Territorial Marking: Cat Be Gone?

Roger needed to reclaim his territory

The number one reason cats are given away is due to urinating in places other than the litter box. There can be so many reasons for this and so many ways to stop it, I could write an entire book just on this topic alone.

However, the other day my brother brought his cat home (for the second time) and the cat started to immediately urinate all over the house. Everywhere. To get behind the reason for this, first you have to know the back story.

My brother, Correy, adopted his fluffy orange male cat from me as a foster for a Connecticut shelter (CT Cat Connections) for whom I volunteer. The cat came to me as “Sophie,” a pregnant female. I questioned the friend who brought the cat to me; “You sure this is a female??” I asked. The cat had a head the size of a lion and the most masculine looking face I’d ever seen. I was assured this cat was a pregnant female and I didn’t feel like fiddling through the massive orange fur to check so I took their word for it.
Two months went by and no kittens. Finally, I decided to check. Not only was this cat NOT a pregnant female. HE was a neutered male. By this point, my brother had fallen for the loving cat, who by now was living amongst all my other cats and doing great. So, he adopted him.
Roger, as Correy renamed him…more aptly I might add, settled in quickly. Correy and his wife had 3 other cats: Bella, Gilligand and FC (for Fat Cat). Bella and Gilligan are bother young cats around 2 years of age that they had gotten when they were kittens. FC, however, was an elderly man who had come from my sister-in-law’s previous home in Michigan. FC had a bad habit of urinating outside the litter box, particularly on area rugs, which were fortunately portable and washable. Puppy pee pads were put down in other areas where he liked to go.
Everything went along great for several months until FC began to get very ill. At this point, Roger took it upon himself to try and play veterinarian and put the sickly cat out of his misery; he began attacking, viciously.
My brother and his wife wanted FC’s last days on this earth to be pleasant (it turned out he had stomach cancer, but was still holding his own), so back to our house came Roger, temporarily. He fit right back in with my brood and settled in as if he hadn’t left.
Two months later, FC passed away and Roger went home. The first thing he did was urinate all over the house! My brother contacted me in a panic. So, I explained it to him. The first part of this is simple; Roger needed to reclaim his territory. Secondly, he could still smell FC in the house and, not knowing the cat was gone, only exacerbated the issue.
This is not a common situation, but territorial marking is a common occurance! I told my brother that once Roger had his territory restaked, he would stop. Correy had only to keep a bottle of enzymatic cat urine remover handy. Plus, they were soon to be re-painting the home’s interior, and that would help as well, as it would give a fresh scent to the home that doesn’t smell like any of the cats. They will all have a chance to acclimate to the new scents as the painting is done and no one will feel a need to be territorial.
Roger stopped marking by that afternoon. That was even quicker than I had planned, but a good thing. He wasn’t known to be a sprayer anywhere else so I knew this would not be a permanent behavior. In FC’s case, urinating outside the box had been a habit he had developed a long time before (probably due to the fact he had been declawed. Indescriminate urination is common when cats are declawed). Once psraying or urinating in specific locations is developed, it can be hard to stop. But, in Roger’s case, this was not normal for him. So, I was able to assure my brother itr was only temporary.
So, remember, if your cat is doing something bad. He has a reason! Don’t give him up. Find out what they reason is and what can be done. Is it temporary? It could be something that a slight change can fix as well. You wouldn’t give up your human child simply because of bad behavior, would you? Well, would you? (By the way, if you would, then you better not have kids…or cats!)