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Urine Marking Management?

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by solomonar, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. solomonar

    solomonar Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    My 3 years old tomcat Pischiriz (his name :-)) is not neutered. Indoor only.

    He marks places indoor, mostly in front of the doors. Placing some plastic bags in the favorite places - OK.

    But he started to mark the beds - which is really annoying.

    Vet told me its normal for a male cat that age to mark all around and suggested neutering. Since the cat has no other health problem and sprays very rarely, I am reluctant to neuter him at this point in time, although I may agree later on.

    Another reason not to rush to neutering is that I am not really convinced in this moment it is only a hormone-related habit, because of high volume of urine and because of infrequent spraying. So I am afraid that neutering him now could cover a real health problem that may be difficult to spot.

    Any ideas highly appreciated! Thank you!
     

  2. jen

    jen TCS Member Top Cat

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    Well, a few things to address here. Did the vet check him for a urinary tract infection first of all? Otherwise it is VERY normal for an intact sexually mature cat to spray. They are driven crazy with hormones and that is really all they care about and can focus on and it is a lot of stress to be constantly wanting to mate and not being able to. Plus now you have the spraying urine. Once these habits start it is very hard to stop. Neutering would help with the spraying issues hopefully, it will also calm his hormones down and he will be less territorial and less stressed at the constant need to mate and being unable to. Neutering wouldn't COVER a health problem, but it might not be the answer to everything without a urinalysis at least.

    What is the long term plan with him? That smell of male cat urine alone is enough to clear a room, are you okay with him spraying for the rest of his life? Are you ready to deal with cancers associated with leaving a male cat intact? This site is VERY pro neutering so it is just routine for us to ask but being genuinely concerned.... I am curious what your thought process is with him? Many times, the longer you wait the worse these habits get and the less likely they are to stop. It really is in his best interest (of leading a stress free, non-smelly life) to neuter him asap.
     
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  3. solomonar

    solomonar Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Vet check urinary tract infection. No infection. In the past he experienced 2 UTI episodes, treated in due time.

    For the first 2 years , I refrained to neuter him, to make sure hormone map is developed in the natural way. First year there was no problem - litter use and so on.
    +++

    Something is not clear in my mind: he sprays maybe once in two weeks or even once in a month. That is acceptable and I can manage. But urine marking is every day. And OK, he marks. But why he does not use the litter? Because he never does.

    Also, he is not aggressive at all. Mating miaw is rare (once a week maybe).

    I attempted to look for scientific papers on the matter. No luck - it is full of suppositions, assumptions. The only thing I am convinced is that male cats have a much longer range than females one. Also, it looks like territoriality is linked to colonies rather than to individuals - although I am not very sure about this.

    Anyway, these facts are of very little help.

    +++

    I used to walk the cat one year ago. That time he was partly using the litter box. Now is wintertime here, but springtime I plan to walk him again, because he was very happy in doing so and I was more than exited to see his behavior in near-to-freedom circumstances. An extraordinary experience!
     

  4. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Unfortunately, intact male cats usually need to mark their territory by urine spraying. At 3 years old, it's possible neutering would not stop the behaviour, but it would lessen the stinky tomcat smell.

    I think you should listen to your vet, and get Pischiriz neutered. It will make him much more relaxed, and hopefully stop his spraying.

    Here's some TCS articles with more info:
    Why You Should Spay And Neuter Your Cats
    Spaying And Neutering - What To Ask Before The Surgery
    Spaying And Neutering - What To Look For After Surgery
     

  5. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ TCS Member Top Cat

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    Apart from neutering now, hopefully a breeder can give you additional advice on this situation, as I don't think most of us have experience with your situation, just anecdotal knowledge. Spay/neuter before sexual maturity is essentially universally accepted as the right thing to do if you aren't a breeder, so this isn't a problem we have personal knowledge of. One of the mods probably knows who the most active breeders members are, and can perhaps tag them so they notice this thread. There is a separate sub-forum here for breeder-related issues, and you could post directly there as well. Those are the folks that will have the most experience with this issue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019

  6. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Here's a thread that might be helpful: Stud Cat As A Pet
     

  7. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

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    What do you consider the difference between spraying and urine marking?

