Is a Cat Marking in the House the Same as Spraying?

When you have a cat marking in the house, it is a frustrating problem. In fact, this is the number one reason that cats are surrendered to shelters and pounds. Cat marking in the house is similar to spraying. The difference is that spraying is done on vertical surfaces. This is when a cat backs up to a vertical surface with their tail erect and squirts urine. Oftentimes, the tail will quiver while they are spraying. Regular urine marking is done on horizontal surfaces. This is when your cat squats to pee on a horizontal surface, like the floor or the furniture. Both male and female cats can spray and squat while urine marking.

Urine marking is not a litter box issue.

Some cats will eliminate outside the litter box at some point in their lives. Some of these cats have issues with some characteristic of their litter box. To learn more about this problem, go to How Do You Deal with a Cat Urinating Outside of the Litter Box?  The rest of these cats who are urinating outside the litter box don’t have any problems with their litter box. It’s a communication problem.

Urine marking is a form of indirect communication used by cats.

Whenever possible, cats in the wild will go off on their own and claim certain territories for themselves. Through urine marking, a cat is alerting other cats to his presence. He is showing what property belongs to him. Urine marking also tells other cats that they are looking for a mate.

A house cat may not have the same challenges as an outdoor cat, but they still look at the world in the same way and use the communication skills that nature gave them. If your cat’s world is predictable and conflict-free, or if they are spayed or neutered and don’t need a mate, cats have little reason to mark their territory. But if they are looking for a mate or if they are distressed because of something they will mark their territory by urine marking. A cat knows that urine marking will help to keep unwanted individuals away. It also makes them feel more secure.

There are several possible reasons that your cat is urine marking:

  • Mating behavior – Neutering solves most of these marking issues.
  • Stress – Cats are creatures of habit. They don’t like change. Even small changes to their environment or routine may cause a cat to urine mark. Maybe there’s a new pet or a new baby in the house. Maybe there’s a strange cat in the backyard. Even environmental factors that we don’t fully understand can cause your cat to urine mark. This is your cat’s way of dealing with stress. Your cat feels anxious and is trying to deal with his stress by staking out his territories.
  • Multiple cats in the house – The more cats that live in the home the more likely it is that at least one of them will urine mark.
  • Medical issues – A urinary tract infection or a blockage may be the reason for your cat’s urine marking. That’s why it’s always a good idea to see your veterinarian to make sure that there are no medical issues that are responsible for your cat’s urine marking.

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Urine Marking

You will need to do some investigating to determine whether your cat has a litter box problem or if he is urine marking. The cat uses less urine to mark its territory than he would when eliminating inside the litter box, so urine marking deposits are usually smaller than inappropriate eliminations outside the litter box.

Marking on vertical surfaces is caused by spraying. This type of urine marking is easy to detect.

Also, the urine in urine marking has a stronger, more pungent odor. That’s because the urine mark contains more than just urine. It also contains pheromones, which are communication chemicals.

How to Treat Urine Marking in Cats

If you have multiple cats, it is important to determine which cat is marking. Isolate one cat at a time and see if the urine marking stops while they’re in isolation. Sometimes this will work, but if the urine marking is stress-related, isolating the cat may remove the cause of their stress. In that case, you wouldn’t be able to tell which cat is marking.

Another way to help determine which cat is marking is by using fluorescein, a harmless dye that can be added to your cat’s food. Do this one cat at a time. The dye will glow in the cat’s urine when a black light is held over it.

How to Make Your Female Cat Stop Spraying

Unlike urinating outside the litter box, spraying is when urine is sprayed on vertical surfaces, like walls, doors, and furniture. While most cat lovers know that male cats will spray urine to mark their territory, they may be surprised to learn that female cats (both spayed and unspayed) can also exhibit this behavior, although it is not as common in females. Female cat spraying can also be caused by stress, litter box issues or medical conditions.

The problem is, your cat doesn’t think that her urine smells bad. Spraying urine makes the cat feel more content. It gives her a sense of control and makes her feel more secure.

Intact cats are more than twice as likely to spray compared to spayed females. Spaying your female kitty can reduce the chances of female cat spraying, but it’s not a guarantee. Some spayed cats continue to exhibit this behavior.

Why Female Cats Spray

Regardless of its causes, female cat spraying can be difficult to deal with. If your cat is exhibiting this issue, it is up to you to investigate the problem and find out how to eliminate it.

