Should I neuter my cat? Ask a cat breeder.

Savannah cats mating
Savannah cats mating. Photo by Michael. Taken at A1 Savannahs. These cats were the opposite to reluctant.

A person who wants to adopt a male cat might ask why they should neuter their cat if they are going to be indoors full-time and there will be no other cats in the home; no chance of procreation. Incidentally, the word “neuter” has two meanings. It can mean the removal of the male cat’s testes in a simple and quick operation and it can also have an umbrella meaning namely the desexing operation for both male and female cats. For female cats this is an ovariohysterectomy which is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. The latter takes much longer to recover from than the former.

I’ve mentioned, in the title, a cat breeder (of Siamese cats) who talks about keeping a stud cat happy. A stud cat is a male, unneutered cat kept for breeding purposes for people new to the cat world.

Breeders normally keep male stud cats in outside enclosures. It looks rather cruel to me; such a sterile and unnatural environment. No fun for the cat. That’s the potential but this breeder makes a big effort to keep his cat happy.

But the reason why most or the majority of cat breeders keep their stud cats outside in an enclosure is because they spray urine all over the place in marking their territory. The breeder says that “99% of stud cats will spray urine around their territory”.

You don’t want that in the home because, as you might know, feline urine is incredibly strong smelling and very hard to get rid of. You have to use enzyme cleaners to chemically break down the urine so that it becomes a different substance and no longer smells.

In short, keeping a stud cat inside the home is probably impractical for most people but that said sometimes stud cats are kept inside the breeder’s home, perhaps in a separate room or a separate area of the home if it’s large enough.

2012 a breeding queen
2012 a breeding queen. Photo: A1 Savannahs.

One expert commentator in responding to the question, “Should I neuter my cat?”, said that an unneutered tom “will display strong territorial and sexual behaviour. This will include aggression and fighting, straying long distances in search of a mate and spraying urine to mark his territory.”

That comment, to me, points to the fact that a stud cat kept in an enclosure will not be able to do what he wants to do which is stray over long distances finding a mate. All the more reason to keep him as happy as possible in other ways.

I sense actually that there is an added obligation and responsibility on a cat breeder to keep their stud cat happy because they have to put him in a cage. That said, the enclosure can be dressed up and made to be as enriched as possible and it should be. Plenty of high places and interesting runs. It is quite involved but I guess it depends how concerned the breeder is.

The picture below is from A1 Savannahs in Oklahoma. I took it. I was not a great enclosure I am afraid to say. The stud was lonely and desperate for human attention. In the photo he is checking out my glasses which I hooked up to the fence to keep them out of the way. He was desperate for stimulation.

Breeding melanistic F4 Savannah cat in his cage
Breeding melanistic F4 Savannah cat in his cage at A1 Savannahs. Photo: MikeB

This Siamese cat breeder, Ross, says that he takes his stud cat out of the cage for one hour a day to be with him, to cuddle and provide him with some emotional warmth and enjoyment. And he suggests that it is reasonable to provide him with some neutered female company on occasions inside his enclosure.

If a stud cat kept in a cage is allowed into the home, they should wear ‘stud pants’ which is a kind of nappy. In fact, I suspect that some breeders put these on their male cats all the time if they are kept indoors. They should not cover the whole of the cat’s bottom so as to allow them to use the litter tray if they need to. Stud pants strap around the cat’s belly and with a second strap looping around the tail. Once again, the focus is on urine!

To return to the question about whether you should neuter or not neuter your male cat. The answer all about urine and horrible smells and stopping procreation! Too many cats already. That said, it brings to mind exotic pets. Some people in America like to keep wild cats as pets. And I suspect they don’t neuter these cats or perhaps they do.

But if they don’t, they can expect lots of urine in their home. More so when living with a medium-sized wild cat such as a serval.

Incidentally, an unneutered queen will attract tomcats to the house. They will wail or caterwaul when she’s ready to mate. This is a female cat on heat. If she is not kept away from unneutered male cats, she will become pregnant all the time and she may acquire injuries from mating. There are other health issues to spaying a female cat.

