Territory marking in cats: everything you need to know


The marking of the territory in the cat is done by several means. Territorial and solitary animal par excellence, like all felines, it makes its presence known to its congeners. To this end, it uses the deposition of pheromones to circumscribe or expand its territory.

The marking of the territory goes through the facial marking, the marking with scratches and finally, the most annoying of all for a companion cat living inside, the urine marking. What are the different types of markings in cats? What are they for ? And how to limit or even eliminate urine marking?

The different types of territory markings in cats

Facial marking

Undoubtedly the most popular of the types of tagging in cats, facial tagging is associated with the well-being, appeasement and development of your cat, who simply feels good in their surroundings.

With its head, the cat deposits pheromones on the corners of furniture, door frames, exterior or interior walls of your home. But that’s not all, he also exerts this rubbing of the head on the people he loves and trusts.

Indeed, if you see that your cat is rubbing his head between your legs, on your arms or even on your face, he is performing facial marking to show you his affection. The pheromones it deposits are soothing and calming, and its a sign of well-being for your mustached companion.

Marking with scratches

Claw marking can be annoying if your cat takes the annoying habit of doing it on your sofas, beds, mattresses, chair backs, curtains, etc. By scratching your furniture, your cat deposits pheromones using the pads located under its paws. This type of marking can mean two things:

  • He lacks access to the outside and has too long claws, so he needs to wear them down and is looking for a support to scratch
  • He is stressed because his territory is too small or any other external cause

Urinary marking

Urine marking is by far the most feared annoyance for cat owners. Indeed, the deposited urine has a stronger odor than usual, which is difficult to get rid of. In addition, to mark its territory, your cat will most often urinate on fabrics, room corners, door sills, or other places that are difficult to access and clean.

By marking its territory with urine streams, your cat, especially if it is a male, is letting females know that it is ready to mate. If the cat is not messy, it is simply a sexual alarm marking, totally natural in the wild.

Be aware, however, that urine or sexual marking can also affect some female cats as they approach their heat. This branding not only attracts a potential mate, but also keeps unwanted competitors away.

How to overcome tagging in the feline?

For scratch marking

To limit the damage caused to your furniture, do not hesitate to buy a minimum scratching post per cat. There are some to put, to suspend, to put on the table legs, etc. You can easily find this kind of accessories in pet stores or on specialized internet sales sites.

During check-ups, the vet may also cut your cat’s claws if he considers it necessary. This usual procedure is completely painless for your favorite hairball.

Finally, marking with scratches is often associated with urine marking, since it is part of the so-called “alarm” markings. In case of intense stress, you can help your cat with:

  • soothing sprays or pheromone diffusers helping your cat to feel more zen
  • catnip, which some kitties love

In addition, be aware that a neutered cat or a sterilized cat will have less tendency to mark its territory with scratches.

For urine marking

Once your cat has already marked its territory with urine, it will be necessary to clean the affected areas thoroughly, or even throw away certain textiles if necessary. To get rid of this pungent and unpleasant smell, as well as urine stains, you can use white vinegar or bleach. Finally, be aware that sparkling water repels some of our pet cats, who will not urinate again in the same place.

However, the best solution to avoid urine marking is undoubtedly sterilization. Indeed, the latter allows:

  • Rule out certain sexually transmitted diseases
  • Avoid frequent urinary complications in unsterilized cats
  • Reduce the risk of diseases related to the mammary chain and the female reproductive system
  • Eliminate the risks of sexual marking by preserving your place of life

The earlier a cat, whether male or female, is spayed, the less pronounced the marking will be. In the majority of cases, a cat neutered from the age of six months will not have this type of unwanted sexual behavior.