Like dogs, many cats mark places that are new and unfamiliar to them. Intact male cats are more likely to mark than neutered males or female cats. Marking behavior can be modified if you start training early. When introducing your cat to your home, be prepared. Here are a couple tricks for a marking quick-fix.

Health Check: If your cat is suddenly marking, take him to your veterinarian to rule out any potential medical issue that may be contributing to the behavior. 

Eliminating in corners:

Cats will often mark their territory by putting waste at the edges of that territory. Cats will use both urine and feces to mark territory. If episodes are occurring in a room that is seldom used, begin to spend time in that room each day to show the cat that the room is part of the living quarters. Feeding in the area where the cat is eliminating may help. Using a Comfort Zone® with Feliway® diffuser should calm your cat and reduce the likelihood of marking. 

Eliminating on personal belongings:

Urinating/defecating on personal belongings is also a form of marking. The cat may be trying to comingle scents as a form of bonding, or may be trying to repel the owner of the belongings. In the case of the former, be sure that all belongings that the cat targets are put away. Again, Comfort Zone® can be beneficial. For the latter, the cat needs to establish a positive association with that person. The person should feed the cat his favorite treats and play with him daily. It may even be necessary for others in the household to withdraw interaction from the cat for a couple of weeks.

If the above don’t help it may be necessary to give the cat less territory so he doesn’t feel the urge to mark. This means no longer allowing outdoor access if the cat is permitted to go out and/or confining to one room in order to rehabituate the cat to solely using the litter box. Our behavior specialists can walk you through these steps.

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

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