Although elimination within the house can be explained in terms of NORMAL cat behaviour, such as ‘spraying’ due to hormonal changes, or as a result of a medical problem, one major causes of eliminating within the home is STRESS.
Spraying is part of the cats normal set of behaviours, an overt display where he or she backs up to a vertical surface, emitting a fine stream of urine, often with the tail quivering. This is a complex method of communication, secreting chemical messengers to convey important messages to other cats who may pass.
This behaviour although often occurring at higher frequency in Toms, is not completely dependant on sexual hormones. This is because the brain has a large influence on such behaviour, with 10% of males and 5% of females spraying even after neutering.
Whilst spraying is usually associated with a normal behaviour, it can still become abnormal as an anxiety based behaviour occurring as a result of either threatened or direct aggression from other cats.. For example, often occurring in multi-cat households, a cat will spray to communicate his desire not to confront or become involved in any conflict. Where anxiety does play a role in spraying social changes need to be fully assessed.
Marking is where puddles of urine are deposited behind furniture, or on objects. Although spraying behaviour is part of the cats' normal set of behaviours, marking is an indicator of abnormally high stress levels within the cat, communicating feeling of anxiety and insecurity.
Triggers of this marking behaviour ranges from new cats entering the home, to neighbouring cats intruding on your garden...or even bringing a pair of new shoes into your home! Cats are highly territorial and this needs to be kept in mind when we bring them in to our homes.
In each case, if you as the owner feels that there is a problem with your cat, it is vital that you consult with your vet and speak to a qualified animal behaviourist. Core issues must be identified and assessed to provide a life-long, drug free solution.
For help or advice, or just for a chat, please do not hesitate to contact me.