Why Do Cats Urine Mark
Animal species who live in social groups in which the members depend on each other for survival have sophisticated interpersonal communication. Particularly animals who can cause significant harm to each otherlike dogshave developed a social mechanism for preventing conflict through interpersonal ranking. They are prepared to assume either a leadership or deference position, and they can read another animals body language to interpret his intentions and react accordingly. But cats have a somewhat unique social structure in that they do not hunt, eat or sleep in groups like dogs.
Given the opportunity, cats go off on their own when they mature and claim certain areas or territories for themselves. They might share a territory with other cats, but its a time-share approachthey avoid each other whenever possible. They havent developed a social system or a communication system like dogs. Socially, cats who greet often handle things like two neighbors in an argumentalthough one might back down if he thinks he might get injuredneither individual will ever perceive himself as having lower status than the other. Cats have no system for working out face-to-face disputes, so face-to-face disputes can be dangerous for them. To avoid disputes, cats communicate indirectlythey leave messages.
How Can You Prevent A Cat From Going Into Heat
The only way to prevent the heat cycle from repeating over and over again, along with the distress it causes both you and your pet, is to have your female cat spayed. It is a myth that cats should be allowed to go through one heat cycle or even to have one litter before spaying. Early spaying is widely regarded as the most ethical course for pet owners to take, in light of the millions of animals who are euthanized at pet shelters each year. Its simply irresponsible to bring another litter of kittens into the world when there are already too few homes for existing animals.
Spaying is considered major surgery because it involves entering the abdomen to remove both ovaries and the uterus, yet the procedure is safe and routine when performed by a qualified vet. And although its possible to perform the surgery at any time of the estrous cycle, most veterinarians decline to spay cats in heat because the engorged blood vessels in the reproductive organs create an increased risk of heavy bleeding.
Thumbnail: Photography by karamysh / Shutterstock.
This piece was originally published in 2012.
Why Does My Catpretend To Spray On Me
It is rare for a cat to spray on another cat or person. Cats will spray at nose level on a vertical surface of some kind.
This allows other cats to find the spray and sniff it easily, which is its purpose. Spraying on another cat or a person doesnt seem to fulfill this purpose, so why do cats do it?
You Are a Vertical Surface
You are much taller than your cat. So, your height may trigger a cats instinctual spraying reflex.
Cats will spray on tall things like trees, lamp posts, and walls. They do so without thinking about the surface because its inconsequential. All that matters is that it can spray at nose height where other cats can smell it.
Cats Spray on Other Cats When Fighting
In rare circumstances, a cat may spray on another cat when the pair are fighting. The purpose of this behavior is to display dominance. Its almost as if the cat is marking the other cat as its own territory.
This behavior is not atypical, but it is unusual. Your cat is unlikely to do this to your leg unless you make it feel very stressed or uncomfortable or unless you are fighting. Its an unlikely behavior, but it can happen.
Why Does My Cat Spray
In the wild, cats leave scent signals to communicate with other cats through rubbing, scratching, urinating, and spraying. Scent signals let cats know when another cat has claimed an area as her own, when she was there and might return, and if she is looking for a mate. While most neutered cats who live indoors do not feel the need to spray, those who do are typically under stress and want to surround themselves with their own scent for protection. Even though youve created a safe, nurturing environment for your cat, she may still feel distressed and want to mark her territory.
Reasons For Peeing Outside The Litter Box
The three most common medical reasons for a cat to pee outside the litter box is due to a UTI , kidney disease, or diabetes. When it comes to urinary tract infections and peeing outside the litter box, this is more common in female cats than males. Females will often seek out soft surfaces to pee on such as towels, clothing, bedding, and rugs. Males will often have an issue with crystals over a UTI that will cause them to urinate in other places. If your cat is urinating outside the litter box, taking them in for a checkup is advised to rule out any underlining medical issues.
If your cat has a clean bill of health, this can be a behavioral issue. Some external issues include using cat litter your cat does not like, moving the litter box to a place your cat feels unsafe or introducing a new cat into your home. Internal behavior issues are a bit more complicated. A cat who has separation anxiety, , or high amounts of stress can cause them to pee outside the litter box. It can be hard to determine an internal behavioral problem and often takes weeks of closely moderating your cats behavior and reactions to different situations. I always advise cat owners to take a natural approach for things like anxiety or depression as most medications prescribed to cats for these issues have a lot of side-effects.
How Can I Keep My Cat From Spraying In My House
The first step is always a veterinary exam. You’ll need to differentiate between spraying and inappropriate urination and make sure there isn’t a medical reason for it if it’s inappropriate urination. Additionally, all cats in the home should be neutered or spayed.