There are many reasons for female cat spraying, including:

  • Changes in your cat’s environment
  • Increased levels of stress
  • Showing fertility to male cats
  • Too little playtime
  • Dietary changes
  • Changing the litter you use in the litter box
  • Neighborhood cats outside your home
  • Other cats in your home
  • Moving
  • Getting new furniture

Cats have an instinctive need to leave their scents. They can do this by scratching because the paw pads emit pheromones. They can also do this by rubbing their cheeks against an object because their cheeks also have scent glands. Spraying is another way that cats leave their scents behind to mark their territory. The behavior is completely instinctive, but it can also be caused by stress. If your cat has a conflict with another cat (either in your home or outside), or if there is a change in your cat’s routine, she may feel more anxious. Marking her territory helps to calm her.

To learn more about feline pheromones, go to What Are Cat Pheromones?

The more territorial your cat is, the more likely it is that she’ll mark her territory by spraying. Unneutered cats and cats living in multi-cat households are more likely to spray to mark their territory. And if one of your cats in a multi-cat home starts spraying, it is likely that others may do the same.

What You Can Do to Stop Spraying

If you’ve got a female cat that is spraying, there are certain steps you can take to help remedy the situation. To start with, make sure to thoroughly clean the area where the cat has sprayed. Use an enzyme-based cleaner. Regular household cleaners are not effective at removing urine odor and your cat will continue to smell the odor – even when you can’t. Also, don’t use cleaning products that contain ammonia because they can smell like urine to your cat.

Next, try to remove the trigger that is causing your cat’s anxiety. For instance, if you have multiple cats in your home, make sure that you provide multiple bowls, litter boxes, scratching posts and toys. If your cat has sprayed at a window, it could be that she sees another cat outside. Try covering the bottom part of the window to block your cat’s view.

Try to remove any other causes of stress in the home. Make sure to keep your routine the same. Give your cat plenty of things to keep her environment interesting, like cat trees and perches. Add more litter boxes or try to make your cat’s litter box more attractive by cleaning it more often or using different litter. Pheromone sprays can also help. They contain artificial forms of the chemical that is released by a cat’s cheek glands. Spray these pheromone sprays around the home and in the areas where your cat has already marked.

If you’ve tried everything and your cat is still spraying, see your veterinarian. It could be that your cat has a medical condition or that she needs some anti-anxiety medication.

To learn more about cat spraying, go to Cat Spraying: What Is It and How Do You Make It Stop?

FIP in Cats

FIP in cats is an abbreviation for “Feline Infectious Peritonitis”. This is a disease caused by mutation of a virus called the feline coronavirus, commonly abbreviated in literature as FCoV.  FIP in cats is fairly uncommon, affecting less than 1% of cats. However, once the virus mutates, it is generally a progressive and ultimately fatal disease.

FIP in cats is most common in cats 6 months to 2 years of age with a slightly higher distribution in male cats. Certain purebred cats also have a higher incidence including Asian breeds such as Himalayan and Birman cats.

Below we will discuss what is FIP in cats, signs of FIP, FIP symptoms, if FIP is contagious, and give you information on the FIP vaccine.

What is FIP in Cats?

FIP in cats is a disease caused by a mutated coronavirus. Feline coronavirus is commonly present in the intestines of cats.  In fact, it is estimated that approximately half of the cats in single cat households have the virus. It is even more common in multi-cat environments e.g. catteries where it is estimated that up to 90% of cats may have coronavirus.

Most cats that have coronavirus live a normal life. However, it is estimated that 5% of cats with coronavirus will go on to develop FIP. In this small percentage of cats, the virus mutates into a pathogenic and harmful virus that causes a variety of problems that we will discuss below under “Signs of FIP in Cats”. This only happens in some cats and the cause is uncertain but is most likely related to the cats’ immune system.

It is important to understand that FIP in cats is NOT transmitted from one cat to another. This can be confusing to some pet owners. The coronavirus CAN be transmitted from cat to cat, but FIP CANNOT be transmitted from one cat to another.

Once a cat has been exposed to coronavirus, 95% will have a normal life. When the coronavirus mutates in the other 5% this is what causes FIP.

What are the Signs of FIP in Cats?

There are two forms of FIP in cats. The first form is called effusive (also known as wet or feline coronavirual polyserositis) FIP and second is called non-effusive (also known as dry or granulomatous) FIP. It is possible for cats to get both forms of the disease.  Signs of FIP in cats generally develop over weeks to months.