Serval in an enclosure looking out forlornly
Serval in an enclosure looking out forlornly. Photo: Michael

Ross focuses very strongly on keeping his stud cats happy because if they become unhappy through boredom and confinement, they may become aggressive and difficult to handle. It may break the arrangement to the point where the cat is no longer any use to the breeder. Also, it would be incredibly unfair and cruel not to offset confinement in an enclosure outside with a genuine effort to entertain that cat on a regular basis and keep as happy as possible.

Neutering and spaying.

The truth of the matter is that there is no place in this human world for an unneutered male cat and the same goes for the female. In developing countries there are lots of unneutered male cats on the streets procreating. It’s why they have a cat problem. It’s why Greece has a cat problem in this why they are used to entertain tourists in the holiday season and why many are poisoned to death in the off-season! Horrible. And is why there are lots of stray cats in Israel and other Mediterranean countries. Cyprus is an island of cats thanks to a failure to neuter street cats. As I said there’s no place in the modern world for unneutered cats which is a kind of indictment really on the relationship between human cat. It is not entirely successful.

P.S. I have failed to mention that female cats also spray urine as they are also territorial but less so than males. The typical male wild cat home ranges include the home ranges of females. And females travel less far from the natal home range to find their own compared to males. They are less inclined to mark territory.

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Domestic cat territory – home ranges vary widely

How large is domestic cat territory? As large as the front living room. No, I am being sarcastic but for some this is almost true. I am talking about what is referred to as the ‘home range’ of the domestic cat when free to roam as a high percentage are in the UK, but less so in the USA.

GPS tracked outdoor domestic cat shows how far they wander from home
GPS tracked outdoor domestic cat shows how far they wander from home

RELATED: Cat Marking Territory | Home Ranges | Cat Spraying.

As usual the answer comes down to the availability of food, at least in part. As an aside the cat with probably the biggest home range is the snow leopard with a single male sometimes occupying an astonishing 1,590 km2 and travelling up to 28 kilometres per day. When your cat wanders out at night it is nice to get a feel for how far he or she is travelling or would naturally like to travel (female territories are on average one third of the size of male domestic cat territory1).

Domestic cat home range mapped
Domestic cat home range mapped under a study. Photo: Study.

Of course, there are a multitude of influences that restrict range (e.g., high fences). But this page deals with what would normally happen if a domestic cat’s movement were unencumbered. The fact that the male domestic cat territory is three times that of the female indicates that food abundance is not the only determining factor for size of range.

A distinguished biologist2 says that the wildcat (see e.g., Scottish Wildcat) counterpart of the male domestic cat has a territory of up to 175 acres (a half-acre garden is a good-sized garden). What of the domestic cat itself? It depends. Domestic territory is extremely variable in size. In one study3 domestic cat territory was found to vary between 1 to 2000 cats per km2.

World map showing attitudes on indoor/outdoor cats
World map showing attitudes on indoor/outdoor cats

Food abundance being the major determining factor and availability of shelter is another factor (for feral cats):

Domestic or Feral CatSize of Domestic Cat Territory
Male farm cat150 acres4
Female farm cat15 acres5
Female feral cat at Japanese fish offal dump0.25 of an acre6 (a quarter of an acre)
Male feral cat at Japanese fish dump0.75 of an acre7 (three quarters of an acre)
Female feral cat in Australian grassland270 acres8
Male feral cat in Australia900 acres9
Indoor cat (1200 ft2 apartment).027 of an acre or one 36th of an acre
Dockland feral cats95 cats occupied 210 acres10
Confined feral cats in an apartment block courtyard in Holland30 cats in 0.34 of an acre11
Feral cats in Jerusalem0.69 of an acre12

As domestic cats live in a very wide range of habitats, they have to be adaptable. Their social systems deal with this and there is often a huge shrinkage in the natural size of unfettered domestic cat territory. Small home ranges mean overlapping ranges. Tens of thousands of apartment cats would fit into the home range of one Australian feral cat.

Cat home range of 3.5 acres
Cat home range of 3.5 acres in Australia. Image: MikeB

This means the so called “solitary cat” has to become pretty sociable and it does. Just as a quick thought, I have just read that the Geoffroy’s cat (a small wildcat) studbook (a book recording captive cat breeding) states that 36% of the deaths of captive Geoffroy’s cats were from the attacks of a “cage mate”13. Is this because of pure unsociability and/or the extremely confined space allowed?

