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What Is the Difference Between Cat Spraying and Cat Urine Marking?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

Read By: Pet Lovers
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What Is the Difference Between Cat Spraying and Cat Urine Marking?

Some cats will spray or mark urine outside of the litter box. Using urine to mark territory is a common method of cat communication. Cats will mark territory by spraying or leave their feces uncovered as a way to mark territory and to say to other cats "Hey – this is my place!"

The article addresses a question often asked by cat lovers: "What is the difference between cat spraying and cat urine marking?"

Spraying and urine marking are similar behaviors that both involve a cat excreting urine outside of the litter box. However, the difference between spraying and urine marking is the behavior surrounding the actual urination.

During urine marking, a cat will squat on the ground and expel small amounts of urine. At first it might look like they are using the bathroom normally, but many cats will mark several areas with small amounts of urine one right after another.

To contrast, when a cat sprays they will most often back up to a vertical surface such as a wall or door, raise their tail (which often shakes), move their front legs back and forth as though marching in place and release urine in a spray. They do not squat and will rarely spray more than one surface at a time.

Both spraying and urine marking are ways for cats to communicate and mark territory. This can occur for a variety of reasons including dominance issues, a desire to mate, or anxiety or stress. For more information, go to Why Do Cats Spray?.

For more information on how to handle spraying or your marking behavior from our PetPlace.com behaviorists, go to: Feline Urine Marking.

I hope this helps you understand the difference between cat spraying and urine marking.

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