 

The signs of FIP in cats will depend on which form of FIP they acquire.  When the virus mutates, generally one of two things happen. Sometimes the virus affects the blood vessels which is what happens with the “wet” form, or the cat develops granulomatous lesions which is what occurs in the “dry” form of FIP.

 

With the wet form of FIP, cats develop vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) which causes abnormal fluid accumulations. If the fluid accumulation occurs in the chest (also known as a pleural effusion), common signs are trouble breathing. If the fluid accumulation occurs in the abdomen (commonly referred to as ascites), the abdomen can become distended. The excessive abdominal fluid is uncomfortable and causes signs such as nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, weight loss, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Most pet owners don’t notice the distended abdomen but will take their cats to the vet for trouble breathing or the signs that result from abdominal distension.

 

The dry form of FIP in cats causes granulomatous lesions to various organs including the eyes, skin, and/or nervous system.  A granuloma is a collection of immune cells that form in response to the virus and can be found with many different diseases. The granuloma creates lesions on the skin, in the eye, or nervous system that cause associated signs of FIP. For example, if granuloma forms in the brain, a cat may have trouble walking, be off balance, develop head tremors, and/or seizure just to name a few possibilities.

Many cats with FIP will also have a fever and eventually become anemic (pale).

What are the Symptoms of FIP in Cats?

FIP symptoms in cats may include any or all of the following:

  •   Fever
  •   Lethargy
  •   Depression
  •   Loss of appetite
  •   Weight loss
  •   Vomiting
  •   Diarrhea
  •   Unkempt appearance
  •   Trouble breathing or difficult breathing
  •   Distended abdomen (ascites)
  •   Jaundice (yellow color of the skin, eyes, ears, nose or gums)
  •   Pale gums
  •   Trouble walking or unsteady walking (ataxia)
  •   Seizures or paralysis with nervous system involvement
  •   Eye abnormalities

FIP Symptoms Kittens

FIP symptoms in kittens can be the same as those in adult cats. Some kittens with FIP will appear lethargic and fail to thrive relative to their littermates. They tend to sleep more, play less, appear lethargic, sometimes vomit or not eat, and overall fail to grow like a normal kitten. When the wet form is present, it can be more common to see a profoundly distended abdomen.

Is FIP Contagious?

The question “is FIP contagious” is a common and important one. As mentioned above, the cause of FIP is an abnormal mutation of the coronavirus. Coronavirus is contagious cat to cat, but FIP is NOT contagious cat to cat.

What to Know If You’re Looking into Rehoming for Cats

No one wants to give up their cat, but sometimes circumstances beyond our control mean that we can no longer give our beloved friends the good home they need. When you face such a situation, you may not want to surrender your cat to a shelter where he may eventually be killed. It would be better for the cat if you could find him a new home.

Rehoming for cats means finding them a new home, either with someone you know or with someone you can connect to via advertising, social networking or word of mouth. It’s not easy to find a new home for your cat. Rehoming for cats could take you many months, so start your search as soon as possible and be prepared to go for the long run.

If you have two cats that are lifelong companions, it’s best not to separate them. Try to find a good home that will take both cats. The transition will be easier if they can make it together.

Here are some tips to help in your rehoming efforts:

  • Whenever possible, provide your cat’s veterinary records
  • Make sure that your cat is litter trained

How to Rehome a Cat

When looking into rehoming for cats, start with your inner circle and work your way out. Talk to friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. It may be that someone you know is willing to give your cat a good home. Next, talk to your veterinarian. Maybe he or she knows someone who is looking for a new cat. Talk to the people at your local shelter. They may be able to make a rehoming connection for you. If not, you may be able to advertise on their bulletin board or newsletter.

Once you’ve explored all your word-of-mouth connections, it’s time to advertise. Start by putting together a good flyer. Have a good picture of your cat and write a good description of what makes your cat so special. Talk about your cat’s likes and dislikes. Is your cat good with people and other household pets? Post the flyer in high traffic areas – at the grocery store, in veterinary offices, at local shelters, at church or at school.

Don’t discount the power of social media in rehoming for cats. Post a good picture or video of your cat along with your cat’s story and ask if there is anyone who is willing to give your cat a good home. Ask everyone in your social network to share the post. Advertise online and consider posting on pet adoption sites and animal rescue sites. You never know where you will find your cat’s new owner.