Although domestic cat territory is likely to overlap more than for wild cats due to population density, it is natural for cat territories to overlap. The classic overlap is when a male’s territory encompasses the territories of three females as is the case for the tiger. The territory of breeding feral domestic cats incorporates 5 female groups14.

RELATED: Being sensitive to the connection that cats have to their home range.

Overlapping domestic cat territory is workable because:

  1. of the effective use of scent marking, which means that cats can avoid each other. Neutered cats scent mark less than unneutered cats. Urine spraying is an efficient method of communication. The strength of the scent varies over time (increasing in density soon after being deposited due to oxidation of the amino acids in the urine15) providing indications of the whereabouts of the cat that deposited the urine. Scent communication could have been modified because of the density of population of the domestic cat16.
  2. the domestic cat is fed by us. That doesn’t stop hunting but it does demotivate where there might be barriers to travelling.
  3. of natural barriers built by humans in an urban environment
  4. when encounters occur it is usual for the domestic cat to threaten each other but wait for the opportunity to visit the desired area without conflict17.

In one study feral cat densities were found to be maintained at a stable level despite each queen having 10 offspring per year. This was due to only one in eight kittens surviving (the car killing many) and natural death of adult cats.

It would seem that dominant, unneutered males have the biggest territories18.

Feline behaviour-territory-update from Dr. Morris in his book Cat World

Dr. Morris says that the wildcat counterpart or ancestor of the domestic cat has a relatively huge territory with males requiring up to 71 ha (175 acres). Then you have domestic cats who have become stray cats and sometimes feral cats who occupy impressively large areas. For example, male farm cats can use over 61 hectors (150 acres) while female farm cats use only about 6 ha (15 acres) on average according to Dr. Morris. Feral cats in Australia where there is an abundance of food can range over vast areas of 1000 acres.

The position is entirely different in urban areas where the cat population can become overcrowded. Accordingly, the territories of urban cats are a fraction of the home range enjoyed by their cousins in the country.

Estimates state that domestic cats in London allowed to roam enjoy only 810 m² or about 1/5 of an acre. And then you’ve got cats confined to the home and the backyard. If the backyard is enclosed and of a reasonable size, the home range will be that plus the house. This is certainly considerably smaller than what would naturally be desired or used.

RELATED: Domestic cats don’t usually wander far from home.

My research indicates that the average domestic cat, given the required freedom, can use about 4 acres or more. But it certainly very tremendously depending upon the circumstances. Domestic cats need to be very flexible to accommodate the availability of space. They can adapt to a shrinkage of the home range.

At one extreme, you could fit 8,750 pet cat into the territory of one wildcat living in a remote place. As mentioned, the most important reason why cats adapt to a shrinkage of their desired space is because of the provision of food by their owners and others such as TNR volunteers when caring for semi-domestic colony cats.

Research indicates that the more food cats are given by their owners the smaller the urban territories become. In the urban environment human territories are divided up with fences and bricks and mortar which provide natural boundary lines. Female cats can often have special areas where several of their home ranges overlap and where they can meet on neutral ground.

Male cats whose home territories are always about 10 times the size of those of females irrespective of how crowded the area is so much more overlap. Males will roam over an area that takes in several female territories which enables them to keep a permanent check on which particular breeding female (queen) is on heat at any one time.

One study looked at dockland cats at a large port. It found that there were 95 cats in an area of 85 hectors (210 acres). Each year the cats produced about 400 kittens between them. This was about 10 kittens per female. Despite the expectation that this would produce a surge in population numbers it stayed remarkably stable from one year to the next.

