Can You Train a Cat Not to Mark?
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Can You Train a Cat Not to Mark?

Cats
Pet Psychology

Can are lovely creatures and are a joy to have around. They are a constant source of amusement with certain breeds never really growing up even when they are adult, mature cats one of which is the Bengal. If you have just got a kitten, the chances are you are being kept busy teaching them what they are allowed to do and what they are not! One of these things is how to use a litter tray. However, felines are clever little creatures and even kittens soon get the idea and will happily use their trays when they need to "go".

Many kittens see their mums using a litter tray which is the first part of their litter training education and once they are weaned and start eating solid foods, they will quite readily use a tray when they have to albeit they sometimes forget what they are doing as they scratch around in the litter. More often than not kittens end up eating the litter rather than using it which is a stage they go through – this is why you should use litter that "clumps" when litter training a kitten.

However, some cats will start to "mark" around the home, even if they have been taught to use a litter tray which can be a real problem. Cats like to mark their territory because it is their way of communicating with other pussy cats and with people including their owners. If your cat suddenly starts marking around the home, the first thing to check is that they are not suffering from any sort of medical condition which causes them pain when they go to the toilet.

Conditions like cystitis or a blockage of some sort in their urethra, will make it painful for your cat to urinate and if they feel pain when they use their litter tray, they'll associate the discomfort with the tray – the result, they will refuse to use it again. A trip to the vet would establish whether there is a health condition at the root of the problem and once this has been done, then you can go about finding a solution to the problem.

Different Ways That Cats Mark Their Territory

Cats have many ways of marking their territory aside from urinating in chosen places whether indoors or out, and this includes rubbing their heads against items around your home.

Cats Rub Their Heads To Show Affection

Very often a cat loves to rub their faces up against their owner's face as a way of showing their love and affection as well as the fact they are contented. Sometimes they will head butt you gently and other times they will rub their cheeks and their chins on your face – they do this because they are happy to be with you or are expecting to be fed their favourite food!

Cats will also mark many items of furniture around the home in a similar way because this is their way of letting everyone and all other animals know the space is their "territory". This type of feline marking is never really a problem and in fact, most cat owners love it when their pets rub up against them as a way of showing them their love and affection.

Cats Mark Their Territory by Scratching

Another way that cats like to mark their territory is to use their claws and scratch chosen items they are particularly fond of. All felines has sweat glands on their paws so when they scratch against a favourite item of furniture, a fence post or anything else they choose, they are in fact rubbing a little of their own scent on the objects from these glands.

When a cat marks their territory when they are outside it's never really a problem. However, when they start to do this on an expensive leather sofa or other valuable items of furniture, it can turn into a real problem. The only way to slow them down and hopefully stop your pet from doing the damage, is to invest in a few good quality cat scratching posts. You should place these as close to the furniture your cats loves to scratch, making sure the post is one that your cat will love to mark. This might mean a little trial and error in finding the perfect scratching post to suit your little feline friend but if it saves your furniture, then it's money well spent.

Cats also love to pull up carpets with their claws which can be another serious problem especially in doorways. There are several ways to stop them doing this and again it's a little bit of trial and error to find the best solution to the problem. You could try placing some sticky tape on the carpet your cat loves to pull at. The noise the tape makes as a cat claws at it usually puts them off – but you may have to keep replacing the tape for a while until they stop altogether. Another solution is to invest in some cat repellent spray and use this in the doorways but again you would need to keep using the spray to stop the problem from happening again.

"Spraying" Around the Home Explained

When a cat starts spraying around the home, it can be a real problem. Once you have established there is not medical issue going on, the next step is to find out why your pet has started to mark their territory around the home. The thing to bear in mind is that "urine marking" is not the same as "urine spraying" although a cat does do both deliberately for a specific reason. This is often because they want to send a message to other animals and their owners.

When a cat "sprays" they do so by raising their tales and literally spraying urine up against things. It could be a curtain, a piece of furniture, a wall or anything else they feel they have to mark with a message. When a cat "marks" an area with their urine, they squat down and urinate on the floor whether it's on a carpet, a rug or other type of floor leaving their "message" behind for other animals and their owners to come across.

Tom cats are notorious for doing this which is another very good reason to have them neutered. The smell of their urine is particularly pungent and not pleasant at all which can make a home virtually unlivable! However, female cats too can spray and mark their territory with their urine when they feel stressed and want to send a message.

Very often stress can be the cause of the problem and if a normally very clean cat starts spraying and marking areas of the home, it is their way of making the environment feel more comfortable for them to be in. Sudden changes in a routine can stress a cat feel which then prompts this type of behaviour. Moving home or even redecorating your house can be the cause of their anxiety too.

However, once your pet has settled down and their "routine" is back on track, they usually stop marking. If they carry on, you might need to give them lots of attention so they feel less stressed and you could always invest in a good quality natural pheromone cat spray which can really help your pet feel comfortable again. If you are not sure about which spray to buy, you should ask your vet to recommend one to you.

Final Tips

Never clean any areas that your cat has sprayed on with any cleaning products that contain ammonia as this will only make matters worse and even encourage your little friend to spray and urinate in those places even more! It is far better to use a product that neutralises the odour which you can buy from good pet stores or online.

Always clean out litter trays regularly and if you have more than one cat make sure each cat has their own litter tray. If a litter tray is dirty and smelly, your cat will not want to use it and this will encourage them to do their business in other areas of your home!

Cats do not like doing their "business" anywhere near where they are usually fed so make sure their litter tray is in another room in your house and nowhere near their water or feed bowls.

Never punish your cat for marking or having an "accident" – cats are ultra sensitive creatures and if you are harsh with them, they'll get scared which means they will try to hide away and this something you definitely do not want them to do! You have to be very patient and kind with them to help them over the problem.

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