It is hard to give your cat away to a new home, especially when you don’t know the new owner. To help make sure the new home and new owners will be a good fit for your cat, ask a lot of questions. For instance, will there be children or other pets in the home? It’s important that you find a new home that will work for your cat.

It’s also important to make sure that the new owners are serious about the commitment of owning a cat. By asking for a rehoming fee, you’ll be more likely to find people that are committed to having a pet – and people who can afford to care for the pet. A rehoming fee will also help to safeguard your cat.

Transitioning to a new home can be difficult for cats. They are creatures of habit and they may find it difficult to adapt to a new environment with new humans. Once you find a new home for your beloved cat, make the transition as easy as possible. Make sure to take his litter box and litter, his food, his bedding and his favorite toys. Take along an article of your clothing that has your scent on it. Ask the new owner to place it in your cat’s bed so he can feel that you are close by.

Taking in a Rehomed Cat

There are many advantages to taking in a rehomed cat. You will be saving the life of a cat that might otherwise go to a shelter where it could eventually be killed. You’ll be getting a cat that has lived in a good home, so you’ll know he has been well taken care of. A rehomed cat has also been litter trained and is used to living in a home with people.

Why People Are Looking for Rehoming for Dogs

Sometimes, through circumstances beyond your control, you may have to think about rehoming your dog. The good news is that there are people out there who are looking for rehoming for dogs.

Many people who are thinking of adding a new dog to their family think that rehoming is definitely the way to go. They would rather find a dog that has been living in a good home. The dog has been well taken care of and it is already trained.

If you’re thinking of getting a rehomed dog, just be sure that you know what you’re getting into. Find out as much as you can about the dog. Find out why the current owner is rehoming the dog. Ask for the dog’s veterinary records. Does the dog have any medical conditions or special needs? Find out if he is good with children or other household pets. Get as much information about the dog as you can before you make up your mind.

Rehoming is different than adoption or rescuing. With rehoming, it is up to you to make sure that the dog has been spayed or neutered, and that all vaccinations are up to date. Always ask the dog owner these questions to make sure the dog is ready for your home.

Rehoming Your Dog

When you have to give up your dog to a new home it’s never easy. But you may be forced to give up your pet for reasons beyond your control. You might have financial problems that prevent you from properly caring for your dog. You may be facing foreclosure. You may have found that you have a pet allergy. There can be any number of good reasons that it is no longer possible for you to care for your dog, and your primary objective is to find him a good home.

When searching for a good home for your dog, always start with your inner circle. Speak to family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. One of them may be willing to take your dog and give him a good home. Talk to everyone you know about rehoming your dog. Sometimes word of mouth goes a long way toward finding a new home for your beloved pet.

Speak to your veterinarian. He or she may know of someone who would be willing to take your dog. Speak to the breeder, person or rescue organization you got your dog from – they may be able to help you rehome your dog.

If you have no luck finding a new home for your dog this way, it’s time to broaden the search. You just have to make the right connections. Ask your veterinarian to post flyers in the office. Talk to local shelters and see if they can help match your dog to a potential new owner. They may have a bulletin board or a newsletter where you can advertise.

Use your social media to reach out to others. Post your dog’s photo or a great video. Tell your dog’s story and ask your connections to share the information on their social streams. Look for adoption websites where you can advertise and ask your local shelter if they have a website where you can post your dog’s information.

Make flyers and put them up in high traffic areas. Post them at the grocery store, the office, at school, at church, and in veterinary offices.

Good advertising makes it easier to connect with a new potential owner. Always remember to list your contact information. Have a good photo of your dog. Make sure to describe your dog and all of the wonderful things that make him so special. The better you describe your dog the easier it will be for potential new owners to get to know him. Let them know that the dog is spayed or neutered and tell them that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. It is always best to have all vaccinations up to date before trying to rehome your dog.

Rehoming Your Dog to Strangers

If you find that you have to give your dog to someone that you don’t really know, you may be worried. The questions just keep going through your mind. Will my dog go to a good home? Will they take care of him? Will he be happy there?

When you are rehoming your dog to someone that you don’t know, it’s good to take precautions. Ask the right questions before placing the dog. You can ask the potential new owners to fill out an application and you can also ask them to show you their home. Find out if there will be children or other household pets in the home. It’s important to make the best possible match for your dog.

Cat Myths Debunked

Cats are shrouded in superstition, myth, and folklore. People used to think that a cat could suck the breath out of a baby. You’re believed to be the unfortunate recipient of bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. Some cat myths are harmless and even quite interesting, however, believing in certain cat superstitions can put your feline at risk. We’re debunking cat myths so that you can better understand your pet and give him the care that he requires.