The cats had established an appropriate territory size under the circumstances in which they lived. Only one in eight of the kittens survived to adulthood. And 50 additional kittens were cancelled out by 50 deaths among the older cats. The main cause of death was a fatal road accident.

notes

1 The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour By Dennis C. Turner, Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

2 Desmond Morris – Cat Watching: The Essential Guide to Cat Behavior.

3 The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour By Dennis C. Turner, Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

4 Desmond Morris – Cat Watching: The Essential Guide to Cat Behavior.

5 Desmond Morris – Cat Watching: The Essential Guide to Cat Behavior.

6 Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist

7 Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist

8 Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist

9 Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist

10 Desmond Morris – Cat Watching: The Essential Guide to Cat Behavior.

11 The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour By Dennis C. Turner, Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

12 The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour By Dennis C. Turner, Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

13 Feline Conservation Federation Magazine vol 53 Issue 6 page 6

14 The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour By Dennis C. Turner, Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

15 The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour By Dennis C. Turner, Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

16 The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour By Dennis C. Turner, Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

17 Desmond Morris – Cat Watching: The Essential Guide to Cat Behavior.

18 The domestic cat: the biology of its behaviour By Dennis C. Turner, Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

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What is middening in cats?

Middening in cats is the depositing of faeces in prominent places as an alternative form of scent marking. The others are urine spraying, squat marking with urine (to be distingusihed from cystitis) and scratching. Scratching leaves both a visual signal because the surface is damaged and an olfactory message because there are scent glands between the toes and this scent is deposited on the object which has been scratched.

Anxiety can lead to middening
Anxiety can lead to middening. Image: PoC.

Middening, scent marking and causes

Although I have mentioned it before I will do so again here. My former wife’s cat was left alone in her apartment all day while she worked and played hard. This was after we split up 25 years ago. She told me that he had defecated on her bed. No doubt her cat was anxious and stressed because of her absence.

At one time the experts thought that scent marking indoors by whatever means was the behaviour of a confident cat trying to assert control. However, nowadays it is thought that scent marking is the act of an insecure cat. Depositing scent signals either through urine or faeces identifies the place as their own which makes a cat feel more confident and self-assured.

Perhaps a rather poor human analogy is that people reassure themselves with respect to ownership of land by building a wall around it or a fence. They have doors in their home which are locked. This reassures humans and makes them feel secure. By depositing their scent in an area cats are leaving a message that it is theirs.

It is obviously important for a cat owner to understand marking behaviours. If they misunderstand the purpose of scent marking as described above they may punish their cat which will aggravate the problem and make things worse rather than improving things by removing the cause of it.

If a cat owner responds to urine scent marking in the home by using cleaning agents which are inappropriate such as those containing ammonia and chlorine it might also make matters worse because the scent from these chemicals may indicate to the home owner’s cat that another cat is present. This may provoke the resident cat to scent mark again which may be seen as a provocative action by the cat’s owner. Some cat owners tend to anthropomorphise their cat and converting feline behaviours into those of misbehaving humans who deserve punishment.

To return to my ex-wife. The way to stop her cat defecating on her bed would have been to be home more often. To work less hard and not go out in the evening. That would have reassured him of her presence and he would not have needed to create his own assurances. In another example a cat deposited a small amount of faeces just outside the litter tray.

Scent marking by domestic cats in the home is really a cry for help (to anthropomorphise the cat 🙂 ). It is the product of a failure of cat domestication. It is the sign of a problem and specifically and ultimately a human problem in cat caretaking. The underlying motivation to scent mark needs to be analysed. Some common causes for indoor market might be an indoor cat’s reaction to the presence of a cat outside causing an agonistic (combative) interaction. There may be less than friendly or aggressive interactions with another cat in the home i.e. in multi-cat households. Moving home, bringing in new objects into the household, less than friendly interactions between cat and human and limited access to the outdoor environment where a cat can express natural desires i.e. express their Mojo in the language of Jackson Galaxy, are all possible reasons as well.

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Do female cats spray?

Yes, adult female cats spray urine for scent-marking purposes. However, mature males spray urine far more frequently at 99% of total spraying activity in a study (Methods of scent marking in the domestic cat by Hilary N Feldman, May 26 1994 – the entire study is published here – see base of page). In other words if there were 100 urine sprays by females and males, the males would have made 99 of them and the females 1. The participates in the study were unaltered feral cats.

