As with many animals, the nose in cats is an essential organ in terms of communication with its congeners. Just like horses, certain ruminants or even humans (this organ is very little developed in our species), the cat has an organ called “Jacobson’s organ” (or vomeronasal organ).
This organ is tube-shaped, located under the inner surface of its nose, and allows it to smell pheromones left by other cats or even other animals. These famous pheromones transmit a multitude of information to the cat, which it will instinctively take into account and which will influence its actions.
We will detail in this article the different ways cats have to mark their territory.
Cat urine marking
This is certainly the first thing we think of when we talk about territory marking. This type of marking is most common in the animal kingdom. Indeed, we find this behavior in monkeys, bears or even horses for example.
In cats, urine marking is mainly practiced by unsterilized males, first of all to discourage other males from looking for a female on her territory, but also and mainly to let sterile females know about her presence in a certain area. delimited. The urine markings of males during mating season are often very fragrant, even to us as humans.
Some unsterilized females also practice this type of marking during the breeding season, to signal their presence and their readiness to be fertilized to the males in the vicinity.
Some cats, out of breeding season or sterilized still mark their territory with urine, simply to signal to others that a certain sector is under its domination.
To mark its territory in this way, the cat will be attracted to vertical surfaces, such as trees, lampposts or just walls, it will trample the ground with its hind legs and release a jet of urine with more pressure than s ‘he just wanted to relieve a natural urge.
Marking with claws
You may be surprised to learn that your wallpaper or sofa weren’t the target of your cat’s claws just for trimming. This act is instinctive in cats and even if, in fact, it allows them to regulate the size of their claws, it is not the only goal. The act of scratching first leaves a trace, which indicates to any passing cats that your cat is there too.
But in addition to using its claws, the cat will press on the surface in question with its pads, which contain small glands, called sweat glands, which allow their perspiration to pass, and therefore pheromones. This act therefore acts as an olfactory signature.
To mark its territory in this way outdoors, the cat will be attracted to trees with flexible bark, on which it will have no trouble planting its claws, and in your interior, it will exercise its claws on the mattresses or sofas that are will be slashed, much to the chagrin of the owners.
Marking by rubbing or skin secretions
This is a well-known behavior in domestic cats, which are regularly seen rubbing their cheeks against all kinds of objects. It is also a way of marking its territory, using glands located in its muzzle, through which it will deposit its scent.
Maybe you also made the connection with what you took for hugs or a sign of affection? Indeed, many cats rub themselves in this way on their owner (s), on the leg, when they hold out a hand or sometimes even on the face. It is not really a sign of affection, but rather a way of “marking” you, which means that you belong to him, which is in itself a sign of affection in our feline friends.
Marking by anal secretions
Finally, the cat’s last olfactory communication tool is located in its anus. It’s not very sweet said like that, but just like dogs who will sniff each other’s buttocks when they meet, cats also have anal glands that release pheromones.
This is also why cats have the instinct to scratch the ground where they do their big errands. Their excrements depositing their pheromones on the ground, covering them with sand is a survival reflex in order not to be detected by the smell by potential predators.