Cats Always Land On Their Feet

The Cats Inn explains that felines have especially flexible spines. They can lick their own backs, twist in mid-air, and spring into strange spaces with relative ease. Cats also have a righting reflex that is initiated around four weeks of age. This allows them to rotate their upper bodies to face downward when they feel like they’re falling. Although this reflex helps cats land on their feet, it’s not foolproof. Even if they do land on their feet, they can become injured from a fall. Don’t test this theory by throwing a cat or dropping him off of a high surface. Keep your pet safe by closing upper-story windows and keeping him off the balcony.

Pregnant Women Should Get Rid Of Their Cats

According to the ASPCA, more than 3 million cats end up in shelters every year. Many owners give up their cats when someone in the family becomes pregnant because they fear toxoplasmosis. The condition is caused by a parasite that can come from cat feces. However, the parasite is also found in soil. Also, women are more likely to get toxoplasmosis from undercooked meat than from the litter box.

Most people who contract toxoplasmosis don’t have any symptoms, but pregnant women can pass the infection to their unborn babies, leading to miscarriage or stillbirth. Children with toxoplasmosis can be born with serious issues. Still, the CDC says that pregnant women don’t have to get rid of their cats. They can protect themselves by keeping cats indoors, where they are less likely to become infected with the parasite. They should avoid giving their cats undercooked meat. If they must scoop poop themselves, they should wear gloves and a mask while doing it.

Milk Is Good For Cats

Feeding your pet a high-quality cat food will give him the proper ratio of nutrients. Milk doesn’t add much nutrition to your cat’s diet. In fact, most adult cats don’t have the enzyme that’s necessary to digest lactose, the type of sugar that is found in milk. Therefore, giving your cat milk can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach.

Cats And Dogs Can’t Be Friends

Almost half of the pet owners in the U.S. have more than one animal, and the cat-dog combo is common. Those numbers point to the fact that cats and dogs can get along. Their interactions will be guided by their personalities as well as their environment. Some breeds of dogs are more likely to chase cats. Playful, rambunctious dogs shouldn’t be paired with anxious, skittish kittens. Getting your pets to love each other involves matching their personalities.

You can use obedience training to get your dog to leave the cat alone. Giving the cat plenty of places to escape when she wants alone time can also help you manage a household with more than one type of pet. If you’re bringing home a pet for the first time, gradually introduce her to the rest of your furry companions, and never leave them alone together if you’re not sure how they’ll treat each other when you’re away.

Cats Need Outdoor Time To Be Happy

Although cats have held onto more of their wild instincts than dogs, they can be perfectly happy when they’re kept indoors. Most animal experts agree that keeping a cat inside is the best way to keep it safe. An indoor cat can live for 10 to 20 years.

Indoor Cats Don’t Need Vaccinations

Even if you don’t let your cat outdoors, she will need some vaccinations. Core vaccines protect your kitty from the most common feline diseases. If your cat does escape and spend some time outdoors, she’ll be better protected from many additional conditions if she has had her vaccines. Many states require you to vaccinate indoor cats for rabies.  

You Don’t Need To Groom Your Cat

Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Some pet owners think that they don’t need to spend time grooming their immaculate kitty. Brushing your cat can help prevent hairballs, which can cause vomiting, and mats which are uncomfortable clusters of knotted hair. Clipping your cat’s nails can prevent the claws from breaking and causing pain. Cleaning your feline’s teeth can help prevent oral diseases and allow you to keep an eye out for growths or tumors.

Cats Can Be Left Alone When You Travel

Your dog needs to be let outside and taken for walks every day. You would never think of leaving him home alone for more than half a day. You may think that your independent cat can take care of herself. Many pet owners take off for up to a week at a time, leaving their cat with food, water, and no supervision. This can be dangerous. Cats can get sick or get into trouble at any time. They should be checked in on at least every 24 hours. Even the most autonomous animals require some playtime and affection. Your sweet kitty could get depressed without human interaction.

Cats Are Hands-Off Pets

Some people get cats as pets because they think that they don’t have to do much to be a responsible pet owner. Caring for a cat is an important job. You have to keep the litter box clean, provide fresh food and water, and give your cat love and attention. Although your cat may be aloof, she still wants to be part of your life. Play with her, stroke her fur, and keep her safe so that she doesn’t become another animal shelter statistic.