Female feral cats spray urine but much less than males
Female feral cats spray urine but much less than males

The study found that depending on age, status and territorial issues feral male cats spray between 2.8 and 9.2 sprays per hour. The study also found that urine spraying occurred 679 times and only 4 of these were made by females while the remaining 675 (99%) were made by males. One male and five breeding females were placed into two separate areas both contained within a 1,600 square metre enclosure from January 1988 to April 1989. Only adults at 18 months or more than 18 months of age spray marked.

On the basis of this study ‘females rarely spray marked…’. The result is consistent with other studies. Females spray while hunting and travelling along paths ‘but much less frequently than adult males’. Males also spray when hunting, walking along paths and boundaries to their home range.

Females increase their urine spraying during oestrus. The proximity of oestrus females encourages males to increase their rate of spraying (The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behavior which referred to the above mentioned study).

Cat marking study

SOME MORE PAGES ON CAT SPRAY MARKING:

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What can I do to stop my cat from spraying?

What can I do to stop my cat from spraying? It can take patience and keen observational skills to get to the bottom of this unwelcome behavior or it can be immediately apparent. But it is natural feline behavior and so it does not deserve punishment. That would make it worse, in fact. Never punish but use human intelligence to modify feline behavior.

Cat Spraying Around And On Child's Bed. Video and Discussion
Cat’s thoughts on why she sprayed. This was a new child.

Urination or spraying?

The first point is that you should decide that your cat is spraying or urinating inappropriately. Both forms of behaviour deposits urine either outside or inside the home. Spraying, as the word suggests involves urine being sprayed horizontally onto surfaces to ‘mark’ territory, whereas urination does not need describing. Just check this difference out if you’re unsure and also check out if inappropriate urination is caused by a health issues such as cystitis.

Neutered?

Another important first topic is to make sure that your cat is neutered. By neutered I mean both neutered and spayed. This should solve most marking issues and the longer you wait to spay or neuter your cat the more difficult it is to stop them because the behaviour has become entrenched.

Proactive prevention of spraying

Having got that out of the way I’d like to discuss in a roundabout way cat spraying. Obviously you need to know what causes it in order to be able to stop it. Spraying if most often caused by feline anxiety.

The most common cause of anxiety in domestic cats is probably a concern about the invasion of their home range i.e. their territory which they designate as theirs, by other cats in the neighbourhood. Interestingly, sometimes “invading domestic cats” can also spray within the home range of another cat. It’s about competition.

I have a visiting cat that comes to my home. I like to see her and my cat likes to see her too. It’s good fun but on one occasion she sprayed inside my home. That was instinctive obviously and has not happened again. She felt that my home should be he territory because it was part of her overall home range which overlapped with the home range of my cat. Fortunately my cat did not overspray the same area which might happen if there is competition. He did not respond and accepts her.

I think you will find it is generally agreed that anxiety and fear are the main factors driving cats to mark territory with faeces or urine. Sometimes cats spray the walls or furniture with urine. The intention may be to deter other cats entering their home. Spraying urine and defecating inappropriately are part the same problem. Sometimes domestic cats defecate on their owner’s bed to try and claim ownership of what they consider to be the core of the home because it is an area which most smells of their human guardian.

Indeed, there is an overlap here between spraying and urinating. Anxiety causing spraying can also cause cystitis which in turn causes inappropriate urination.

Jackson Galaxy calls it “territorial stress”. If your cat is marking the perimeter of the house this indicates territorial stress. A cat is probably coming in from the outside and your cat is building a virtual moat to stop it.

This then is one way to stop spraying behaviour. It is to identify cats either being seen outside or coming inside or into the backyard causing your cat to become stressed. It can be difficult to spot these invading cats. Jackson Galaxy recommends motion-activated cameras to detect them. I think that in time you will notice other cats. It just takes a bit of observation and time.

TNR

Once you’ve done that you’ve got to prevent them coming into your cat’s territory. If they are stray or feral cats then technically you could TNR the cat by getting an outside agency involved. There are many volunteers in America involved in TNR programs. There may be a hole in your backyard fence which can be repaired and you can use deterrents. Although, I’m cynical about cat deterrents (don’t work?). Also, if the deterrent is placed within your cat’s home range you might be deterring him or her as well.

Neighbour?

