been created among themselves. Through this system, they can hold a position of leadership or respect.
They can also explain the motives and learn to respond accordingly by reading the body language of other animals. However, domestic cats have some unique social structures that prevent them from hunting, eating, or sleeping in groups like other animals.
If they are given the opportunity, the cats mark a specific area or territory for themselves when they become mature. They occasionally share a territory with other cats, but in most cases they try to avoid each other.
The social system of dogs is much more advanced and friendlier than that of cats. Socially, cats that greet often start quarreling between them like two neighbors. However, if one thinks that he may be injured, then no one will fight and see himself as inferior to others.
Cats have no conventional arrangements for face-to-face conflicts, so direct conflicts can be dangerous for them. To avoid disputes, cats leave messages for each other through indirect communication. There are many ways cats can leave messages for each other, one of which is cat spraying. By the sign of spraying, a cat informs other cats about its presence and makes a statement about how much of that space is in its possession, how long it has been in the area, and over time what other cats can expect its return.
Cats can even advertise in this way when looking for a mate. All these messages of marking the area through spraying are available to other cats. This method allows cats to see each other less often than other animals. While domestic cats may not have to struggle to find food or mate, they will still see their world as other wild cats that have to survive on their own.
They only communicate within themselves through the social and communication skills that nature has given them. If their world is predictable, there’s usually no conflict, most cats are spayed or neutered, and they don’t need a mate, so cats have very little reason to mark areas with spraying, and they probably won’t.
However, if they want a mate or are upset about something, they will try to deal with their problem just like any other cat which means they will mark their territory. To a cat, marking means keeping the unwanted person away from anyone and anything and it creates a familiar environment around them that helps them feel more secure.
Another important thing to keep in mind for those who have adopted cats is that this attribute of marking the area of cats is by no means a litter box problem.
Which cats usually spray
Both male and female cat species can mark their area with spraying. The tendency to mark the area is most common among wild and unneutered male cats. When a wild or unneutered male spreads urine, it will have a characteristic odor that is strong and intense.
Castration or neutering will change this smell of cat urine and may reduce the cat’s motivation to spray. However, about 10% of neutered males and 5% of spayed females will continue to spray as usual.
Medical causes for cat spraying
Some cats spray indoors because they have medical problems, so if your cat sprays indoors, take them to your veterinarian soon for testing. For example, a disease of the urinary tract(Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease), commonly seen in domestic cats, is a treatable condition that, if ignored, can be a potentially life-threatening condition for your pet.
If you notice that your cat is not spraying for emotional reasons but may have a medical problem, it is best to talk to a vet.
Cats often spray repeatedly at a certain time in the same place, so, if you notice a pattern, check the color change in that area. However, clean the area thoroughly with a 10% solution of organic washing powder, rinse with cold water and allow it to dry. Now, you should have a clean, odor-free area.
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How Cats mark by rubbing
Cats have scent glands on their cheeks, paws, and flanks that allow them to rub their personal odor on the object when they rub against a door or chair. It sends a message to other cats that they were there and put their claims there. Rubbing against your leg is also a way to mark you and send a message to other cats that you already have a cat.
In a family where there are many cats, all of these marked territories even if they are temporary, help to establish and create bonds between cats. When two cats in the house meet, they begin to caress each other. Most of the time one cat will start rubbing and maybe even start grooming the other one. This helps to reduce the tension between them.
How cats mark by scratching
When your cat scratches something, not only are they sharpening their claws but they are also leaving their scent to mark the place as their own territory.
Cats have scent glands on their footpads, which is why they mark the area as their own when they scratch something. This behavior comes naturally through your cat so never punish your pet for it. Just train them to use a scratching post so they can leave your furniture alone.
Why marking is important to cats
Marked territories are especially important to cats because they know this place as their home. They feel the same way about the sprayed area, just as we feel safe and secure inside our own home. Spraying is important to them because like everyone else, cats want to have a place of their own at the end of the day where they can spend their time comfortably.
After all, they have friends at home, they have toys, and they are fed – no wonder they want it themselves. Cats can also mark their area using glands on their cheeks, over their eyes and on their chins.
When you see them happily rubbing on your feet or on your furniture, they are leaving their scent on the place where they feel most comfortable. Since we are not able to smell the scent that is left behind, we are not harmed by this, so we have no reason to worry about it. You can take cat marking as a positive aspect that you have created a comfortable home that makes your cat very cheerful.
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