Any surface that your cat has marked needs to be cleaned thoroughly with an enzymatic cat urine cleaner. Otherwise, the original cat and others in the home will continue to mark over the area. You can use a black light to help you find areas of urine that you might not know are there.
is a great tool in your arsenal against cat marking behavior. It is a substance that mimics feline feel-good pheromones, and it can really help decrease stress marking. Feline Multicat is great for households where cats aren’t getting along. It helps calm all the cats down.
Make sure you have plenty of good scratching posts in your home for your cats. Scratching helps relieve stress in cats and is an alternative way to mark territory and give other cats scent information through the glands in the paws. The posts should be strong, sturdy, tall, and plentiful.
You can consult an animal behavior specialist for more ideas individualized to your household and your cat.
The Cat Heat Cycle Explained
All female cats will go through the natural heat cycle unless they have been spayed or are pregnant. This is also referred to as the estrus cycle and during this time, a cat is capable of breeding that is, mating and having kittens. The stages of the cat in heat cycle are described in detail below:
How To Stop Cats From Spraying Outside Your Home
As we have mentioned in the first section of this article, it is not uncommon for stray cats to spray outside your home. It is annoying to come home to spraying walls and even . Therefore, you will need to stop cats from spraying outside your home. As you take up this task, keep in mind that the goal is to stop them and not harm them. We are therefore going to look at some of the most effective methods to help you address this problem.
Clean the sprayed places
Whether it is your cat spraying or other cats, the first step you should take is to find the sprayed areas of the house. In most scenarios, your cat will spray the walls or even the front door of your house. In order to prevent him from repeating the habit, it is vital that you clean the spot thoroughly. The goal is to erase the stains and the smell of cat spray.
Unfortunately, the noxious smell of cat urine does not go away easily. This is why you will need enzymatic cleaners for this job. If he has sprayed on the front door, you can use a mixture of and white vinegar to break the enzymes in cat urine. Ensure that you scrub the floor or wall thoroughly with the cleaner or the mixture. This will help you remove once again.
Alternatively, you can use citronella plants in efforts to stop cats from spraying outside your home.
Make the scene unattractive
Invest in a beeping mat
Eliminate all rodents and small animals from your homestead
How To Stop A Cat In Heat From Meowing And Yowling
Cats in heat display a range of behavioral changes. They undergo mood swings, become determined to leave the house, and become extremely vocal. A female cat yowling all day and night is most likely to be in estrus. She is announcing her availability to local tomcats.
Your cat has a biological drive to mate, and her inability to do so defies her basic instincts. You can distract your cat with play, fun activities, and affection. You can also keep your cat calm with scents and music. However, do not deviate from routine as cats in heat can become distressed.
The only ways to cease a cats heat cycle are spaying and simulating mating. If you choose not to do this, vocalization is something youll have to tolerate. Do what you can to make your cat more comfortable during these hormonal surges. This, in turn, will reduce the noise your cat makes.
- Inability to settle
- Desperation to escape the home
A cat in heat must be kept indoors. It does not take long to find a tom and mate, which often results in pregnancy. Unfortunately for owners, this means a prolonged period of meowing and yowling.
Why Would A Spayed Female Cat Spray
Female cats that continue to spray after they have been spayed may have part of their ovaries left behind from when they were altered. Spaying a cat is effective at stopping female cats from spraying most of the time, but approximately 5 percent of cats continue to spray. Cats spray for numerous reasons, including stress, urinary tract infections, issues with their litter box and communicating with other cats.
When female cats spray urine, they usually spray on vertical surfaces and the urine will be extremely pungent. Cats that have litter box problems will produce more urine and it will not be as pungent. Cats also do not like any type of changes within a household, so they easily become stressed, which causes them to spray. Urine spraying can also be caused when there is any type of conflict between cats.
To deter cats from spraying in the house, it helps to move their litter box to the area that they normally spray. If the cat lives in a multiple-cat household, it’s important that there are enough litter boxes in the house for all of them, preferably one litter box per cat, and one extra. It is also crucial to take the cat to a veterinarian to rule out any health problems that would cause them to spray after they have already been spayed.
My Cat Doesnt Look Stressed
The domestic cat is a self-reliant species and it doesnt readily show emotion as this may make it vulnerable to attack. This means that cats are excellent at hiding signs of illness, pain or stress. The signs are there however but are very subtle; often stress can only be established by looking for changes in patterns of behaviour. Urine spraying would certainly indicate that all was not right with your cats world.