If the invading cat is a domestic cat living with a neighbour then it may be appropriate to have a chat with your neighbour about it to see if you can come to an amicable agreement. Although, once again, I am slightly cynical about this because such a discussion can become antagonistic which may cause a deterioration in your relationship with your neighbour.

If your cat is looking out the window and seeing a cat or cats outside causing stress then the window can be blocked to stop the view but this I think is a limited solution because cats like to look out of windows. It entertains them.

Deterrents?

What about cat deterrents? I have written an article about that but there’s no guarantee. There’s lots of discussion about this on the Internet and I’m convinced that lots of the methods do not work. Perhaps the best thing is to make it known to the invading cat that you do not like his or her presence. You can make your backyard or home unpleasant for this particular cat. You can do that by noise or as a last resort squirting water at the cat. Although I’m very much against punishing animals. If you make the area unpleasant then a cat will normally avoid it.

Multi-cat

It may be the case that in a multi-cat household one cat is bullying another. The need to identify the bully. The Humane Society has an interesting method for detecting a bullying cat. They say you should add food-safe resident died to the cats’ food-one cat at a time. I think they’re saying that if a cat in the household is eating another cat’s food causing stress in the victimised cat then the bullying cat’s urine will glow under a black light. In this way you can identify the offending cat.

Child?

I have been reminded that the picture on this page shows a cat who sprayed because of a new baby in the home which introduced a new smell and creature into the home. A challenge to the cat’s territory?

Reactive steps

The above thoughts are about taking proactive steps. In terms of taking reactive steps you can add a distressing pheromone to the environment. There are many products, the most well-known is Feliway. My neighbour swears by it and she has a multi-cat household which can cause intercat stressed and antagonistic relations.

Enzyme cleaner

The area where your cat is sprayed should be cleaned with enzyme cleaner to totally remove the urine and its smell. Otherwise they are liable to overspray and keep topping it up and they may use the area as a toilet as well. This is important.

Vet?

As a last resort, it may be appropriate to take your cat to a veterinarian to obtain a prescription for antianxiety medication.

General conclusion

I think the underlying key to all this is to reduce your cat’s anxiety in all ways possible and primarily by removing, in the kindest of ways, any invading domestic or stray cat from your cat’s home. Those are the keys. The anxiety may be coming from other areas such as a strange human in the house or some unusual activity somewhere in or around the home. Cats are very sensitive to changes. Some cats are more nervous than others. Nervous cats should be given extra special loving treatment in order to calm them down. Clearly a bit of patient research is required including critical observation of what your cat is doing (and what you are doing) in order to get to the bottom of it.

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Why does this famous actress’s Persian cat poop around her in a circle while she sleeps?

Kate's Persian cat
Kate’s Persian cat

On the Late Show with James Corden, Kate Beckinsale, the well-known actress, admits that a Persian cat that she inherited from a friend poops around her while she sleeps. The big question was why and Kate sought the services of Jackson Galaxy a.k.a. Cat Daddy.

Jackson Galaxy told Kate Beckinsale that her cat liked her a lot and that this was behind her cat’s unfortunate behaviour. He advised her not to pet her cat too much as this overexcited her cat which could lead to pooping as described. I am a sure that this was not all the advice. It’s what I can glean from the video.


Please make sure that you turn on the sound by clicking on the sound icon bottom right of the video player!

Kate Beckinsale's Cat Shows Love Through Its Bowels

James asks Kate Beckinsale about contracting the services of the Cat Daddy to figure out why a feline she inherited from a friend would leave a force field of poop around her while she slept and learns it was the cat's way of showing affection.

Posted by The Late Late Show with James Corden on Friday, March 15, 2019


Scent Marking

I’d like to throw my hat into the ring. Pooping on a bed is a form of scent territorial marking. The cat is reassuring herself. It is born out of insecurity and anxiety. A cat who marks territory through defecation is doing something very similar to marking territory through urination. Is getting her home, i.e. her home range, in order and making sure that the home range is secure and possessed by the cat.

Jackson Galaxy and Kate Beckinsale
Jackson Galaxy and Kate Beckinsale

My former wife had a similar experience. She was out all day working hard and out during the evenings too. This left her cat with separation anxiety. He pooped on her bed.

