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Urine marking is a natural predisposition of a cat. Your cat isn’t that far removed from their wild roots. They feel an instinctive urge to stake their claim by leaving their scent. Scent is the primary way that cats communicate.

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 it’s a time-share approach—they avoid each other whenever possible.

By urine marking, a cat tells other cats of his presence and makes a statement about such things as what piece of property is his, how long ago he was in the area and, over time, when other cats can expect him to return.

Urine marking is common in Cats . No wonder this is the most common behavior problem reported by pet parents of cats is inappropriate elimination. It’s estimated that 10% of all cats will eliminate outside their litter box at some point in their lives.

But there are some underlying health conditions which may cause a cat to urinate outside the litter box and some environmental causes as well. If this behavior has happened more than once or twice, you may want to bring your cat to the vet to rule out any health issues.

Urine Spraying

Spraying is the deposition of small amounts of urine on vertical surfaces. In most cases, the spraying cat will back into the area, the tail may quiver, and with little or no crouching, will urinate. Although much less common, some cats will also mark their territory by leaving small amounts of urine, or occasionally stool, on horizontal surfaces.

Is Urine Marking Gender Specific?

Both male and female cats can mark with urine. Urine marking is most common in intact (non-neutered) male cats. When an intact male sprays urine, it has a strong, pungent, characteristic odor. Neutering will change the odor, and may reduce the cat’s motivation for spraying, but approximately 10 percent of neutered males and 5 percent of spayed females will continue to spray after altering.

Some Causes of Urine Marking in Cats

Your cat may be spraying to communicate about territory or something else. Feline urine marking may happen because your cat feels: 

  • Threatened 
  • An urge to mate and is trying to attract other cats
  • Stressed
  • Discomfort from a medical issue


Marking territory with urine is your cat’s way of dealing with stress. They feel anxious and are trying to relieve their anxiety by staking out their boundaries. Leaving their urine scent is the most emphatic way of showing stress.

Cats are creatures of habit and many react badly to even the slightest changes in their environment. This can include everything from a new pet or baby in the house, to a caretaker’s absence, a strange cat in the backyard and other environmental factors.

Signs to look out for

The spray marks can be quite hard to find, you may just be aware of the smell. Sometimes all you can see is a small trickle of brown, sticky substance on edgy corners of your yard, gates or door posts. Other favoured targets for urine spraying include electrical equipment, full-length curtains, plastic bags and clothing.

The telltale sign of a cat intending to mark is the cat backing up to a vertical surface, often after sniffing the area intensely and showing a flehmen response. The cat stands with its tail erect and quivering and raises its hindquarters.

How Urine Marking can be Treated

Treatment of urine marking includes a combination of:

  • Ruling out organic disease by visiting a vet.
  • Removing stressors
  • Effecting behavior modification through environmental modification and learning
  • Reducing anxiety through drug therapy.
  • Restrict your pet’s access to doors and windows.
  • Clean soiled areas using mild-fragrance soap.


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