Territorial Cats

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Did you know that cats (generally speaking) are more territorial than dogs? It’s true. And cats seem to exhibit territorial behavior for a number of reasons and in a number of ways. However, it can be difficult to determine the reason for a cat’s behavior—a cat may behave with territorial aggression to certain people and animals and not others. A cat may hiss or strike unexpectedly and unprovoked at a person or another animal. A cat may mark its territory by spraying urine—annoyingly, and sometimes unexpectedly—seemingly without provocation. And territorial behaviors such as these can be difficult to predict and control.

One of the more obvious reasons why a cat may exhibit territorial behavior is that he or she—or another cat who also lives in the home—is intact. Also, if you add a new cat to the house, let the other cat or cats get used to the “intruder” before you allow them to live with one another. One tip is to take the bedding of both cats and allow them to experience the smell of one another. If you separate the cats between rooms, allow them to smell one another from the gap beneath the door.

One of the best ways to curb potentially aggressive territorial behavior in mature cats is to socialize him or her at a very young age. Usually, when a kitten is three to twelve weeks of age, he or she is healthy enough (and vaccinated enough) to be able to meet other kittens and different types of people/animals. Take your kitten outside with you, and let them have experiences outside the home.

One other reason for sudden aggression or territorial-type behavior in cats is that there is something medically wrong. One of the symptoms that a cat displays when he or she has something clinically wrong is an out-of-the-litter-box urination. If your cat suddenly displays these behaviors, and there seems to be no reason for the behavior, then you may want to take the cat to the vet for a checkup.

Remember, a cat is a difficult to understand animal, and oftentimes a cat who exhibits unfortunate territorial behaviors requires considerable patience.