    Either way he does it, he's trying to attract the ladies with his lovely tomcat odor. Unfortunately humans don't think it's so lovely. I agree with your vet; get him neutered.
     
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  8. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ TCS Member Top Cat

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    Well, that is pretty clear isn't it? OP, looks like its totally normal for this to start being a problem after a few years, and that once it starts, it continues. From the thread, if you aren't going to neuter the cat, he needs to live in a separate room/outdoor enclosure, or wear "stud pants" (diapers?) which I'm guessing comes with a lot of problems that you'd need to read up more on. It seems the people that would know can't offer another solution. Sorry, but neutering is humane and the right thing to do, so being out of other options isn't a terrible thing.
     
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  9. jen

    jen TCS Member Top Cat

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    I am curious too. If he is squatting and peeing, that is entirely different then spraying/marking.... Usually medical, but since the vet ruled out a UTI I wonder if it is just habit now, he is going back to remark the same spots he has already peed at. You are ok with him leaving that nasty tomcat urine smell all over the house on a daily basis?
     
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  10. solomonar

    solomonar Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    As far as I know - please correct me if it is wrong:
    - urine marking= sitting in the usual pose for urinating - urine jet is vertical
    - spraying= four paws extended, tail vibrating, jet is horizontal

    +++

    I know spraying habit, it happens quite often outdoor and does not bother me indoor, because it is rare, periodical and has fixed places. No pregnant smell, easy to clean.

    Interesting, it targets vibration object (like the microwave) or spiky plants. The movements start by half circle in front of the object, the cat sniffs the target opening the mouth. Then he turns rapidly, tale facing object and vibrating. Jet is powerful, lasts for only 2 seconds and then the cat move away and get down on the belly.

    Cat does not mew or protest if chasing away afterward spraying.

    +++

    What concerns me is urine marking (vertical jet). It sounds very strange to me that he does not use the litter box. Never.

    This smells terrible and the pattern follows more or less the places where I put my hand or where I leave certain pieces of clothing. There is a "Mrrr" sound if chasing away. After peeing, cat "covers" the place by usual front paws moves.

    ====

    Therefore, if the urine marking (vertical jet) s only loosely related to male hormons, neutering will not solve the problem. It is possible that neutering at this moment would modify the behavior and make spotting the cause even more difficult.
     

  11. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Did anything change in your home prior to him starting to mark in the different places? Sometimes stress can cause inappropriate litter box behaviour.

    Is it just a new thing that he never uses the litter box? Maybe try putting out another litter box. And maybe different litter.

    I still think his marking is due to him being un-neutered. And since he is indoor only, the only places where he can mark his territory is inside the home.

    Do talk to your vet again, and determine if he thinks it a medical thing, or simply a tomcat marking his territory. I can tell you care about the well-being of your cat, so I hope you can get some reassurance from your vet so that you can feel comfortable neutering Pischiriz.

    Here's a couple TCS articles with more info.
    How To Solve Litterbox Problems In Cats: The Ultimate Guide
    Spraying: When Your Cat Uses Urine To Mark Territory

    Plus one from the ASPCA: Urine Marking in Cats
     
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  12. solomonar

    solomonar Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    @rubysmama
    Thanks for info and references!
    My guess now is it is about litter box avoidance, so I shall double vet checks.
    Definitely, it is not spraying what Pischiriz does.
    I better review the litter box management as well.

    +++
    I am still confused: spraying as "mating call" vs. peeing as marking territory?

    From what I read, the ways to mark territory are still debated. An old Canadian article (1994) - Feldman concluded: "The suggestion has been made that different forms of marking may serve separate signalling functions". Now I am totally lost. :-).