How To Deal With A Female Cat In Heat
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 26 testimonials and 86% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 511,512 times.
An unspayed female cat comes into heat every three to four weeks, and she’s not usually quiet about it! This period, when she’s most receptive to getting pregnant, can last for up to seven days. This means you might have a highly hormonal cat on your hands for one week out of every three. The best solution, if you don’t want her to have kittens, is to get her spayed by a veterinarian. However, if you do want to breed her, you’ll have to deal with the behaviors that go along with being in heat, like loud meowing and flirty antics. You also need to keep her from getting pregnant when you don’t want her to.XResearch sourceReproduction in the Dog and Cat. Christianseen. Publisher: Baillierie-Tindal
Getting To The Source Of The Spraying
Investigate what could be the source of your cats stress and figure out how to eliminate it, Dr. Cox says. One possibility is too many cats in the household, or the addition of a new cat that is a bit of a bully. In the former case, the number of felines can make it hard for a more-timid cat to get to the litter box, sleeping area, or food bowl, she says. Pet parents might not be aware that their cat is feeling intimidated.
One cat might be a bully or is harassing another cat without you seeing it, Dr. Lund says. A threat to another cat is just a stare. Its an act of aggression, but we dont see it.
To solve the problem, provide multiple sleeping areas, food/water bowls, and litter boxes so the cats are not competing for resources, Dr. Cox says. When a cat joins your household, try gradual introduction of new cats using scent exchange, treat rewards, and calming pheromone sprays, she says.
Sometimes the stressor is literally outside your window in the form of stray or neighboring outdoor cats.
Your cats see them outside, and they get a little wigged out by it, Dr. Lund says. This can trigger them to spray near doors and windows. Dr. Lund puts it this way: For cats, spraying gives them the security that locking a deadbolt gives us. To remove this stressor, close blinds on windows to keep your animal from seeing those outdoor cats, Dr. Cox suggests.
Your cat isnt mad at you
How To Calm A Cat In Heat
The cat heat cycle is a normal and healthy part of the life of every cat. Being in heat is not typically painful. However, you may want to help calm your cat while she is in heat. Here are several ideas to calm a cat in heat:
- keep your female cat away from male cats
- let her sit on a heat pack, warm towel, or electric pad or blanket
- try catnip
- use Feliway or other synthetic cat pheromones
- keep the litter box clean
- play with your cat
- Avoid letting your cat outside if you suspect they are in heat.
- Create a cat enclosure so your cat can be outdoors, but safely protected from other cats
After getting neutered, Beta thankfully no longer tries to mate with his sister or any other cats around. And thanks to the Tractive GPS cat tracker I can always keep an eye on his whereabouts right in the smartphone app and retrieve him if needed.
What Is Urine Spraying
Female cats may urinate outside their litter box and practice inappropriate elimination but when they pee vertically instead of on the ground it is referred to as spraying or .
When a cat marks, urine is sprayed against a wall, a piece of furniture, or another surface. Your cat will stand up, raise its tail, quiver, and back up to the item it is about to spray. It is typically only a small amount of urine that sprays out instead of a steady stream that is produced during a normal, squatting, urination.
Signs Your Cat Is In Heat
Adrienne Kruzer, BS, RVT, LVT, has worked with a variety of animals for over 15 years, including birds of prey, reptiles, and small mammals.
All female cats will naturally go through a heat cycle if they have not been spayed. This heat cycle is referred to as estrous and it indicates that a cat is capable of breeding. There are a few key indications that a cat may be in heat and it is useful for cat owners who may be otherwise wondering why their cat’s behavior has changed to recognize these things.
How To Prevent Spraying
Its extremely important to consult with a veterinarian any time a cat is having going outside the litter box. Inappropriate elimination behavior often means the cat is sick or experiencing pain.
Whether a cat suddenly starts spraying or having other accidents in the house, or has been spraying for a long time, a visit to the vet is in order to rule out a medical issue. The veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam and might recommended a urinalysis and/or bloodwork to make sure the cat is not suffering from a urinary tract infection or any other medical condition that might be causing the spraying.
If your cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet, you can assume the spraying is behavioral.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent spraying, listed in order of importance:
Why Do Cats Spray 5 Reasons For Cat Spraying
Does your cat sometimes urinate outside of their litterbox? Our cats are very clean and careful creatures, so if your pet has started to spray somewhere away from their usual spot – such as against a wall, door, furniture or on another vertical surface – they may be trying to communicate something! Spraying is not limited to any cat in particular – both male and female cats sometimes spray. Even if your cat has been spayed or neutered, they may sometimes show spraying behavior. However, though there are several reasons why your cuddly kitty might occasionally spray, it can be unpleasant when it happens around your home! Understanding the cause of spraying is the first step to limiting it. So to help, weve listed some common causes of unexpected cat spraying below.