It is not quite the same thing because Kate Beckinsale is describing the strange feline behaviour of depositing stools around her while she sleeps.

Avoiding Kate

The question is whether it is significant (i.e. a deliberate message) that Kate’s Persian cat is pooping in a circle around her owner. Or whether this cat is simply pooping on Kate’s bed for the reasons described above i.e. anxiety. I would tend to argue that this cat is not pooping around her owner to create some sort of ring of fire protection as Kate describes it but is engaging in this behaviour for the usual reasons.

Her Persian cat, while defecating, is avoiding Kate while she sleeps. In order to achieve this she has to poop around her owner. If Kate wasn’t sleeping her cat (whose name I don’t have) would poop in the spot where Kate would have slept. My argument is the cat wants to poop in that particular spot but can’t do so and therefore deposits her stools as near as possible to it which is around Kate.

Anxiety

The point to recognise is that this behaviour is due to an underlying low level of stress and anxiety at being separated from her owner who the cat likes a lot, as Jackson Galaxy said. Because the cat likes her owner she is emotionally affected by being separated from her. That’s my assessment but of course I do not have the luxury of having discussed the matter directly with Kate Beckinsale as Jackson Galaxy did.

I’m not sure about the idea of not petting your cat so much to stop her becoming too excited. It may be a way of trying to cool down the relationship a little bit too chip away at the separation anxiety.

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Two Canada lynx cats mock ‘head butt’ aggressively over territorial rights

Canada lynx do mock aggressive head butt
Canada lynx do mock aggressive head butt. Screenshot.

In this interesting video, two Canada lynx cats are in a close encounter standoff over territory – a home range.

What I love about the video is that they do a behaviour that looks like an aggressive, feline, mock head butt (as opposed to the friendly variant). It is like two horned animals facing off and about to lock horns in a dispute over a female for mating rights.

At the end they do touch heads and perform an aggressive head butt followed on one side by a slap.

The whole performance is in effect an argument to avoid a real fight which is to be avoided as it causes injury. Injury jeopardises survival. The vocalisation is the feline version of a human argument.

It is the first time that I have seen this feline aggressive, mock head butt as a performance tool in a standoff.

If these cats were a couple of guys they’d be shouting at each other over something or other and they’d be near the point where they fight.

This form of behavior is not referred to in probably the best and most comprehensive book on the wild cats: Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist. It is a bit of a discovery by me and I love it.

P.S. I don’t like the silly commentary. It’s just the usual stupid human stuff. It disrespects the cats.

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Why do cats pee on baby things?

Why do cats pee on baby things? This is a potentially serious issue because I have just read a post on a baby site in which the husband told his wife that either the cat or he had to go because the cat was peeing on the baby’s things. Understandably the wife got rid of the cat and she was relieved to do so. Not a great situation because it is not certain that cats relinquished to shelters will be re-homed.

Baby nursery. Picture: circu.net.
Baby nursery. Picture: circu.net.

Some cat owners project their human thoughts onto the situation and believe that their cat is jealous and therefore spraying urine on the invading baby’s things. Parents might make this decision because sometimes siblings are jealous of a new baby. For felines it’s normally not about jealousy however; it’s about territory. Associated: can cats feel jealous?

This feline ‘behavioural problem’ may arise because the parents prepare for their baby’s homecoming by creating a nursery. They buy and install a lot of new baby stuff. The make the nursery out of bounds for the family cat perhaps because they are concerned the cat might harm the baby.

The cat is upset because (a) part of her territory has been taken from her and (b) her scent is removed from the room. To add to these initial issues, understandably the baby gets lots of attention in the nursery and the daily routines concerning the family cat are suspended.

The cat’s reaction is predictable. She wants to own her lost territory. Jackson Galaxy calls is ‘Napoleonic behaviour’. He must mean taking command of the circumstances and taking back territory .

The family cat overdoes taking back ownership and urine marks key spots in the baby’s room. The cat feels insecure and wishes to claim territory.

That’s the usual answer to the question: Why do cats pee on baby things? What can be done about it? You can take proactive steps which I discuss in the article referred to below. Please click on the link.

New baby: tips to prevent your cat becoming stressed and peeing inappropriately

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