    Many people believe that male and female cats can recognize gender from olfactory cues. But from what chemical substances? I didnt find such information. So it is scientifically proved that female and male cats do mark for mating purposes as well? This means that olfactive receptors are sensitive to certain chemical substances. So these substances must be present in the spraying liquid. But not in the urine? Then the urine is used for marking territory. I guess. I am even more confused.

    It looks like the simple question "why my tom pees on my bed sheets?" will be difficult to answer. :-)

    @jen
    He pees on the same spots again and again.
    Interesting - he sprays only triggered by spiky plants and vibration and in edgy places. He does not sprays where he pees.
     

  13. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

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    Urine marking is a way to attract ladies too.

    I suppose if you really don't want to neuter him, you can ask the vet about giving him hormones (Depo-Medrol) to see if that makes him stop marking. If it doesn't, it's temporary and will wear off, if it does you can neuter him so it will be permanent.
     
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  14. lutece

    lutece TCS Member Top Cat

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    In my experience, hormonal whole cats engage in both types of peeing you describe ("horizontal" and "vertical"). Although "horizontal" spraying is more typical of males, many males will also pee on things on the floor, the beds, or by the doors or windows. Some males don't spray horizontally at all, but just go around and pee on things. Females in heat will typically pee on things on the floor or on the beds. Pillows, bedding, and laundry are fairly typical targets for both males and females. Some cats will also seek out papers (kids' homework... sigh!) or plastic bags.

    With any type of urine marking, neutering has a pretty good chance of stopping the behavior (after the hormones decrease). In male cats with that extra stinky pee, neutering will also help make their pee less stinky.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  15. solomonar

    solomonar Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    My point is to first check whether this behavior is not related to something else than natural hormones:
    - If a certain medical condition is the real cause, then by neutering I will make diagnosis even more difficult.
    - If it is about behavior, then marking would only fade after neutering and cat will experience the same stress as before.
     

  16. solomonar

    solomonar Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Brilliant idea! If marking stops, then hormones are the cause. If it does not, then I shall keep looking for the real cause.
     

  17. solomonar

    solomonar Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I feel lost in terminology.

    Horizontal and vertical jets are from different pose and show in different circumstances - in case of my tom.

    In my mind territorial marking differs from mating signals. But scientific papers s I read are not very rigorous about terminology. So I am trying to figure out the difference between signals, according to their particular aims. I didnt have time to check French or Spanish articles, perhaps they are more descriptive, I dont know.
     

  18. solomonar

    solomonar Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Clear picture. Thank you!
     

  19. Jem

    Jem TCS Member Top Cat

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    In the medical field, we eliminate the more obvious or probable causes FIRST before trying to dig further. That's how differential diagnosis works. And by neutering, you will not make diagnosis more difficult you will be eliminating the more probable causes of this behavior.
    If it's hormones alone, then it will be fixed.
    If it's behavior (obviously driven by hormones initially) then you will not be able to correct the behavior if the initial trigger is still present.
    If his drive to be territorial is stress related, that stress can be lessened with neutering as they are both very much intertwined.
    At this point, you are dealing probably with BOTH hormones AND behavior, and yes possibly a medical issue like UTI. Which by the way, are MORE PRONE to happen in intact males (he's had 2 already right?). Please just get him neutered. It is THE MOST logical starting point to getting this under control if he is currently not dealing with an active infection or some type of cystitis

    And I'm sorry if I am being blunt. But there is absolutely NO reason to keep him intact. The health benefits, mental health and lowered rick of serious conditions is reason enough to just get it done.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  20. jen

    jen TCS Member Top Cat

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    Yes to everything Jem said. I don't understand why you think neutering will make it harder to diagnose? That would be step one in every vets list of things to do. It is the simple and most obvious thing to eliminate first before digging into deeper issues.
     
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