Mating Call And Position
Your queen will vocalize loudly. This “calling” may go on for several days unless she mates. She will then assume the mating position: head down, forelegs bent, rear quarters raised to expose the perineum, and tail raised and held to the side of the body. This posture is called lordosis. And when she assumes it, her rear legs will tread rhythmically as if walking in place.
What To Do When A Cat Is In Heat
If you have a cat that is in heat, the attention-seeking behavior can be annoying and persistent. Breeding a cat in heat will, of course, stop the cycle but then is likely to result which will potentially leave you with even more cats that will come into heat. Getting a cat is the best way to prevent or eliminate these unwanted behaviors. This will of course also ensure the cat never goes into heat again and avoids the unwanted behaviors that go along with it. Some veterinarians will want to wait until the current heat cycle has finished due to the increased risk of surgical bleeding while others will spay a cat while actively in heat.
Llera, Ryan and Yuill, Cheryl. Estrous Cycles In Cats. VCA Animal Hospitals, 2020.
Little, Susan E. Female Reproduction. The Cat, 2012, pp. 1195-1227. Elsevier, doi:10.1016/b978-1-4377-0660-4.00040-5
Spaying And Neutering. Cornell University College Of Veterinary Medicine, 2020.
When Does A Female Cat Have Her First Estrus Cycle
Cats have their first estrous cycle when they reach puberty. The estrous cycle is better known as a cat’s heat cycle. On average, puberty, or sexual maturity, first occurs in cats at about six months of age, but this can vary slightly by time of year.
“The estrous cycle is better known as a cat’s heat cycle.”
Each cycle consists of several stages; the stage called estrus refers to when the female is sexually receptive, or in heat.
Reasons For Neutering Female Cats
- Population control. It is important to neuter a female cat before she can have kittens herself. This happens very quickly depending on breed, time of year born and individual development. The first season usually occurs around six months but can be earlier. Queens can have up to three litters in a year.
- Control of nuisance. Female cats will call regularly, about every three weeks during sexually active times of the year if they do not get pregnant. Having entire female cats in an area will attract entire males with the attendant problems of spraying, fighting and caterwauling.
- Welfare issues. Unwanted kittens may not be cared for and are likely to suffer from various infectious diseases such as cat flu or worse. There are unlikely to be enough new homes available for them.
- Health issues. Female cats which are not neutered are more likely to suffer from pyometra later in life and with mammary tumours. Queens with infectious diseases may pass these on to their kittens. Pregnancy and birth are also not without risk.
- Wildlife issues. Cats with kittens will hunt more actively and if they are not being fed will need to catch more wildlife to feed their kittens.
What To Expect When Your Cat Is In Heat
Like most female mammals, cats go through physical cycles that prepare their bodies for fertilization and birth. In humans, this cycle is called “menstruation.” In felines, it is called “estrus.” When female cats are experiencing estrus they are said to be “in heat” and are hormonally receptive to both intercourse and reproduction. Cats can go into heat in late kittenhood, making it necessary to spay them if a pregnancy, and the responsibility of raising and finding good homes for kittens, is unwanted.
Problems With Neutered Males
Now back to the subject of sexual aggression, but this time in neutered males. I have seen several cases of aggression by neutered male cats to females that takes the form of sexual aggression.
Unlike territorial aggression or fear aggression, the pair of cats may get on perfectly well for most of the time but, just occasionally, the male, charges after a neutered female cat, who is clearly not receptive and screams as he launches himself at her from behind, biting her in the nape of the neck and wrestling her to the ground with fur flyinga cookie cutter replication of the sexual act, though not necessarily involving intromission.
I first came to this conclusion many years ago and formulated my own plan for dealing with it. I reasoned that odor is a particularly important sense to a cat and that any self-respecting male should be able to pick up the odor of the same or opposite sex. That is certainly true of an intact male cat who can detect the odor of a female in heat from several blocks away, but a neutered female should not hold the same olfactory attraction.
Nevertheless, by not smelling like a male she could be viewed as a target for the unwanted sexual advances of a neutered super-male Romeo. The antidote for this situation, I surmised, was to play an olfactory trick on the male by making the female smell like a male. This can be achieved quite easily by applying a male pheromone, like androstenone, to the females rump every so often.