Many of us have had to deal with this before; a territorial cat who, despite our greatest efforts, have made it their number one priority to repeatedly mark everything. Like, everything. And isn’t it just the best when you’ve got company over and Fiddlesticks decides to grace your new couch with a generous dousing of cat pee? Literally so awesome. Love it. Thanks, Fiddles.

But why do cats feel the need to mark their territory? Do some cats mark more than others, and why? Is there a way to curb this behavior? Don’t worry! I’ve got some answers for you that will finally bring you to the light at the end of the pee-soaked tunnel. (Gross.)

Marking Methods

Some of the ways cats like to “mark” their territory can be benign, and even sometimes downright adorable. For instance, do you notice your little babycat rubbing up against you frequently, especially in the presence of other cats? That’s just your little bean’s way of leaving her pheromones all over you. Sweet, sweet kitty pheromones.

You see, dear reader, cats have scent glands on their heads, lips, chins, and tails, and when they rub these parts of their body on you, what they’re really doing is marking you with their scent. This scent is undetectable by humans, but other cats are hypersensitive to it. So, when your baby rubs up against your leg, what she really may be doing is making sure you’re covered in her scent in order to communicate to other cats, “hey, this is my human, mokay? Just so we’re clear.” Precious. Additionally, cats also have these scent glands on their paws. Yup, that’s right! Those perfect little bean toes are also great tools for marking, which may be one of the many reasons your cat loves to knead you.

Unfortunately, some cats may also feel the need to make use of a few other ways of marking their territory. You guessed it - spraying. Nothing like waking up in the morning to the pungent odor of cat pee, right? While male cats are more likely to spray, female cats are known to engage in this behavior as well. Why is this? Male cats spray in order to alert all the Fertile Myrtle female cats in the area of their - ahem - reproductive… prowess. Like, “hey ladies, you smell that? Heck yeah, come get you some.” So romantic, as you may remember from my past article on feline mating rituals. Every girl’s dream, right?

What Causes My Cat To Mark

All notions of love and romance aside, there is another major reason a cat might spray his or her territory, and that reason is: environment. When a cat’s environment is disrupted, this causes her to become agitated. Thus, her attempt at combating this agitation is to make sure everyone knows that she’s still THE QUEEN of the house - and what better way to do that than to pee on all your stuff? I mean, obviously.

If your cat is spraying uncontrollably, consider this - have you moved recently or made any dramatic rearrangements to your home? Have you recently acquired a new family member; human, feline, or otherwise? Have any other significant changes happened to your cat’s environment? One of the most aggressive ways for a cat to mark their territory is by spraying, and this type of conduct is usually directly related to a recent change in your cat’s living space. Alas, this sort of behavior can be very destructive to your home, but luckily, there are proven methods to help keep your kitty’s marking habit at bay.

How To Stop The Spray

For starters, as I mentioned; male cats have a more urgent instinct to mark their territory. For this reason, one of the simplest ways to put an end to your cat’s spraying habit is by getting him neutered. This applies to female cats, as well. Neutering not only decreases a cat’s instinct and desire to spray, but can also help “mellow” them out in general, so to speak.

But, what to do when your cat is already neutered and still spraying? There are a few items out there on the market that can help with this behavior, including sprays and diffusers. These products help to create a more comfortable environment for you cat by releasing pheromones into the air, helping to soothe your cat into a state of comfort. If you suspect your cat is marking due to an upset in her environment, these products may be able to help.

The most important thing to remember if you’ve got a Nervous Nelly stinking up your home with cat pee is to be patient. Though their behavior may be destructive, there are solutions, and where there are solutions, there’s hope! On the other hand, if you’ve got a baby who simply loves to rub up against you, knead you, or utilize any other affectionate ways of marking, then congratulations on being officially owned by your cat!

Written by Diomira Keane